Breads: A Famine Food Tutorial

Daaaaang woman. So, I started writing this post in August of 2013. And then, I couldn’t get tables to work properly. So, just shy of a year later, I’m giving it another go. And they still don’t work properly. I hope you will forgive me; this is going to be one of those content over aesthetic  posts.  And boy can I write… (or not).

 

At the outset of this little project I publicly declared that I would have a recipe for all occasions. Considering that some of my recipes take an entire day to make, I thought I’d opt for something a little quicker this time. Oh, and cheaper. Much, much cheaper. So, all of you people that hoard and polish pennies in your free time, listen up.

There comes a low point in every person’s life when they realize that all they have in their pantry is a bag of flour, random seasonings/utilitarian crap, and some oil or butter. Or, maybe some scraps of animal flesh they can harvest for fat.   If you are lucky in this pathetic scenario, you also have some eggs, or vegan egg substitutes.   Perhaps in your kitchen, where animal fibers are forbidden, you have coconut oil and some flax seeds.  Sadly, this has happened to me on more than one occasion, and with payday more than one day away, I had to take drastic measures.  No, I didn’t make a sign and roam the subways, I improvised with a handful of ingredients based on some very basic principles.

OK, Rant time.

Learning to cook well is not just about being able to follow directions on a piece of paper- it’s about knowing what to do when those directions fail you, and knowing how certain ingredients interact to create the final product.  There’s actually an epic chef out there named Heston Blumenthal (control thyselves, Greeks) who has made a living exploring this exact topic. He wrote a book called Kitchen Chemistry which I suggest you all go out and read. And for those of you who are mentally lazy, you can watch him in action by YouTubing  “In Search of Perfection” and “Kitchen Chemistry“.  It’s good stuff, I promise.

Anyway, as an homage to kitchen geekery I bring to you.. a table for your table. I’M SO CHEESY!!! Don’t you love me?

/Rant

Let’s do the rundown.

  • Gluten Free: Nope, unless you use a gluten free flour of your choice, in which case, you will need eggs.
  • Vegan: Yep, unless you use butter or milk
  • SCD: No, unless you want to make your friends bleed out of.. uh.. nevermind. But, we can hack it.
  • Vegetarian: Yep, could be.
  • Cheap: Extremely
  • Quick: Extremely

So what are we doing here? Well we need to make some kind of bread with very limited ingredients. To do this we are going to call upon the cardinal principles of something or other that I can’t think of the name for.

To make any kind of bread or cake, or fritter, or frittata, or whatever, you need: A flour, A liquid, a fat, leaven, a binder, and heat. Flavoring is optional, but helpful. Once you realize this, you can make a bread or a cake out of just about anything edible.  The principles below will help you figure out just which components to swap in/out.

  1. Wheat flour is glutinous, therefore it is cohesive. If your dough is thick enough, it doesn’t need eggs to bind it, since the gliadin/gluten in wheat binds the mix. For a discussion on what eggs do in cakes, see here.
  2.  Gluten Free Flours, Nut Flours and Bean Flours are not nearly as cohesive. They will need eggs to bind and support them. I have been told that flax seeds are also a good alternative to eggs, along with maybe some xanthan gum or guar gum, but if you are broke, I really don’t think you have this stuff lying around. Perhaps investigate doing a more dense cake? Other things that help with the texture of gluten free flours: tapioca and potato starches, oat flour and amaranth.
  3.  Adding oil or some sort of fat to bread or cake makes it more moist, and makes for a crispier crust. Solid fats can be “cut” into the flour to make fluffy biscuits or smooth crusts.  Fats are also used to grease pans so that our breads don’t stick to them. I don’t recommend “cutting” a liquid fat into a flour. It probably won’t work.
  4. All bread/cake products need something to leaven them, so they don’t bake into a solid, inedible brick. [Unless of course, you want to get all semi-Biblical by making Matzoh.] You could get away with this if you are doing something that has the consistency of a pudding, but if you are looking for something “fluffy” you will need a leavener. What most people don’t realize is that leavening something just means creating air bubbles in it so it rises.  And lots of things will do that. See the table for the more popular options.
  5. Shredded vegetables can be combined with eggs, milk and cheese to make quiches.
  6. Fruits can be ground up and used as substitutes for fats, if you are running low. Do you have extra pulp from your juicer? You can throw it into a fritter or cake  if you season it right. Or, just compost it  (you cheap bastard…)
  7. For a more expansive list of Flour profiles, see here:  http://foodandnutritionmag.org/flour-power
  8. Use your judgement. You wouldn’t make a banana bread and season it with tomato soup.  If you only have corn flour, you may have to use eggs, since corn flour does not bind well. Or, you know, don’t use leftover ranch dressing in chocolate chip cookies, put it in your biscuits instead :)

Remember, you are totally broke.  Here is your emergency kit, depending on the diet. Oh, and I’m not endorsing any of these, by the way. Just offering a helping hand to someone who’s on a diet and might need some recipe ideas.

