Teff Pancakes

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Teff American Pancakes served here with scrambled tofu. These pancakes are moist, light, and springy; a little more flavorful than wheat pancakes, with slight undertones of chocolate.

Teff seems to be a very well behaved gluten free flour. These American style pancakes are soft and springy, with the sweet version having a taste mildly reminiscent of an orange and milk chocolate cake, which is great for those of us who appear to be unable to tolerate chocolate!

It’s also low-FODMAP, if that’s something that bothers you.

This amount makes two 4″ pancakes.

1 egg
1/4 cup (1 1/4 oz) teff flour
0 – 3 tsp sugar (0 tsp for savory meal, 3 tsp for sweet)
1/4 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 – 2 tbsp dairy free milk OR orange juice (for sweet meal)

1 tsp oil for frying

Put all the ingredients (except oil) into a cup or small mixing bowl, and beat together briefly with a fork to form a batter.

Heat the oil in a frying pan until hot (and a splash of water instantly beads up and evaporates if splattered in the pan). Reduce the heat to medium low, and spread out the oil with a spatula or by tilting the pan.

DSC_0003Pour out the batter into two rounds in the frying pan, and allow to set for about 2 minutes until small bubbles have appeared on the surface of the pancake, the edges have set (and look less shiny), and the bottom has browned slightly.

Use a spatula or fish slice to flip each pancake over, and cook the other side for about a minute or until it too is lightly browned.

Serve hot with the usual breakfast accompaniments.

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Breakfast Casserole

Ah, comfort food. This is perfect breakfast food after a busy night. You can make it the day before, and feed 4 people with very little effort (and possibly a little toast) the next morning. It is warming and satisfying, but not at all heavy.

I designed this with sliced red potatoes (grated ones cooked to a mush), and with the tofu on top so it can bake and dry slightly. Don’t miss out on the lemon / lime juice that’s added to both the onion/pepper mix and the tofu; it gives an interesting zing, lifting the flavor and reducing the amount of salt required. The general consensus of opinion was that the vegan cheese was a good addition, too, and needed to be all over the surface, albeit in a thin layer. I baked it until both the cheese and the tofu were starting to brown.

 

2 tsp oil
1/4 large onion, cut into long strips
8 oz bell pepper flesh, diced or sliced
1/4 tsp lemon or lime juice
1/8 tsp salt
1 lbs red (waxy) potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup cashew flour
14 oz firm tofu, drained
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
light dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp lemon/lime juice

6 baby tomatoes, for garnish
2 oz faux cheese, for garnish
Optionally serve with Ranchero sauce and toast.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, and cook the onion and peppers over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, and the onions are starting to brown (~10 mins).

Line a 10 x 8″ casserole dish with parchment paper or  grease. Peel and finely slice the potatoes into the casserole dish, and toss with the 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp ground black pepper. Distribute evenly over the bottom of the casserole.

Sprinkle 1/4 lemon or lime juice and 1/8 tsp of salt over the onions and peppers, stir, then spread evenly over the potato.

Combine the remaining ingredients (except garnish), together in a large mixing bowl, and mash thoroughly with a pastry wire (or the back of a sturdy fork) until no large lumps remain, or pulse in a food processor, but do not puree.

Spread evenly over the onion and pepper layer.

Press the tomato and cheese garnish into the top of the tofu layer.

Bake in the middle of the oven, at 400F for 30-35 minutes.

Check the potatoes are completely cooked by sticking a fork into the middle of the dish, if still not soft, cook for another 10 minutes.

Serve warm rather than hot, optionally with Ranchero Sauce and almond bread.

Home Fried Potatoes

I rather figured that everyone in the US knew how to cook home fries, and felt that putting them on the blog was daft of me, despite the fact that they’re normally gluten free, and my kids love them. However, it would appear that I am wrong. An American friend of mine just asked for my recipe for them, and my daughter said she needed a recipe for when she left home (and yes, this is a repository of recipes for my girls), and they’re not so common in England anyway, so perhaps a recipe is needed! For the Brits: these are like mini, pan-fried, roast potatoes.

Homefries

Lightly browned breakfast potatoes (homefries). It’s easy to crisp them up further, but my daughter likes them a little softer.

