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creamy roasted potato salad [sans mayo!]


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[Microphone crackles.]

Ahem.

We interrupt this travel-saturated blogging binge, punctuated by the occasional glutenous pastry, with a long-overdue post dedicated solely to food.

[Angels sing a heavenly chorus.]

Down to business.

The antithesis of my strong affection for mustard is my absolute hatred of mayonnaise. Sure, sure, its silky texture and satisfying fat content is nice, I suppose. But the flavor? Ew.

My unaccountable but consistent loathing for the sickly white condiment presented me with a quandary, especially growing up in the South: potato salad. Oh yes, that staple of church potlucks and homestyle diners; that ubiquitous, chunky mountain of starchy deliciousness; that best friend of juicy ribs, playmate of sliced ham, and neighbor to the greasy box of Bojangles fried chicken. That dish. I just didn’t like it. I wanted to, though. Over and over again, I sampled the savory ambrosia of the South. I tried a recipe with pickles, one with celery, some with eggs and some without, many with too much dill, and others with very little flavor at all. But each time I was repulsed by my familiar enemy: mayonnaise.

creamy roasted potato salad [sans mayo!]

So, for years I contented myself with the pure and simple potato salads favored by my mother and dressed with oil and vinegar. A version with arugula became our family favorite, and for years I was satisfied with feasting up on its peppy zing and forgot about traditional potato salad entirely.

Then recently, it hit me: mayonnaise can be circumvented. It does not own exclusive rights to creaminess! Hallelujah!

Enter plain yogurt. She and I became fast friends during the summer and part of the fall of 2013, when I breakfasted nearly exclusively on overnight oats or granola with yogurt. My mother tells me I used to eat plain yogurt like ice cream, during the first two years of my life when she fed me no sugar whatsoever. Well, those days have returned. Give me a spoon, and I’ll scoop that tangy goodness right out of the container and into my mouth.

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So, a few months ago in the beautiful kitchen of fairytale house in another southern state I now call home, I spooned some plain yogurt over roasted red potatoes, added a bit of this and a little of that – in accordance with my usual kitchen procedure – and at last I had my own mound of creamy, crunchy, salty potato salad. Mayo not included. Childhood saved.

I decided that, since I was going to take the time to cut potatoes into bite-sized chunks, I might as well roast them. While boiling does turn the potatoes soft and keep them moist, roasting makes everything taste better. And when you’re going to slather them in yogurt, who cares if your potatoes have a slightly lower water content? I don’t, and you shouldn’t either. Nope, flavor wins.

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And for more flavor, I settled on some honey to tame the tang of the yogurt,  little bits of garlic and onions for bite and pizzazz, a dollop dijon mustard – my love, my life, fair mustard! – for excitement, and a sprinkling of rosemary to tie it all together. Of course, the omnipresent twins, salt and pepper, also made their requisite appearance. The end result not have tasted exactly like those potato salads of bygone potlucks, but by golly, it tasted good to me.

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Creamy Roasted Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds red potatoes (or white, if you insist on being boring)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • several dashes of salt and pepper
  • 5 tablespoons minced red onion (~1/3 onion)
  • 6 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 3 boiled eggs, roughly chopped (optional)

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with several dashes each of salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft but not mushy. Let cool completely.

Honestly, then I just throw everything together and mix it. But, perhaps a bit more finesse should be taken in order to insure you end up with something to your taste.

So, mix together the yogurt, mustard, honey, salt, and pepper – adding the salt slowly and tasting as you go. Adjust this combination to your taste, or blindly follow my preferences; it’s up to you. Then add the onions and garlic. Finally, place the potatoes and eggs (if you choose to include them) in a bowl, and pour the sauce over them. Stir until everything is well-coated. Taste and adjust seasonings again. And then enjoy the marvelous, mayonnaise-less mound you have made.

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basil cauliflower hummus | whole30

basil hummus

Soooo I’m doing this Whole30 thing. It’s 30 days of no grains, no sugar, no legumes, and no dairy, plus some helpful rules for how to eat what you’re permitted to eat. Call it what you will – a diet, a cleanse, a fad, a phase, a crazy idea, whatever – but I call it a reminder. It’s a good way to forcibly haul myself back onto the path of sensible eating, to re-experience the marvelous flavors unadulterated, whole foods, and to at least partially break some of my pesky, food-related bad habits. Also, it’s a challenge and something of a benchmark, at least for me. And I like a good, attainable challenge, especially one that seems deceptively simple but turns out to be a mind game. It’s good to conquer my will and remind myself that I am actually capable of self-control.

