Tag Archives: gluten-free

Buckwheat Walnut Cookies

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We are experiencing a truly long and lovely spring here in the Hudson Valley of New York. In fact, I wonder if we even had a winter at all. After the last two years of brutal cold and snow, this extremely mild winter has us all feeling strangely disconnected, even vaguely apocalyptic. Nonetheless, I am still glad to see the magnolia buds opening, even if this weekend’s predicted cold snap will kill them all. Today will be almost seventy degrees, and the may flies swarming around my head this morning at forty degrees is surely a signal of that. Thankfully, they will all die in the cold snap too. A few years back we had a spring with a mean streak, and as you drove around the magnolia trees were hard to look at with their brown blossoms dead like fall leaves. This is also a tenuous time for fruit trees, for if we lose their blossoms, we lose the fruit too.

Regardless of the looming danger, the garden is alive with new details every day. The strawberries are greening up, the rhubarb is poking through the dirt, and the jostaberries are exuberantly leafing out. The seeds given to me from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden are all popping: snow peas, spinach, carrots, kale, radishes, and lettuces. I direct sowed them all in the second week of March. Spring is such an exhilarating time of year. To have that new and local green creeping back into our diets makes heavier winter fare and baked goods no longer so enticing. I’ve been especially trying not to bake too much, but I have a cookie-and-cake-craving sweet tooth that I can hold back on for only so long.

These cookies helped out by seeming to be virtuous, though I’m not sure it’s actually true. They are the type of cookie that you might take along on a long hike. They are quite hard, do not crumble at all, yet are so satisfying, both as sustenance and for that insatiable sweet tooth. I’ve only made them once, so if you try them out will you tell me what you thought? I added some dark chocolate to half the batch, and that was pretty tasty. Also, other sweet recommendations are welcome!

Buckwheat Walnut Cookies

2 cups buckwheat flour

1 cup walnuts

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/3 cup coconut oil

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients–to do this you might want to heat them up so they are all liquid. I refrigerate my brown rice syrup, so it was super thick, and the coconut oil was solid, so this was necessary. Then mix the dry to the wet slowly so that it evenly distributes to a thick mixture. You may need to sprinkle a little warm water to make sure it all pulls together. Roll it all up into a log, seal with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours. It will be quite hard when you remove it from the fridge. Have the oven preheated to 350. Slice discs (thinner will be harder, more cracker-ish, thicker will be still a hard cookie but more shortbread-ish) and put on a greased cookie tray or a tray with a baking liner. Bake for 15 minutes, or until just golden on the edges.

 

Squash Muffins with Garam Masala

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I am trying really really hard to not talk about the weather but I think it’s nearly impossible. By this time of year I’m already direct sowing kale and collard seeds in the ground. This year? Still a foot of hard icy snow covering the poor garden. Instead of crabbing about this long winter, I am trying to be thankful for the time to work on a story about a trip I took to Mexico back in 1996. At least I am thinking about beaches and warmth, while I look up my itinerary and destinations, immersing myself in maps and photos. I stopped in Creel, Mazatlan, Morelia, Puerto Angel, Puerto Escondido, and Oaxaca, where I studied Spanish (or tried to). Not only did I dig out my own photos, but I dipped back in to Mexico with a visit to Glutton For Life, where Laura shared her beautiful and recent trip to Oaxaca.

So anyway, in between dreaming about Mexico and impatiently waiting for the garden to be mine once again, I am baking. The other day I made these muffins with the last of the squash puree in the freezer. They are so, so delicious and taste a bit like a more exotic pumpkin pie to me, in texture too, somewhat. It’s like a sweet squash timbale, so delicate and custardy. However, they were so delicate that it wasn’t until the muffins truly cooled for a day that they came out of the muffin liners without breaking up entirely. It is pretty much a must to use liners in this case. I have no more pureed squash to test with, so if you try it out will you let me know how it comes out? I am writing down the recipe exactly the way I made it, but I do wonder if it can be made a little sturdier.

Squash Muffins with Garam Masala

makes one dozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Have that muffin tin filled with liners!

1.5 cups of almond meal

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon of garam masala spice blend

Blend all these dry ingredients.

Then beat up in a  separate bowl:

1/4 cup (liquid) coconut oil

1/2 cup sugar (these were a bit sweet, so I think it’s fine to dial down the sugar if you want, or to experiment with sweeteners)

Add to this liquid mixture:

2 beaten eggs

1 cup of squash puree

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

When the liquids are all mixed, add them to the dry ingredients rather quickly. Spoon the mixture into your cupcake liners. I found that a healthy sprinkle of cinnamon, sugar and a few chopped walnuts were a really welcome topper. Bake these for thirty minutes at 350 degrees. After they have cooled for ten minutes, set them on a wire rack to cool completely. It’s really hard to wait for them, and you will likely open one, and it will crumble as you eat it over the sink. Or maybe that’s just me. Let them sit for days, and they will only get better.

p.s. Please forgive the slightly out of focus shot–I took only a few pictures. I figured the recipe was worth it to go ahead with!

p.p.s. These are similar to the muffins I wrote about on What Julia Ate. If you haven’t tried them, you should!

Buckwheat Crepes and Quinoa Carrot Cake

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Last week I was all pumped about writing, and now I’m feeling a little less than expansive. I am feeling more writerly grind, than writerly gold, to be frank. Is it the fifty degrees knocking on my window, beckoning me outside? Oh, what will become of my writing habits once the garden has emerged from its snowy cocoon? I fear for my productivity.

In any case, today’s topic is that I’m going to go gluten-free for a few weeks to try it on, and see what I learn. In the few days since I’ve started it’s been pretty delicious and not very restrictive. I made some quinoa flour the other day by toasting some three-color quinoa in a cast iron pan. After letting it cool, I put it in the Vitamix to grind. It turned into flour effortlessly and quickly. The powder was sandy and smelled very much like peanuts. I think next will be to make some buckwheat flour. Yesterday I picked up some buckwheat groats to experiment with making my own flour, but I also grabbed a few pounds of already ground flour.

This afternoon, I made buckwheat crepes following this post from, of course, Gluten-Free Girl. Why haven’t I made buckwheat crepes ever? Silly me. So quick and easy! I stuffed a few with sauerkraut, cheddar cheese and a little crumbled hard-boiled egg. I saved two for dessert, which I filled with coconut spread and nectarine-cherry jam. It was such a fulfilling lunch! I think I’ll be making more of these.

I also made a carrot cake using only the quinoa flour I made. (Slightly digressing: did you know quinoa is considered a pseudo-cereal? I love that.) It’s pretty good, but there is a legume-y taste to it, and a slightly unsettling sandy texture. It is tasty, but the test will be to see if my son eats it. I’m guessing he’ll turn his nose up at it. Good thing I have some raspberry sorbet made for our after school snack!

Buckwheat crepe.
Buckwheat crepe.