A good friend of mine who avoids gluten (her doctor recommended it due to a thyroid condition) recently told : "Sam, I love your blog but now that I don't eat gluten you need to stop posting delicious looking breads. It's not fair, you are too good of a baker and my willpower is weak!"
So today, something delicious for those who don't eat gluten. It's not a baked good (though I do make a mean black bean brownie), but I'm hoping it's delicious looking enough for you, G.
I'm actually quite grateful that I don't have any food-related allergies (or any strong sensitivities either). I don't eat meat, but that's a choice. A well thought out, well examined choice. Originally it was a late-adolescent decision designed primarily to annoy my stepfather. Going to college in a hippie college town (where, as one professor so, um, sensitively stated "even the homeless are vegan"), brought more awareness to this choice. Learning that if every American reduce the amount of meat they ate by just a little, there would be enough pasture land to grow produce to feed....I don't remember how many people it was, and it was written by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, it wasn't any sort of scientific study, but it stuck with my 19 year-old brain, and put principles (besides that of general teenage rebellion) behind my choice. Then I read some Michael Pollen and other great authors that talk about how our food is produced, how it should be produced, and the politics behind food. Now that I know how to procure ethically raised, local meats (and I live in a place where I have easy access to them), I probably could start eating them. I'm just used to vegetarianism, so I stick to it. I couldn't imagine doing this if I had no choice.
I'm not going to comment on the rise of allergies and sensitivities to food--I haven't done enough research. There are interesting articles out there. Or the relationship of gluten, casein, and dairy to behaviors consistent with the autism spectrum (although the number of parents I've had beating themselves up because they can't get their already picky eater to switch to soy milk makes me so sad...I know some people swear by it, but watching these people who are really doing their best get berated by other parents for not doing it...it's heartbreaking to see as an educator working with the family).
I definitely try to eat a wide variety of grains--not just wheat. I use quinoa and cornmeal and barley (which, I know, isn't necessarily OK for someone who has a gluten allergy) and oats. For those of us without those sensitivities, it's about balance. Just like everything else. But I hear a lot of friends who do have food sensitivities or allergies talk in terms of deprivation and "missing" real food. However, there are so many amazing, whole-food options out there for those who do have allergies. It doesn't need to be all packaged, frozen, etc.
As promised, this is the asparagus recipe I was too lazy to make on Saturday and on Sunday. The pictures aren't great. It was really cloudy and raining. It's gluten free, dairy free, and nut free. And delicious. It's not deprivation--it's just yummy.
This recipe has been shared with Hearth & Soul Blog Hop
Inspired by Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen; sauce adapted from a spring onion sauce recipe in Supernatural Cooking
For the roasted veggies:
1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 1 1/2" pieces
1/2 lb mushrooms (I used a mixture of cremini and shiitake)
1 c cooked cannelini beans
For the polenta
2 1/2 c water
1 c medium-grind cornmeal
butter or olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Parmesan cheese (optional
For the ramp sauce
a pinch of salt
1 1/2-2 T olive oil
a squeeze of lemon juice
For the veggies:
Preheat oven to 425. On a small baking sheet, toss the asparagus and mushrooms with a bit of olive oil and some salt. Roast for 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice, until the asparagus is tender-crisp and the mushrooms are brown. In the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, add the beans and toss.
For the polenta:
Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Pour the polenta into the water in a thin stream, whisking consistently (I generally grab a fist-full from the measuring cup, turn my hand so that I can let the cornmeal fall from my hand in a thin stream). When all the polenta has been added, turn the heat down to low and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. It should be the consistency of thick sour cream or Greek yogurt. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
For the ramp sauce:
Roughly chop the ramps and saute in a small frying pan until soft (2-3 minutes). Let cool a bit and then scrape the ramps and oil into a small food processor. Sprinkle with salt and add a bit of lemon juice. Pulse a few times and scrape down the sides. Add a bit more oil if necessary.
Spoon some polenta onto each plate (you'll have some left over--enough for one or two more servings), top each with about half the veggies and half the ramp sauce. Enjoy!