I’ve done a Whole30 before – well, sort of. Early last summer – in May and June of 2013, that is – I did a Whole27. Yup, that’s right. I stopped three days before the end. Ridiculous, right? It didn’t seem like it at the time. I hadn’t experienced any sort of “aha!” or “I FEEL GREAT” moment that apparently most people have at some point midway through their Whole30. I felt normal. Perhaps maybe I didn’t crave sugar as much as usual, but then again, I’m a very good rule-follower, so knowing I can’t have something is strong enough motivation for me to stay away. Maybe I felt the same because I tend to eat rather “cleanly,” as they say, to begin with – I genuinely love vegetables and whole grains and am picky about the source of my animal proteins. Either way, on top of the lack of any changes – whether physical or mental – the last week and a half of my first Whole30 fell during our house-hunting trip in Houston. We were staying in a small apartment with frustratingly limited kitchen supplies, so I was essentially subsisting on eggs, avocados, lettuce, bananas, almonds, and squash – foods that need minimal flavoring to taste tolerable. But I was bored. The final straw was going over to eat at the house of some friends of our friends in Wilmington. I neither wanted to appear rude by not eating the food that was served, nor did I wish to explain my food philosophy experimentations to these people we had just met, as nice as they were (and now I know they would’ve probably been interested by Whole30 anyway, as they’re quite food-conscious, in a good way). So I ate the white potatoes, the chicken of unknown origin flavored with unnamed sauces, and the chocolate cake. I sacrificed my Whole30 for my principles of social conduct. And I was okay with that. In fact, I still am.

It didn’t matter so much that I gave up on that first Whole30 just before the end, because I had been cheating all along. I’d indulged in chocolate banana freeze, a marvelous ice cream replacement, numerous times. I practically lived off of fruit, since my Whole30 fell right at the end of strawberry season and the beginning of blueberry season. I even made paleo pancakes (that’s 1 mashed banana + 1 beaten egg = 1 tasty banana pancake, just so you know), despite it violating the “no pancakes” rule. Those delicious things became my breakfast staple. And, oh boy, did I ever snack. All the time. On everything, but mostly fruit.

So, while that first Whole30 was at the most perfect time – when I still had easy access to eggs from our own chickens and meat from our own goats and blueberries from our own bushes, et cetera – this one that I’m dong right now is the real deal, as much as I can make it so.

Most importantly, I’ve adjusted my goals and expectations. I know I’m unlikely to suddenly feel just “better,” like some people. My skin and hair won’t look any different (though I never expected that even with my first Whole30). I won’t lose weight (though, again, that was never a goal for either time). In fact, nothing palpable will change. However, I will learn to eat a more nutritious, less carbalicous breakfast. I will rediscover that carrots taste wonderfully sweet. I will enjoy getting back into the groove of eating lots and lots of vegetables, especially after the holidays. I will respect my body, God’s creation, by feeding it well. I will not snack constantly; I will actually adhere to the rules of the game, even the seemingly silly ones; I will not subsist on exclusively on fruit and meat. And I will attempt to experiment in the kitchen, despite a narrower repertoire of ingredients at my disposal.

Today brings me to day 19 of my Whole30. So far, it has been as I predicted and described above. Normal. But, as I explain way up there in the first paragraph, it has been a wonderful reminder. I’m certainly going to finish it, even though I’ll be getting my wisdom teeth removed during the final week. I’ll have to blog about that. I’m sure it’ll be amusing. 

Well, anyway, that was a long-winded introduction to some comparably short-order hummus.

cauliflower hummus

Obviously, chickpea hummus is out of the question during a Whole30. But sometimes I like to have something to dip my carrots in, and we needed tahini paste, and I needed to get some creativity out. So I bought the tahini paste and made some hummus out of cauliflower. The story always goes that way. My scattered plans to experiment turn into an impulse buy at the grocery store, which leads me to developing a recipe I had hoped to concoct but expected that I wouldn’t.

