Party Party Party Egg-Free Mama Style
So, unlike the Veal and Tortiere Night which combined foods that were safe for our Little with a huge tray of cheesy, egg battered veal and a wheaty pastry tortiere, (and piles of wipes and a mild case of hives on our little one...lesson learned), we decided that for the big One, we would cater the food to be entirely Allergen-Friendly.
I mean I love the EMS, but I really didn't want them crashing the party.
I was nervous. First of all, I knew I wanted to tackle the menu on my own. Don't get me wrong, I have a TON of support from my loved ones and everyone is always willing and able to lend a hand, but in this case I really wanted to prove to myself and to my Little that eating her way, our new normal, was not only something we could enjoy but was something we could do. And I wanted to prove to all our meat, wheat, egg, and dairy eating loved ones that eating Allergen-friendly was not a punishment or a sacrifice, but the opportunity to eat clean, new foods and to enjoy themselves while doing it.
I was nervous. It's kind of terrifying to cater a party for a bunch of people who are not at all used to eating these kinds of foods. I knew that I liked what I was planning, and of course a few of the recipes were tried and true from the Veal and Tortiere Night (the Butternut Squash Queso? Vanished before the veal that night!) but since that night we have once again cut out wheat from our diets, and I have never served an entire meal of Allergen-Friendly foods. And despite surface support, I sensed some pretty obvious skepticism from the peanut gallery.
Still, in the week or so before the party, with my mom as my sous chef/baby distracter and my hubby as my taste-tester/baby distracter, we set out preparing a luncheon worthy of a very special day. Here's what we whipped up:
From the Top:
Dairy-Free Cheese Board--Baked Almond Feta, Spicy Smoky Almond Cheese, Coconut Milk Ricotta, and Grandma's Fig and Honey Jam
Landlocked Ceviche from Thug Kitchen's Party Grub
Green Onion Quinoa Crisps (on the right side)
Butternut Squash Queso-ish (Thug Kitchen again! Go buy their books!)
Coconut Milk Chocolate Fondue with Fruit
Auntie TT's take on our Softest Chocolate Cookies (she used coconut oil instead of vegan butter and shaped them into a bar form and they had a perfect, shortbread texture. Delicious!)
My crowning glory! Vegan, Wheat-free Coconut Chocolate Cake with Strawberry Buttercream and Vegan Marshmallow Fondant (I'll post about the cake soon! Seriously, I'm SOOOOO stoked!!)
And my hubby joined forces with my mom and made a big pot of chicken meatballs made with roasted cauliflower puree and simmered in a tomato sauce. We topped them off with our favourite pasta topping, a mixture of salt, nutritional yeast, and hemp seeds all blended together. It's the perfect parmesan substitute! The meatballs disappeared before I could snap a picture! They were a big hit, good work Babe (and mom)!
So yeah, it was a bit of work. I've never made crackers before and my cheese-making abilities are still in their infancy but I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. I decided to be easy on myself, give myself enough time to make mistakes and forgive myself for having to re-start recipes (sometimes several times). I had to shelve my inner kitchen perfectionist.
There were tears, I'm not going to lie. There was a lot of googling allergen-friendly caterers. Just as I was looking for an easy way out in the way of paying someone to cook the food, I came to realize that navigating the legume allergy meant that it was almost impossible to find a caterer that is nut-free, vegan, AND legume-free. I had to pull up my socks, take a deep breath, regroup. Start again.
It was ok.
Actually, it was freaking awesome. Despite nightmares the days before the party of people staring at the food, not eating it, afraid to try it, of it tasting like sticks and grass or something equally un-delicious, of the cake melting a collapsing on the day of the party, the food ended up being a total hit! The food tables were surrounded by people the whole party, chowing down. I mean, genuinely chowing. And the best part? No hives. No paramedics. No rushing all over making sure everyone wipes their hands and their faces and brushes the crumbs from their clothes.
That's a win in the Allergy-Mom column, I have to say. And guess what? I can't wait for next year's party...