Sunday, February 17, 2008

Gluten-Free Menus: February 18

Gosh, I haven't posted since last week. But my lack of posts doesn't mean I haven't been cooking--I've been tweaking a gluten-free graham cracker recipe that I hope to post about this week. Also, stay tuned: I'm going to make yogurt and labneh (a yogurt cheese) for the first time ever! Why, you might ask, am I making my own yogurt? Well, it has to do with my reading...

Last week, I discovered that other foodie bloggers are reading what I'm reading. I just finished a fiction jag (during which I read Pevear and Volohkonsky's new and fabulous translation of War and Peace--I highly recommend this version, which is far superior to any previous translations) a few weeks ago and picked up Michael Pollan's new book, In Defense of Food.
Sally over at Aprovechar mentioned that she's reading it, too, and that she was somewhat disappointed with the book (its scope is much less than that of his previous book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, which I also hardily recommend). I wasn't exactly disappointed, but the book seemed less full of new ideas and more full of somewhat extended ideas from OD. The book can be summed up by his mantra: "Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."

In any case, it's very well researched and documented, and I found myself at our local library on Friday checking out some of the books he cites, notably Marian Nestle's What to Eat and Food Politics. What to Eat is a look at our supermarkets and the politics that goes into what is available for us to buy and how it's labeled. I'm both horrified and fascinated by the statistics and anecdotes she recounted: almost 70% of Danimals yogurt is sugar; the USDA routinely tries to weaken rules governing organics and is only stopped (some of the time) by hundreds of thousands of letters from consumers; farmed salmon can have double the fat and saturated fat as wild salmon (not to mention all of those artificial dyes--how many times must I have exclaimed over food coloring on a platter?).

So, while we have very high quality yogurt produced locally, I was interested to find out exactly how difficult making my own would be. Hence my forays into yogurt-making. I'll keep you posted.

Here's our menus for this week:

Sunday: Indian-style savory mashed sweet potatoes (from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites), curried lentil-carrot salad, pineapple-apple chutney
Monday: Pumpkin-Chicken Enchiladas, sauteed kale
Tuesday: Enchiladas, Take Two!
Wednesday: Mezza with olives, hummus, labneh, pita, and roasted squash
Thursday: We're out of the house...
Friday: Red Lentil-Apricot Soup, kale, challah
Saturday: Friday leftovers

Need healthy snacks or desserts? Try these gluten-free chickpea crackers--I've made them several times and am never disappointed. They're also a great use of Bob's Red Mill All-Purp GF flour, if, like me, you can't stand the beany taste it imparts to everything. Also, try Karina's Mint Chocolate Cookies. I adapted them to be lower in fat and to be completely whole grain very easily: use equal parts brown rice, teff, corn, and sorghum flours in place of her flours, and replace half of the oil with applesauce. Instead of mixing the chocolate chips into the cookies, I melted them, added a little mint extract, and dipped the cookies. Almost like Thin Mints!


Sally Parrott Ashbrook said...

What To Eat is the next book on my nightstand! We are on the same track. :D

I did glean some useful insights out of In Defense of Food; I just didn't enjoy it as much as The Omnivore's Dilemma.

kevin said...

I eagerly await the yogurt posts! It's something I've thought about doing myself, particularly since moving and not being able to find my favorite brand any more.

Sea said...

Ooh, mashed Indian Sweet Potatoes! I might have to find that cookbook and try it. Not that I have any shortage of cookbooks already, haha. Sounds very good, though.


Gluten Free in the Greens said...

Sally: I agree with you about the new Pollan book. I'm loving What to Eat!

Kevin: The yogurt and cheese both turned out great, and they were really easy. I might test a few more methods (apparently, you can just leave it in the oven on low or on the counter overnight) before I give a verdict.

Sea: I read once that most people only cook a very small number of recipes from any one cookbook they own. That's probably true for me for most of my cookbooks, but I actually counted in the Moosewood Low Fat Favs after reading that. I've made something like a third of the recipes and with one or two exceptions they've all been great.