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Sad to say, Mark Bittman is ending the Minimalist, after 13 years writing the weekly column for the New York Times. He has been a wealth of inspiration, and especially in recent years, as he has cut his meat intake down in favor of a “less-meatarian” approach. Big fan. Anywhoo, as part of his farewell, he has posted his favorite 25 recipes from the Minimalist over the years. Check out these naturally gluten-free ones!

Red Pepper Puree
Socca (chickpea pancake)
Parsley Herb Salad
Fennel & Celery Salad
Eggplant Curry (omit asafetida – not always gf)
More-Vegetable-Less-Egg Frittata
Mexican Chocolate Tofu Pudding

On a whim I busted out the gluten-free flour today and started to make a loaf. Inspired by the ease of The Bittman/Leahey no-knead wonderloaf, I wanted to throw something together, give it a grand sweeping mixmix (for dramatic effect more than anything else), and then get on with life and leave it to work its magic. The gluten-free gods were smiling on me b/c it turned out surprisingly well. Future tweaks will make it positively badass.

A very respectable gluten-free loaf

A very respectable gluten-free loaf

Gluten-Free Wonderloaf To Be

  • 2 c. tapioca starch
  • 1/2 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 cup millet flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 T ground flax seeds
  • 1 1/4 t. dough enhancer
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 t. active dry yeast
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 1 T olive oil
  • non-stick bundt pan*

Directions: Do you have a coffee grinder dedicated to spice grinding? If not, it’s well worth the $20. Anywhoo, if you do have one, measure out 2 T of flax seeds and grind them finely. If not, I believe flax seed meal can be found at fancy pants grocery stores.

Where were we? Put 1 cup of the tapioca flour and all the other dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and stir. Let sit, covered, for 3-4 hours and watch with glee as it rise, rise, rises. Then grease a non-stick bundt pan with the olive oil. Add the remaining 1 cup of tapioca starch to the dough and stir to incorporate. You’ll end up deflating it, which is kind of heartbreaking, but you’ll make up for it soon enough. Spoon the dough into the greased bundt and let rise for two hours in a warm place. Preheat the oven to 350 and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool for a few and then pop it out onto a cutting board. Admire your handy work. Celebrate by tearing off a chunk and dipping it in olive oil. Live fully once again!

* I chose to use a bundt pan b/c I thought it might offer a little support in helping the dough rise and not collapse in the middle. Worked well, but the bread seems to have enough structure that it might not be necessary. You definitely need a pan with walls b/c the dough is too soupy to rise like a traditional loaf, but I might try a springform pan next time to see how I fare.

I’ve been a closet salty-breakfast eater my whole life. And I’ve endured 30 years of ridicule for not liking jam and jelly on toast, raisins on anything, and sugar in my cereal. Sometimes I prefer my waffles with just butter, or *GASP* with Indian Lime Pickle instead. My breakfasts regularly consist of a bowl of peas, or an open-faced grilled cheese, or a fried egg on a corn tortilla with Death Sauce. And if I don’t have time to make any of that, bring on the cold pizza or the leftover Chinese food from last night! What a treat.

Apparently Mark Bittman has seen the light as well. Salty-breakfast eaters need not hide in the shadows anymore – we have a high profile food writer behind us! Rejoice! Now I can share my most recent salty breakfast revelation: creamy rice cereal with boatloads of freshly ground pepper and cashews. I’m tellin’ ya. It doesn’t get any better. WOO!

I call it Savory Rice Cereal for Salty-Breakfast-Eaters (and sometimes, Rice Gruel, Breakfast of Champions — ha!) There’s really nothing to it. Bob’s Red Mill makes a creamy rice cereal that is readily available at my local Whole Paycheck (read: Whole Foods). I follow the stovetop instructions on the back and add halved raw cashews while it’s cooking and then top it off with a pat of butter and a BOATLOAD of freshly ground black pepper. If I’m feely saucy, I’ll add a bit of parmesan cheese, but really, there’s no need to get nutty. It’s delish without. Give it a try! You’ll like it! And you’ll like the lack of sugar coma that follows.

Inspired by the uber-gluteny loaf I made my main squeeze the other day (using Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread Recipe made famous by Mark Bittman… it’s a stroke of genius, that recipe is, though I’ve never had the pleasure of actually sampling it…) I’ve opened up the quest for the ideal gluten-free rustic loaf once again. I’ve had decent results with Gluten-Free Girl’s artisan bread in the past, but I want sourdough.

So gluten-free sourdough starter is pretty straightforward. Start with a large glass jar and add 1/2 c. water and mix in a 1/2 c. gf flour (any combination of teff, sorghum, brown rice). Cover the jar with cheese cloth secured with a rubber band and leave in a humid, somewhat warmish place (our laundry closet fits the bill). Each day, add 1 part water to 1 part flour and watch as the natural yeasty-beasties in the environment find and colonize your floury gloop. After 3-5 days, your starter will rise between feedings and start to smell sour. Mine went through a funky spell where it smelled like feet, then olives, then sourdough. Don’t be deterred by the initial stink. It’ll mellow into sour goodness.

I won’t waste your time by sharing the first recipe I tried to make the bread. It was pretty pathetic. I still have the lead-loaf sitting half-eaten in my fridge. The flavor was worthy, but the density was abominable. Here you can see what it looked like next to the LeahyWonderLoaf. Back to the drawing board I go.

Lead-loaf left, Lahey WonderLoaf right

Lead-loaf left, Lahey WonderLoaf right

PS. For all you wheat-eaters out there, you MUST MUST MUST try the Lahey/Bitman No-Knead Bread recipe. It is nothing short of miraculous:

I appreciate this message from Mark Bittman regarding his new book, Food Matters:

Bittman’s message of moderation is a great one, and is especially convincing coming from a dedicated omnivore. Omnivores tune out when vegetarians pipe up. So, thanks to Mark Bittman! I hope some of the Michael Pollan following takes his advice to heart. It will do us all good!