Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

datenut (1)

teff date nut coffee quick bread photo by vsimon

Is this temping or what?

I like to play with my food, and new ingredients. There was a bag of teff flour in the freezer, calling me.

There were a couple of ideas floating around in my head. And I searched online for other ideas. There aren’t many recipes online for teff. Maybe because teff is hard to find, it is expensive, and it is brown.

Yes, the flour is beautifully brown. I hear there is an ivory variety, but not at my store. Still, it is a highly nutritious gluten free whole grain. And it tastes good. Learn more about teff, seeds and flour, here.

Most often I use it for simple pancakes. Just teff flour, no mixtures. And the pancakes are brown. I think they are lovely, but some folks will object to the color.

I easily converted a wheat based date bread recipe from allrecipes. This uses just teff flour. Who wants to mix 15, or even three gluten free flours together?

And starches? Forget about it! They are as devoid of nutrition as sugar, so you won’t find them here. Also, there is only half as much sugar as the original recipe. The dates make it plenty sweet, I didn’t want a tooth ache.

Adding xanthan is a must. Using 3 mini tins instead of a regular loaf pan helps too.

The final dish must still taste great, have normal texture, and look inviting. This recipe does it all.

Teff Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

yield 3 mini loaves

1 cup chopped dates

1 tablespoon instant coffee powder

1 cup very hot water

1 1/2 cups teff

1 cup chopped pecans

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup oil

1 egg, beaten

Warm oven to 350 degrees.

Oil 3 mini loaf pans and put on a rimmed sheet pan for easy movement in and out of the oven.

In a small bowl: mix dates, coffee powder, and water. Set aside while dates plump and the mixture cools a bit.

In a big bowl: mix teff flour, pecans, sugar, xanthan, salt, and soda. Mix thoroughly so there are no clumps of xanthan or soda. Pinch any little clumps of soda with your fingers to break them up.

Add oil and beaten egg to the liquid date mixture. Stir it up well.

Add liquid date mixture to flour mixture. Stir to combine thoroughly. Allow mixture to rest for about 5 minutes so the xanthan can hydrate.

Equally divide batter into 3 mini pans.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Completely cool before cutting.

These freeze beautifully, very nice for make ahead gluten free gifts.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Or, if you must, chance warming in the microwave to thaw. Sans any metal tins of course.

*****

You may like our Chocolate Angel Food Cake, also made with 100% teff flour. See that posting here.

There is a tasty gingerbread recipe by Jacqueline Mallorca here. Scroll way to the end. I made it in a 9” round pan for prettier presentation. And topped it with whipped cream and diced candied ginger.

*****

This post was submitted to the January 2011 edition of Go Ahead Honey, It Is Gluten Free. Hosted by the amazing Lauren at Celiac Teen.

Gluten Free Spaghetti and Mushroom Meatballs

gluten free spaghetti and meatballs

Mushroom Meatballs and Tinkyada Spaghetti photo by vsimon

This recipe appeared on the Healthy Eats blog as a guest post. But the post has disappeared, so I’ll recreate it here.

You can sub many things for bread crumbs in meatballs and meat loaf. But my favorite is finely minced mushrooms. They are healthy, low cal, and enhance the meaty flavor.

And if you are into hiding veggies, they will never give you away. No colored specks, they look just like meat.

Meatballs

These mouthwatering meatballs are half meat and half mushrooms. This makes the meatballs so tender, even with the leanest meat. You’ll be sure that many mushrooms won’t mix into the meat, but they will.

You need to be gentle when simmering them in the marinara sauce. Keep the simmer low and don’t disturb them for about 15 minutes. By then the meatballs will be “set” and you can carefully slide a metal spatula under them and turn them.

Marinara

Use your favorite gluten free brand. I like Classico, we also like the Classico jar with measurements on the side. The website says they are not recommended for canning. But we save them and use them in the water bath canner all the time. (This cannot be a recommendation. Do this at your own peril.)

There are many other gluten free kinds of marinara available. Be sure to read the labels. And you can make your own of course.

Gluten Free Spaghetti

There is an explosion of choices now. I counted 8 different brands of spaghetti in the ever-expanding gluten free section of my regular grocery store today.

What you really want to know is:

What is available in my store?

How can I be sure it is gluten free?