Base
Liquid
Leavener
Binder
Fat
Flavoring
Heat
Non-Allergy
Any kind of flour, pureed fruit, vegetable or hybrid thereof. Some Examples:  Almond, Walnut, Wheat, Whole Wheat, Rice, Oat, Brown Rice, Potato, Tapioca, Amaranth, Corn, Coconut, Buckwheat, Garbanzo Bean, Chickpea Flour
Adventurous Bases: Leftover Rice, Leftover Pasta
Any kind, though  juices, wines, beers and soft drinks are not really recommended.Preferable: Liquefied Fruits, Broths and stocks, Cream, Butter, Yogurt,  Sour Cream, Buttermilk, Water, Milk, Soy Milk, Almond Milk, etc.
Adventurous Options: Soups, Mayonnaise (YES!), Curds/Wet Cheeses, Leftover Dressing,
Anything “Alive”: Yeast, Raw Beer, Cultured Buttermilk, Raw Sour Cream, Crema Mexicana, Raw Ginger Beer, Kefir, Yogurt, Sourdough Starter, Whey protein concentrate, Raw Fermented Vegetable Juice (Kimchi, Pickles, Sauerkraut), Kombucha, Kombucha Scoby, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar, Raw Apple Cider Vinegar “mother”. Not recommended: Wine or Raw Cheese.
Chemical Leaveners. Be sure to read about interactions here. Baking Powder, Baking Soda/Vinegar/Anything Acidic, Cream of Tartar/Baking Soda,
Eggs, Flax Seeds,Tofu, Gelatin, Kosher Gelatin, Agar,  Vegan Gelatin, Gluten,
Oils ,Lard ,Suet, Rendered Animal Fat, Avocados, Mayonnaise, Sour Cream, Cream, Butter or Butter Substitutes (even though I hate them), Palm Oils, Coconut Oil.
Creative Options: Rendered Steak Trimmings, Rendered Chicken Skin, Bacon Grease
Any Sweet or Savory Combination.
An Oven, A stove top, a Grill, A propane heater, an open fire, or the hood of your grandfather’s Buick, though I don’t recommend it…
Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian
Any kind of flour, pureed fruit, vegetable or hybrid thereof.
 All liquids OK.  Except, maybe, Pig Blood… but seriously, no chicken or beef broth.
Other Suggestions: Yogurt
All leaveners allowed
All binders except eggs and gelatin.
Vegetable Oils, Avocados, Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Vegan Butters, Butter, Cream
Any Sweet or Savory Combination.
 ” “
Vegan
Any kind of flour, pureed fruit, vegetable or hybrid thereof. But nothing made from animals, of course.
No Dairy. Substitutes Include: Soy Milk, Nut Milks, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk, Liquefied Fruits also do very nicely.
All leaveners allowed
Flax Seeds, Agar, Potato and Corn Starches, Tofu, Bananas. See Here for great ideas. Also, See here
All vegetable oils, margarine (if you want to go this route), Coconut Milk, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Avocados
Any Sweet or Savory Combination, except for animal products. Some include honey here, too.
 ” “
SCD
Any Nut Flour, Coconut Flour, Farmer Cheese, Eggs, Ground up vegetables. If you are adventurous, you can even try ground beef, to make some kind of meat loaf…
NO: Chickpeas, Potatoes, Wheat, Corn Starch, Corn Flour, Oats, Barley, Or anything that is a grain or a starch, period.
Sugar/Starch Free Broth
Baking Soda, cut lards, or whipped egg whites only.
Eggs, Gelatin.
Ghee, Olive an Nut Oils, Lard, Tallow, Bacon Grease, Avocado, Butter
For sweeteners raw, unpasteurized honey is best. You can also use whole, legal fruits, if allowed.   See here. If you are going the savory route, then go nuts with herbs, but remember, nothing starchy or processed :) Might want to lay off the alcohol, too.
  ” “
Gluten-Free
 Oat Flour (sometimes), Potato Starch, Nut Flours, Coconut Flour, Tapioca Starch, Corn Flour, Corn Starch, Bean Flours, Amaranth, Arrowroot, Yucca, Cassava,
All gluten-free liquids.
All chemical and biological Leaveners OK- except for sourdough that is grown in a flour culture. (duh)
Eggs, Flax Seeds,Tofu, Gelatin, Kosher Gelatin, Agar, Vegan Gelatin,
See non-allergy
Any Sweet or Savory Combination. but avoid items with hidden gluten: Beer, Soy Sauce,  pre-packaged dressings or soups.
  ” “
Candida
No refined flours allowed. So we are looking at Coconut Flour, Nut Flours, and Bean Flours. Some people can tolerate stone-ground, whole wheat flours, oat flours, or whole brown rice flours, but not everyone can.
Non-dairy liquids, non-sweetened liquids, water, Coconut Milk. NO ALCOHOL or VINEGAR. No Soy Sauce, or fermented stuff. Some people can tolerate Yogurt or Kefir, but this is up to you.
Chemical Leaveners Only. No Vinegar, but Lemon Juice is OK. Some people can tolerate Kefir or Yogurt, but this is up to you. Nothing alcoholic. Yeast is not allowed.
Eggs, Flax Seeds,Tofu, Gelatin, Kosher Gelatin, Agar, Vegan Gelatin,
See non-allergy. Perhaps adding raw, unpasteurized fermented vegetables.
 No sugar, alcohol, or vinegar. SO, no ketchup or Mayo.  No cheese, though some will debate otherwise.  Nothing fermented, no mushrooms. Some say berries and peanuts are also not OK. But do the reasearch and figure it out for yourself.

