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What can I cook without any ingredients?
February 15, 2007 11:55 AM   Subscribe

What should I bring to a potluck dinner, when many people attending have food allergies and dietary problems and the list of banned foods is huge? (No meat, dairy, onions, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, and many, many other things, listed inside.) Recipes needed.

I've been invited to a potluck dinner where half of the guests in attendance have dietary restrictions.

The following ingredients are banned:

Seasonings: onions, leeks, scallions, green onions, onion powder, garlic, garlic salt, roasted garlic, garlic powder, cumin , dill , chili pepper, Parsley, nutmeg, MSG, black pepper, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa, savory that lists "spices" or "natural flavors" without details

Fruits: grape juice, orange juice, and very especially apple juice, Lemon and grapefruit, blueberries, watermelon, apples, plum and pineapple

Protein: peanuts, eggs, almonds, walnuts, meats of any kind (fish, fowl, land animals, etc.)

Vegetables: tomateos, eggplant, bell peppers, spicy peppers like jalepeños (anything in the Nightshade family), potatoes, cabbage, broccoli, lima beans, green peas, lentils, other legumes

Dairy: only trace, no yogurt.

Grains: Wheat, oat, barley, (soy sauce is OK)

Additives: phenylethaline tyramine aspartame FD & C Blue #1

---

Right now I'm leaning toward acorn squash stuffed with brown rice, and I'll experiment with different allowed spices to see what works for the rice. I've love other options, too.
posted by croutonsupafreak to Food & Drink (63 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Dang. Sounds like you're damn near restricted to Crudites.
posted by sourwookie at 12:06 PM on February 15, 2007


Bring as much booze as you can carry since that's the only way this party will be fun at all.

This site looks helpful. Lots of recipes for people with food allergies
posted by sneakin at 12:08 PM on February 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


Geez. A mini rice cake with an olive on it?

What you have sounds way better though.

Oooh, or grilled asparagus.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:12 PM on February 15, 2007


Rice pudding is always yummy. You could use soy milk and there are many egg replacement solutions at your local grocer.
posted by Kudos at 12:13 PM on February 15, 2007


Go to RecipeZarr

Click the purple Recipes tab at the top. Click the course you'd like to serve (for example, Main Dish). Click All Main Dish Categories. (or whatever course you chose) Start clicking on the Main Ingredients to find those on your Banned List - They'll show up in the top white box and you can then click Don't Show.

When you're finished, you'll end up with recipes that do not include any of the ingredients from your Banned List.

You can do the same thing by searching for a specific recipe (rice stuffed squash?) and then 'sifting' out the banned ingredients.
posted by LadyBonita at 12:13 PM on February 15, 2007


Stuffed mushrooms:

-big mushroom caps
-bread crumbs (I usually use the flavored ones, but that is not going to work for this, so just use plain or make your own bread crumbs by toasting stale bread and throwing them into the food processor)
-sour cream
salt
oregano
(I usually add onions and garlic, but that isn't going to work, is it?)
Butter, olive oil, something like that

Remove the stems from the mushrooms, chop
saute stems in butter or olive oil, mix in salt and oregano (and any other 'legal' spice you think will work.)
Add in bread crumbs and a couple tbs of sour cream to moisten
stuff back into mushroom caps
bake at 350 for about 30 - 45 mins

Good Luck!
posted by necessitas at 12:17 PM on February 15, 2007


Oh, wait. Just read no wheat. You can probably substitute brown rice (or any rice) for the bread crumbs.

Ugh. Who thows a pot luck when they have such a restrictive diet?
posted by necessitas at 12:17 PM on February 15, 2007


Maybe these are people that should not gather together for a potluck...

What about mixing soba noodles (buckwheat is not real wheat and most people with a gluten sensitivity can eat it, ymmv) with sesame oil and sesame seeds? I usually toss this with cooked broccoli, but I see that's on the banned list. So, substitute in another crunchy vegetable, jicama?
posted by moonshine at 12:21 PM on February 15, 2007


Wow. Let's see...maybe a baby spinach salad with asparagus, zucchini, carrots, parsley, corn, edamame, mushrooms, marinated crumbled tofu, with an olive oil vinagrette?
posted by statolith at 12:21 PM on February 15, 2007


Make something you like, take a card with the ingredients listed so that people can make an informed decision about whether or not they want to eat it. The whole point of a potluck is that, well, there's an element of luck involved. And anything that complies with that entire specification is going to suck.
posted by buxtonbluecat at 12:22 PM on February 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


This might be a useless link (I can't really figure out if cauliflower has the same effects as brocolli or not) but I loved this dish back when I ate crazy-restricted (works with soymilk too). Here's a link on RecipeZaar for vegan nightshade-free foods (cutting out the wheat isn't as hard as searching wheat-free and cutting out the nightshade, imo).

