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tartine

Rice and Sprouted Mung Bean Crumpets

Rice and Sprouted Mung Bean Crumpets

Anyway, out of hopelessness is borne love, nay?! One of those creations was this crumpet. To be fair, it started out as an yeasted pancake experiment that I had thought of the night before but, restless as I am and thinking on the spur that a crumpet would be nicer, I decided to go with that. So, this small bite came together as gluten free crumpets made with rice and sprouted mung bean flour, smeared with hummus and topped with lamb Proscuitto (from my butcher) and fresh mint. Mind blowingly good!

It is surprisingly light for being a bean heavy dish and for that protein packed reason, leaves you feeling rather satisfied while that and the rice gives you a spurt of energy to face the morning with something approaching enthusiasm. Hey! It is Monday after all! As to the flavors, lamb and hummus behave like couple souls while the mint looks upon the lot with a doting sprightliness that only makes you feel rather fond of the whole dish and envelops you in a cheery outlook! 

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Fresh Pea Spelt Tartine + Butternut Squash No-Knead Bread

Fresh Pea Spelt Tartine + Butternut Squash No-Knead Bread

A quick shout out to everyone who helped choose the cover image for this post. I had sent out a request to all email subscribers (if you aren't on the list, you can sign up on the right) last week to vote on whether they preferred the shot of this gorgeous boule on a dark background or light. Light was the overwhelming choice and here it graces the beginning of the post!! Thank you guys!

As you can imagine, for me the act of asking was more than just about this picture. It was as much to get an understanding of what you as readers were feeling, as also about learning to take feedback on my work. The truth is I preferred the dark one because of the high notes of contrast and how much it stood out. Also, I love pairing brown with black and just showing how glorious brown can be.

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Simply Oats and Nut Loaf - Glutenfree Peasant Bread

Or the loaf that keeps me sane!

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Every once in a while, you come across an idea that spawns some amazing creation(s), whose impact you only realize only much later when you have made it your own and somehow it has become an integral part of your life. Google was one of those. The iPhone another. Now, I give you mine that I say will be square in that genre; this Glutenfree Peasant Bread.

Nearly two years ago, I came across this post. It had gone viral then. The concept of a gluten free 'bread' was just catching on and this post took the world by a swirl not just for the idea but also the writing. If you haven't read that, you should go on and read it. Anyway, at the time I read it, I was in the "I-want-to-try-something-new" mode and attempted making it as a learning experience. It was not perfect. For one, I did not have a silicone mold and so getting it out was not a pretty exercise and then when I baked it on the rack of the oven, it came out with rather unseemly ridges. But, the taste. Oh yes! It was good. Not quite bread, but when sliced thin it was fantastic as crackers. Essentially, after that, I did not think about making it because it was bit too involved and I thought needed a flexible pan for getting it out in one piece.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Recently, when my suspected troubles with wheat began, I started casting my net wide in trying to come up with ideas that would function as bread but without gluten. At the same time, I started my psyllium husk experiments. Naturally, that bread came to mind. But, I wanted something simpler and easier to execute and basically was super cheap to become a staple in the house. After all, one of the things about bread is that it does not cost much. Other important factors were that it hold together if made as a sandwich, have a satisfying crunch on the outside and be softer in the center like the crumb and most importantly, is low fuss to be an everyday bread. Something akin to flour-yeast-water-oil kind of list of ingredients.

As I understood the chemistry of psyllium husk more and its interaction with other ingredients, I was emboldened to create a recipe that would be fool proof, easy and affordable. After 5 months of, sometimes unconscious, testing and tweaking, I realized this loaf had become a staple in my house. One that made me NOT miss having regular bread. One that preserved my sanity and makes this whole gluten free thing enjoyable. One that has my gratitude many times over. For its rather humbleness I was rather surprised at the big impact it was having in my life.

It was the difference between a smile and despair ;-)

So, let me just say, it is one recipe that I stake my life on. Even if you are not gluten free, try this and tell me what you think. I would love to hear from you. I share some notes below on what I learnt in this experimentation process. Also, you can simply scale the recipe for larger or multiple loaves.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Notes:

1. I give a 2:1 ratio of oats to nuts in the recipe. You can tweak it to so far as even 1:1 but any more of the nuts and the bread will not bind. The reason being that the oats dissolve a little in the liquid over the resting period, creating a gel like substance that the psyllium wrenches on to and then spreads its wings to the other nuts and seeds. So, a critical mass of it is needed. I found that for best texture and flavor, 2:1 ratio worked best.

