Tag Archives: sea salt

gluten-free teff BAGUETTE

cooked baguetteswhen the goin’ gets teff… (first and last bad joke, I promise)

brushing oil teff breadoh baby

teff milkTeff flour has been one of my favorite substitutes for wheat flour for a while now.  Teff milk was a new discovery today: I’m not sure that rice milk is the best thing to consume out of the lactose-free milks as it’s basically just sugar.  It’s not bad, but it’s not rich, either.  Teff milk has now been my favorite dairy-free milk for one day.  A whole day.  And now night.

It’s real here: baguette is something that surpasses stereotype.  It surrounds the daily function of the Parisian, clings to the backs of those dedicated enough to leave an opening in their backpacks for the long strand of yeast-risen staple, breaks beneath the fingers of the eager who cannot make it home without finding the tip missing.  Yup, baguette’s a thing.  And today I wanted one real bad.  That’s when I found teff flour for the first time in grocery stores here.  Sha buy yah roll call

teff bread demi baguetteI think you’ve gotta be a bit of a geek to make it in this world.  Tech-y stuff is all over, and what’s slightly paradoxical is that I’ve found the more I give up my old ways of traditional-is-better-because-it’s-more-human, unless I actually want to go Neanderthal, it’s hit me that these new advances in images and sound and things with computers and wires can actually make the human things we do more interesting.

shaping baguetteIt’s not like the computer made the baguette.

I say this because you may notice that these pictures look slightly better than the past.  That’s because technically they are.  I’ve succumbed to, with the greatest pleasure, an actual camera.  It’s manual, I control things like aperture and shutter speed, and photoshop is now something taking up space in my hard drive.  In between washing off the teff flour and gluten-free yeast from my hands,  I spent my first day with my new ally in the kitchen.  And then ate some baguette so I’d have something pretty to share with you.  Of course, that was the only impetus to construct a plate like this.

plated breadExcuses are lovely sometimes.

Teff Baguette

-vegan-

-gluten, nut, soy, dairy, egg, and corn free-

ingredients: 2 tbs (21 g) flax seeds, 3 tbs (41 g) hot water, 1/4 cup (50 g) + 1/3 cup (75 g) teff milk [can substitute water], 3/4 cup (90g) teff flour, 3/4 cup (100 g) brown rice flour, 2 tbs (16 g) arrowroot starch/flour, 8 g yeast, 1/4 tsp (a large pinch) sea salt, 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar

method: In small bowl, pour hot water over flax seeds.  Let soak 20 minutes.  Combine flax seed mixture with 1/4 cup teff milk (or alternative dairy-free milk or water) until puréed.  Set aside.

flax seed mixCombine all dry ingredients in large bowl, adding salt at the very last second before you add liquid.  (Salt will kill the yeast if left too long without the sugar to feed on.)

dry ingredientsAdd flax seed mixture and half of the teff milk.  Knead with hands.  Add honey/agave nectar and remainder of milk and more if needed to get a moist dough that is not sticky.  If too dry, add more milk or a bit water.  If sticky, add a bit of rice flour.  Knead for about 5 minutes, form into a ball, and let rise in bowl covered with wet towel.

kneading doughcovered rising doughKnead again for 5 minutes, separate into three balls for mini baguettes, two balls for demi baguettes, or keep whole for a large baguette.  Roll into a cylinder, then taper out the edges.  Place on a prepared baking sheet (silicon mat and a light oiling will do quite well) and flatten a bit in the middle, and then fold in both edges (see photo at beginning of post).  You’ll make a bit of a smushed taco.  Flip over (the smush is the bottom of the baguette) and make lines with a small knife on the top.  Cover with a damp towel and let rise about 1 1/2-2 hours minimum.*  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).  Bake bread for 5 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush with a fine layer of oil and sprinkle with salt.  Place back in oven turned the other way, for even cooking, and bake another 10 minutes.  If the inside or bottom is not cooked through, reduce heat to 375 F (185 degrees C) and bake for another 5-10 minutes.  This really varies upon the size of your baguette and your oven.  Remove from heat, let cool to touch, and consume within a day for freshness.  To keep longer, keep it in the freezer until use.

*If preparing the night before, keep covered in the refrigerator and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours the next day.

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5-minute pizza bread and herb salad dinner

pizza bread and herb saladThere are days when you (I) want to spend hours upon hours in the kitchen, tasting every bit of seasoning, perfectly brunois-ing that shallot until it disappears into thin flavor air, geeking out on how amazing it would be if I could infuse smoked rose into something.

