It’s already out of print….”
Last Saturday the writing collaborative I helped to found brought in an illustrator who gave me a wonderful book she had illustrated for an author who wrote about a girl who was gluten-sensitive, celebrating her birthday. The illustrator knew I did workshops for allergy-friendly baking and thought I’d enjoy the book. When I mentioned that it would be nice to purchase a few, she told me that the book had already gone out of print. (It was published in 2013.)
I was bummed. Not only because I wouldn’t be able to purchase more copies of the book but because there had been such a lack of interest in such a great book.
I should not have been surprised, though. My own experience has taught me that unless it affects folks personally, the impetus to consider other people’s plight and show consideration seems to be non-existent at times, and such a book would not need to be purchased by those of us who already know but by those who need to learn.
That does not mean that we stop trying to teach, though. Recently I met with the principal of our high school about a staff appreciation luncheon, and he, too, surprised me. He asked me if I was considering staff with food allergies in my planning. Since this was the same principal who had held a breakfast for the senior students without any food that students with food allergies could eat, my astonishment must have shown on my face. He was quick to explain that he’d “learned his lesson” about food allergies, which I took to mean that a whole lot of parents must have called him about that breakfast!
Only when we continue to share will people start to come around. I have spoken so many times to the local PTO and my church that, though it has taken several years (years!), people finally have started to make changes. Not at every event, which they still need to consider, but at least at events where they know for sure that people with food allergies will attend.
Recently a local group called me to ask if I could make a breakfast dish for some folks with dairy and gluten allergies. I had the perfect hot dish which I had made over Christmas, a Spinach Strata. Made with gluten free bread, eggs, soy milk, and spinach sautéed with tofu cream cheese, it is cheesy and gooey and yummy. We had enjoyed it at Christmas, and the folks at the breakfast buffet the other day apparently enjoyed it as well.
The recipe is below so you can, too!
Best if prepared the night before and cooked in the morning.
six slices favorite gluten free bread (I used Ancient Grains whole grain millet-chai bread; I used an 8 x 11 pan; if you use a larger pan or smaller pan, you may need to adjust the slices of bread you need to cover the bottom of the pan)
dairy free mozzarella (I used about a cup of the Daiya brand but how much will depend on what size strata you may be making; you want to cover the top of the bread cubes)
fresh spinach (I used a 16 oz package of washed baby spinach; a smaller strata may need a less; a larger strata may need more, depending on how much spinach you like)
one container tofu cream cheese (I used an 8 oz container of Tofutti brand cream cheese; unless you aer halving the recipe, slight decreases or increases in spinach does not warrant changing the amount of cream cheese used)
eggs (I was making the dish in an 8 x 11 pan and ended up using six whole eggs, but the amount will vary depending on the size pan you use; you want the egg/milk mixture to cover come to the top of the spinach mixture)
“milk” (I used soy milk but you can use whatever you like; I also used a cup and a half for the six eggs because I was making the dish in an 8 x 11 pan, but the amount will vary depending on the size pan you use and how many eggs; you want the egg/milk mixture to cover come to the top of the spinach mixture; ratio is usually about 1/2 cup of milk per egg)
herbs and spices (I used black pepper, a little bit of red pepper flakes, onion powder, oregano and thyme, but you can use what suits your tastes)
- Grease a pan of your choosing.
- Cut the slices of bread into small cubes and spread the bread over the bottom of your pan.
- Sprinkle the bread cubes with the dairy free mozarella.
- In a pan saute the spinach with a little bit of water just until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the tofu cream cheese and stir well until the cheese has melted into the spinach.
- Carefully dollop the spinach mixture over the top of the bread and mozzarella cheese.
- Whisk together the eggs, dairy free milk, and herbs until well blended.
- Carefully pour the egg mixture over the bread and spinach. You want the egg mixture to reach the top of the spinach. If you need a little bit more, simply whisk up an additional egg or two and add it to the pan.
- Wrap the dish well in plastic wrap or foil and let it sit overnight in the fridge. If making the same day, let it sit at least an hour in the fridge so the bread can soak up the egg mixture.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the strata is puffed and golden. Time will depend on the size and shallowness of your pan. My 8 x 11 pan took about 45 minutes.
- Leftover strata stores well in the fridge and tastes just as good when microwaved the next day.