2. The only binding agent in this psyllium husk, which, is honestly very cheap. Even as I say this, I hope it doesn't drive the demand and price for this natural binding agent. It also has the strongest fibrous capacity. That means that ounce for ounce it absorbs more liquid than flax seed or chia seed.

3. You can easily add chia or flax seeds in to the bread. Flax seed is the lowest in absorbent capacity, so, use it more as a flavor rather than binder. If you are using chia seeds, reduce the amount of psyllium by about half the amount of chia seeds/powder added.

4. I use olive oil and water for the liquid. You can use any oil that does not solidify in cold like sunflower oil, peanut oil etc. You can also use milk but water is simplest.

5. My basic recipe uses 1 cup of nuts. That is to say, I use a mixture of nuts and seeds. You can use any mixture that suits your taste. For the sake of price, I tried with all seeds (which are a fraction of any other nuts) but the problem is that you don't get a good satisfying crunch without the large pieces of whole nuts.

6. You can add unto 1/4 cup of dried fruits in the recipe, without changing the liquid content. If you want more, add one tablespoon for every tablespoon of fruit added. I have not tried adding fresh fruit, although I suspect, it should be ok for pretty much the same amount unless they are super liquify like oranges.

7. This bread does not rise, of course. But, just like a regular yeast loaf, it needs proofing, as a overnight stint in the refrigerator and resting/cooling after baking of atleast an hour. Do not try to short circuit this. You'll end up with a mushy center if you skip either of the steps that is not quite pleasant to see or eat, trust me...

8. Another important do-not-skip step is to line your pan with parchment paper all over. This seriously makes the bread come our smooth as a sheet.

9. a good thing about this bread is it you really cannot over bake it. So it go a few minutes more in the oven, it is ok, it will not dry out on you.

10. And, although I have never been afforded the chance to test this, it should have an incredibly long shelf life because it has few things that spoil easily and has a high fat content.

11. The basic recipe uses no other flavoring but you can add vanilla or zests to up the ante.

12. This bread is best eaten toasted when the nuts in the center get a chance to get even nuttier.

That's it from my end. I hope you give it a shot. I think you will love it.

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf Fig Tartine
Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf Fig Tartine

One Year Ago:

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

Two Years Ago:

Spelt Berry Cobbler

{a wonderful low gluten alternative}

Three Years Ago:

Apple Walnut Bread

Four Years Ago:

Apricot and Almond Galette

Simply Oats and Nut Loaf / Glutenfree Peasant Bread

Glutenfree Oat and Nut Loaf

Dry Ingredients:

2 cup oats

1 cup assorted nuts

1/3 cup psyllium husk

1 tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1-1/2 T honey {agave if vegan}

1-1/4 cups water

1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare a 5 inch loaf pan by lining it with parchment paper, allowing for overhang that will help you pull it out easily.

In a large bowl, sift the dry ingredients together. Add the wet stuff to it.

Now comes the fun part where you get your hands dirty. Mix all the ingredients using your hands. It will start in a batter like consistently but even as you mix, it will start thickening.

Once it comes together in a ball, press into the prepared pan. Flatten and smooth the top.

Refrigerate for atleast 6 hours or over night.

When ready to bake, pull the pan out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 400F.

Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the top is evenly browned and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Remove immediately from the pan and cool on rack for atleast an hour, preferably 90 minutes.

Slice, toast and serve as you please!

On Trend - Hold the Toast and Sell the Market

Tuna Salad and Avocado Fava Bean Tartines

I literally woke up to

this article

on the New Yorker this morning. It touches upon a larger subject that I have wanted to voice upon for a long time. So, I decided I may as well tackle it now.

To wit, it is the 'trending' of food. I simply don't get it. And, neither does most of the US but possibly for differing reasons.

Now, this article talks about toast as an

mal-manifestion of a growing emergence

in the food space. I call it that because literally the cycle of it goes as follows:

Discovery -> Hype -> Cash Influx -> Hyper Trending and Mass Disgust.

From stage II onwards, it has for the most part left the realm of reality and turned off several more people who could have gained knowledge but are now loath to be part of a hipster movement, which, in honesty, it is! The frightening bit is how the time frame is narrowing between the aha moment of a few to the fashionable frenzy that follows after displacing several honestly curious overlookers into indifference.

Fava beans

Focus on the last line - "

The issue is not the toast so much as a rapidly changing San Francisco and a world in which food matters, maybe more than it should.