And then there are days like today, when after driving 4 and a half hours in rush hour traffic to return home from a weekend in Burgundy (not bad, not bad), I want to do nothing more than have a few slices, a glass of wine, and a Kubrick film I’ve not seen yet.

Bourgogne drive homeThis is France’s version of a rest stop.

There’s really something I miss about living in New York, or Portland, or even LA (gasp!) for this reason: gluten-free “fast” food is so available and us Americans have gotten really creative in making it taste good.  Tonight, I had no PIE by the Pound or Mississippi St. Pizza to call upon.  I have a local organic store down the street that sells gluten-free bread, and some organic Italian tomato paste in my fridge.  And garlic.  But saying I have garlic in my kitchen is like saying I have a kitchen.

I skipped down the street, more like trotted as my ankle is killing me, to the organic store and found some gluten-free buckwheat loaf, and meanwhile found the aroma of the fresh mint in the produce section to be an irrevocable calling for purchase.  Pizza and mint are not my usual idea of a dinner combination, but I’m gonna follow the old nose tonight.

gluten free pizza bread

mint, parsley, and tomato paste

Bless you naval cavities, you did good.  Within 5 minutes of arriving home, I diced up some garlic, put the extra vegetables I had in my fridge through both sorts of Japanese mandolins I have at home, and popped a combination of Italian flavors topping the gluten-free bread in the oven on broil.  What developed was nothing short of a delicious and surprising combination of flavors!

There are nights you want to spend hours dancing with your ingredients.  There are nights like tonight where I think I could now dance for hours after only spending minutes with them.

gooey pizza bread gluten freePIZZA BREAD (serves 1 as dinner, 2 as appetizer)

ingredients: 3 slices your favorite gluten-free bread; 2 cloves garlic, minced; 2 tbs. tomato paste (organic if possible); 1/2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped (dried works, too); a large pinch dried oregano; 1 tbs. olive oil; a large pinch sea salt or pecorino or parmesan cheese (low in lactose) or vegan parmesan shreds (both optional but good additions if possible)

method: Pre-heat oven to broil preset.  Top with garlic, olive oil, parsley, and oregano.  Top with tomato paste.  Spread with spatula or finger until evenly distributed.  Top with cheese or vegan cheese or sea salt.  Broil for about 5 minutes, until top has browned and caramelized a bit.

HERB SALAD (serves 2 as a side)

ingredients: 6 red radishes, cut into thin spheres; 3 tbs. fresh parsley leaves; 2 tbs. fresh mint leaves; 1 carrot or 1/4 jicama cut into thin julienne (optional); 2 cups baby lettuce leaves of choice; 1 tbs. balsamic vinegar; 2 tbs. high quality olive oil; a pinch sea salt; a dash paprika

method: mix all ingredients in salad bowl and serve.

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Homemade Caramelized Honey Oat Bran Bars

oat bar with creamy seed butterIt’s almost like I just want to slide down the middle of this bar.  You know… imagine it.

Food can inspire strange behavior.  No food inspires even stranger, so let’s carry on now.

I find caramel made from honey to be a delightful little composition.  Especially if there is some form of sea salt added to it.  Perhaps a little oil.  Oh, lookey here, there’s both!  This recipe for a healthy and gluten-free granola bar has no refined sugar at all and is high in fiber (good for your arteries, yeah!).  A really nice natural energy boost by itself if you’re pragmatic, a healthy way to get that sweet fix after a meal if you’re a touch more hedonistic.  Like, a touch.

wrapped oat bars

Caramelized Honey Oat Bran Bar

-gluten, nut, soy, corn, egg-free.  Vegan with substitutions-

1/4 cup neutral oil

1/2 cup honey (or 1/3 cup agave nectar for vegan)

1/8 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla (optional but good)

1 1/8 cup gluten-free oat bran (available at health food stores or online here, also known as “son d’avoine”)

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Cook time: about 4-5 minutes

Serves about 10-12 easily (makes a plaque of bars)

honey caramel1. Heat oil, honey, salt and optional vanilla in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  If you have a thermometer, insert it and bring mixture to 135 degrees F (270 degrees C) or until it bubbles like shown at left and starts to turn a little darker in color.  Immediately remove from heat.

oat bars2. Add oats to pot and stir with spatula until coated.  Let sit, stirring every 2 minutes, for 10 minutes to cook the oats to make them more digestible.

silpat granola3. Spread on a silicon baking sheet (or an oiled baking sheet or parchment paper) to desired thickness.  With spatula, or a dull knife, outline the shape you want to cut.  Let cool then cut and wrap individually to be all precious.