Note: In my opinion, this is easiest to make if the surfaces of the potatoes are dry before they are fried. I will usually cook them as jacket/baked potatoes in the oven/microwave, then peel and cut into cubes before frying. Make sure the fat is good and hot before adding the potatoes in order to avoid having the potatoes soak up too much of it.

Another option is to peel and dice the potatoes, then simmer in salted water until just cooked, then drain and allow to cool slightly (and dry) before continuing to fry them. Obviously, left over potatoes work well here.

I did try cooking the potatoes from scratch with the onions and peppers, but the onions/peppers had a tendency to burn if cooked before as well as with the potatoes, or didn’t brown at all if added after the potatoes had crowded the pan.

Oh, and as an aside: if you ever find you have left overs, these are excellent thrown into creamy broccoli soup as lumpy bits after the soup has been blended.

1 lb potatoes, cooked and cubed (see note, above)
1 + 1 tbsp vegan margarine (Earth Balance) OR canola (rapeseed) oil
1/4 large onion, diced
1 cup (8 oz) red/orange/yellow pepper strips
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
paprika/cayenne pepper (optional)

Warm the first half of the fat in a large frying pan.

Cook the onion and red/orange/yellow pepper strips in the fat until they’re soft and starting to brown. Remove from the pan, and put to one side.

Add the remainder of the fat to the pan, and once it is hot, add the potatoes. Keep them moving around with a metal spatula/fish slice, to reduce sticking, scraping the bottom of the pan as necessary (those crispy bits are tasty, but also stop the potato cubes from browning further, if not scraped off).

Fry until they start to brown on all sides (this will be quite quick, if the surface of the potatoes is dry and the fat is hot). Add the onion and peppers back into the hot pan to reheat, sprinkle salt and pepper (and paprika or cayenne pepper, if liked) over the vegetables, and serve hot for breakfast, with scrambled tofu and some ranchero sauce (for example).

Tofu Florentine with Hollandaise Sauce

This is a Sunday morning special, easily used for entertaining as all parts of this dish can be made in advance, and just reheated and put together when you’re ready for it. The bread is delightfully chewy, contrasting well with the soft, creamy spinach making this a very (physically and mentally) satisfying breakfast. There’s something very liberating about feeling ‘normal’, and I got that feeling from this breakfast.

Traditional hollandaise sauce is made predominantly from eggs and huge amounts of butter. Even if I wanted to just substitute vegan margarine for the butter, my tummy couldn’t cope with the quantity of fat called for. My head can’t quite get around the number of calories involved, either. My version isn’t exactly diet-worthy, it is an indulgence, but not one that you’ll be paying for 3 days later! For an even less calorific weekday version, just omit the bread.

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Tofu Florentine in the dawn sunlight. I made this one without the sweet corn in the spinach, as the Hollandaise sauce provided the counterpoint to the spinach that the corn was used for, and without the carrot coloring.

If you’re not avoiding eggs, then you can substitute a fried or poached egg for the tofu. However, the tofu has a delightfully chewy texture which adds body to the dish.

Note that the recipe calls for 1 onion layer. You could use a slice, if you wanted to, but I find it easier to remove the onion after it has infused, if there’s only one piece to locate.

Tofu hollandaise 2

Note how the small amount of carrot included in the hollandaise sauce changes it to a rich, buttery/eggy color.

Serves ~3 – 6

6 slices Bagel Bread

1 recipe Creamed Spinach (with or without the corn)

For the Hollandaise Sauce:

16 fl oz (2 cups) water
2 1/2 oz (1/2 cup) cashews
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1/2 large onion layer (i.e. peel 1/2 a layer from a large onion.)
2″ carrot, finely chopped (for color)
a pinch of allspice/mace
1 big bay leaf
a good pinch of ground pepper
2/3 tsp salt (kala namak, if liked)

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan, and bring to a gentle simmer, cooking for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to infuse.

Remove the bay leaf and onion, transfer the rest to a blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour the blended sauce back into the saucepan, and bring to a simmer to thicken to desired consistency and cook off the harsh part of the vinegar flavor, stirring frequently (5-10 mins).

Adjust consistency with water if necessary. This sauce should be a thick, pourable, cream. Thin enough to flow, but thick enough to coat.

