Thursday, August 25, 2011

INTERVIEW & BOOK REVIEW! The Food Allery Cookbook: A Guide to Living with Allergies and Entertaining with Healthy, Delicious Meals- By Carmel Nelson and Amra Ibrisimovic

I must be honest, I was pretty concerned when this book reached my hands...

It is challenging enough at times to make delicious foods that are free of gluten and this cookbook takes it to the next level; it eliminates all allergens.  However, Amra and Carmel have found the perfect harmony of flavors without needing to sacrifice our health.

My favorite dishes in The Food Allergy Cookbook are:  Roasted potatoes, Risotto, Barbecue Chicken Legs, Barbecued Sloppy Joes( I used Udi's Buns and ground turkey as a substitution) and the chocolate mousse.  I am dying to make the Coconut Creme Brulee and the Forgotten Cookies.

I love how  Carmel and Amara write about kitchen tips (something I have written about), traveling, and I also really like the holiday menus.

If you have Celiacs or multiple food allergies, I highly recommend this book.

Also, I am really excited to share with you  my interview with the authors, Carmel Nelson & Amra Ibrisimovic!

Amra, did you find it difficult to make Bosnian food allergy free? What Bosnian dish was the most difficult to replicate?

  It is very hard to make Bosnian food allergy free, because most of the dishes are made with fillo dough type of pastry. That is hard to replicate with gluten free flour mixes.

Carmel, since you discovered your plethora of food allergies later on in life, what childhood food do you miss the most? Have you been able to replace that in an allergy friendly way?

I’ve always had a sweet tooth and I miss the decadent desserts from restaurants. Now I just try to make them to suit my allergies. They may not be as fancy, but my sweet tooth is still happy.

• What are your favorite dishes in the cookbook?

Carmel:I eat a lot of salmon as it’s readily available in Alaska in the summer. I can go to a local creek and haul it in, make a fire, and cook it right there creek-side! I also eat a lot of fresh fruit, salads, and an occasional burger. I love trying new meats, particularly local game, like moose, caribou, bear, or reindeer (all part of living in Alaska). What I often do is cook the meats in typical American fashion but with the allergy-free spin, e.g. roasted moose stew.

• Which dishes took the longest to perfect?

By far, the dish that took me the longest to perfect was the cinnamon rolls. I’m a huge fan of cinnamon rolls and I was converting the recipe from a yeast based wheat recipe to a quick bread gluten free recipe. I had tons of failures on that! It took about 6 months to perfect the cinnamon rolls, but I wanted to ensure they were ooey-gooey and cinnamony good!

I found your “Traveling with Food Allergies” chapter to be most helpful; do you have any travel horror stories to share with my blog reader to help them prevent any glutening mishaps while they travel?

For me, the biggest issue with traveling has been the accidental exposure to dairy, which causes me the most sickness. Gluten is usually easier to identify, but dairy tends to be more hidden in foods, particularly in airport restaurants using pre-packaged foods and staff not knowing the ingredients. Getting sick on an airplane at 10,000 feet on a 6 hour flight is no fun!

I had such a great time reading your cookbook and cooking from it. The way that the menus were spaced was very helpful. Was it difficult to select what went into the cookbook? How many recipes did you have to pick from?

We were actually creating recipes up until publication date (and have continued to do so, working on book number 2 right now). I have no idea how many recipes total we had to pick from as we tossed some away since they contained some allergens like nuts (which both of us can eat).

Thank you both for the opportunity to interview you and your book is really helpful and insightful.

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