A chronicle of my search for allergen-free food that my toddler son enjoys.
// Main allergens avoided: soy, dairy, nuts - plus other random nefarious things like strawberries.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Cheese, glorious (rice) cheese!
You might say... "Seriously, just plain old grilled cheese?"
And I would say... "is there such a thing?"
Because grilled cheese is one of those things that makes childhood complete. Like splashing in puddles, or throwing balls in the house, or learning to ride a tricycle. It's just plain, well, grilled cheese!
It's easy, it's comfort food, and it's a celebration of warmth and happiness ~ all in one simple bite.
Looking for ways to include classic kids' edibles that are normally verboten due to food allergies is a hobby for me. If I'm able to find a soy and nut free peanut butter alternative (I'm thinking sunflower seed butter is a likely option), I will be making SB&J soon. In the meantime, I'm making grilled cheese sandwiches in all their glory.
Since I've found rice based cheese shreds (from Daiya dairy free), Q has been on a mommy-enabled cheese binge. Omlettes. Nachos. Now sandwiches.
The rice cheeses are OK uncooked, but a little salty and chalky, so I wouldn't use them in salads of anything. But when melted, they're fantastic! I've used their mozzarella style and cheddar style cheeses, but they also carry a pepper jack variety which looks promising for tacos. (aha! my next project has been decided...)
So, does one really need a recipe for grilled cheese? Oil the pan (olive oil here), lay down the allergen-free bread (Udi's white sandwich here), put the cheese on, close the sandwich, and press down with a spatula to ensure the cheese melts into the bread. Get it nice and grill-y brown, and ensure there's melty-ness going on in there. Serve by slicing it in half. (your choice as to straight or diagonal... I don't want to affect your camp on this, you hear me?)
Additions are all upside: I like to add a slice of deli turkey to this, but you could add any veggies you'd like to hide inside: thin-sliced tomato (potential allergen there of course), avocado, and pickles are all delicious!
And best of all, stuff for dipping: ketchup (if you have a corn allergy to work with, I hear Hunt's does not use HFCS), even allergen-free mayonnaise (most commercial mayo is soybean oil based, so I stock up during Passover for canola-oil based varieties or buy Spectrum Organics canola-based mayo)
Oh, the possibilities!
Grilled cheese is kind of like the game of Othello: a moment to learn, a lifetime to master.