 

Fennel Raisin Salad

Yep. That’s it. No witty title needed for all those SEO bots, I now have a social network to propel me into internet fame….

Right.

So, we got fennel in CSA this week, and I’m tired of using it in that random Oprah recipe. Guess what I did? I chopped it up, mixed it in with some random stuff I had in the pantry, and got this:

image

How do you like my thinly veiled fennel propaganda shot?

That’s ok, I don’t like YOU either.

#nottakingthistoopersonally
#orseriously

Anyway, here’s the recipe, neat.

Ingredients

Fennel, 3 small whole bulbs
Pine nuts, 3 tablespoons
Golden raisins, 3 tablespoons
Salt, to taste
A dash of pepper
Olive oil, to taste
Wine vinegar, to taste.

Procedure

1. Wash the fennel and cut into “manageable pieces”. And I mean all of it. Including the stalks and fronds. If you don’t like your salad as “hairy”, leave some of them out.  What’s a manageable=”what fits in the food processor”

2. Pulse in your food processor until it breaks up into fine chunks.  Think, finely diced.

3. Add Pine Nuts and raisins, toss.

4. Begin adding salt, olive oil, and wine vinegar to taste.

 

Yep, seriously. It’s that easy. It’s a far cry from my gluten free pie crust days, but you know.. baby steps. Until next CSA, or next century..

 

-D.

 

Yeaaaah…. so I checked out.

For a week, then a few weeks… then a whole season, or two. This is starting to sound like an alt-pop song from the late 90’s. I renewed my domain some weeks ago in a half-haze wondering whether I would even write another entry again. Hopefully, I will.

In the meantime, here ARE some things I’ve done besides sit around and calculatedly craft my online persona:

Gone to Martha’s Vinyard, twice.
Learned how to catch squid, and ate them!
Tried Fresh Direct, loved it, but hated the price..
Made some great decisions
Made some bad decisions
Bought ceiling medallions!
Went to Gettysburg
Got a promotion
Installed water filters
Redecorated my office
Got on Facebook!
Had a bunch of cool people stay at my place
Tried LOTS of new foods
Rekindled my love for beer (List pending!)

So. What am I doing with this blog? Well the good news is that I know I don’t know. The bad news is…

:)

At any rate, CSA has started up, so I will soon have a plethora of strange produce to experiment with. Hopefully that will motivate me to begin documenting my culinary adventures, yet again. Perhaps I should start publishing my beer notes. I also have an inordinate amount of carrots sitting in my refrigerator. Perhaps an Indian carrot pudding is in my future?

Or, you… single, lone reader out there in the ether, do you have any requests?