" I cannot agree more. Only in the US, and markedly as an aping effect in other parts of the world, could a restaurant charge exorbitant prices for something anyone can make, but don't because it is cool to eat out. It is also the only country when you can call yourself an elite chef and restaurant simply because you focus on seasonal and local. Really? That sets you apart as a chef, a call on talent? These days, increasingly around NYC, there are restaurants that pop up on premise of local and charge you an arm and leg for a simple dish that I can make at home for a fraction of the price! Oh wait, I forgot! There is an added surcharge for it being comforting food that you can eat everyday.

I understand good quality comes at a price but I refuse to accept that quality of ingredients, rather than the menu, is sufficient criteria for being called a great restaurant.

I don't know when people in US (around the world, they already did) started to become aware of eating well. That was an uncontested step forward. Certainly, the Omnivore's Dilemma made it more mainstream. Thanks to Pollan even those of us who grew up in a natural eating environment, yet, later succumbed to the convenience of not eating from the land, reconnected with the desire to be normal. But, I do not know when that normality began to trend to uber-cool and ultra-pricey. I argue this to be an uncontested step backward.

One needs neither shop at Whole Foods to eat unprocessed and healthy, nor read Kinfolk to know how to live!

Tartines Assembly

In making it an effort of fashion, a luxury to boot, such trends have managed to alienate masses of people. Eating well has come to be associated with being hipster, Brooklynite, twee, West coast hippie, etc.; Everything that the average resident of this country either does not relate to, agree with or afford. In doing so, instead of focusing on quality and dispelling myths about food that began as a consequence of lack of food culture, it only pervades the disparity in understanding of it and a burgeoning cultural divide. I live in Brooklyn and love the area but will go up in arms against the "Made in Brooklyn" hype as well as the proliferation of ironic beards!

Recently, I was talking to an European food company about product pricing. He said something, which, stays with me as much for the abject common sense of it as for how it brings in focus the power of knowledge. In Europe, you cannot sell a food product beyond a certain price point because people know what the product is worth and will not pay any more than that value. In comparison, in the US, the higher the price and the more divergent it is from inherent value, the more valuable it is considered. Irony!

Add to all this haute debate, the very real flow of large sums of capital and the death sentence is complete. Food is not fashion. Neither is it a commodity. When food gets commercialized, whether it is a box of cereal or a fanciful toast, it sends the ripple effect through THIS society. And, so, now we are caught with the forces of the need to be at the edge propelled by the seemingly endless fuel of capitalism. It is amusingly and frighteningly ridiculous at the same time.

Fava beans Tartines

Market Speak

- Skip this section if not interested in investing.

So, basically, in the US, product beta is very high and one always overpays. This, I can argue, is prevalent across all industries (just look at the flight of capital into social media). But, is particularly worrisome in certain sectors, such as food that is a basic necessity. Longer term, this will induce another spiral in the food industry and a spate of misplaced lobbying, where the only winners are those with money and power to the detriment of every one else. And, make no mistake, this can only be deleterious.

In the near term, btw, this portends a looming correction in the markets. In investing sense, this flight of capital is signal of one thing and one thing only - excess cash that cannot find value in other sectors. Ergo, the markets are overpriced. I am bracing for down cycle. I call end of year.

With that happy news, I leave you with a comforting toast, sorry tartine, made with fave beans! Btw, lava beans is the new rage in the markets. And, of course it comes from California. While everybody and their dog is scampering mad to find "new" and inventive ways to eat this glorious bean 'brimming with nutrients', it is really a staple of the European spring which is showcased in simple, lovely dishes such as this tart and these fritters.


Tuna Salad and Avocado Fava Bean Tartines

{makes a very satisfying lunch for ONE}


For the Tuna Salad:

1/4 cup drained tuna in olive oil + 1 tsp of the oil reserved

1 T chopped red bell pepper

1 tsp chopped onion

1 T dijon mustard

1/2 tsp peri peri or other hot sauce

For the Tartines:

2 slices of sourdough bread

4-5 pods of fava beans

1/2 avocado, sliced

a bit of crumbly cheese, for sprinkling on top (I used baked kefir)

a few slices of cheddar for melting on bread

salt, vinegar and olive oil

Toss the salad ingredients together and set aside.

Remove the seeds from the lava bean pods and blanch in salted boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and pop open the thick seed cover to get to the green bean. You can eat it as is or cook in a sauce at this point.

To assemble the tartines, toast the bread slices with oil on both sides. Place cheddar on the toast and warm till it starts melting. Be careful to not burn the other side.

Sprinkle half the beans atop the cheese layer. On one toast, load the tuna salad. On the other arrange the avocado.

Arrange the remaining beans on top of the salad and avocado and crumble cheese on top.

Bon AppΓ©tit!

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Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK