My thoughts on gluten are influenced by some insufferable people in my life being unable (or allegedly unable) to tolerate it. This is unfair to people with Celiac disease, an increasingly growing portion of the population.
However, some brief venting.
- My sister’s ex boyfriend claims he can’t have gluten. I hate him. Also, he is a regular beer drinker. Really?
- Gwyneth Paltrow claims she can’t have gluten. Actually, according to her exhaustingly hilarious (that’s a phrase) newsletter,, a “doctor” diagnosed her with anemia and told her to consume “no coffee, no alcohol, no dairy, no eggs, no sugar, no shellfish, no deep-water fish, no wheat, no meat, no soy, nothing processed at all!” Someone on Jezebel commented about a correlation between increasing income and increasing inability to eat normal people food.
- Several of my old coworkers were constantly “eliminating” things from their diets to feel “freer”, including gluten. Mostly in a certain department. They know who they are. Potlucks were tedious.
Anyway, before everyone thinks I’m a horrible person, let me share my love for the wonderful and kind and generous and warm-hearted Betty, who sings with me in the church choir, someone diagnosed with Celiac disease by a medical doctor. Going off gluten made her quit having the stomach pains she’d had for her ENTIRE LIFE. Can you imagine how awful that must be/ how amazing it must be to finally be brought to good health through a change in your diet?
I’ve made gluten free goodies for her, like the simple and worth-replicating gf shortbread recipe I linked to in this post. And now, what?! Her husband has Celiac too! Causing everyone at church to joke (joke? maybe scared joke) that it’s contagious.
Fortunately, one of my new favorite things to cook with is: CHICKPEA FLOUR!
For some reason I feel compelled to point out that this is chickpea flour from the Indian store. Something about buying chickpea flour at Whole Foods still feels a little too insufferable to me. (As a general note, I love the Indian store and it has amazingly affordable legumes and spices, along with big ol’ sacks of chickpea flour).
My first undertaking was crackers.
Making crackers is really satisfying for someone as methodical as I am about things. In addition, you can manhandle gluten-free batters and doughs as much as you want because you don’t have to worry about overdeveloping gluten and making them mega-chewy. This is great for stirring addicts like my best friend.
Anyway, they looked pretty coming out of the oven.
Bubbly! Ooh. Ahh. Crispy brown edges.
But ended up a bit… cardboardy. Wouldn’t recommend this particular recipe. If I hunt one down that I love I will! I did enjoy the addition of sesame and poppy seeds- worth repeating.
So I made SOCCA. All you need to do is Google “socca” once to become aware of a huge socca-loving portion of the population. I had only a vague idea of what it even was, and sort of associated it with obnoxious bloggers who never eat normal food (sorry.)
Anyway, then I read about it in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, a book full of both normal and extraordinary food, and decided it was time for me to try it instead of being judgmental. And LUCKY ME.
For those of you not in the know, socca is essentially a salty, peppery, olive oil-y, crisp edged, dense, heavenly chickpea flour pancake.
Bittman has you bake and broil it.
It makes me SOOOOOOOOOO happy!
Have any of you guys had the Orville Redenbacher salt ‘n pepper popcorn? (If not, may I recommend pausing your reading and getting some? Cause it’s good!) Anyway, this, like that, is really a pepper and oil vehicle. And I mean that in the best possible way.
And is perhaps even better the next day, when you pop leftovers in the toaster oven to make them even CRISPIER!
Plus kale salad.
Plus yogurt ‘n fruit ‘n lord knows what is in that other dish, I made this meal a good long while ago.
Anywho, I then tried to make that boss sweet potato pizza crust again, incorporating some chickpea flour just for funsies. The toppings were great (caramelized onions, goat cheese, balsamic roasted broccoli), but the chickpea flour taste was just too strong and weird with the sweet potatoes.
What made it palatable, nay delicious, was when my weird boyfriend mixed spicy African hot sauce with mayo and smeared it on top. He’s so weird/a genius.
Anyway, that experiment abandoned, I went back to socca.
Served leftovers with an old favorite: what I call Austin brussels sprouts. Based on a meal I ate at Snack Bar in Austin (<3<3<3) oh, almost three years ago now.
Half brussels sprouts. Lightly film the bottom of a saute pan with olive oil. Brown one side, then the other of the sprouts. Add dijon (2 tsp?), honey (1 1/2 tsp?), dill (1/4-1/2 tsp?) and water to deglaze it all.
Cook til awesome.