For the Tofu:

14-16 oz firm tofu, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 tbsp margarine (I use Earth Balance)
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 tsp onion powder

First, make sure the surface of your tofu is as dry as you can get it (to stop it from sticking to the pan): leave the drained cubes uncovered in the fridge overnight OR put them on 2 layers of kitchen paper towel wrapped in a cloth kitchen towel for 1/2 an hour.

Heat the margarine over a high heat, and once hot, add the dried tofu, stirring frequently with a thin plastic spatula until the tofu starts to brown. (When it gets to this stage, the tofu is much less likely to stick.) Keep cooking the tofu until browned on most sides, and the texture has changed from somewhat jelly-like to slightly crunchy on the outside, and slightly chewy on the inside. (~10-15 mins)

Sprinkle the seasonings over the tofu, adjust as necessary, and turn off the heat.

To Assemble:

Make sure the spinach, tofu, and hollandaise sauce are all hot.

Toast the bagel bread slices in a toaster.

Top each slice with spinach, a handful of tofu, and then spoon the hollandaise sauce over the top.

Creamed Spinach and Sweetcorn

Creamy spinach and sweetcorn on almond bread

Creamy spinach and sweetcorn on almond bread

Breakfast has proved to be a rather difficult meal for me, since I gave up wheat. I did a search for gluten free breakfasts on-line, and was treated to a list of high calorie foods utilizing large amounts of starch. I don’t care for the commercial GF cereals on the market, as so far they’ve proved to be too sweet, lacking in substance and nutritional virtue, or too high in calories. Muffins are a decadence to be had with afternoon tea (and I prefer savory stuff anyway), and I suspect that I don’t get on with oats, so oatmeal/porridge is out of the question (though I am experimenting with quinoa porridge). I like tofu (especially scrambled tofu), but I don’t want that every day, and I would blow up like a balloon, if I were to indulge in tofu rancheros every day.

Creamed Spinach with Pasta

Creamed Spinach with Pasta tossed with garlic oil: Comfort Food

I like baked beans on toasted almond bread, and I like this spinach. I don’t stop at breakfast with this, though. I also like it on its own for lunch, or stuffed into galettes or baked potatoes, or inside a burrito, or under scrambled tofu, or sometimes even with pasta and a sprinkling of seaweed (yes, I know it sounds weird, but try it)! It’s a comfort food.

I’m inclined to say, “nothing fancy here.. Just breakfast for one,” but that would belie just how much I like it. However, if you don’t like spinach, then read no further.

It’s rather difficult to eat 8 oz of raw spinach, due to volume, but cooked spinach is another matter, and my 8 oz of spinach gives me about 6 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber (according to the information on the back of the package) all on its own. This version is warming with the nutmeg and pepper, and spinach’s sometimes harsh edge is tempered with the cream cheez.

8 oz chopped frozen spinach
1/4 cup frozen sweetcorn
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
couple of dashes of ground nutmeg
1 oz vegan cream cheese

Heat the sweetcorn and spinach until it has wilted/thawed and given up and evaporated its released liquid.

Stir in the other ingredients, and serve as is, or on toasted almond bread.

Pancakes – British and American

I’ve been working on a recipe for American style pancakes this week, and was just trying to put the finishing touches to the recipe a couple of days ago, but something went ‘wrong’ and the mixture came out too thin. I soldiered on and poured the mixture into the pan. Initially I was disappointed because the mixture just spread out too thin (as was to be realistically expected), but then, with the aid of the back of the spatula (the mixture wasn’t THAT thin) and a tweak of the cooking temperature, out popped a British style pancake. Daughter #2 immediately requested the traditional sugar and lemon, as did daughter #1 when she finally got herself down here for breakfast. 6 pancakes later, they were declared a complete success. Suitably mild in flavor, with a texture that was pliant and soft, and very slightly crispy at the edges; they were perfect.

British style pancakes filled with apple sauce and the less British maple syrup.

British style pancakes filled with apple sauce and (the less British) maple syrup.

4 oz (1 scant cup) raw cashews or cashew flour
1 oz (1/4 cup) quinoa flour
2 eggs
2 oz (1/2 cup) potato starch
1 tbsp coconut flour – to make the pancakes fluffier
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 – 3 tsps sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice (to interact with raising agents and counter richness)
oil for cooking (do not add to the batter)

If you have a high speed blender such as a Vitamix, just put all the ingredients in the blender in the order stated with 1/2 cup of water, and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.