Creamy Cucumber Bites

Well hello there. Told you I’d be back. I don’t have much time to talk, so let’s cut to the chase.  Or, cut the cheese! ::groan:: Now that we’ve fulfilled our corny joke quota for the post- behold! My latest creation.

Yes, seriously, that’s it.  Here’s the rundown!

Gluten Free: Check
Candida Friendly: Only if you can eat Goat Cheese, so, no?
SCD: No
Lacto/Ovo Vegetarian: Check
Vegan: No, unless you use soy cheese

Ingredients

  • 5-6 Large Cucumbers
  • 12 Oz Goat Cheese. Vegan Hack: Use a vegan cheese!
  • 1 Tbspn Dill, Chopped, to taste
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely grated, with juice
  • 1 bottle Capers
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Prepping the Cheese

Prepping the cucumbers

….and now the easy part: Assembly.

 

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This is pretty much up to you, but I assembled these as follows:

1. Daub a little bit of the cheese mixture onto a decorated cucumber half

2. Top with a few “droplets” of grated onion.

3. Garnish with a caper.

VOILA! I guarantee you- they will love it.

So I’ve kinda lost steam..

Going on a three week long tour of Archeological sites related to the missionary tours of Apostle Paul (plus a bunch of other irrelevant, yet extremely pleasurable destinations) will do that to you. So, in lieu of a recipe, I present:

Nothing.

 Well,  there is the assurance that I didn’t die during a protest in Turkey or Greece. AND, the food was amazing. Seriously. Maybe we have a traditional greek meal in our future?

 Don’t you worry! I’ll be up and cooking like a fiend before you know it. 

Cheers,

Daphne

 

Autumnal Cookies for the Autoimmune Folk.

Bad Food Blog Photography

Gratuitous photo of squash to disguise my lack of a “money” shot

Or, in more SEO friendly terms: Pumpkin Spice Cookies- SCD, Nut Free Gluten Free, Candida, and Hackable Vegan!

Yeah, so, I’ve been out of town. First, to Cape May, and most recently, to stay with good friends in Martha’s Vinyard. I’d love to regale you with stories of my exploits, but instead I’m going to get back on the horse and give you all a recipe. Oh, and I’m going to remind you that food bloggers are mortals too. Onward, my first ever self-deprecating post!

So, this came about in a bout of desperation about two three four weeks ago. We were in Cape May, land of ice cream and fudge, with not an SCD or gluten-free friendly place in sight, except for that really tiny organic market which just happened to be out of reach (and budget. What was it, $10.00 for nutmeg? I mean, I love you and all, but screw you). Lucky for us, we had rented an apartment at the lovely John Wesley Inn, which was equipped with a full kitchen. We also had a random acorn squash. Here’s what happened.

Now, I later reproduced this recipe with pumpkin/butternut squash and it was just as good. And then, when I decided to photograph it, I tried to bake it in these lovely little decorative cake molds.

SCD Bake Fail

Tasty, but disgusting.

It was disasterous. No, seriously. I didn’t grease the pans properly, and the batter was too sticky, and I cooked it too long, and it all burned and went to hell. So, don’t do that. But lucky for you, I have emerged a wiser woman, just in time to pass my profound and arcane knowledge somewhere toward your general direction.

Hmmm… let’s see. What else? You can use this proportion (key word, PROPORTION) of spices to flavor any generic “autumnal” dessert, but it works particularly well with squashes and pumpkins. This batter makes an amazing pumpkin pie, but it can also be spooned onto a cookie sheet to make really delicious, gooey cookies.

Oh, and if you replace the eggs with flax-seeds, and the butter with coconut oil, and the honey with your sweetener of choice, it’s Vegan too! Then again, pretty much anything is vegan if you do all that.. anyway.

Time for the Rundown:

  • SCD: Check
  • Candida Diet Friendly: Check
  • Kid Friendly: Yes!
  • Gluten Free: Check
  • Nut Free: Yes
  • Dairy: If butter is tolerated, then this is lactose free.
  • Vegan: Yes, with some hacks
  • Low Fat: Sort of

We Begin.

Ingredients

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 3/4Cup + 2 Tbspns of Butter (Or 3/4 Cup+ 2TBs of Coconut Oil)
  • 2.5 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 3 Cloves, Grated
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2.5 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 Eggs (Or a suitable ratio of flax seed. For no-bake, you can use gelatin too)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup Coconut Flour, depending on how wet the squash is.
  • Honey, to taste. I added a little over a half cup. For vegans: Brown Sugar, Sugar, Agave, or the sweetener of your choice.
  • An oven, preheated to 350 degrees

Prepping the Squash

Making the Batter and Cakes

 

And now, the moment of truth!

