Cookbookery

For more than a year, I’ve secretly dreamed of finding a secondhand copy of a gluten-free, grain-free, paleo, or Specific Carbohydrate Diet cookbook. At every thrift store I visited, I’d scour the paint-chipped nonfiction shelves, hoping to find something I could use sandwiched between In the Kitchen with Rosie: Oprah’s Favorite Recipes and Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution. Seriously, if you’ve ever browsed a Goodwill’s bookshelves, you know there are more than enough copies to go around.

in the kitchen with rosie

Once I found a copy of The Maker’s Diet, the gateway book that sparked my interest in alternative healing methods and ultimately led me to Breaking the Vicious Cycle and my SCD revolution. I hefted the volume and considered picking it up for my sister (who also suffers from Crohn’s), then set it back down when I realized I could give her my neglected copy. I continued to scan the shelves with each trip, despite my failure to find anything remotely usable in my kitchen. You know…just in case.

A few weeks ago, my patient search was rewarded with a dog-eared, food-stained copy of one of the most quintessential SCD tomes.

SCD cookbook

Could I have purchased this book online? Certainly. But where’s the fun in that? I was happy to rescue this unwanted book from the purgatory of a thrift store bookshelf. I can only hope that the book’s previous owner healed her body enough that she no longer needed her copy. Or else she memorized her favorite recipes and decided to pass along the wealth of knowledge and deliciousness to someone else. What does it matter? I am eternally grateful to whomever donated it, and will think of this unknown donor fondly with every helping of Thai Chicken Wraps or Sesame-Dijon Crackers.

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Cornless Cornbread

I don’t know what came over me last night, but I had a hankering for cornbread like nothing else. I used to get the ready-made pans of it at the grocery store, back in the day, back in my life before the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I figured there had to be some grain-free recipe kicking around, just waiting for my eager paws to land on.

This recipe for almond flour “cornbread” turned out to be just the thing. A mere five ingredients are all that’s needed to bake up a delectable, golden side.

almond flour cornbread

I like to use a buttered glass pie plate rather than an 8-by-8 square pan (fewer burnt bottoms, more tasty noms).

The recipe is surprisingly similar to the one for Deanna’s Midas Gold Pancakes featured in Breaking the Vicious Cycle. This is my go-to pancake recipe and it never disappoints, especially when you throw in some blueberries, ah, mah, gah. A few recipe tweaks, a preheated oven, and blammo—you’ve got yourself “cornbread.”

Recipe Review: SCD Pumpkin Muffins

I’m an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kind of gal. This morning was no different, and I woke before the sun started shimmying its way up into the sky. I started cleaning the kitchen a bit before trying my hand at a batch of pumpkin muffins. Because it’s October and that means it’s officially pumpkin season. Time to bust out all the pumpkiny recipe favorites and savor the flavor of…Octovor? Err…

Sometimes the best recipes come from the unlikeliest of places. I found this fantastic pumpkin muffin recipe over on a forum for Celiac disease. Now that I’m a year and a half into my SCD journey, I’ve finally built up a standard enough pantry that I had everything in the recipe on hand. (However, word to the wise: do NOT purchase the tiny bottles of organic Market Pantry spices at Target. They are cute as all get-out, but not even a quarter teaspoon will fit into those itty baby bottle mouths.)

I left out the optional walnuts and raisins, and mixed all my wet ingredients by hand since a) Colin was sleeping and I didn’t want the electric mixer to wake him, and b) less dishes to wash is always a good thing in my book. I also grated my own nutmeg, since that was all I had. I’m pretty sure I ended up with less than the 1/2 teaspoon called for, but there’s only so much hand grating a girl can take. (Am I right, ladies? That came out wrong.)

Most recipes for gluten-free baked goods call for an oven temperature of 350°F. This recipe calls for a 325°F oven, which really prevented the muffins from scorching and drying out. The recipe’s suggested 25–30 minute cook time was also surprisingly accurate—I checked my batch of muffins after 20 minutes, and then let them go for another 4–5 minutes, removing them once an inserted toothpick came out clean.