Are you having yourself a paleo Super Bowl party? Or just a plain old Super Bowl party? This could be a good food to add to the snacking menu. Unlike salsa, it’s thick enough that it won’t spill all over the floor when the bowl gets tipped over by your explosions of  exuberant motion. That is, of course, if you’re into football. Me? I’ll be watching Downton Abbey and Sherlock. And maybe a bit of the Super Bowl, if the commercials are any good.basil cauliflower hummus

Because I follow football as closely as I follow the sport of curling, I have a highly sophisticated method for choosing which team to root for: Peyton Manning is the Colorado team’s quarter back, I hear, and he used to play for the Indianapolis Colts, I believe, and I have relatives who love the Colts, and I have relatives who live in Colorado. So clearly, I must cheer for the Broncos. Or maybe I’ll just make hummus. And (the best) guacamole. Yeah, that’s a better use of my time.

So, this hummus. It’s much lighter than hummus made from chickpeas, and I appreciate that about it. The flavor is unique – a near perfect mix of bright basil and tangy tahini. It’s not nearly so unassuming as regular hummus. So, if you don’t like your dips to make a statement, maybe you should stay away. Of course, I think you could expand out from basil. In fact, you could leave out the basil, up the tahini, and have a more traditional hummus flavor. Or you could swap basil for cilantro. I suppose you could take out the tahini and have a basil dip. But, that wouldn’t be hummus, at least in my mind. To qualify for the name hummus in my book, the dip must have either chickpeas or sesame seed paste. Anyway, clearly there’s a lot of options here.

And, yes, I am aware that according to the Whole30 shopping guidelines, consumption of sesame seeds – and other seeds – should be limited. What I am doing making hummus with sesame seed paste? I figure that 2 tablespoons of tahini diluted by a couple cups of cauliflower, eaten once or twice in the entirety of my Whole30 certainly qualifies as “limited.” So please excuse my while I plow my way through some baby carrots with this marvelous spread.carrots and hummus

Basil Cauliflower Hummus

  • 1 + 1/2 cups cauliflower rice (recipe to follow)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 + 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Cauliflower Rice

  • 1 head cauliflower

Separate a head of cauliflower into florets. Toss the florets into a food processor (do not try this in a blender like a Vitamix; the pieces will be too small), and pulse until the cauliflower is pulverized into pieces just a bit smaller than grains of rice. Put as much cauliflower rice as you’re going to use into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 3 to 4 minutes – stirring every minute – until the cauliflower has softened, cooked, and become less white and more translucent. Cooking time will vary, depending on your microwave. [Makes 4-6 cups, depending on the size of the cauliflower head.]

For the hummus:

Put the garlic and olive oil in a small bowl and microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant and starting to brown. Toss all of the ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Add more salt if you think it needs it. Enjoy with carrots or celery or broccoli (or chips of some kind if you’re not Whole30ing it).

the best guacamole

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I’m a guacamole snob.

Too many avocados. Recipe calls for two.

Too many avocados. Recipe calls for two.

And maybe it’s a bit pretentious to claim that I am in possession of the recipe for the best guacamole, but I really think it’s true. It’s actually a recipe I learned from my mother, unlike most on here. Unlike a lot of people who cook, I don’t have many recipes I can say were handed down to me by my mother. I can’t pretend that I learned to cook from a tender young age, attending my homemaking mother in the kitchen and soaking in her culinary wisdom. Nope. I hated cooking until just a few years ago. And Mom is very much a follow-the-recipe-and-use-measuring-cups kind of cook. She’s not all that into improvisation, I’d say. So, other than basic life skill type cooking – eggs, pancakes, french toast, et cetera – and her blessed tendency to cook with whole foods, I haven’t inherited many actual recipes from her.smashing avocados

But this one I did. I learned to make guacamole from my mother. And before I went about measuring the ingredients and writing it down, I only knew how to make it by taste. No recipe.chopped onion

So why is it the best? Well, mainly because it has the right ingredients. Other guacamoles tend to leave out crucial ingredients or add in distracting ones. For example, my dear but sadly misinformed best friend and her family make the guacamole without tomatoes. That’s the usual offense. Guacamole absolutely must include tomatoes. They also make theirs with cumin. No. Just don’t. It distracts from the avocado flavor. Same with peppers and leafy herbs of any kinds. Those are for salsa; keep those far away from guacamole, too. Do, on the other hand, be sure to include garlic. That’s tantamount. Guacamole tastes unexciting and blah without it.smashed avocado

