Monday, July 25, 2011

Gluten Free Multigrain Bread

I have grown to absolutely love this bread. It is light, earthy, and delicious. It makes a nice loaf, great burger buns, and next week I am going to try to make it into garlic bread sticks. I'll let you know how it goes.

I have been grinding my own grains now that I splurged on a Vitamix blender a few months back. It is wonderful to be able to take a whole grain, grind a flour and use it immediately to produce a bread. I usually stay away from bread because I don't like the idea of flour that sits on the shelf exposed to air and high temperatures for who-know-how-long. But this bread I feel good about. It showcases grain diversity, using millet, brown rice and amaranth, as well as a healthy does of omega-3 rich flax seeds.

I highly recommend grinding your grains and flax freshly if possible. If not, you can find many of these flours by Bob's Red Mill at your local co-op. This is how I purchase my tapioca flour, which is not possible to grind fresh. For optimum shelf-life and nutrition, store flours in the freezer to minimize oxygen, heat and UV exposure. The other possibly-unrecognizable white powders in this recipe include arrowroot (a less refined cornstarch alternative) and xanthan gum (a thickener often used in gluten free baking). Both can usually be found in the bulk or gluten free section at any natural food store.

Gluten-Free Multigrain Bread
Serves 8

1/4 cup water (105-115 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp. yeast (one packet)
1 tsp. unrefined cane sugar

1 egg
1 egg white
2 tbs. olive oil
2 tbs. apple cider vinegar
2 tbs. honey
1/2 cup water

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tsp. unrefined cane sugar
1/4 cup arrowroot
1/4 tapioca flour
1/4 amaranth flour
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
2 tsp. xanthan gum
3/4 tsp. salt


Mix 1/4 cup warm water, yeast and 1 tsp. sugar in a small bowl. Stir until sugar is dissolved and let sit in warm spot for 10 minutes, until foamy. If mixture does not foam, the yeast is not active and should be replaced.

In a medium bowl combine egg, egg white, oil, vinegar, honey and water. Stir to combine.

In a large bowl mix all dry ingredients (flours, arrowroot, sugar, flax, xanthan gum and salt), stirring to combine.

Add wet ingredients and yeast mixture to dry mixture. Using a large fork, stir briskly for 4 minutes.

Place dough on a parchment lined baking sheet. Shape into a rustic loaf, or 8 circular buns. Alternatively, you can use an oiled loaf pan to make a structured loaf. Let rest in a warm place, covered, for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If baking a loaf, bake for 65 minutes, placing tin foil over the top after 45 to prevent over-browning. If baking buns, bake for 20-30 minutes, checking after 15.

Let cool, slice and enjoy!


Here are some pictures of my garlic breadstick experiment. I followed the same recipe, except the day before I slow baked a head of garlic cloves in 1/2 cup of olive oil (I stuck it in with my slow roasting tomatoes, fennel and leeks at 250 degrees) for an hour or so. I used that garlic infused oil as well as chopped the golden garlic and threw that in as well. Shape them into long oblongs instead of buns, sprinkle with a little extra garlic salt and you are in business.

Relax. Eat Well.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Simple Summer Recipes

It has been so (soggy) hot here lately, that I have been constantly trying to keep cool in the kitchen, and the oven off whenever possible. This Basil Cucumber Ginger Water keeps you hydrated and refreshed, while this Dark Chocolate Granola Bark keeps the smile on your (slightly dewy) face. 

Store bought granola is often packed full of excessive sugar and damaged oils, after sitting on the shelf or bulk bin for who-knows how long. The good news is that it is easy (and economical) to make at home with high quality ingredients. I used the Cherry Pecan Granola recipe I posted back in March, using pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins in place of the dried cherries and pecans. But I am pretty sure this would work with any of your favorite recipes and fruit/nut combinations, so go nuts! (OK, bad pun).

Here is the technique for a quick and healthy dessert:

Buy the best dark chocolate bar you can find (I used Nutty Steph's Single Origin Chocolate). In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. To prevent seizing, make sure NO WATER comes into contact with the chocolate. 

On a parchment paper lined baking sheet, spread your granola out in a single layer. Drizzle melted chocolate on top, using a spatula and light strokes to spread. With any granola that did not get choc-o-fied, cover the top. Optional additional toppings can include toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, peanuts etc.
Place entire baking sheet in the freezer for an hour or so. When hard, break into pieces and enjoy! 

