I received a phone call a few weeks back from a potential client needing my services. This client had recently been diagnosed with a histamine allergy. They had NO idea what to eat. Basically, this person was allergic to almost everything! There are many food allergens I am aware of. This was a new one. I requested some info on the issue so I could see what I could do. This person needed help and just didn't know what to do.
I opened the email which, honestly, threw me for a loop. The list of banned foods would make anyone want to throw in the towel. Here is a snippet of banned items:
No Lemons or limes
No Eggs, cheese, sour cream, yogurt
No bleached flour
No Chili powder or anything with the word spices in it
No processed meats...like sausage
Meats, if not immediately consumed, must be frozen
I let this rest overnight. I needed to re approach this. Give it time to mull in my head then read it all again. My 2nd reading, the light bulb went off. This can work! I would miss acidic foods, but using natural flavors from fresh herbs and the use of proper seasoning, food would taste good.
My, now new, customer would be pleased. She gave me a list of foods she liked. My job was to recreate them without using the banned foods. What you see to the left is one such creation, a beef and bean burrito.
The first obstacle was realizing all flour tortillas use bleached flour. I would have to make this from scratch. Upon reading what would work...lard (approved) should have worked....but alas, all versions had citric acid. Unfettered....butter became the "fat" of choice. I will toot my horn and say they tasted great! Next I had to figure out a way to make a great sauce. Tomatoes were out. Beef stock though, if organic and without the word "spices" would be perfect. With that block in place, the rest fell into place. Some basic veggies, dried ancho chili, and some caramelized onions simmered with fresh herbs would season this perfectly. After and hour of simmering, the contents were pureed...creating a beautiful texture and flavor.
I added some of the liquid to the ground beef and black beans when it was almost finished cooking. The finally product tastes amazing. This challenge is one I welcome and will continue to take head on. It only makes me a stronger chef!