Food Allergy Counseling

Food Allergy Counseling
Sloane Miller, MFA, MSW, LMSW, Psychotherapist; Specialist in Food Allergy Management, Speaking At Mylan Specialty / EpiPen Event (© Noel Malcolm 2013)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Orange-Cranberry Upside Down Cake: Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free [Sponsored]

Orange-Cranberry Upside Down Cake. Just the words strung together sound delicious.  With with the bright tang of fresh cranberries, the sweet caramel topping and the moist yellow crumb of a fresh baked cake, this fancy looking but totally super easy Orange-Cranberry Upside Down Cake will be your new favorite treat to grace your holiday table. Or your weekend morning breakfast table. Or your mid-afternoon teatime table. (Ahem, I had this cake at those exact three times and it was the perfect treat, at any time.) 

And I've made it allergen-friendly for us.

Recipe Notes:

This recipe is tree-nut-free, peanut-free, fish/shellfish free, soy free (although the mix has a “may contain…” soy warning) and wheat/gluten-free. It does have butter and eggs.

I made this cake two ways: once with orange zest in the cake batter and once with a fall spice mixture in the batter. I had my taste testers try both (and none of them have food allergies or wheat intolerance). Everyone loved both! I loved the orange zest one so I’m publishing that one, but if you’re a fall spice person, instead of oranges zest, sift the following into your dry cake mix: 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, scant pinch ground cloves. If you’re an orange zest person, omit the fall spices and add 1 Tablespoon of orange zest to the wet batter as per directions below. If you’re a both person, add both, it’ll be great!

I used a 15-ounce box of Gluten-Free yellow cake from Betty Crocker. Use what’s safe for you and make according to the directions on the box.

I used a 9-inch square pan because it’s what I have on hand, but use what you have; 8 or 9 inch round is fine.

Parchment paper for baking and lining baking tins is fab. I use it every time I bake. It makes clean up such a breeze!

I use Horizon Organic sweet butter and Fairway organic eggs. Not food allergy related, just because I prefer my dairy to be organic when possible. Use what’s good for you.

I use Nielsen Massey Tahitian vanilla. It's nut-free and gluten-free. Check them out.

I bought all of my ingredients at Fairway Market in Manhattan. Fairway Market graciously sponsored the making of this Orange-Cranberry Upside Down Cake. Thank you, Fairway Market! (*Here are my policies regarding my sponsored posts.*) 


Orange-Cranberry Upside Down Cake, Tree Nut-Free, Gluten-Free
Adapted from Simply Recipes

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 stick unsalted sweet unsalted butter (or 4 T)
12 ounces fresh cranberries (1 Ocean Spray package), rinsed and drained
Cake Batter
2/3 cup water
1 Tablespoon orange zest
1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9-inch, 2-inch-high square cake pan with parchment paper (or generously butter pan).

In a small saucepan, place the butter and the brown sugar. On medium high heat, stir the sugar as the butter melts. Once the butter is melted and mixed in well with the sugar, stop stirring and let the mixture simmer for 15 seconds.
Pour the brown sugar butter mixture into the parchment paper-lined cake pan. Spread the cleaned cranberries on top of the sugar butter mixture.

Mix together cake mix, water, butter, zest, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl. With an electric mixer, beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for two minutes, (or hand beat, get that arm workout in!)

Pour batter over the cranberries in the cake pan, and smooth the surface.

Place in the preheated oven and lower the heat from 350°F to 325°F. Bake until a tester comes out clean, 55 minutes to 60 minutes.

Cool cake in pan for 15 minutes. Turn over onto a serving plate, peel off parchment paper. Serve warm or cool with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days (before losing texture and flavor) or you can pop it into the freezer and it’ll keep longer.



Some pictures of each step to assist you!

Ingredients for fall spice version on deck!

Ingredients of GF Betty Crocker yellow cake as of October 2017

Making that caramel topping
Cleaned cranberries on top of caramel topping in a parchment lined baking tin
Batter on top of cranberries on top of caramel topping
Baked cake

Underside of cake with parchment about to peeled off
Happy slice of gorgeous warm cranberry upside down cake!

Friday, November 03, 2017

Recipe: Basic Chicken Soup, Allergen-Free

I’ve made chicken soup tons of different ways over the years but I hadn’t made it in a while and kinda forgot my own method. Derp. So, I turned to The Kitchn for help. This recipe was  easy and produced a lovely golden broth and tender white meat chicken. It was 2.5 hours of cooking time but mostly hands-off so I could get this cooking while I was at home and in meetings. Love that!