 

Eat, and thank me in your prayers for having saved you 13 hours of scrubbing charred squash fragments out of tiny crevices with a toothbrush.

#hatemylife

OH! By the way, I’m handing out samples of my food this Thursday at Sunnyside CSA. Feel free to drop by and visit!

I’m not dead! I’m not dead! But my phone was…

Biglaw's Biggest Feeder Schools

My Latest Work!

First, I was on vacation. Then I was busy. Then, I was on vacation again. (Hello Greenes! I Hope you are reading.) Then, my phone wouldn’t connect to my PC, so I couldn’t upload pictures without investing 3 hours e-mailing them to myself individually.

So I worked on another Infographic for the lovely folks over at abovethelaw.com. Go on over there and give them some advertising dollars, on me!  :)  By the way, now that my phone/camera situation is sorted, standby for more recipes. There should be one coming up REAL soon.  In fact, I already have the recipe. And the photos.

OH! And in other news, in case you are interested, in two weeks I’ll be doing a cooking demonstration/sampling at Sunnyside CSA.  So, all of you who are just dying to meet me in person and slit my throat get my autograph, this is your chance!

Prison Food by Zagat, while you wait for your famine food…

For those of you who have ever wondered about the complex evolution of prison food through the ages, those dastardly folks at Zagat have done it again.  Now, many of you may have discerned from my last post that I love nails, despite the fact that they are not edible…

[OK,  I know, that you know I only have- like- one reader, which makes that sentence all the even more pathetic. #Ipaintmynailswhilecryingalone  #surroundedbycats]

..but, alas for you fashion-forward folk, I also love urban ruins- no, seriously, I do- and I don’t mean the kind that appear in some people’s mirrors on a regular basis. Some years ago I had the opportunity to visit Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philly.   If you are interested in the crumbling facility upon which the modern prison system is based, and where Al Capone spent some time, take a look at this awsome photo gallery.

If you aren’t, then at least finish my post.

Come on, it’s like 4 sentences.

Good, glad I still have you. Imagine my glee and subsequent disappointment upon discovering that Eastern State Penitentiary held a prison food tasting event this past MAY.  It could have been a perfect marriage of two things I love : food plus urban ruins; plus the history of food in an urban ruin.  If only I had a triple rainbow illustration.  Anyway, lucky for me Zagat was onsite to sample the fare report their findings and give a brief tour of the facility.  Have a look!
PS- According to an entire subset of the internet, nails actually are edible. Gross? You all can find that one all by yourselves.

Procrastinating… WITH ART!

Nail Art Template Sketch Pad

OH MY GOD. She’s ALIVE! Can we eat this?

Yes, I’m alive… and no, not quite.

The current work-in-progress at KM is one in a series of “famine food” tutorials designed to come in handy during those times that give us all an opportunity to demonstrate how irresponsible with money perseverant we are under financial pressure.*

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get tables to work properly in WordPress. SO, until I figure that out, I’ve temporarily turned my attentions to my other love- nail art.

IGNORANT SEXIST #1: She paints her nails?! Man, I thought chicks like her only scratched their armpits and flossed their teeth with chainsaw blades…

Pardon my reflexive hiss in said audience member’s direction. Unlike Chuck Norris/Paul Bunyan/Brawny American Figure of your choosing, I don’t floss my teeth with chainsaw blades. Nor do I wear flannel.  I may have my “ungirly” moments, but I also really like to paint my nails. Really.  Nail polish is right up there with insects and snails and bizarre ephemera from lost ages/worlds :-)

And… can you tell I have a chip on my shoulder today?  Maybe I do, or maybe I am just producing facetious dialogue for your entertainment in order to create the illusion of substance. (Cause really, guys, I’ve got nothing this week)

In other words, I created some dinky nail-art related infographic thing and I intend to use my food blog to pimp it out. In the process I also violated all those unwritten rules about content and traffic and interest and readership and whatever.  Sue me! But do make sure to paint your nails, first…and use my template to come up with a design!

Talk soon…

* This comment was intended in jest. For those of you actually experiencing financial troubles, my deepest sympathy to you. Hopefully the upcoming recipes will help you feed yourself/your family while saving a few dollars.