Does it taste, look, and behave like “regular” pasta?

How much is it?

Gluten free is such a hot trend now that Bon Appétit did an article on their top three gluten free pasta brands. Two were from Italy, available online, and very pricy. Seven or eight dollars for 8 ounces, without the added shipping costs. That works out to about $15 dollars a pound. For that price, I prefer to treat myself to really good steak instead.

One brand in BA’s top three is Ancient Harvest Supergrain Quinoa Pasta. No spaghetti in the store today, but they did have linguini. Close enough to give it a test (taste) drive. Suggested retail is 2.99 for 8 ounces. A bargain, sold!

When you open the box, there is a surprise inside. It’s yellow, a combo of quinoa and corn flour. The directions say to cook for 6-9 minutes. Six minutes was truly undone. Eight minutes was perfecto. There is a small window to get this right.

Ancient Harvest Quinoa corn spaghetti

Ancient Harvest Supergrain Quinoa Pasta photo by vsimon

My review

Ancient Harvest Supergrain Quinoa Pasta vs. Tinkyada 

Some will like the sunny color of Ancient Harvest, others may think it is just wrong. The flavor and texture are fine. A few of the strands stuck together and didn’t soften as much as the rest, despite stirring during cooking. Nutritionally, this pasta offers more fiber and iron than other gluten free pastas.

Caution

Ancient Harvest Supergrain Pasta comes in two varieties. One is gluten free and one is not- a combo of quinoa and wheat. At first glance, the boxes look nearly the same. My store stocked both in their gluten free section. Oops! And guess which one I grabbed first, bought, and cooked? Double oops! Be sure to thoroughly read the label and buy the gluten free kind.

Tinkyada

My old time favorite gluten free pasta is Tinkyada. It is my standby and is in the meatball picture. For a long time it was the only real contender in gluten free pasta. Readily available, reasonably priced, similar in taste and texture to wheat. Made with brown rice and additional rice bran, it is bit paler, softer, and blander than wheat pasta.

And some folks prefer it to wheat pasta. Families with a few gluten intolerants and some not, easily switch to Tinkyada pasta. Suggested retail is $3.96 for 16 ounces. The best deal yet.

Tinkyada takes longer to cook, about 15 minutes. With a bigger window to get it just right. And since it is rice based, even brown rice, it is lower in fiber than Ancient Harvest pasta. Despite being whole grain, rice is pretty low in fiber. Tinkyada has 2 grams fiber per serving, Ancient Harvest 4 grams.

Tinkyada makes only gluten free pasta. So you do not have to worry about buying glutinous pasta. I am going to stick with Tinkyada.

Gluten Free Spaghetti and Mushroom Meatballs

Yield: 6 servings

Meatballs

1 pound fresh mushrooms

1/3 cup chopped parsley

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

1 tsp dry mustard

2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning (or a mix of oregano, basil, and rosemary)

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (1/2 teaspoon if you like it spicy)

1 egg

1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)

Sauce

24 oz gluten free marinara sauce

Spaghetti

8 oz gluten free spaghetti

Garnish

additional parmesan, optional

Pour marinara sauce in a large sauté pan with a lid. Large enough to hold the meatballs in a single layer. Use two pans if you need to. I like to have the marinara on a low simmer before I shape the meatballs, so I can put them in the sauce as I shape them.

Pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until they are the size of grains of rice. You might have to do this in batches.

In a large bowl, mix up all the meatball ingredients. Your hands work best for this. Shape into 18 meatballs.

Cover and simmer meatballs in sauce for about 15 minutes without disturbing them. Gently turn and cook 10-15 more minutes, or to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.

Meanwhile cook gluten free spaghetti according to package directions.

Drain spaghetti and place on dinner plate. Top with 3 meatballs and sauce. Garnish with parmesan if desired.

Make ahead

This dish freezes well. I package leftovers in lidded, stackable glass or ceramic containers. I prefer just 1 or 2 servings per container because they thaw and warm faster than larger amounts. Simply pull several containers from the fridge if you need more servings.

Layer spaghetti, then the meatballs, and sauce on top. Cover, date and label each container. Cool thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze. Thaw in the fridge overnight and warm in the microwave for just a few minutes per serving.

Dinner’s ready!