And the muffins turned out spectacularly. Airy and aromatic, these muffins are on another dimension when served warm out of the oven with a sliver of butter melting between sliced halves. The traditional pumpkin pie spices (cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg) are such warm and familiar fall tones, inviting visions of heaping leaf piles and warty green-gold gourds. One bite and I’m fully immersed in the season.

gluten-free pumpkin muffins

SCD Blinis

What exactly is a blini? Similar to a blintz, a blini is a kind of thin pancake that typically includes a leavening agent (i.e., baking soda) to make it light and fluffy. A blintz does not have a leavening agent, which gives it a more crepe-like consistency. Both are normally made with flour, and since this recipe has no flour and is completely gluten-free, it kind of lands somewhere in between blinis and blintzes. Does that make it a blitz? A blinitz?

I’m calling these blinis because that’s what they most resemble to me. It also just sounds extra fancy and $20-a-plate brunch-worthy compared to the farmhousey “pancake.” I love a good pancake, but the texture of these is somewhat spongy, less cakey, so it’s hard to consider them in the same family as the muffin-like pancakes I prefer. At best, these blinis and your homestyle pancakes are distant cousins.

As with most Slavic-influenced foods, your standard blini is served with sour cream on top. Sour cream is an “illegal” on the SCD, so I made mine with SCD yogurt sweetened with just a bit of honey to give the dish that quintessential bit of tang.

This is a very standard recipe for Specific Carbohydrate Dieters and paleo adherents, and there are versions of it everywhere. It’s super simple and can be made quickly, making it a great weekday breakfast. I cooked up this puppy on Monday morning before heading in to work.

Here’s the entire recipe for these absurdly simple blinis:

1 egg 1 mashed banana = BLINI TIME

two-ingredient pancakes

Okay, so obviously there’s a little more than that involved, but this is seriously one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever seen in my life. Two ingredients! (Plus whatever you want for toppings.)

SCD Blinis

Serves: 1

Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • butter for frying
  • optional toppings: SCD yogurt, SCD caramel sauce, honey, sliced fruit, SCD jam

Directions

  1. Peel the banana and mash it in a bowl.
  2. Add the egg and mix until smooth with minimal banana chunks. (A hand mixer would be good here, but if you don’t have time, just mash the banana up small enough that you won’t bite into any large banana pieces. Unless you’re into that.)
  3. Coat the bottom and sides of a frying pan with butter, then heat the pan over medium-low heat until the butter starts to foam.
  4. Pour the banana-egg mixture onto the pan in about 3 equally-sized circles. (It’s OK if they touch, but better for flipping if they don’t. If you have time, or if your pan is small, make the blinis thinner and cook just 2 blinis at a time to make a total of 4 blinis.)
  5. After 2-3 minutes, once the edges of the blinis start to set, flip each one with a turner.
  6. Cook for about 1 minute, until golden brown. If you flipped the blinis too soon and want a deeper brown, flip again and cook for another 30 seconds on each side until done to your liking.
  7. Serve with toppings of your choice. (Honey-sweetened SCD yogurt goes great with these.)

Enjoy these blinis and serve up something a little different for breakfast. Eat like a Slav!

Recipe Review: Elana’s Pantry’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, now I know what you’re going to say. “Chocolate isn’t allowed on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet! What can I do with a chocolate chip cookie recipe?” The answer? Pretty much anything you want.

This vegan cookie recipe from Elana’s Pantry (which also happens to be on the back of 5-lb bags of Honeyville Almond Flour) is so easily adaptable that you can omit the chocolate chips and throw in practically any ingredients you have on hand. At least, that’s what I did. I subbed walnut pieces and chopped up Medjool dates for the chocolate chips (as well as a 1/2 cup of honey in place of the non-SCD-legal agave nectar). The batch turned out better than I’d even dreamed—crisp yet moist, salty and sweet, and more cookies than you can shake a stick at. The recipe easily makes two dozen, and in my case it was closer to three dozen since I made them a tad small (about 2 inches in diameter).

Cookies with walnuts, dates, honey, almond flour

What I like most about these cookies is how closely they resemble a traditional Toll House cookie. All the almond flour cookie recipes I’ve tried so far have resulted in cookies that, however tasty, are a far cry from the cookies Mom used to make. These ones come surprisingly close. I’m looking forward to adapting this recipe using other SCD-legal ingredients: raisins? coconut flakes? macadamia nuts? Whatever my little chocolate-free heart so desires.