The New Year has brought about such incredible change, mostly anticipated, welcomed, surprising, and often delightful. Some not so much. One of my most loved friends lost her mother to cancer just a few months after another dear friend also lost her mother to a longtime illness. I found out through her daughter that my longtime friend and gregarious soul, Marti, died in hospital, though not COVID related. I had plans to visit most of these folks the past year; that shit year that robbed us of so much on top of the many thousand deaths from COVID.
I was personally dealing with a gradual enigmatic illness that was slowly taking all of my energy, creating foggy brain, forgetfulness and a host of GI symptoms that I’ll spare you the details of. It was only through performing a food sensitivity test that I discovered I have quite high gluten and gliadin sensitivities, a level akin to celiac disease. What a difference finding out something like that, and within a week of taking gluten out of the picture, I felt so much better and continue to – although it is a process.
I was fortunate to have a good amount of work come my way recently after not having much of it this past year, so I’m just now acclimating to a gluten-free lifestyle, finding my stride. Although it’ll take some getting used to and I will probably be in transition for a while. A lot of my work the past 4 or 5 years has been with great organizations like GFF Magazine and Keto-Mojo, so alternative foods, recipes and lifestyles are not unfamiliar to me. I’m fortuitously armed with so much great information, many key ingredients and some wonderful and loved people as connections, resources and sounding boards.
Of course, I started thinking about the foods that I might have to live without, if I had to. Or… could I take on the task of researching and developing GF versions of favorites like croissants, rustic breads, fresh pasta, flaky tarts and quiche and so many more? I know that in taking on such an endeavor some foods will be easier than others but I am up to the challenge. Who is Snooty French without croissants, baguettes, and flaky tarts?!? Given how I was feeling, I’m happy to avoid these, but I sure would love the occasional flaky, buttery croissant…sigh.
If you follow my Instagram feed you’ll probably have seen that already I started revisiting some of the recipes I contributed to GFF Magazine and diving into delicious recipes by other talented contributors there. Savory soup by Simone Miller, a lush lasagna from Heather Crosby, magical baked goods by the equally enchanting Alanna Taylor-Tobin. See, I’m in good company, and so are you! One of my favorite things about developing recipes is that when you actually eat the finished product you don’t feel like something is missing. You gain a real sense of satisfaction from making and eating something that is more approachable, enjoyable and easier to eat for that many more people.
Change is good, it is all about perspective and mine has shifted into focus. Follow along here and via my Instagram account as the adventure continues.
Here’s the recipe for Alanna’s amazingly delicious Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Almond-Butter Oatmeal Cookies from GFF Magazine, that I featured in my Instagram recently. Make these, no one will be upset about it – and no one has to know that they just happen to be gluten-free AND dairy-free! À binetôt!
Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Almond-Butter Oatmeal Cookies
(from Alanna Taylor-Tobin)
MAKES ABOUT 32 (2-1/2-INCH) COOKIES
1/2 cup sweet white rice flour (such as Blue Star Mochiko brand)
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats, plus more for optional garnish
1/2 cup gluten-free quick (baby) oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or 1/4 teaspoon if your almond butter is salted
1 cup smooth unsalted almond butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
6 tablespoons melted and cooled coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 65%–70% cacao mass), coarsely chopped, plus more chunks for optional garnish
Flaky salt (such as Bitterman's Flake Salt, optional)
Position a rack in the upper third and one in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375ºF. Line two or three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the sweet rice flour, buckwheat flour, old-fashioned oats, quick oats, baking soda, and sea salt.
In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, stirring until combined, then stir vigorously for 20 seconds to create a chewy texture. Stir in the chocolate.
Using two teaspoons or a #40 spring-loaded ice cream scoop, form the dough into 1-1/2-inch balls and place at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Top each cookie with a few flakes of flaky salt, a few oats, and a chocolate chunk or two. Bake the cookies for 5 minutes and rotate the pans from front to back and top to bottom, then bake until puffed and slightly cracked on top and set around the sides, 8 to 10 minutes. (Although they will seem underdone and soft at first, they will firm up as they cool.) Let cool completely, then devour.
Reprinted with permission from GFF Magazine