Recipe: Basic Chicken Soup,  Allergen-Free
Serves 2-4

Adapted from Modern Jewish Cooking by Leah Koenig and The Kitchn


1.25 pounds of Bell & Evans chicken breasts - usually two breasts (with bones and skin) 
3 medium carrots, cleaned, peeled and cut in large chunks (more if you don't like mushy carrots and want to replace the cooking carrots)
2 shallots, cleaned, skinned and sliced in half
2 cloves garlic, cleaned, skinned and sliced in half
10 whole peppercorns
1 bay leaf
Handful of fresh parsley, cleaned and stemmed 
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper


Remove the chicken from its packaging, drain off any liquid and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken, skin side down, in a soup pot. Sear the chicken for a few minutes until you hear a sizzle and the skin a slightly browned. Then flip the breasts and add enough water to cover by about an inch.

Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, partially covering the pot as soon as the water is boiling. 

Skim any foam that rises to the surface in that first half hour with a spoon and discard.
Keep the pot partially covered and at a low simmer for 1] hour. You should see slow, steady bubbles and wisps of steam coming from the pot. Add more water as needed to keep the chicken covered, or if they float, just flip them a few times during cooking.

After 1 hour, add all the vegetables, the bay leaf, the parsley and the peppercorns. Cook for another hour to an hour and a half until the chicken is falling off the bone when you try to lift it up.

When done cooking, transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board and let it cool. Once cooled, pull the meat off the chicken bones, discarding the skin and bones. Shred or chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.

Pour the cooking liquid — now broth — through a strainer into a large mixing bowl. Discard the cooked veggies, bay leaf, peppercorns. (or if you like super soft veggies, keep them and chop them up and put back into the soup!)

Return the broth to the soup pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Give the broth a taste, and then season with a half teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper. Taste again and add more salt (by the half teaspoon) or pepper if needed. 

If you didn’t add back the veggies, add some raw cleaned carrots now and cook through.
Return the chicken to the broth, and warm though. Taste again for seasoning and carrot doneness.

Ladle the soup into bowls. Serve with cooked rice, cooked quinoa, cooked noodles or cooked gluten-free pasta and garnish with fresh parsley. 

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to three months.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Recipe: Three Pepper Pickle, Vegan, Allergen-Free


The farmer’s markets are overflowing with the last great gasp of the harvest, gorgeous and colorful. If you’re like me, you want to buy all of the colors and put them into your face. But you can’t possibly eat it all in one go. What do to?

Pickle. Or in my case, make a quick, refrigerator pickle. The difference: quick pickles or refrigerator pickles are made with a simple brine that are stored in the fridge and eaten with 2-3 weeks. (There are no sterilizing jars, no long-term cabinet shelf storage here.)

Using The Kitchn’s suggestion as my guide, I made this yummy pickle that is flavorful with just a hint of hot on the back of your tongue (from the red pepper flakes). I’m calling it three pepper pickle because it has Italian sweet peppers peppercorns and red pepper flakes. But really you can do with this with any veggie you like, go play!
Three Pepper Pickle
Lightly adapted from The Kitchn

1 pound sliced sweet Italian peppers, sliced red onion, sliced carrots
3 garlic cloves sliced
1 t whole black peppercorns
1 t red pepper flakes
1 T sugar in the raw
1 T Diamond kosher salt (not coarse)
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
Put all veg and spices (minus sugar and salt) in your Tupperware or the container you will keep the pickles in, in the fridge.
Combine the vinegar, water, salt, and sugar in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Pour the brine over the vegetables in the container and let it cool. 
Once cooled, cover and refrigerate. The pickles will improve with flavor as they age so give it a day before you start tasting.
*If you're me, and you forgot to read the original recipe through to the end and put everything into the Tupperware, including the salt and sugar (whoopsie!) you can plop that in boiling water, dissolve the sugar and salt by giving it a few stirs and then put that mixture back into Tupperware. It’ll still come out yum!*

Monday, October 16, 2017

Recipe: Pork Ragù al Maialino, Allergen-free [Sponsored]

Photo courtesy of Zach Nelson 

Sam Sifton, my food writing crush at the New York Times recreated this delightful dish  from Maialino (called Malfatti if you go and dine there) that I’ve had many times, at Maialino. (I met Sam a few weeks back at an event and he is every bit as funny, charming and sweet in person as he is on the page.)
I’ve never made bone-in pork shoulder and I do loved a braised meat dish so I thought I’d try this one. Especially with October’s temperatures up and down here in the Northeast, this seemed like the perfect way to bring in fall flavors: a slow and low braised meat that is spoonable when cooked, gently scented with onion and fennel, finished with a broth-y sauce that’s been further enriched with the lightness of butter, lemon and a hit of peppery arugula. It was heavenly as I remembered it from Maialino, and made in my home, allergen-free for me and for you!