Since you cooked your sugar to a “soft-crack” phase, meaning it will be a harder caramel, let it cool to solidify a bit so it’s not just a gooey mess.  I’ve been storing my bars in the fridge, as it’s warmer out now, but you can store them room temperature if you want to keep them more taffy-like with the heat.  Ah, that sounds nice, too.

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got no time for oats in the morning?

oats 1 minuteThese took 1 minute to look like this and are not quick-cooking oats.

Was there magic involved?  Did I employ a pressure cooker?  The latter I have never even seen in my life, and if I had learned the former I don’t know if I’d be sitting and typing on a lap top right now.

Soaking anything in water and cooking it already makes the ingredient more digestible.  What’s more for these intents and purposes is that the cooking time is reduced by 10; it only takes a minute to cook.  Where’s the magic!  Before you go to sleep, cover 1 part oats and 2 parts water in a container and store it in the fridge.  When you wake up, dump it into a pot, bring it to a boil, and your oats are cooked.  I prefer to dash it with cinnamon, cardamom, a pinch salt, and a drizzle honey for aromatics.

oats with toastIf you dare, serve it up with some toasted Buckwheat Loaf topped with tahini mixed with blueberry preserves for those with nut allergies.  This morning felt fancy.

And what’s the deal with oats, anyways?  Are they gluten-free?  Which are easiest to digest?

1.  Oats are (technically) gluten-free. The oat part of the wheat does not contain gluten.  The reason those with strong gluten intolerances are advised to stay away from oats is that during manufacturing and processing there is cross contamination of the wheat gluten and the oat.  This is one more reason that it’s good to avoid quick-cooking oats in addition to their subpar taste– they have clearly been processed to make them that way.

2. Which oats can I eat, then?  Gluten-free oats are obviously void of gluten, but also priced significantly higher.  If you can find spelt flakes, je suis fan— the spelt grain in the wheat family is found by many who have gluten intolerances easier to digest.  Their flakes follow the same principle.  (<–They are the oats pictured.)  Steel cut oats are the least processed oats on the market, thereby the least likely to contain any gluten.  Avoid quick-cooking oats or anything already packaged with flavoring unless it’s indicated gluten-free, as the flavoring might contain additives that are not terrible to consume.

3.  Can those with Celiac consume oats?  This has been up for debate, and research provides different answers.  According to the Canadian Celiac Association, “consumption of pure, uncontaminated oats is safe in the amount of 50 to 70 grams per day (1/2 – 3/4 cup dry rolled oats) by adults and 20 to 25 grams per day (1/4 cup dry rolled oats) by children with celiac disease.” (Ref: Canadian Celiac Association)

spelt flakes

 

 

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Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Blueberry Salad

Some things are too good to leave in your past– this Radicchio, Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Blueberry Salad is one of them.  (It was even haunting me writing about chocolate in Oregon last year!)salad with a side of apricots

Working at Greenwich Village’s Gottino a few years back, this salad frequented the seasonal menu every season, simply because if it was off for more than a few days the locals would throw a riot, glasses of Primitivo flying and wine-stained teeth murmuring sweet atrocities.

I, too, was happier when the salad was servable, albeit my version of the salad had to be modified as the original was made with pine nuts.  Instead of the allergen, I add blueberries to contribute some extra sweetness to the dish, and another texture component.

Fast-forward years later, and I am still eating this savory/kind of sweet salad brunch, day, night, whenever.  It’s so simple to make, free of all allergens (nuts, soy, egg, corn, gluten, etc) and light in lactose, as goat’s cheese is easier to digest for those with milk sensitivities.

salad with wineRadicchio, Goat Cheese, Balsamic, and Blueberry Salad

1 head radicchio (bitter small red cabbage), shaved into thin pieces

2 tbs. good-quality balsamic vinegar (the richer, the better-tasting in this dish; you want it to add sweetness)

1 1/2 tbs. olive oil or neutral oil (avoid vegetable oil)

~1/4 tsp. sea salt (fleur de sel)

ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh goat cheese

1/4 cup blueberries (dried for a more intense contrast, fresh for something more subtle)

*

Preparation time: 2 minutes

Serves 3-4

*

1. In medium salad mixing bowl, add shaved radicchio (use a large chef’s knife or a mandolin), vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper.

2. Along the side of the bowl, add goat cheese, and using a knife, gradually incorporate the pieces of radicchio into the creamy cheese until every piece is coated with some goat cheese, oil, and vinegar.  This should look almost like a coleslaw.  Taste it, and if it is too bitter, add more cheese.  If it tastes too “plain” (ie like cheese or oil or lettuce) add more vinegar.  Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

3.  Fold in blueberries until just combined, and serve in a vertical mound on a wide bowl for something fancy and luscious.

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