Welcome to Allergy Free & Cheap Like Me!

gluten, dairy, egg & soy free

I’m so happy you are here! I hope to create a place for you to find lots of information about food allergies, as well as, lots of goodies to help you not only eat better, but more affordably! Please feel free to share all of your own tips, tricks, and recipes too! Thank you for stopping by and I hope to see you again very soon! You can read more about my allergy story here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Homemade Arepas!

These yummy arepas are so simple to make and the filling possibilities are endless, have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a snack or dessert! And the best part is they are gluten, egg, dairy and soy free! I absolutely love arepas! Read more about my arepa obsession here!

Makes 6 Arepas

2-cups of Harina P.A.N. flour*
2-cups of water
Pinch of salt
*I hear the Harina P.A.N. is really the key to making yummy traditional arepas and I have never tried to make arepas using another brand of cornmeal. But I am sure it is altogether possible! So whatever brand you can find, just make sure it is cooked cornmeal! Harina P.A. N. comes in two varieties, yellow and white.

How to Make It:
{    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
{    Place two cups of flour in a mixing bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix through with clean dry hands.
{    Pour two cups warm water onto the flour.
{    Knead together the flour and water with your hands until the mixture is thoroughly blended and there are no grainy lumps.
{    If the dough is too soggy and sticks to your fingers add a little more flour. If it is too dry add water. The perfect dough should roll easily into a large ball without cracking.
{    Let dough rest in the bowl for 5 minutes. 
{    Break off a fistful of dough and roll it into a ball in your hands. Then pat it and turn it in your hands until it’s about half an inch thick and about 3 to 4 inches across. It should look kind of like a flying saucer.
{    Shape the rest of the dough into arepas.
{    Heat a little oil in a frying pan or griddle and when hot add the arepas to the pan. When the arepas have formed a crust and are slightly brown on one side turn them over, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side. The idea is to just give them a crunchy exterior not cook them all the way through.
{    Place arepas on a baking tray or directly on the oven rack, at the top of the oven for 15-20 minutes. When ready they should sound hollow when tapped with a knife. 
{    Serve them warm with whatever kind of filling preferred. The trick to opening them up is to make an incision in the arepas slicing through the middle but not going all the way and then open it up like a pocket for the filling. You many need to discard some of the meal in the middle to give room for your filling.
{    Enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Arepas Obsession!

My fascination (my husband calls it obsession) with Venezuelan food started last winter in New York when my husband and I met a friend at El Cocotero. I had an Arepa and honestly, I have been craving one ever since! What is an Arepa?  Well, it was described to me kind of like an American hot pocket.  Made out of cooked cornmeal a pinch of salt and water then stuffed with any kind of yummy goodness you would like. Check out my homemade arepa recipe blog post to make your own homemade arepas!

Pica Pica Maize Kitchen in San Francisco
While in San Francisco, my husband and I stopped to eat at this little Venezuelan restaurant called Pica Pica Maize Kitchen. I had found it online before we left for our trip and decided I wanted to stop in. At Pica Pica Maize Kitchen the main ingredient in all their foods is corn. The entire menu and kitchen is 100% wheat and gluten free. To someone who is gluten sensitive, that has a wonderful ring to it!  You simply pick your maize bread and then choose a filling. For your bread you can choose from an Arepa, Maize’Wich or a Cachapa. Then you have 10 wonderful choices of yummy fillings. 

I had the Arepa with #6-Catira (sautéed chicken in their signature sofrito, with cheddar cheese) without the cheddar cheese of course. 
My husband had the Arepa with #7-Pernil (pulled pork, sliced tomatoes, avocado, aioli) and he added my cheese. Both were very delicious! If you are in the San Francisco area stop by and try Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, who can resist dinning at a place who has a 100% gluten free kitchen?
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, 401 Valencia Street @ 15th, San Francisco, CA 94103, 415-400-5453.
Pica Pica Maize Kitchen, Oxbow Public Market, 610 First Street, #5, Napa, CA 94559, 707-251-3757.
El Cocotero, 228 W. 18th St. #1, New York, NY 10011

Mil Jugos in Santa Ana, California
Another Venezuelan restaurant I found online was Mil Jugos in Santa Ana, California. I didn’t have time to sit and eat in the actual restaurant itself and I didn’t get a chance to snap any pictures of the restaurant or the food and I really wish I did, because the arepas were to die for!  They really were fantastic and you can’t beat the price!  I ran in to order two arepas to go while my husband waited in the car. I got the pollo arepas, (shredded chicken breast cooked with garlic, tomatoes, onions, salt and pepper). They were literally done in a matter of seconds and were served hot with their green sauce* on the side, all for only $3.50 a piece!  They were delicious!  My only disappointment was I didn’t get to go back for more!  If you are in the Santa Ana area, I highly recommend stopping by Mil Jugos and trying some of their yummy arepas!

*A side note on their green sauce, I believe it does contain mayo so I did not try it but I hear it is fantastic and really adds to the taste of the arepa, so if you can handle mayo go for some green sauce, but if not make sure to avoid it! They did put mine on the side in its own container but I got my order to go. It’s always safer to ask for it on the side to give to a friend or not at all if you cannot have mayo!

Mil Jugos, 318 W. 5th Street, Santa Ana, California 92725, 714-836-4601.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Divinely Rich Hot Cocoa

This is my favorite hot cocoa recipe, rich chocolaty goodness with a hint of sweetness, so much better than the store bought powder kind. Once you have tried it you will never go back! The best part it is dairy & soy free and so simple to make! Perfect for a cold, snowy night wrapped up in a blanket reading a book by the fireplace!

Makes 2 cups or one large mug full!

2-teaspoons pure cocoa powder
4-teaspoons agave (I like to use agave but you could use regular sugar or honey and it would tastes just fine)
2-cups rice milk

How to Make It:
{    In a small saucepan combine, cocoa powder, agave and milk.
{    Warm on medium heat, stirring with a whisk. (The cocoa powder will mix into the milk once it has heated up a bit.)
{    Cook on medium heat for approximately 3 minutes or until heated to your desired temperature, stirring with the whisk.
{    Pour into a mug and enjoy!

I suppose you could warm the milk up in a mug in the microwave and then stir in the cocoa powder and agave but as we don’t own a microwave the conventional saucepan method works perfect and only takes a few minutes. It is your choice; to me things always taste better right off the stovetop!

**For a variation you could stir in a dash of flavored extract after removing the hot cocoa from the stove such as cherry, vanilla, almond or even orange to add a hint of flavor!
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