Archive | May 2013

Sprouts & Sprout Waffles

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As promised, a recipe using sprouts!  Although this looks like banana with a little waffle.  弟弟 ‘s favorite way to eat anything – put bananas on it.

Sprouting Basics

Why sprout?  Supposedly they are good for you… I’ve read some great info on how much more nutritious sprouts are for you than the unsprouted grain itself.  Sprouts are best eaten fresh, although I can’t tell you how often I’ve made sprouts and then watched as they rotted in my refrige.  I don’t like the slight bitterness they have – I guess it takes some getting used to.  My favorite fresh sprouts are lentils, they go nicely in a salad.

First, you have to choose what to sprout.  Here’s what I experimented with:

Sprouts1Don’t know if you can read my tiny labels, but these beans/grains/seeds are all gluten free.  Most were organic, although not all.    I took about 1/2 c. to 1 c. and soaked them overnight in filtered water.  The next day, I rinsed them, covered the top with cheese cloth, and set them out on the counter.  Rinsed and repeated on day 2.  Most were sprouted by then – tiny little white roots extending out one end.  Here’s what sprouted best:

1. Lentils

2. Mung Beans (random info- this is what most Americans consider as “sprouts” long white, thick sprouts often used in Chinese cooking.)

3. Red Beans

4. Buckwheat

5. Brown Rice (limited success)

The rest of the grains/beans didn’t sprout, either because they were irradiated, or too polished.  I also read somewhere that kidney bean sprouts shouldn’t be eaten – so I cooked them up after soaking overnight.  I suspect that the Job’s Tears and Sorghum were too processed, and their seed coats were removed.  I was unable to find unprocessed Job’s Tears or Sorghum.  After soaking the almonds, I was able to easily remove the outer skin, which is difficult for our bodies to digest.  Then I ground them and used them in other recipes.

Once you have sprouts, you can keep them stored in a bag in the refrige for 4 days to 1 week.  I found they keep best if you don’t rinse them one last time before storing them in the refrige.  Sprouts take a bit of planning – how much to sprout, and ideas about how you will use them.  Things I’m not always good at, which is why this “research” took way too long 🙂 .

Using Sprouts

As I’ve mentioned before, you can use sprouts to make Dosas.  I like to fry mung bean sprouts or red bean sprouts in my skillet with a bit of olive oil, salt and garlic.  They turn out nice and chewy.  I really like this texture.

Baking with sprouts is controversial.  Some would say that it destroys all the nutrients you get from sprouting in the first place.  I think that some is destroyed, yet some nutrients remain.  It probably depends on how long sprouts are cooked, and how.  I don’t have all the answers.    真的?  為甚麼?  You can figure it out if you want.  The reason I decided to bake with sprouts in the first place was because of what goes into gluten free breads, cakes, etc. to make them taste “normal” and yet still gluten free.  Have you really thought about it yourself?  Xanthan gum, cornstarch, potato starch, tapioca flour, rice flours.  All those ingredients seem stripped of nutrients, and difficult for the body to digest.  What is the point of eating styrofoam?  Even if it tastes like fluffy white bread?  1.  I don’t bake a lot any more.  Maybe once a week.  2.  The items I do make more often – pancakes, waffles, tortillas and muffins, I’ve begun to make almost exclusively with sprouted beans and grains.

Lots of ado about nothing…  Here we are, the useful bits 🙂

Sprout Waffles Recipe

Place all ingredients in a blender:

1 c. sprouted buckwheat

1/2 c. sprouted mung beans or red beans

2 eggs * sorry vegans, this recipe CAN NOT be made without eggs, it just gets mushy and doesn’t cook*

1 tsp. ground flax seed

1 TB honey or another sweetener

1 -2 TB oil

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Enough milk or water to just barely touch the bottom of the beans/grains.  Blend until smooth.  Pour into your waffle maker.  Make sure that the waffle maker is well greased.  I’ve found that recipes with beans in them stick pretty badly.  Grease between waffles.

I love these waffles more than my previous recipe with dry ground buckwheat, cornstarch and rice flour.  They are so deliciously crisp and airy.

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Troubleshooting or problems

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Lovely, aren’t they?  Here are some of my earlier attempts at sprout waffles.  Some helpful thoughts:

*you must use eggs

*if you’ve added too much water, and the waffle sticks like the above picture, simply add more sprouted buckwheat, and blend.  It should thicken up and cook nicely.

*I found that sprouted rice never gets soft enough when ground up in my blender.  I always get gritty pieces in my teeth.  The same goes for soaked Job’s Tears or sorghum.

*If all else fails, make pancakes with the batter.  It may not be what you planned, but even if the batter is too thin, the pancakes will still be edible.

Thoughts? Comments?  Complaints?  I’m quite proud of these waffles.

 

 

 

 

 

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Lasagna

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One of my favorite dishes during high school.  My mom’s lasagna 🙂  Not made when I was younger for obvious reasons – you had to make your own spaghetti sauce, lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese and tofu.  Not something that happened often at our house.  These items just weren’t available in West Africa in the ’80s.  When my husband went gluten free, there didn’t seem to be much point in cooking lasagna, most store bought noodles disintegrated in the sauce and everything was weird and mushy.  When I came across Shauna’s website, I discovered lots of great recipes and ideas.  One of which was her gluten free noodle recipe.  Wonderful!  I loved it.  I think I wrote about it somewhere on here before.  Anyway it got me thinking about what I could use it for.  Lasagna came to mind one rainy Saturday morning.  I collected my ingredients and was in love.  Lasagna again!  I think our whole family inhaled it the first day it was made.  One lonely piece was left over until the next day.  Unfortunately it did not survive inspection.  It was too firm and barely edible.    不好吃.  I’ve since messed with the recipe, and now I think I’ve got it where I want it.  🙂

Lasagna

1 batch of noodles from glutenfreegirl (see above).  I don’t have garbonzo bean flour or millet flour.  I used buckwheat and rice flour with the potato starch.  Ground flax in place of the psyllium husk powder.  It does fleck the dough with brown, but I don’t mind that.

1 bunch of mushrooms.  About 2 cups, chopped small so the kids don’t freak out.

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 1/2 jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce.  (About 36 oz)

1 can sliced olives

1 tsp. ground fennel

16 oz. soft tofu, crumbled with your hand into small chunks

Cheddar Cheese and Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

1.  Make your noodle dough.  Let rest while you work on the sauce.  Make sure it’s not too soft.  Add water a little at a time.  You want a stiff dough that can still roll out without cracking.  Reminder – this is fresh noodle dough, you don’t need to boil it before putting it in the pan, the sauce will cook it while in the oven.

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2.  Saute your mushrooms, garlic and fennel in oil or ghee as you prefer.

3.  When done, pour spaghetti sauce over the mushrooms.  Add the olives.  Let simmer on low for about 10-15 minutes, just to incorporate the flavors.  Don’t add extra salt anywhere!  The cheese and olives will be salty enough as it is.

4.  In a 9×13 pan layer like you do any other lasagna recipe:  sauce, soft tofu pieces, cheese, noodles on top.  (disregard photo of noodles above- I forgot to put sauce on the bottom first.)  Finish with a last layer of noodles, with cheese on top.

5.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 30-40 minutes, until all is bubbly and smelling good.  Cool, and serve.

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