Oh yeah, my guests swooned for this dish, like eating the brothy scraps from the pot swooning.



This recipe is naturally tree nut free, peanut-free, fish-free and shellfish-free, soy-free. You can make it dairy-free by subbing extra virgin olive oil for butter and skipping the parm at the end. You can make it wheat-free by tossing with your fave gluten-free pasta.

I made this recipe over three days. You can do it all-in-one BUT I recommend spreading out over three days because: braised meat always tastes better the second day after it’s cooked, when you’re ready to serve a crowd, you haven’t been in the kitchen all day and it finishes in a snap.

My 6-pound bone-in shoulder yielded 3 pounds of meat. I served two pounds of pork to 8 guests with one pound of cooked pasta, and everyone had seconds. Three pounds would have served 10-12 guests, depending upon your portion sizes.

I bought all of my ingredients at Fairway Market in Manhattan. And Fairway Market graciously sponsored the making of this Pork Ragù al Maialino. Here are my policies regarding my sponsored posts


Recipe: Pork Ragù al Maialino, Allergen-free
Lighty adpated by me

Serves 8-12

1 pork shoulder, bone-in, 6 pounds
Kosher salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1.5 medium yellow onion, peeled and cut into large pieces
2 small fennel bulbs, trimmed of fronds and green parts and cut into large pieces
2 cups Swanson’s 33% lower sodium chicken stock
2 cups water (enough combined liquids to almost cover the pork)
5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound box pasta (I like the Gemelli shape)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Small handful baby arugula leaves
Parmesan (optional)

Using a sharp knife, remove the thick skin from the pork, leaving a sheen of fat on top of the meat. Season aggressively with salt and place in a large bowl, cover with saran wrap and place the refrigerator overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place a deep saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons olive oil. When it shimmers, gently cook the onion and fennel until they begin to soften, about 7-10 minutes. Add the stock, water and thyme and bring to a simmer. Rinse pork to remove excess salt, dry with a paper towel and add to seasoned broth. Cover and place in the oven.

Cook the pork between 2.5 and 3 hours, turning once an hour, until the meat just begins to pull away from the bone.

Allow both meat and broth to cool on the stove top for 30 minutes, or until you can touch the meat with your hands. Remove the pork and gently pull the meat from the bone, then tear the chunks into bite-size shreds. Place these in a large Tupperware (with a lid).

Strain the braising liquid into a separate bowl and then pour enough of it over the meat to barely cover it. Close the lid and pop that into the fridge. Place the rest of the strained braising liquid in a container and put that into the fridge as well.

Pour the cold braising liquid into a large pot. It will be like jelly, don’t worry, it’ll melt again. Warm that through until liquefied. Then add butter and emulsify with a small whisk until entirely incorporated, and silky smooth. Taste for seasonings, add salt and pepper as needed.

While that is warming, take out the cold pork and if you didn’t shred it before, now slice into bite-sized chunks, removing any cold fat, bones or other inedible bits.

Add the shredded pork and cooking liquid that has covered it to the pot with the sauce, and warm it all back to a simmer.

Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil (boil to al dente directions on the box).

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the sauce. Simmer for 1 minute, then add the lemon juice. Stir to incorporate.  Add parmesan cheese here if adding. Taste for seasonings here, too. (Maybe needs more lemon? Or more salt and pepper? Mine didn’t need a thing!)

Plate and add the arugula on top.

Photo courtesy of Zach Nelson 

 Take a picture before you serve it because it’ll be gone, FAST.

I served this with more arugula on the side (which I forgot to put out in the mad rush to eat, oy).

I let everyone made their own individual little ice cream sundaes for dessert with ice creamsalted caramel, strawberry thyme sauce jam and safe, allergen-free chocolate chips. 

I also made a special balsamic glaze, recipe coming soon.