W is for Waffles- Quinoa Cocoa

We eat waffles often at our house. But rarely for breakfast. Too much fuss, too early in the bleary a.m. It is breakfast for dinner, or lunch. The waffles might be amaranth, buckwheat, corn, Montina, teff, or simply Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flour. I use whatever I have. I started all of this long ago, with a buttermilk wheat recipe and experimented with every single gluten free flour I could get my hands on. It has also proven to be a nice way to use up bits of leftover flour, all mixed up. Every combo, of this and that, has been eagerly eaten.

waffles (2a)


photo by vsimon

The latest batches have gluten free and dairy free. Amazake works nicely, but it is expensive and hard to come by. Apple juice is a convenient and inexpensive solution. Gluten free, dairy free, both, any way, it is always a treat. Waffles with fruit and nuts is one of my very favorite meals.

Tuesday lunch in the garden

It was sunny and warm. Perfect for Quinoa Cocoa Waffles with chocolate syrup and raspberries picked from the back of our yard.

Sometimes I feel claustrophobic walking through our garden. The berry patch is huge, 30 feet by 15 feet. The canes reach to my shoulder and you must be careful not to inhale the clouds of mosquitoes that reside there. The amaranth is to my chin, just starting to bud. The pole bean tee-pees are seven feet tall and the vines are twirling together over the tops. Looking out over this lushness makes me feel rich. And peaceful. We have plenty, more than enough.

garden (3)

pole-bean-tee-pees photo by vsimon

So the simple waffles just enhanced my contentment. A light crispy crunch, rich chocolate syrup, bright tangy berries. Chocolate for lunch, overlooking abundance, what could be better?

Quinoa Cocoa Waffles

serves 2 metric measures
2 tablespoons cocoa 12 g
7/8 cup quinoa flour 110 g
1 tablespoon sugar 15 g
1 teaspoon baking powder 4 g
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 3 g
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup apple juice
3 g
180 ml
1 egg 50 g
2 tablespoons oil 30 ml

Preheat waffle maker.

Preheat oven to 150 degrees.

Put 2 tablespoons cocoa in a 1 cup dry measuring cup. Add quinoa flour to the top and level with a knife. You’ll have 7/8 of a cup of quinoa flour. Add sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine well.

In a small bowl, whisk together apple juice, egg and oil.

Add juice mixture to quinoa flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Pour into the waffle maker and bake until the steam stops. Remove waffle from the maker and place right on the oven rack to keep crispy while the second waffle cooks.

Serve with your favorite chocolate syrup. I simply microwaved semisweet chocolate with some oil until it melted, for a super rich and low carb sauce.

These would be equally lovely with a peach sauce. What kind of waffles and sauce do you like best?

We are happy to submit this post to Andrea’s Recipes Grow Your Own recipe round up. GYO celebrates home grown foods, something we can all be proud of. Thanks Andrea for hosting!

U is for Upside Down Cake

upsidedown2 (3a)

nectarine-red-plum-cornmeal-upside-down-cake photo by vsimon

There are not a lot of choices for food related words that start with the letter U. Utensil works, but upside down cake is more satisfying.

Today we stray from the classic pineapple and use stone fruits that are in season. Nectarine and Red Plum Cornmeal Upside Down Cake fits the bill.

Upside side down cake can be tricky. There is a moment of truth when you hope, hope, hope that the fruit will dislodge from the pan.

On my first try, every piece of fruit stuck in the pan. It was lovely, but it was in the pan, not on the cake. Frustrated, I peeled as much as I could off and replaced in on the cake. It looked rumpled instead of well groomed.

My husband suggested we make an upside up cake. That would sure be simpler. But I worried the fruit would shrivel and dry while the cake baked. I suggested parchment on the bottom of the pan. He suggested two pieces of parchment. Brilliant!

One piece stays in the pan, the other stays on top of the fruit, on top (what was the bottom) of the cake. It is easily peeled off and every bit of fruit stays neatly in its proper place.

This tip, my friend, is worth the price of admission. Which of course is free. Still, it is a lifesaver. You can use this technique with all kinds of upside down cake. Apple gingerbread, cherry almond, cranberry orange, pear walnut, whatever you like.

As a bonus, this cornmeal cake uses inexpensive ingredients, easily found in the regular grocery store.

Oh, and a bit of xanthan. You need to have that in your pantry anyway if you do any gluten free baking. It is not cheap to buy, but it is cheap to use. A little goes a long, long way.

This sunny cake has corn flour, not cornstarch. You can substitute masa harina with equal success. Cornmeal gives it a rustic feel and a bit of crunch. It is tender, but not crumbly. And not too sweet. You can increase the sugar if you prefer your treats quite sweet.

It also works as a gluten free, dairy free dessert. Apple juice works great and adds a bit more sweetness. Or use milk if you prefer it.

Nectarine and Red Plum Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

Make this cake while dinner cooks and enjoy it warm for dessert.

serves 12 metric measures
1-1/2 cups corn flour or masa harina     275 grams
1/2 cup cornmeal                              90 grams
2/3 cup sugar, divided use 150 grams
2 tsp baking powder 6 grams
1 tsp salt 6 grams
1/2 tsp xanthan 2 grams
2 eggs 100 grams
1-1/4 cups apple juice or milk 300 ml
1/2 cup oil 120 ml
2 firm nectarines 375 grams
1 firm red plum 50 grams
1 tablespoon of lemon juice 15 ml

Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, blend corn flour, cornmeal, ½ cup of sugar (115 grams), baking powder, salt, and xanthan.

