Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Entering the Blog World

Well I've finally decided to enter the world of blogging. I have no clue if I'll be able to keep it up, however, it's worth a shot.

I wanted to make this blog for two reasons; 1) I am Lactose Intolerant, but have a husband who is now and loves his milk and cheese. I wanted a place where I could store recipes that are either completely dairy free, or have substitutions for the dairy elements to make them Lactose free; and 2) I wanted a place where I could also write down some of my other thoughts (we'll see how that one goes).

There are plenty of recipes out there that contain no diary ingredients. However, since my wonderful husband loves all things dairy, I thought I would experiment more with substitutions so we could both enjoy some of the forbidden recipes to me. I also really miss dairy and in the past year or so have really tried more and more recipes with substitutions, or just eating soy alternatives that are pre-made.

As the holiday season approaches I am surrounded by tempting foods that would have me in pain all night. So I want to be able to post some recipes that are tasty but also dairy free(or at least lactose free). My husband loves anything sweet, and will each just about any pastry he can get his hands on. However, not many pre-made ones make it into our home since I cannot enjoy them as well, and he. being the wonderful husband that he is, doesn't want to torture me with items I cannot enjoy as well.

My first recipe that I am going to tackle is a Penne with Vodka Sauce.

Here is the original recipe from Fat Ass Kitchen:

Weight Watcher POINTS® Value: 7
Servings: 6
Preparation Time: 10 min
Cooking Time: 18 min
Level of Difficulty: Easy


* 1 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 medium shallot(s), minced (about 1/2 cup)
* 2 medium garlic clove(s), minced
* 2 tbsp parsley, fresh, minced
* 1/2 small sea salt, or other coarse salt
* 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
* 3 tbsp canned tomato paste
* 2 oz vodka
* 1/8 tsp table salt, or to taste (for cooking pasta)
* 12 oz uncooked penne
* 1/2 cup(s) heavy whipping cream
* 20 leaves basil, fresh, cut into ribbons (chiffonade)

* Heat a large skillet over a medium-low heat. Add butter, shallots and garlic; sauté until shallots start to caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add parsley, sea salt and pepper, stirring once or twice. Add tomato paste and mix to form a paste. Cook for about 5 minutes, moving paste around pan occasionally; add vodka. Scrap bottom of pan with a wooden spoon and cook for about 5 minutes more.

* Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

* Add cream to tomato sauce; reduce heat to low and simmer for about 3 minutes. Add pasta to sauce and mix to coat; top with basil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Yields about 1 cup per serving.


* Serve immediately when the sauce is at its creamiest. If you prefer a looser sauce, add some pasta-cooking water to the sauce.

As you can see, this recipe calls for the use of Heavy Cream and Butter. Now I have substituted butter with a full vegetable shortening margarine before, so that will be no problem. However, the Heavy Cream stumped me for a bit. Then I stumbled upon this wonderful website: Go Dairy Free . They have a whole section with different ways to substitute for various dairy products. Milk, butter and cheese are fairly easy considering there are many products on the market that are soy or rice based to replace these. However, cream especially was one product I have never encountered in the grocery store. The website suggests using soy milk mixed with olive oil to add fat. There are a few other suggestions, however, the use of soy milk, or even lactose free milk will be the cheapest option, and easiest to find.

I'll be trying the recipe out later this week and will post my results, and of course my husband's feedback since he will be the one who will actually notice a difference.