And yeah, what party-poopers! There couldn't possibly be medical reasons for a crazy diet like that!
posted by shownomercy at 12:22 PM on February 15, 2007


I have a great pumpkin soup recipe, where the only ingredients are fresh pumpkin, ginger, and vegetable broth. Although good luck finding a veggie broth without onions in it. Perhaps making your own mushroom broth would be a good substitution, and you can season the soup with.. whatever's left. Anyhow, I don't have the recipe on me, but email me if you want to take a look. It's incredibly simple and easy, yet very hearty.
posted by hermitosis at 12:23 PM on February 15, 2007


If you go the acorn squash w/brown rice route, spice it with toasted coriander and/or cinnamon and take along honey and/or maple syrup and/or just a bit of butter to serve on it.

As a salad, maybe toss sprouts and sliced cucumbers with vinegar (preferably balsamic) and olive oil.

Best of luck.
posted by cog_nate at 12:23 PM on February 15, 2007


Or yeah, what buxtonbluecat said.
posted by hermitosis at 12:25 PM on February 15, 2007


I don't know what the group is like, but I'm a vegetarian and don't think there's anything wrong with there being a couple of dishes I can't eat at a potluck, assuming that there's lots else, and it's not something that could be easily replaced. Could you make something really delicious that you want to make and just put a little sign in it saying "I contain ________!"
posted by loiseau at 12:29 PM on February 15, 2007


You would think that the people who have the food allergies would bring dishes suited to their allergy specifications and the people throwing the party would require all guests to bring ingredient cards for all dishes so the people with allergies would know which dishes they should stay away from. As it stands, everyone is going to be subjected to bland, dull food just to convenience the allergy afflicted.
posted by necessitas at 12:36 PM on February 15, 2007


YAMS!

Yams are your friend. Bake up some sweet potatoes with some cinnamon and honey. Or fry them up in olive oil and serve them with vinegar and salt.
posted by hermitosis at 12:41 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


You would think that the people who have the food allergies would bring dishes suited to their allergy specifications and the people throwing the party would require all guests to bring ingredient cards for all dishes so the people with allergies would know which dishes they should stay away from.

This is, in fact, how it's being run. I just thought it would be nice to try to bring something that everyone can eat.

Please don't bash these people. They can have a pot luck if they want.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:43 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


deviled eggs?

is tahini banned? fresh hummus?
posted by tastybrains at 12:43 PM on February 15, 2007


I know it's a joke, but don't drink DI water. Your cells like to be isotonic.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 12:46 PM on February 15, 2007


Maybe you could make a very simple hummus: chickpeas and tahini and salt. Then you could eat it with... sticks?
Sorry, you could eat it with celery or carrots.
posted by rmless at 12:47 PM on February 15, 2007


Last week I roasted butternut squash in olive-oil with sage, rosemary and thyme (no parsley, alas) and it was delicious. You could top with roasted hazelnuts if you want to get fancy. To add a grain, I'd suggest quinoa as a good non-standard substitute for rice. It goes well with the squash, and is not at all bland. if you're interested in going this route, i can forward you the squash recipe from Cook's Illustrated -- it's yummy and easy!
posted by JohnFredra at 12:48 PM on February 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Aren't chickpeas a legume?

Also, deviled eggs are a no-go, apparently.
posted by hermitosis at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2007


Wow, I don't think I've ever seen such a restrictive list. It kind of makes the idea of a "potluck" really boring. They probably should have just catered it. Anyway...

Fried rice with carrots? Sliced meat, cheese, lettuce and condiments for a sandwhich platter? A refreshing drink is a big pitcher of filtered ice water with slices of cucumber (unless that's in the nightshade family?) added to it.
posted by parilous at 12:50 PM on February 15, 2007


Please don't bash these people.

