Sunday, December 26, 2010

Millet and Scraps Pancakes

It all started with a bowl of leftover 7-minute coffee icing.

The 7-minute coffee icing is just like a normal 7-minute icing, except it was made with organic cage-free egg whites, organic evaporated sugar, organic vanilla, and some Christmas blend Via. 

The cake turned out pretty well, but it left me with a lot of leftovers:
  • One bowl of leftover icing
  • 3 left over organic cage-free egg yolks
  • A smattering of toasted almond slices
Expensive stuff. You don't want to just throw it out.  I started wondering what to do with the leftover icing, and figured it might make a nice alternative to maple or agave syrup on some pancakes.

So, I got the jar of Bob's Red Mill baking mix from the freezer.  The directions called for 1.5 cups to make 18 pancakes.  Spouse 1.0 didn't need 18 pancakes, so I decided to halve the recipe -- at least that was the plan.  After measuring out about 1/4 cup, I realized I'd be lucky if all the dregs in the jar added up to 1/3 cup.

OK, so the Spouse doesn't need 9 pancakes, either. Just do the recipe in sixths instead of halves. That should be plenty for one person.

The directions called for 2 eggs -- or, in this case, 1/6 of 2 eggs. It seemed like a perfect opportunity to use up some some of the cage-free organic yolks left over from making the icing.  Back when I bought normal eggs, I might have just thrown out the yolks. But, when you're paying nearly $.30 per egg, you start treating leftovers with more respect.  I used 2 of the three yolks, figuring that a little extra eggy protein would be good.

Next, the oil.  1/6 of 1/4 cup equals 2 tsp, which approximately equals 1 small drizzle.

And water... I did the math and decided that it'd be better to just drizzle in water until the mess looked like pancake batter.

And, it wasn't very much batter at all. Perhaps not enough for one person, after all.

So, what would happen if I mixed in a little leftover millet?  There was about a fist full in the fridge. I just used it all.  The fridge also contained some chopped walnuts. I added a little of those, too. And, a bit more water.

The tiny test pancake came out OK, but not wonderful. So, I added a tsp of raw sugar and a tiny bit more olive oil. But, what the pancakes really needed was more loftiness, like you might get from egg whites....

Egg whites...

As in, 7-minute icing....

So, I stirred in a big spoonful of 7-minute icing. 

The next test pancake was just right.  The millet gave the pancakes an interesting texture, and they were just pleasantly sweet. 

So, I cooked up the pancakes, then topped them with a little 7-minute coffee icing and some leftover toasted almonds.

And, I still have what seems like gallons of leftover 7-minute icing.

The pancakes and ingredients



1/3 C Bob's Red Mill GF baking mix, or your favorite
1 Tbsp olive oil

2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1/3 to 1/2 C leftover cooked millet
leftover 7-minute icing (coffee, citrus, or vanilla)
toasted almond slices

  1. Mix the baking mix, olive oil, and eggs with a fork.
  2. Add walnuts, millet, and enough water to make a nice batter consistency.
  3. Stir in about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of leftover 7-minute icing
  4. Cook on an oiled griddle or skillet
  5. Top pancakes with additional leftover icing
  6. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds

Sunday, December 12, 2010

GF Avocado Bread

OK, so avocado bread doesn't really qualify as easy. Or healthy. But, converting my mom's old avocado bread recipe to GF was easier than expected.  

You read so much about how persnickety the GF flours are compared to wheat (they are), and how getting the right amount of xanthan gum is almost as much art as it is science (it is).

Add the fact that the moisture content of fresh, natural fruits and vegs can vary widely. Yup, you've got a recipe for potential disaster.

But, fortunately, this time disaster did not strike. 

This was Mom's recipe:

3/4 C shortening
2 C sugar
3 eggs
2 C sifted flour
3 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C pureed avocado
3/4 C buttermilk
1/2 C chopped walnuts
3/4 C raisins
Corn syrup
Another 1/2 C chopped walnuts

  1. Add sugar slowly to shortening, beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  3. Sift dry ingredients together.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. Add avocado and buttermilk.
  6. Add walnuts and raisins.
  7. Pour batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans.
  8. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes.
  9. Brush with corn syrup, top with nuts, and broil until bubbly.
 Mom's avocado bread was exceedingly yummy.  She pretty much only made it at Christmas.

I was kind of missing her, and I had some rapidly fading avocados that needed to be used up.  I'd been wanting to try converting a standard recipe to something we could eat.  So, it was time.

With our dietary restrictions, substitutions beyond the usual GF ones were required:
  • Obviously, no wheat flour for the Spouse.  Substitute brown rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato starch.
  • Xanthan gum. That one is tricky.  I remember seeing a guideline for "If you're cooking this, use this much per cup of flour."  I couldn't find that in my books. So, I decided to go with the oft heard 1 tsp per cup of flour, and hope for the best.
  • No white sugar. Use raw.
  • No pasteurized cow's milk (including buttermilk). But, we can have Greek yogurt.
  • No corn for David, so substitute agave syrup. 
  • Neither of us likes raisins, so substitute dates.
  • Butter is a little cheaper than organic shortening, and I feel better about butter. So, use 1/2 butter and half shortening
Also, a couple of small changes in the procedure were in order:
  • I only have 1 loaf pan, so use one loaf pan and one 9" square pan
  • GF stuff likes parchment paper. So, with the 9" pan I used parchment. I experimented with shortening and almond meal for the loaf pan.
  • Baking took lots longer than expected.

So, the ingredient list now looks like this:

6 Tbsp organic shortening
6 Tbsp butter
2 C raw sugar
3 organic eggs
1 C brown rice flour
1/2 C potato starch
1/2 C tapioca starch
2 tsp xanthan gum
3 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C pureed or mashed avocado
3/4 C Greek yogurt
1/2 C chopped walnuts
3/4 C raisins
Agave syrup
A fistful or two of chopped walnuts

And, now the procedure looks like this:
  1. Add raw sugar to shortening and butter, beating until it's as light and fluffy as raw sugar and fat can get.
  2. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly.
  4. Fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
  5. Add avocado and yogurt.
  6. Add walnuts and dates.
  7. Pour batter into 1 greased and almond-mealed loaf pan and one parchment-lined 9" square pan. (Mine are glass.)
  8. Bake at 350 for 60-65 minutes. Then bake another 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 325 and keep baking until a toothpick comes out reasonably clean.
  9. Brush with agave syrup, top with nuts, and bake or broil a little longer -- until bubbly if you're broiling.

 The results were: Not like mom's. 
Of course, brown rice flour is way grittier than wheat flour.  Next time, I might try using sorghum or a combination of brown rice and oat flour, plus the tapioca and potato to try to get the texture a little closer to home.  And, the yogurt just didn't have quite the tang of buttermilk. I could try a tiny bit of apple cider vinegar mixed into the wet ingredients to give it a little more kick.
The other thing is that the xanthan gum makes the mess pretty hard to mix by the time you add the avocado. You risk burning out your hand mixer (or your hands) by the time you add the nuts and dates. The more you mix, the harder it gets to mix.  Thus, the fruits and nuts didn't get incorporated evenly.  So, next time I think I'll add the avocado and yogurt to the wet ingredients before adding the dry ingredients.
But, despite all that, it was pretty good, in its own GF way. I'd definitely make it again.