In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, apple juice or milk, and oil.

Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and whisk until all the lumps disappear. Set aside.

Put a 9” cake pan on a piece of parchment and trace a pencil around the bottom. Cut inside the line so the parchment just fits inside the bottom of the pan. Repeat so you have two pieces. Lay them both on the bottom of the pan.

In a medium bowl, slice the nectarines and plums. Drizzle with the lemon juice and the remaining sugar. Artfully arrange the fruit on top of the parchment. Or put it in a jumble if you like it really rustic.

Pour the batter over the fruit and level with a knife.

Bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

Inserting a cake tester or thin knife into the cake is not a reliable way to see if this cake is done. Uncooked batter may not cling to them. The cake is done when it is a bit golden on the top and there are small cracks in the middle as well as around the edges.

I have given a pretty wide range of cooking times. Since we cook many homes, I know many ovens do not reach the temperature on the dial. Some are hotter, some are cooler. Check the cake at 45 minutes and let it go longer if needed. After you make this once or twice, you will have a better feel for how long it takes in your oven.

Allow the cake to stand for 5 to 10 minutes in the pan. Put a platter over the top of the pan and turn the whole assemblage  upside down. Never fear, it will come out intact!! With all the fruit in its place, on the cake. That is enough to make anyone smile. 🙂

Simply peel off the parchment paper and serve.

What is your families favorite kind of upside down cake?

11/24/2009 Would you take an upside down cake to a party? I think this one would be a beautiful holiday addition with cranberries in the center. So I submitted it to The Gluten Free Homemaker’s weekly event called, “What Can I Eat that is Gluten Free?”   This week’s theme is, you guessed it, party food. There are sure to be many tasty dishes you’ll like.

T is for Teff

Teff is teeny tiny. Just the size of the period at the end of this sentence. It is dark brown and can be used as a whole seed, or ground into flour.

Teff is a staple in Africa where the flour is used to make Injera, the sour dough bread of Ethiopia. Injera is really like a giant pancake. Meals are served on platters layered with the thin spongy bread, topped with many mixed dishes. Diners tear off bits of Injera by hand, fill them with food, then tuck into their mouth. No utensils needed.

Be sure to try Injera when it is offered in a restaurant, if you can make sure it is gluten free. In the states, it may be made with a combo of teff and wheat flour. So you must ask and be comfortable with the answer.

I love the tang of Injera and have tried making it at home. But I have trouble with sour dough starters. There may be truth to the adage the some areas just have better (sour dough) culture than others.


Teff provides thiamin, niacin, B6 and folate, iron, some calcium, and fiber. Nutrients often missing in the usual gluten free diet.

What can I do with the whole seed?

Using whole seed, you can make breakfast porridge. I have successfully used the stovetop, my pressure cooker, and a crock-pot for this.

teff (3)s

teff-porridge-with-hazelnuts-and-raspberries photo by vsimon

Crock-pot Teff Porridge

serves 3-4                    metric measures

1/2 cup teff seeds         90 grams

1 1/2 cup water           360 ml

Put seeds and water into a 4 cup crock pot. Cook for 3 hours. Stir porridge and add another cup of water (240 ml) if you prefer it thinner.

Cooked teff firms up a lot when it cools. Your leftovers will solidify. Simply break it up, stir, and press with the back of a spoon to remove the little lumps. You will end up with the lovely results pictured.

You could easily double this recipe, and it might take longer to cook. Crock-pots come in many sizes and some have high and low settings. Be sure to do a test run in your crock-pot during the day, before leaving it alone overnight. If it works, you can have a hearty breakfast waiting for you when you stumble out of bed.

You can also make teff polenta, a different color polenta. Serve right away for soft polenta. Or spread into a shallow pan and allow to firm. Then slice and grill for a crispy crust. Corn polenta is still my favorite though.

What can I do with the flour?

There are more ways to use teff flour than the whole seeds. Sometimes, I like to play off the dark color and pair teff with bright or light colored ingredients. Picture peach crunch with teff and sliced almond topping. Tempting, yes?

teff peach crunch5a

teff-peach-crunch photo by vsimon

But teff is also perfect for naturally dark treats like gingerbread or mock rye bread.

And I think teff and cocoa also make a great combo, say in a waffle. Or a peanut butter filled chocolate muffin. What is not better with chocolate, right?

See some recipes you may like using  just teff flour, no combos of flours.

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Date Nut Coffee Quick Bread

How do you use teff seeds or flour? What recipes would you like?

A little rant

I love experimenting with unusual ingredients. And using whole grains. I do not love having to mail order ingredients, even though I know this is a great service for getting gluten free ingredients. The local grocery store used to carry teff flour. But they have expanded the gluten free aisle and added the new Betty Crocker mixes.

My fears are being realized. More room for mainstream gluten free mixes (read refined starches, poor nutrition). Less room for healthy whole grains.

Recipe development using healthy ingredients is what I do. And, teaching others how to cook this way. You can make tempting treats with whole grain flours. Please ask your grocer to carry wholegrain gluten free flours, not just mixes. Vote with your purchases. The store will carry what sells.

teff (2a)

teff-seeds photo by vsimon

Growing teff

We planted several gluten free grains in our garden, including teff. It is growing slowly, and looks like slender arching blades of grass. Now the leaves are two to three feet long. It is too soon to tell if we will get seeds. We will keep you posted this fall.

Click here for an update our garden teff.