Otherwise: Put the cashews and 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) of water in a blender, and blend until the cashews are smooth. Let sit and soak for 20 minutes. Blend the cashews again to ensure they’re smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend again.

If you’re making British pancakes, add a further 1/2 cup (4 fl oz) of water. Blend everything again.

For American pancakes, a spoonful of the mixture dropped back into the blender/bowl, should take about 10 seconds or so to sink back in.

For British pancakes, the mixture should look more like pourable cream.

Leave for 10 minutes to allow the flour to soak up the liquid.

Meanwhile, heat a cast iron griddle or frying pan over a medium heat with a smear of oil until up to temperature. (This means that if you wet your hand with water and flick the water at the pan, the water will spit and sizzle immediately.)

Turn the temperature down to medium low for British pancakes, or low for American pancakes: you don’t want to use a high heat as this will roast the cashews and give an odd flavor, but you do want them to sizzle slightly.

American Cashew Pancakes

American Cashew Pancakes

For American pancakes: pour out as many 1/8 – 1/4 cup measures of batter into the pan as will fit without the pancakes touching once they’ve spread out.

Cook until the bottoms of the pancakes are brown, and the tops have little holes all over (3-4 minutes), and appear to have dried a little (become less shiny) around the edges.

Use a spatula to turn the pancakes over, and cook until the second side is brown (2-3 minutes).

Remove the pancakes to a warm, covered plate until ready to serve. Repeat process with the remaining batter.

Allow the pancakes to sit for a couple of minutes or so before serving with maple syrup, apple sauce, scrambled tofu, etc.

British style pancake ready for flipping.

British style pancake ready for flipping.

For British pancakes: pour 1/4-1/3 cup mixture into the frying pan, and use the back of a spatula to spread the mixture out as thinly as possible without holes. Cook for a minute or two (until the bottom is brown), then flip with a spatula and cook for another minute. Remove the pancake from the pan and keep warm between two pieces of kitchen towel until ready to serve.

Re-grease the pan with a smear of oil, and repeat for the next pancake.

Serve with lemon and sugar (traditional), or stuffed with chili, or ratatouille, or mushroom and black olive sauce.

British pancake stuffed with vegetable chili.

British pancake stuffed with vegetable chili.

Tofu Rancheros

This doesn’t come under the heading of diet food. This is a gratuitous weekend morning celebration of life/family/friends. It does take a bit of forethought, if you’re going to make your own Refried Beans and  Ranchero Sauce (highly recommended), but if you double or triple up recipes when you’re making them (and keep them in the freezer), it comes together quickly!

I find that frying the tofu is most easily accomplished when the surface of the tofu is dry, the frying pan is hot (not warm), and the fat used for frying is margarine (I use Earth Balance). For some reason, canola (rapeseed) oil just isn’t up to the job.

Tofu Rancheros

Tofu Rancheros with refried black beans.

1 recipe Rancheros Sauce (~2 cups)
14-16 oz packet of firm tofu
2 cups refried beans
1 tbsp margarine
4 small GF tortillas
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Braggs Aminos
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
Chopped fresh cilantro/leaf coriander for decoration

Drain the tofu, cut it into 1/4” cubes, and wrap in a layer of kitchen paper and then a layer of cloth kitchen towel. Spread the pieces out so they all touch the towel, and leave for at least 1/2 hour so the surfaces can dry.

Warm the Rancheros sauce and refried beans in separate saucepans, and warm the tortillas over the Rancheros sauce, in the microwave, or in a warm, dry frying pan.

In a small bowl, mix together the nutritional yeast, Braggs, and pepper.

fried tofuIn a large frying pan, heat 1/2 the fat over a high heat, and then add 1/2 of the tofu. Keep the tofu moving until it is browned all over (~10 mins), then tip it into the seasonings.

Repeat the process with the other 1/2 of the margarine and tofu.

Lay one tortilla on each plate.

Smooth out 1/4 of the refried beans on top of each tortilla; top this with ranchero sauce and 1/4 of the tofu.

Serve immediately, decorated with the fresh cilantro (leaf coriander).