Hungarian Beef Stew

Hungarian beef stew with caraway

Hungarian beef stew with caraway seeds photo by vsimon

No, the caraway seeds are not negotiable.

This started as a recipe called Hungarian Goulash from Cooking Light. To me it is really more stew than goulash.

“Goulash” to Wisconsinites is a mishmash of ground beef, tomatoes (maybe canned tomato soup), and macaroni. Seasoning is limited to salt and pepper, possibly an onion. It showed up at every potluck supper, and was never very appealing to me.

This version is far superior. Big chunks of tender beef and potatoes, bathed in lively sauce. Yes there is caraway, and the very Hungarian paprika, finished with fresh lemon juice and zest. Your mouth will thank you!

It didn’t take much to make this original recipe gluten free. I simply used sweet rice flour in place of wheat flour to thicken the gravy.

Deceptively useful information

It is so useful, I want to repeat that ingredient information from above. Get yourself some sweet rice flour and swap it out in every recipe that thickens a sauce with wheat flour.

We use it all the time, for all clients. Even ones that do not need to be gluten free. It works better than wheat flour. And freezes (and thaws) better than cornstarch. No lumps, clumps, or weeping. Simply make a slurry with water or other liquid in the recipe and stir it in.

Sweet rice flour is sometimes called glutinous flour, because it is sticky when cooked. This is an unfortunate name, and it is gluten free.

I can get it in my regular grocery store in the ethnic aisle. Be sure to read the label though. I have grabbed plain white rice flour by mistake. It does not thicken like sweet rice flour.

And the brand in my grocery store comes in a plastic bag. Touching it gives me the same response as nails on a chalkboard. Watch, I’ll shutter. It is so dry, and some how sounds a bit crunchy in the bag.

I buy this in a pinch. But when I can plan ahead, I buy Mochiko brand sweet rice flour in a box. At a big ethic grocery three towns over. It doesn’t make me cringe when I grab the package. I buy 5 or 6 boxes at a time.

Now back to the recipe at hand.

Hungarian Beef Stew

adapted from Cooking Light’s Hungarian Beef Goulash

   
serves 6-8 metric measures
1 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast,
trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
700 gm
4 cups chopped onion 500 gm
1 pound red potato, cut into large pieces 450 gm
1 1/2 cups cooked down crushed tomatoes 435 gm
2 tablespoons paprika 20 gm
1 tablespoon vinegar 15 ml
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 2 gm
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, more for garnish 2 gm
1/4 cup sweet rice flour flour 40 gm
Zest and juice of 1 fresh lemon 1 medium

Brown beef cubes. Put beef and onions in pressure cooker. (See unpressured directions below).

Add 1 cup of water. Lock on lid, bring to pressure, and cook for 25-30 minutes.

Meanwhile put potatoes in a medium saucepan covered with water. Cover pan and cook until tender about 20 minutes. Do not drain.

Allow pressure cooker to cool, slowly or quickly. Remove lid when pressure drops. Beef cubes will be melt in your mouth tender.

Add the tomatoes, paprika, vinegar, garlic powder, and caraway seeds to the pressure cooker.

Mix sweet rice flour with about 1/4 cup water. Stir until no lumps remain.

Add sweet rice flour slurry to the liquid in the pressure cooker. Cook until the sauce thickens, just a few minutes. Stir while doing this.

Add cooked potatoes and some potato water if the sauce is thicker than you like.

Zest the lemon and reserve.

Add the juice of the lemon to the stew. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.  

Garnish with a fragrant whiff of whole caraway seeds and fresh lemon zest.

Haven’t made friends with a pressure cooker yet?

No problem

Brown meat, add onions, and 1-2 cups water to a stock pot. Simmer for about an hour. Add raw potatoes and cook another 1/2 hour. Finish as above, adding more water if needed.

Make ahead?

Sure! This freezes well, make a big batch. Put into small containers with lids (1-2 servings each). Cool completely in the fridge.

Label and date every container, I know you will.

Freeze.

Thaw overnight in the fridge.

Warm in the microwave for just a few minutes per serving.

Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free

Hungry for other international stew recipes? Check out this month’s Go Ahead Honey, it’s Gluten Free recipe roundup. Laura at Mouthgasmic hosts, thanks Laura!

What is your favorite winter stew?