Also, texture is important. Finely chopping the onions and garlic allows the flavors to blend together better in the guacamole. That way, you don’t get an overwhelming taste of onion in one bit and none at all in the next. The tomatoes can be whatever size, since their flavor is more mild. But they need to be small enough to fit in one bite with everything else and large enough to not disappear or turn to mush. The avocado itself should not be too smooth or creamy, unlike the final product of this batch, which I stirred too much as I tried to get the ingredient measurements right. Mash the avocado with a fork. Don’t blend it. Don’t use a potato masher. Just a fork, so there is still little chunks of avocado rather than total creaminess. It should look like it does after I first mashed it [above].

guacamole ingredients

And salt. Don’t forget the salt.

guacamole and steak

The Best Guacamole

  • 2 perfectly ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic (~ 2 teaspoons when minced)
  • 2 tablespoons onion
  • 1 small roma tomato ( ~ 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons lemon (or lime) juice

Smash the avocados roughly with a fork. Mince the garlic and finely chop the onion. Cut the tomato into small chunks. Gently fold all the ingredients in with the avocado, using 3/4 of the salt or so. Taste it. Adjust the salt as necessary. Add a bit more of any of the other ingredients if you think  you should, but salt (and sometimes garlic) is the only ingredient that ever really needs addition. Enjoy with chips or crackers or with steak for breakfast!

pineapple salsa with cilantro

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I’m back! I’m back, I’m back, I’m baaack! I didn’t go anywhere. I just didn’t blog for forever. Life has been busy and lots has happened, but of course I’ve still managed to squeeze some cooking in along the edges – like pineapple salsa with cilantro from the wildly overgrown space in our yard where the garden should be.

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Conveniently, I happened upon a perfectly ripe pineapple in the grocery store while shopping for food for Mom’s birthday breakfast and supper. I served half of it for breakfast the day before her birthday and used the other half for the salsa.
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The scraggly cilantro I found bolting up between the pink clover cover crop in the garden tasted delicious despite its nonstandard appearance. Actually, no. Delicious is too strong of a word for my opinion on cilantro. I read once that most everyone has a strong feelings about cilantro – they either love it or hate it. Those who hate it say it tastes like soap. The other people like that, apparently. In any case, I guess I’m an anomaly, because I can take or leave the stuff. But in the case of this salsa, I think it added nicely to the flavor of the whole thing.
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Of course to eat salsa with or without cilantro – one needs a vehicle. Normally, I would make some of my flax and corn cracker-chips, but I’m doing the Whole30, which means no corn or soy. So, I whipped out a crumpled bag of pricey Bob’s Red Mill almond flour from the depths of the fridge and made the easiest, most delicious rosemary almond crackers ever. I didn’t have quite enough almond flour, so I added a bit of flax meal to make up the difference and left the rosemary out of some of them so it wouldn’t interfere with the salsa flavor.
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I’d been doing this Whole30 thing for about a week – since May 2nd – at this point, and I had really been craving crunchy things like popcorn, crackers, and granola. The rosemary crackers were just the thing, and man, were they good. They’re a repeat favorite for me. I served them at a party once when some of my Celiac friends were around, and the cracker were positively devoured. Numerous people asked for the recipe. Anywho, this grain-starved girl thought they went great with the sweet and spicy salsa, though her mother didn’t agree. I was just happy to eat something crunchy.

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Pineapple Salsa with Cilantro

  • 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple (~1/2  of a very ripe pineapple)
  • 3/4 cup chopped red onion (~1/2 an onion)
  • 1/4 cup jalapeño, minced (~1 large jalapeño)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (~1 bunch)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions for the jalapeño: if you just want the flavor of the jalapeño itself, remove all of the inner white stuff and seeds. If you want the perfect amount of heat, leave 1/4 of the white stuff and seeds; chop it up and mix it in with everything else. If you’re crazy about spicy food, don’t even bother cleaning any seeds out.