Well, the question was framed for bashing. You left out the part about all the requirements not being required. Or something.

So, is it crouton supa freak or croutons up a freak? I've always wondered.
posted by sageleaf at 12:51 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Please don't bash these people. They can have a pot luck if they want

I wasn't bashing, I was just suggesting a way they might make it more convenient for all guests. Obviously, they have already taken that action to make it convenient for all guests.

Anyway . . .

Asian Lettuce wraps might be interesting

Stirfry some rice with chopped carrot, celery, mushrooms and whatever other veggies are allowed (yellow squash, maybe?). Sprinkle in soy sauce, ginger and maybe some lime juice (I know lemon isn't allowed, is lime ok?) for flavoring.

Serve with iceburg lettuce "cups"
posted by necessitas at 12:52 PM on February 15, 2007


Seasoned rice-stuffed vine leaves might be interesting as well. If lime is allowed, use that instead of lemon juice. Even Pomegranate juice would work well as a tangy seasoning for the rice.
posted by necessitas at 12:54 PM on February 15, 2007


Are soybeans okay? Tofu? Most proteins seem to be on the list, and you didn't mention that one by name, but technically soybeans are a legume.

It looks like you're allowed non-nightshade root vegetables. Carrots, parsnips, turnips and sweet potatoes all roast up delicious. I'd season 'em either with the savory spices you are allowed — say rosemary, thyme and sage — or with honey and cinnamon. Boil them first for a few minutes, toss them with oil and seasonings, and put them in the oven at 450 for an hour or until they're nice and browned.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2007


I can't imagine hummus without garlic or lemon juice.
posted by Good Brain at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2007


Oh, and by rice, I mean brown rice
posted by necessitas at 12:56 PM on February 15, 2007


Carrot Raisin salad, made with soy mayonnaise?
posted by unknowncommand at 12:59 PM on February 15, 2007


I think that trying to make a dish that satisfies ALL of those characteristics is probably a mistake. I can't believe there's a single person with all of those restrictions; that sounds like a concatenation of lots of people's restrictions. I'm with loiseau and co., I'd make something, and then write which ones it violates on a card. Bonus if you can make something that violates only a few restrictions, but I think that it's a better goal to make a spectacular dish that 95% of the people can eat, than a mediocre one that 100% can. (You're never going to make a dish that everyone likes anyway.)

I'm not trying to bash or hate, I just think you have to aim for a less lofty and more practical goal.

If there are some restrictions (e.g. vegetarianism) that are shared by a substantial number of people, those would be the ones to try the hardest to satisfy, and work down from there. If everyone going to this pot-luck just tried to satisfy a few of the dietary requirements, I think you'd probably end up with better food for everyone (even if each person had a fewer number of dishes they could eat, there'd probably be more variety).
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:01 PM on February 15, 2007


Bring a tray of safe fruits (strawberries, banana slices, peach slices) drizzled with cinnamon caramel (boil water & sugar, add cinnamon).

It's the easy way out, but i don't really know what these people want. Was this event designed to be an exercise in creativity, or is the person throwing the potluck really that cruel/paranoid? Listing what the dish contains would be easy enough.
posted by almostmanda at 1:05 PM on February 15, 2007


unknowncommand, if grapes are out, I doubt raisins are okay-- but what about craisins??
posted by hermitosis at 1:10 PM on February 15, 2007


Well, the question was framed for bashing. You left out the part about all the requirements not being required. Or something.

You had to bash, because the way she posted made you do it? Alrighty then.

As it stands, everyone is going to be subjected to bland, dull food just to convenience the allergy afflicted.

Doesn't it sound to anyone else like these is a group of people affected by allergies having a potluck? Perhaps a support group or members of an allergy forum getting together?

I'm sure they would love to trade places with you sit around bitching about bland foods, rather than have to live with their limited food choices. Count yourselves lucky. This dismissive attitude towards allergies pisses me off so much.

croutonsupafreak, more to the point [takes deep breath], if you are interested in a dessert, or bringing more than one item, don't overlook coconut milk (contains no dairy) and/or tapioca. You have many fruits to choose from, and I don't see that corn is a problem. You can use the coconut milk as a base, thicken with cornstarch, and add fruit or fruit puree for flavor. Sorry I don't have a specific recipe - I used cocoa and made chocolate "pudding" but I see that's not an option for you.

