Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Or even maybe might have been. That is, I was going to make tacos. I mention this as a sort of segue, however temporary it ends up being, away from the raw foods track I've been on recently. We've both hit that wall that inevitably stops us from getting really serious about living foods. For C, the wall was the raw asparagus. For me, it was my old enemy--the flax. This is mostly unfortunate because I'm only half-way through the second batch of onion bread, and I still have three of the salmon patties. The lot of it has been kicking around the kitchen, mostly loitering the days away on a baking sheet in the cold oven, while I reluctantly tell myself I'll get around to eating it. I may still, of course. I had an onion bread/salmon pattie/hollandaise/tomato sandwich for lunch yesterday and finished it feeling about 40% that it was delicious and 60% skeeved. I continue to suspect that the problem is that I'm ill-equipt. I keep thinking, and have some experience to back up this suspicion, that the bread would be light, flavorful, and delightful if only that little bit of flaxy viscosity could be sucked out of it.

I'm afraid I'm coming off more negative than I mean to be. Truly, it's delicious. Raw food should be about expanding our horizons. Stripping away the limitations imposed by thinking that we always have to cook just about everything that isn't salad. As I was just opining to my ever-patient sister, I prefer to think about raw food in these kinds of positive terms. I'm obviously not a purist about it, and I rather resent the way that veganism (and even vegetarianism) is so often cast as something riddled with restrictions and limitations and deprivations. People love to tell vegans about how they could almost be vegan, except that they love cheese so much. Thus vegans are figured as people depriving themselves of good things. This is annoying for a number of reasons, one of which is that I really don't feel deprived. I don't feel sad for myself because I don't eat any longer the foods I enjoyed before I went vegan. For the record, I was hugely into fresh mozzarella. And calamari. And muenster cheese. And bree. And crab. And lots of things that I truly no longer feel tempted to eat. I couldn't even properly be said to miss them. I think it's hard for people to believe me when I say that, but my food world expanded so much when I went vegan, that at least from where I'm standing it's ridiculous to think that my options have been limited. Of course, had I been at all smart about food before going vegetarian and then vegan I may not have had this life-altering experience! Oh, the silver linings.

But all this was by the way of telling you that I was going to make tacos, and I still might. I was beginning to scheme, the little budding taco thoughts were just tentatively feeling their way out of my brain-pan, when C announced that he couldn't keep on with the raw thing. Since I was on the verge of a similar sentiment, I agreed that we kind of can it for a while (except for the aforementioned stragglers, marooned on a desolate baking sheet). I was perusing the blogs, doing my usual rounds, when I found a link to some grain free pancakes that I'd always planned on trying. Since we're still off of flour, at least for the time, I decided to give them a go last night. Verdict? Pretty good! The batter was very thick, so I ended up making what we used to call (and maybe still is called? I don't get to diners much.) silver dollar pancakes. They had a very pronounced smell before cooking that I can only describe as "raw," and which made me a litter nervous because of my love/hate relationship with flax. The final result, though, wasn't viscous in any way. Because they don't contain any grain-based flour at all, these won't leave you with the satisfying feeling you probably are accustomed to from eating carbilicious pancakes. They did have a nice texture, though, and were light and tasty. I cooked them in very little oil, and next time might increase that to make them crispier. I also recommend cooking them for longer on low heat even though they cooked easily and quickly. If you have gluten allergies or are just trying to stay away from flour or are looking for a nutritious alternative kinda side dish, try these.

We had these with butter and syrup, steamed kale with fresh tomatoes, and some tofu that I marinated (in marinade leftover from the Tofu Benny) and baked. It all went together really well.

Recipe, from the cool Diet, Dessert and Dogs Blog follows:

Grain-Free Lemony Almond Pancakes
1/2 cup (85 g) natural almonds, with skin (raw or lightly toasted)
1/4 cup (25 g) finely ground flax meal
2/3 cup (160 ml) plain or vanilla soymilk
1 Tbsp (30 ml) agave nectar, light or dark
1-1/2 tsp (7.5 ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp (5 ml) freshly grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp (15 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup (80 ml) chickpea (besan) or whole bean flour
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) baking soda
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) fine sea salt
In the bowl of a food processor, whir the almonds and flax until you have a very fine meal the texture of coarse cornmeal.  There should be no large pieces of almond visible.
Add the milk, agave, oil, lemon zest and lemon juice and whir again.  Allow to sit while you prepare the dry ingredients, or at least 2 minutes.
Heat a  nonstick frypan over medium heat (I use cast iron).  Add the remaining ingredients to the processor and whir just until blended.
Using a small ice cream scoop or 2-3 Tbsp (30-45 ml), pour batter onto hot pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until bubbles appear and then pop on the surface of the pancakes and the edges look dry.  Gently flip and then cook another 2-3 minutes on other side.  Keep cooked pancakes warm while you continue with the rest of the batter.  Makes 8-10 small pancakes (if you prefer regular-sized pancakes, you’ll get 4-5). May be frozen.
If I make these again, and I probably will, I'd just grind the almonds and flax in my little coffee grinder, mix everything in a bowl, and let it sit for five minutes or so. I also would use a little more lemon juice and zest than is called for. Don't hope to feed more than two people with these as a side dish unless you're making multiple batches. 


b3carmain said...

I LOVE your blog. Okay, having said that, I need to tell you in a manner that may seem a bit confessional that I do miss and do love veggie cheese burgers and nachos from Margaritavilles, Johnny Rockets, and Red Robins. I am a WHORE for dinner food. Please bring it and bring it in quantity. As a rule, except when on amazing vacations with my favorite people (my family), I don't eat them because in my heart I do believe that choosing not to eat things containing a cheese (and certain other items considered vegetarian/not vegan) is the right fit for me. So I rock the vegan side 99 days out of 100 (though for more vacations I would be willing to adjust down...). Having confessed, I have to say that I am totally okay with it. Choosing to eat vegan is a choice and there are no rules. (I love the no rules bit.) So, I guess the self-proclaimed
vegan chosen would be offended and strip me of my vegan card, but please, chosen, email me your address and I will gladly mail it in!
Being vegan isn't about being a Vegan (capital V) is about being vegan (lower case v). I am not a Vegan, I eat vegan.
And so I love your blog because you take on raw food like its just another meal, not a statement. I totally get that! Mega SNAPS!
I am very interested in the flour-less pancakes and am thinking of serving them with curry in place of rice or naan. Sounds tastey and not disproportionately difficult for the level of enjoyment. Thank you for this recipe!
I am also planning to try the raw tuna, with some vegan mayo (that may or may not be actually raw--- again with the lower case letters).
In short, YOU ROCK, vegan chic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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