Vegetables Every Day

Vegetables Every Day
Carrot Tarator with Beets

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What’s in a name?

My diet doesn’t have a name. Like Atkins, or vegan, or gluten free. Something that you could easy say when offered the cake (store-bought with frosting that you suspect is made from Crisco and Ivory dish soap)  at the office birthday party… “I’ll have to pass… I’m on Atkins (or I’m vegan, or I’m doing gluten free now)”. Everyone understands (or at least acts like they do), some are even sympathetic. But what about me? To say “I don’t eat foods loaded with refined sugar and artificial flavors and colors because they give me a headache” is too much information; to say “I only eat cake made from scratch using real food ingredients” is too elitist; to say “I’m not hungry” is probably a lie. It’s not that I want sympathy (and I know I’m not getting any when it comes to how much I eat), I just don’t know how to not be rude in these situations. I usually take a piece, eat a little out of the middle, push it around my plate, and try to casually put it down out of site. It would be so much easier to say “I’m sorry, I’m on the cabbage diet… that doesn’t happen to be sauerkraut cake by any chance?”.

My brother posted a photo from Food Inc, which said:
C: Carbonated drinks
R: Refined sugars
A: Artificial sweeteners and colours
P: Processed foods

F: Fruit and veggies
O: Organic lean protein
O: Omega 3 fatty acids
D: Drink water

This is as close as I have seen to a short description of my diet. Maybe we could abbreviate it, ELC-EMF. Even shorter would be better. Maybe the “ELF” diet???
So if you hear me say “sorry, I will have to pass on the cake, I’m an elf”, you’ll understand.

Bread can be a wonderful, no-crap food. Do not mistake this for Wonder Bread, or for that matter, most bread (even ones that say whole grain) that you find in a grocery store. I like to have bread with soups, and last year discovered soda bread. The base is a traditional Irish bread, which just uses baking soda for leavening. It comes together fairly quickly, from things that I normally have around. This recipe was inspired by a couple of blogs, 101 Cookbooks and River Cottage, but I have cut the size in half. This is just the right amount for 2 of for dinner, with a couple of left over slices (which are pretty wonderful when toasted with a bit of jam). Use whatever nuts or seeds you have around. I generally use a mix of flour, about a 50g all purpose, the remainder white whole wheat. But if I have some rye flour around, I’ll use50g AP, 100g WWW, and 100g rye.  And really, its much quicker to weigh everything to make this!

Soda Bread

Seed mix (need 6 tablespoons total):
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
Other options: sunflower, poppy, fennel

Dry Ingredients:
250g / 8.8 ounces / 1 ¾ cups flour (all purpose and/or white whole wheat, or part rye flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon fine sea salt

210g / 7.4 oz / 7/8 cup plain yogurt or buttermilk
A bit of milk or buttermilk or yogurt

Oven: 400F. Prepare baking sheet with a small piece of parchment paper.

Mix the seeds in a small bowl.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl with whisk, add all but 1 tablespoon of the seed mix . Add yogurt or buttermilk, stir. It should form a soft dough, just this side of sticky (see below for a picture).  If necessary, add another tablespoon or two of yogurt or milk. Put on a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for a minute, just long enough to pull it together into a loose ball but no longer (I sometimes just do thing with my hand in the bowl).

Put the round of dough on prepared backing sheet. Mark a deep cross in the dough with a sharp knife, about half way through. Brush with milk and press in remaining seeds. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes (for a double recipe, 40-45 minutes), until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped underneath.

Cool on a wire rack. Best eaten while warm with butter, honey is optional. If there is some left over, makes great toast the next day. After a day or two, the pumpkin seeds will get a green layer… this is not mold, just a reaction with the baking powder. It’s still good to eat.

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