I have access to a subscription database of allergy-friendly recipes. I'm going to check it later and get back to you. I'll post here and email you.

On preview, several other shitty comments have been posted. Fuck you guys. Seriously. Fuck off.
posted by peep at 1:18 PM on February 15, 2007


There's a recipe in this thread for Caribbean Sweet Potato Casserole (courtesy of SecretLifeofGravy). You could leave out the pepper and the garlic and serve it with rice only instead of rice and beans. This assumes sweet potatoes are OK, of course. They are completely UNrelated to white (common) potatoes. Yams are not the same thing, but yams are also unrelated to white potatoes and may be OK for your group.
posted by peep at 1:31 PM on February 15, 2007


Framing it as more of a "they're not demanding that I do x (impossible sounding) thing" but more of a "I want to do x because I find it an interesting challenge" might've been better, but hey this is the internet where everyone is misunderstood at least half of the time. :)

How about cheating and making up something where the ingredients can be varied easily (I'm thinking some kind of wrap with stir-fry?) and saying "this half of the plate meets x requirements, the other half meets x requirements"? If you only include a few essential "bad" ingredients in each half you should have a "dish" that everyone can eat.
posted by anaelith at 1:33 PM on February 15, 2007


Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar.
posted by electroboy at 1:44 PM on February 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


>> Doesn't it sound to anyone else like these is a group of people affected by allergies having a potluck? Perhaps a support group or members of an allergy forum getting together?

No, it doesn't. It sounds like a whole group of people where ONLY HALF (as per the poster) have food restrictions. The list seems to be an mix of all the food issues and preferences.


Half ... like, say, allergic folks and their partners? That would fit perfectly with the suggestion that this is a group of people with allergies having a potluck.
posted by spaceman_spiff at 1:53 PM on February 15, 2007


No, it doesn't. It sounds like a whole group of people where ONLY HALF (as per the poster) have food restrictions.

You mean like a potluck for people with spouses and food allergies?
posted by grateful at 1:53 PM on February 15, 2007


Roasted brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar.

Soooo yummy. But brussels sprouts are cabbage, I think.
posted by necessitas at 1:57 PM on February 15, 2007


Ideas: Cornbread. Couscous.

I'm confused about the legumes. How come soy sauce is OK? Is edamame ok?
posted by klangklangston at 1:59 PM on February 15, 2007


My brother cannot eat many of these things. No kidding. He doesn't eat meat, and is allergic to wheat, sugar, and dairy. He can't even drink beer.

He eats stir fry a lot, so... that's my recommendation.

Actually, I've eaten your acorn squash and it's delicious so I would bring that. Also, I would bring a nice humus or bean dip. Get some white beans (e.g. canellini), and put them in a pan - cook and mash. Add some sage and red wine vinegar. That's a decent dip. You can find a lot of other recipes like it by searching for bean dips. Also, keep in mind RiceMilk can be used as a subsitute for real milk in many cases.
posted by xammerboy at 2:01 PM on February 15, 2007


[a few comments removed - metacommentary on how fun this party sounds belong in metatalk or maybe in your own mind, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:03 PM on February 15, 2007


So, is it crouton supa freak or croutons up a freak? I've always wondered.

Click my user name, ya perv. ;)
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:11 PM on February 15, 2007


Drinking water.

Beans and Rice?

Potatoes and Cabbage?
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 2:11 PM on February 15, 2007


I'm confused about the legumes. How come soy sauce is OK? Is edamame ok?

My understanding is that for some of the foods, the allergies are less severe. So trace amounts of some ingredients are OK, while other ingredients are not OK.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 2:12 PM on February 15, 2007


Miso soup with rice noodles.
posted by cog_nate at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2007


Rice Pasta Salad

1 16 ounce package rice pasta
2 cups diced safe vegetables*
1 cup oil
1 cup rice vinegar
1 cup sugar
3-4 TBS safe seasoning** or just salt to taste

Boil rice pasta per directions, do not rinse. Mix the vegetables into the pasta and let sit.

Separately, blend the oil, vinegar, sugar, and seasoning or salt. Stir the pasta / vegetable blend into the oil mixture, and refrigerate. Flavor improves if you refrigerate overnight.

*ideas: lightly steamed carrot, green and yellow squash, sweet potato, corn, cauliflower?, cut green beans.