And now on to the Cucumber Basil Water. This idea was born from Sun Tea, which uses solar energy to brew tea outside during the hot summer days. I am growing tulsi basil in my garden this year, so that is what I used this time. Tulsi basil is an adaptogen that targets and aids any part of the system that needs it at that moment. An all around immune booster for sure. If you don't have tulsi basil, italian basil will be delightful as well, with a slightly different flavor. 

Here we go:

Place 10 basil leaves, 10 thin slices of cucumber and 5 thin slices of ginger in a half gallon mason jar. Fill with water and place out in the sun for the day (up to 24 hours). Chill overnight in the fridge and enjoy! I don't usually strain as I pour, but feel free if floaters bother you. 

Relax. Eat Well.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Black Sesame Soba Noodles

So I gave you my favorite tofu recipe, now I have to show you how to use it, right?? This is a great example of a nice dish that turns fantastic with the addition of our little soy friend.

I am a fan of the one-dish dinners (especially on those nights where I was already in the kitchen all day). You know the ones, that offer complex carbs, loads of vegis and protein all in one... here we go. Although I did make it for the CSK tonight accompanied by Ginger Lime Edamame, Cooling Cucumber with Peanuts and Raw Chocolate Date Truffles. Not a bad combination, if you want to get fancy.

The first step is to make a paste out of soaked black sesame seeds, which set out to soak in water the night before (covered in your fridge if it happens to be fruit fly season!). Soaking nuts and seeds (as well as grains and legumes) neutralizes their natural phytic acid content, which can block the absorption of important vitamins and minerals as well as inhibit proper digestion and assimilation. Think of it as the first step in bringing the seed back to life (sprouting), which activates all those working enzymes and starts the antioxidant push. It works well in this dish as you are making a paste, and the seeds will actually blend up a bit easier when bloated.

A great dish for this season, look now for local broccoli, kale, radishes and scallions (or chives) popping up at the neighborhood farm stands (or your garden!) I actually used a combination of kale, bok choy and chard freshly picked from my backyard this morning. Soba noodles are usually a combination of buckwheat (gf) and wheat, although you can get 100% buckwheat soba for a pretty price tag. Another option for a gluten free adaptation would be long grain brown rice.

Black Sesame Soba Noodles
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup black sesame seeds

2 tsp. sunflower seeds

2 tsp. natural cane sugar

2 tbs. tamari

1 tsp. mirin
 or sweet white wine
1 tbs. toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon brown rice vinegar

1 tbs. dark miso (red, barley or adzuki bean varieties work well)
pinch of red pepper flakes

Fine-grain sea salt

12 ounces buckwheat soba noodles
1/4 cup vegetable broth
2 tbs. tamari
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. ginger powder

14 oz. block extra-firm tofu, diced
2 tbs. nutritional yeast 
1 head broccoli, in bite-size florets
1 head of kale, thinly sliced
1 watermelon (or rainbow) radish, thinly sliced in half moons
1 sheet toasted nori, thinly sliced in 2 inch pieces

3 scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced

Soak sesame seeds in enough water to cover for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
Toast the sunflower seeds in a large skillet over medium heat until golden, shaking the pan regularly, using your nose to test when they start to smell toasted. Remove from the heat and transfer to a food processor. Add sesame seeds and process for several minutes until seeds and minced. Add the sugar, tamari, mirin, sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, miso, and red pepper. Pulse several times until combined. 
Bring a large pot of water to a boil with a pinch of salt. Add soba noodles and cook for 4-6 minutes, until noodles are soft all the way through. Drain, saving water. Return hot water to the large pot, add broccoli and kale, stir and blanch 2 minutes, until bright green. Drain and return to pot with soba noodles.
In a large skillet, bring stock, tamari, ginger and garlic powder to a simmer over medium heat. Add tofu and cook for until liquid has been absorbed. Turn off heat and toss with nutritional yeast.
Add tofu and sesame paste to the soba pot and toss well. Taste and adjust to taste with additional tamari, sesame oil or hot sauce. Transfer to a large bowl and top with nori strips, scallions and radish slices.
 Relax. Eat Well.