Thursday, May 22, 2014

(Better) Banana Bread


Anyone going through a major dietary change brings with them both flexibility and a list of recipes they are desperate to recreate.

I've gone back and forth on this point. My switch has also been rockier than many -hampered by a continually growing and shrinking list of allergens. Every time I start to get a handle on it, something changes and I start over again. Maybe not quite from square one, but close enough. And now, as it seems I'm out of the big woods, it's just small things I'm working out now. How many servings of tomatoes is too much for me? How much sugar? Just little tweaks to make me feel happy and healthy all the time.

Banana bread was a staple in my household growing up. So much so that a day in which both morning and afternoon snack were banana bread was the best day ever. EVER. It became one of my non-negotiables.

Ever since my diagnosis, I've been experimenting with ways to make my perfect loaf: lightly sweet, lots of banana flavor, light texture, and able to stand up to heavier additions like seeds or chocolate chips, but also be sublime on its own.

After a good deal of trial and error, (I must have tried at least 5 different recipes over the past year or so) I'm ready to settle on this one.

My Moby Dick

For every cook, there's at least one recipe, technique, something, that defies them. From souffles to petit fours to certain particularly finicky cuts of meat (I'm looking at you, pork chop!), there's a Moby Dick to every cook's Captain Ahab.

Mine, like many other gluten frees was pizza.

WAS.

HAH.

WAS.

After about 23291029 not-quite-right attempts, I finally got it right.

Look no further for the ultimate thick, crusty, chewy pizza crust. The type you get at fancy rustic pizza boutiques where they pile 10 different cheeses and simple homemade marinara on top of a sturdy, crusty, delicious crust.

There's no soggy, dense middle. No extra special techniques. No funny ingredients. No icky sweet aftertaste.

I mean look at this. Just look at this:


And here's how you can make one of your very own. Or, you know, make me one. Mushrooms are my favorite topping. Just, uhm, fyi.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gluten Free Vollkornbrot





When people think of Germany, bread is usually one of the first things they picture in their heads. For most people, it’s salty pretzels, crusty Kaiser rolls, chewy Mischbrot, or tangy rye Bauernbrot that spring to mind.

Few people think of Vollkornbrot. It’s the very dense, strongly-flavored, seed-studded, brown almost black bread that crumbles easily. For the health-conscious Germans, it’s actually an Abendbrot staple. It’s usually paired with savory foods like tangy cheeses such as Swiss cheese or Bergkäse and meats like wurst or cold cuts. It’s less commonly eaten with jam or honey.

I’ve been missing Germany a lot lately, and was craving some Vollkornbrot. It’s not readily available here in the US, and forget about finding a gluten free version! This isn’t the darkest and seediest (hah) of the Vollkornbrot out there, but it’s tangy and grainy enough to count. And it makes the perfect Abendbrot spread with mustard and topped with swiss cheese and ham and served with sliced cucumbers, carrots, and tomatoes.