**original recipe called for "Italian seasoning" which is unlikely to work for you. If you just used salt, you'd probably need much, much less than 3 TBS. I'm not sure if celery salt is safe since I don't have any in front of me, but maybe that's a possible more flavorful alternative to table salt.
posted by peep at 2:18 PM on February 15, 2007


(That last comment was based on the supposition that fermented soy food is probably less allergenic than straight soybeans.)
posted by cog_nate at 2:19 PM on February 15, 2007


I've been thinking more about your original idea of acorn squash stuffed with brown rice. It sounds delicious and there are a ton of ways to spice it up.

Fred Meyer's carries brown jasmine rice (so flavorful!) in the bulk bins of their nutrition sections. You could add chopped dates or apricots, tiny dices of veggies, maple syrup, molasses, or brown sugar.

klangklangston, cous cous is semolina (wheat).
posted by peep at 2:35 PM on February 15, 2007


Peep: You're right. I was thinking of Polenta (which I hate, but would meet the requirements).
posted by klangklangston at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2007


Tortilla chips and guacamole (just mashed avocadoes and salt with a dash of vinegar).
posted by cog_nate at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2007


Something super simple I make once a week or so is rice noodles tossed with artichoke hearts. It's great hot or cold. Basically you take any cooked rice noodle (I love the wide flat fettucini kind) and toss it with chopped artichoke hearts, olive oil, and sea salt. It's lovely - very subtle and yet hearty. Hot or cold - yummy.
posted by iconomy at 4:33 PM on February 15, 2007


This is quite a challenge... If soy sauce is okay, and if miso and honey are okay, you could make balls of steamed rice into flat triangular shapes, toast them until they're a bit crispy on the outside, then brush some soy sauce on both sides and bake until brown but not burned (yaki-onigiri). Mix equal amounts of miso and honey and use it for miso-flavored ones. Wrap nori around them if the attendees can eat seaweed. In fact, if they can handle seaweed, tofu topped with some
wakame that you can probably find in any Japanese food store flavored with soy sauce is good. Wakame salad is good, too.
posted by misozaki at 5:12 PM on February 15, 2007


Yeah, honestly, you could go with avacado rolls or a lot of different vegetarian nori stuff. How's wasabi?
posted by klangklangston at 5:18 PM on February 15, 2007


Yeah, that was my first thought - california rolls made with brown rice, toasted sesame seeds, nori, avocado, cucumber and carrot.

My second thought was along the lines of finding what one dish could contain the largest amount of those ingredients. That sounds like something that would appear at a more traditional potluck.
posted by lilithim at 7:44 PM on February 15, 2007


Vegetarian Fresh Spring rolls.

That might be more of summer thing though. So maybe roasted vegetables? Or soup? Pumpkin?
posted by kjs4 at 10:42 PM on February 15, 2007


Bananas Brulee. You could do the bruleeing on-site for maximum effect.

And you could also bring the caramel doodads from the same page...although you need something to do with them.

But I wonder if sugar really should have been on that list and was just overlooked.
posted by IvyMike at 11:44 PM on February 15, 2007


You have the tag "glutenfree" up there, so if you don't already have the ten-dollar wheat-free soy sauce, please be careful.

Regular soy sauce makes my celiac friend sick, and might do the same to yours.

I would make roasted carrot, parsnip, and sweet potato with a wasabi-honey glaze. Cut up four carrots, four parsnips, and a sweet potato into long shards, toss in olive oil, and put in the oven at 350 for half an hour. While it's in there, heat a quarter-cup of honey with a quarter-cup of water, and stir in one pea-sized lump of wasabi. Brush or pour over your vegetables, and cook them until they're tender.
posted by Sallyfur at 1:11 AM on February 16, 2007


Chips and dips.
posted by jaded at 5:53 AM on February 16, 2007


Corn is in, so if you wanted to make some kind of wrap, you could do it with corn tortillas. (I was going to suggest corn bread, but looking at a couple of recipes it looks like it's usually made with a mixture of corn meal and flour. I don't know whether you could replace all of the flour with corn meal.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:32 AM on February 16, 2007


Thanks everybody. There are a lot of fantastic ideas here. I'm going to start with stuffed mushrooms, and if we're invited back I'll try other suggestions. Gracias!
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:11 AM on February 18, 2007


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