Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Cookie Dough Egg Rolls

What's not to like? Melty cookie dough inside an eggroll wrapper, fried, and served with ice cream and chocolate sauce.....yum. How did I end up making this dessert?

One of our favorite restaurants in Madison is Bluephies. My sister discovered it when she was a student there and told us about it, and it has become an almost regular stop when we're in Madison. Last weekend Eleanor was there for the Wisconsin honors orchestra (yay) and we had been planning our visit to this place since we knew she was going to be in the area. After we heard a great concert, we all headed to Bluephies for and early dinner/late lunch and their awesome desserts. We had to wind around a bit to get to this Monroe Street eatery since I knew how to get to this end of Monroe Street from campus and downtown and not from the music venue; however, we got there!

We ate our meal. Last time I got black bean and goat cheese enchiladas and loved them. I got the chickpea chop this time. The food was OK (I do remember it being a tiny bit better)...but then...it was time for the main event....the desserts!

Being a food allergy parent, I have learned it is all in who you ask. We have eaten there a number of times and asked the same questions; however, this time we learned that the fryer is used for catering as well, so there could be nut contamination in the oil. Although nothing on the menu had things to which Eleanor was allergic, the catering menu was a wild card. So, we left the restaurant without having dessert even though she had already eaten a french fry from that same fryer. It's just hard to eat something when you have the thought that it may make you sick.

For those of you not having a food allergy or a child with a food allergy...or for those who think it isn't a big deal...let me explain. It's tough. Different people (as with everything) respond in different ways. Some people say, "Oh...the allergy isn't that bad so we won't let it stop us". OK...if that's your comfort level. I prefer not to play Russian Roulette with serious illness. I know Eleanor has been exposed in more ways than I know...she has eaten desserts at this place before, she's eaten the hyper-labelled lettuce from Trader Joe's, and I had used the chicken broth made in a facility with nuts for months before noticing the label about potential nut contamination. The thing is...once you know...it's hard to feel good about consuming something. I do know some people with food allergies end up with anxiety issues, so it's a fine line between being safe and keeping things a bit on the normal side.

We know that there's always a risk..at home or at a restaurant...and that's why we have an Epi-pen or she doesn't eat anything (even an apple). We know that we aren't able to eat at potlucks or from the table of homemade snacks at a swim meet, or birthday treats at school. We don't think it's fun to go out for ice cream...Dairy Queen has a sign on the door basically telling allergic people not to eat there. Ice cream, while fun for some families, really isn't fun for us after asking for the clean scoop and unopened container and getting the teenaged eye roll before being served. And we are prepared for those circumstances and just live our life safely. I get why people decide that they will take the risk and eat something processed in a facility with an allergen since the risk is probably really really low. However, once we know about an allergen, we just don't feel good about eating that food.

I get that there are much more serious things to have than a food allergy, which is just a slight inconvenience. I really am thankful that's all I have to worry about; however, it does curtail restaurant fun. Even without the allergy we would prefer to eat at home, so it isn't a lifestyle changing thing for our family. But I do wish restaurants would have a bit of increased awareness about safety and accommodating these people. I had tried to lobby a state senator about including some basic information on this to restaurant employees...but he wasn't interested in taking on the restaurant industry. I knew it wouldn't pass, but I thought the awareness it raised would be good. I understand that the staff is busy, but it really is a cleanliness issue in many places.

Anyway, back to the feeling at the restaurant when leaving. It's always with a bit of false cheer on the parental end. "That's OK about the eggroll you have been waiting to have for 6 months. We'll go home and make cookies!!" Or the time we were told at the Cheesecake Factory that the only THING in the entire restaurant for a person with a nut allergy is strawberries and whip cream. Of course we told our 4 year old, "Strawberries and whip cream...yum...you are so lucky!". Seriously, that's the only thing she can have? We have never gone back, so it's likely that a different server/restaurant/chef would accommodate a bit more and use a separate pan for customer. Although the honesty is appreciated the eating is a bit uncertain.

I think if I had a bit more energy or a bit more time or a child allergic to more things, I would work on developing some type of rating system. For example, Cold Stone Creamery gets a 5 star rating for helping allergic people be able to eat ice cream. They willingly get clean scoops for their ice cream and a clean bowl to mix in items. Yay. The places that aren't helpful, well, I guess they don't need our business. It would be good to start sharing that information, but I haven't done that....yet.

So, in the car on the drive back to Milwaukee I started to think about making the chocolate chip cookie egg roll. The idea grew until we made a run to Sendik's on the way home and got eggroll wrappers and ice cream. I'm not really a deep fry kinda gal but had used a skillet to fry something about 20 years ago. We were laughing a bit at some of the burn marks on the pan from long ago...but I still have that pan that would work with 1/2" oil heated in the bottom.

So, rather than continue to feel irritated that the chef at Bluephies didn't come up with this idea, I energized (even though I just wanted to sit) myself and got going on this project. Eleanor and Paul were a bit skeptical; although Eleanor was a good sport and mixed up the cookie dough. I poured the oil in the pan and gently heated it (no burn marks this time). Just then some friends stopped over and were amazed and surprised that I was deepfrying:)

We made a log of cookie dough and wrapped it eggroll style (Eleanor did that while I supervised the oil). She did a great job sealing the ends with water since we didn't have a leaky one out of the 5 we made. They were absolutely perfect! Paul and I were happy since our child got to have a cookie dough eggroll. Eleanor was happy since she didn't think my deep frying would really work. And our friends were really happy that they stopped over at the right time.

I don't know what the oil temperature was...but I did place a tiny bit of cookie dough in before placing the eggroll in the pan and it was sizzly around the dough.

Voila! We did it. Now this may be a bit dangerous for the waistline. When I didn't think I could make them we split one of these every 6 months or so. Making them at home...yikes. Next I could try the Butterfinger wontons....

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