Sunday, July 24, 2011

Steak Tacos with Homemade Tortillas - July 24, 2011

The original plan for tonight was to have grilled hot dogs and potato salad, but that was derailed by my visit to an allergist late last week. For the past 5 or so months, I've been getting painful welts and swollen spots on my feet and hands. Doctors told me it looked like some kind of allergic reaction and I suspected perhaps my yoga mat was the problem. The allergist was more specific - he said it was "delayed pressure urticaria/angioedema." Essentially they are allergic reactions to physical pressure - like standing, wearing shoes, gripping, etc. Yep, I'm allergic to living. There isn't much that can be done, except he did say that about 10% of people who have this condition also have food allergies and they could be co-factors of the swelling.

So, he did the full battery of food allergy skin tests and while nothing was definitive, I did have mild reactions to tomatoes, corn, hazelnuts, potatoes, squash, celery, and pineapple. The doctor suggested I do a 3-week elimination diet and then reassess. If the symptoms improve, then reintroduce the foods one at a time to narrow down the culprit(s).

It took a couple days for the full meaning of this list to sink in. I'm not a big celery fan, so no loss there. I don't care about hazelnuts and I can live without squash and pineapple. But avoiding tomatoes, corn, and potatoes?! Now that means big changes. Potatoes and tomatoes are staples in our house and I'm quickly realizing that I eat corn virtually every day without thinking about it... corn flour, corn starch, corn syrup. It's in everything!

In all there is a silver lining. This is going to force me to do more from-scratch cooking. Like tonight. I had a craving for tacos, but obviously corn taco shells or tortillas are out. You'd think flour tortillas would be OK, but the ones in our refrigerator list corn starch. Taco seasoning mix is also an issue as it contains both tomatoes and corn flour. But I didn't want to give up on the craving, so I looked online for instructions on making homemade flour tortillas. I settled on the Pioneer Woman's recipe (with shortening, I don't keep lard on hand) and they came out deliciously! For the taco seasoning I mixed a chopped onion, paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper. I need to spend more time perfecting the mix, but the tortillas were fantastic and not hard at all! Even if I end up adding corn back in my diet, I may stick with making these.


Jess said...

Food allergies suck. I really hope the culprit is celery!

Incidentally, I started keeping lard in my pantry when I started making homemade tortillas and now I always have it around. It's my go-to ingredient for pie crusts too (my Grandmother swore by it for this purpose). It had a bad reputation for years, but when used in moderation it's a valuable kitchen tool, and actually it's less processed than vegetable shortening, which is hydrogenated. Now I never buy shortening!

Jaime said...

Ugh... just looked at the shredded cheese I sprinkled on last night's tacos and of course saw both potato starch and corn starch listed! So I still haven't had a single allergen-free day!

You'd actually be surprised that celery is still in a lot of things. Vegetable and chicken broth, canned tunafish, and the naturally cured bacon and sausages.

How well does the lard keep? I currently buy the smallest possible can of shortening, because I just don't use it very often (I've had it go rancid before).


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