Combine all the ingredients and adjust to taste. Enjoy with crackers or chips or by the spoonful!

maple butternut bean salad [+ college]

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If by some miracle you are still out there and reading this, you’ll have probably noticed my absence during the past several months. The explanation is quite simple: college. Yes, my dear people, it is true. I just completed my first semester of college. And now that I can gaze back on it from the heavenly euphoria that is winter break, it is easy to say that I quite enjoyed it.

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In comparison with departing for Peru, heading off to college was a breeze. Instead of cramming the material objects that make life and my room my life and my room into a single, albeit enormous, suitcase, I packed three generous boxes full of clothing and books and folders and granola and such and piled them into the back of the van. Forget saying goodbye for three months; I could go home nearly every weekend if someone came and fetched me or if I hopped on a Greyhound. I could text and call and skype to my heart’s content. I could look forward to having a schedule of classes again. It was easy.

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And it felt so right. It’s funny. It happened before, when I graduated from high school. That was one of those landmark points that I had looked forward to all my life – anticipated, thought about, but never expected ever to arrive at just because it seemed so far off. Then I graduated, and it was the most natural thing in the world. Same with going to college. Being right where I should be right now, and most days it feels so right.

First Lady Michelle Obama!

First Lady Michelle Obama!

It is a bit strange on occasion  though. I’m a sophomore masquerading as a freshman, or at least that’s how I feel. Sometimes it’s laughable to think that my peers in the lowest strata of the student hierarchy are just out of high school, and that this time last year they had just finished grinding out essays for college applications and were looking ahead to senior proms and projects. I was just back from Peru. High school seems so long ago now.

A good day.

A good day.

Then again, it doesn’t feel so distant when I’m back home and cooking. One of the great tragedies of living at school – no, I mean the very worst part – is not being able to cook. Sure, theoretically I could store tiny quantities of basic ingredients in my half of my 12×18 dorm room and then tote everything to the third floor to cook in the grimy kitchen between classes and meetings. But, that is nothing short of absurdly unrealistic. Therefore, I eat lunch and dinner in the dining halls. Breakfast is homemade granola that I brought to school – more information and recipes about that in a later post.

A normal day.

A normal day.

Really, I have found meals in the dining halls to be not nearly as horrendous as I imagined. There’s always a well-stocked salad bar, fresh fruit, and some vegetarian options available amongst the deep-fried, white-flour-filled, and artificial other options. They even installed a fresh peanut butter grinding machine in each dining hall a few weeks after school started. What I most object to in the dining halls is the oil that seems to invade every dish. I am convinced that the sole task of some poor dining services employee is to ensure that every dish, whether animal, vegetable, or otherwise, does not leave the kitchen a sheen of oil coating all of its components. Alas.

But, hey. I am home now and back to cooking. And let me tell you: it is marvelous! You’re going to be inundated with recipes, guys. Watch out. Of course, the recipe of this post is way back from fall break.

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You can still find butternut squash in the grocery store at this time of the year, right? Of course right. I just bought some yesterday. Correction: Dad kindly picked some up for me.

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In my mind butternut squash is a year-round vegetable. It’s perfectly appropriate for eating in every season, but most especially in the colder ones.

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Butternut squash tastes good in lasagna, as fries, in bread, and in salads like this. It takes well to herbs and works in both sweet and savory dishes. Such stupendous versatility!

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Maple Butternut Bean Salad with Feta and Rosemary

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, divided
  • 1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese crumbles

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Peel the squash and slice it into half-inch cubes. Toss them with the olive oil, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, and 1 tablespoon of rosemary. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet, and roast for about 20 minutes, until the squash is soft.

Once the squash is baked, gently combine it with the white beans and feta. Add the remainder of the maple syrup and rosemary to taste. Enjoy!

blackberry banana bread

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For a brief space of time earlier this summer we were overrun with blackberries from our surprisingly productive brambles. It was a happy problem, short-lived though it was. The inability of our blackberry bushes to present berries of a decent size and flavor free of undeveloped drupelets never ceases to astound me. Of course my disgust with our bushes’ performance is never assuaged by my annual week-long stay at Grandma M’s house – that’s a marvelous tale of summer fun worth a post or three – that frequently coincides with the peak of blackberry season. Her thornless blackberry patch produces blackberries like a Tuscan vineyard produces grapes! Berries hang in dark purple clusters waiting to be plucked off the drooping canes in handfuls by violet-stained fingers. Uniformly large, perfectly sweet, and delectably succulent, these blackberries are the best in the world. Really. I’ve never had finer.

