Thursday, November 18, 2010


First lesson in cooking: knowing what the heck to substitute for the common no-no items in regular recipes.  So, let me give a few examples of ingredients that need changing and what to use in their place:

1) Butter.  Ah, the infamous hurdle in all good recipes.  And it depends on the recipe.  On popcorn, for example, coconut oil is almost indistinguishable from butter, provided that you salt it.  For icing, crusts, or other baked goods, you may want to try palm oil shortening.  This works amazingly well in cake icing.  I know that sounds a bit gross, shortening in an icing, but it makes for a tasty and wonderfully-textured cupcake or cake icing.  Some people in my house can tolerate ghee in place of regular butter, but since my son cannot, I only use it on occasion.  Ghee is clarified butter.

2) Milk.  This one is relatively easy.  For soups and other cooked goods, get unsweetened coconut milk (preferably the stuff in a carton, not a can, at the health food store or at Kroger affiliate stores).  You can also use rice milk, but I prefer the taste and texture of coconut milk.  It does NOT taste like coconut, BTW, when it is in cooked goods.  It adds the creaminess without the dairy. This can also be used for a base to make a creamy beef stroganoff.

3) Garlic.  This is an uncommon allergy, but I have found that the best seasoning to fill the gap of garlic in a recipe is celery seed.  While it doesn't taste exactly the same as garlic, it adds a flavor that always seems to work well in recipes that called for garlic.

4) Wheat.  Okay, I admit, this is one of the hardest.  I buy my daughter's bread, Udi's gluten free bread, because bread does intimidate me.  Given that I cannot use egg or wheat for my son, I pretty much avoid breads.  However, you can substitute many flours or starches for wheat.  This will be a thing of preference for any person who is looking to substitute another grain or food for wheat. 

5) Ice Cream.  Go for coconut ice cream.  It is the best.  I think I will be using this more during the holidays to attempt making gf/cf/sf/ef "egg nog." 

There are other substitutions out there, but these are the ones I mostly seem to come across.

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