That is that standard against which I measure our berries, which of course pale in comparison. However, during this strange week or so our berries came as close as they ever have come. And there were lots of them. Maybe half a gallon bucket! Never mind that my cousins and I can pick four or five times that many in 15 minutes in Grandma’s garden.

With blackberries in such abundance and more tasty blueberries still to be eaten in preference, I needed to utilize some of the former. Banana bread, the perfect canvas for every flavor, offered the solution. Therefore: blackberry banana bread – a super-moist but oil-free and naturally-sweetened loaf full purple berry bursts.

Start with some basic whole wheat banana bread batter. Add a couple cups of fresh blackberries.

Pour it into a pan, bake it, and slice it!

Blackberry Banana Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or other liquid sweetener
  • 2 cups fresh blackberries

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Beat the eggs. Mash the bananas well. In a small bowl combine the bananas, eggs, applesauce, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Carefully fold the blackberries into the batter. Pour batter into a greased, 9×5 loaf pan.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until bread has browned lightly and tests done when poked with a toothpick. Enjoy warm, obviously.

[100th post! Good grief. Took long enough.]

teff and millet biscuits [gf]

I first learned of the existence of teff from a delicious quiche recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, 101 Cookbooks. The quiche itself was light, fluffy, and flavorful, but what interested me most about it was the teff crust. I had no idea what teff was and was most certainly not going to compromise on the integrity of the recipe by making a normal crust. Actually, I constantly mess with the ingredients of recipes I try out. In this case, I really just wanted to try teff, whatever it was.

Turns out, teff is a teeny, tiny grain. Really, really tiny. The size of a millimeter of 0.5 mm mechanical pencil lead kind of tiny. Supposedly you can cook it to make a pudding-like dish, but that sounds gross to me. More importantly, you can grind it into a deep brown, gluten-free flour. Yay!

Like many recipes for which I do not have the ingredients the moment I discover them, the quiche and its crust stayed constantly in the back of my mind for quite a few weeks before I happened upon teff in the grocery store. It was sequestered off by itself in some illogical corner of the store, if I remember correctly. The organization of grocery store aisles defies comprehension sometimes.

I ground some teff flour in our Vitamix and made the quiche; its crust was a bit hard and strange right out of the oven, but it improved greatly after sitting in the fridge overnight.

Of course I needed another use for my leftover teff, so I made some gluten free-biscuits with both teff and millet flour. Since I do not maintain a supply of xanthan gum or arrowroot powder, coagulating agents normally used in gluten-free baking, I went without. The resulting biscuits, the recipe for which I present to you below, were nutty, soft and somewhat fluffy, and very crumbly. Younger-but-taller brother Isaac really liked them. So did I.

I have decided that it is far more fun to think of gluten-free biscuits as a different type of biscuits rather than biscuits with something missing from them. In fact, I like that policy for most any food. Vegan raspberry truffle brownies, for example, are not brownies that someone messed up by removing the eggs and milk. Nope. They are the best fudgy brownies I have ever had in my life. And tandoori grilled tofu is not a sad substitute for chicken. Tofu is a neutral medium for conveying tasty spice combinations. I like to taste chicken when I eat chicken, anyway, not Indian spices. I save those for tofu. Sounds a lot like post-modern American tolerance, doesn’t it? Well, maybe it is. But, I just think it is more fun and allows for the sampling of a wider variety of new ingredients. Plus, since there are no moral absolutes when it comes to food, tolerance is entirely practical and permissible. Except when it comes to olives. Those are just wrong.

Teff and Millet Biscuits [gluten free]

Ingredients:

  • 1 + 2/3 cup teff flour
  • 1 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 + 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Combine all the ingredients in a medium size bowl. The dough will be rather wet and sticky.  Drop the dough by 1/4 cup scoopfuls on a baking stone or lightly greased baking sheet. There should be 9 or 10 biscuits. Bake at 350ºF for 25 minutes. Eat them, covered in butter and honey, as soon as possible.

Submitted to the Gluten Free Fridays link roundup.