Okay! New year! Stuff is being made and woo we’re back on no grains, no sugar. Neither Chase nor I are gluten-intolerant or anything, but we’ve found over the years that a modified, 80/20, non-douchey version (also known as realistic, lower-budget, not buying into a craze and “how do you expect me to live without beans, diary, coffee and tortillas?”) of the “paleo” diet works well for us.
On Chase’s part, his racial background means not the best ability at processing grains and complex carbohydrates. For me, having a high protein diet that intrinsically avoids trigger foods is pretty great. And really? I kind of love cooking and working within the bounds of no grains, no sugar, it’s a fun challenge.
You end up eating a lot of eggs (they’re cheap), veg and meat (natch). And almond flour. Gluten-free stuff isn’t really an option, because rice flour is still a grain flour and pre-made stuff almost always has sugar. But if you can find or make cheap(er) almond flour, things like crepes, dense breads and cookies—all that sort of nosh—are still within reach.
You gotta understand that nothing acts the way grain does. Dough doesn’t happen, everything is batter based, cooking times and leavening proportions change. But oh damn. There is some delicious stuff. These two recipes have become cornerstones of nosh. If your diet allows you to eat nuts, I definitely recommend these foods.
These are amazing. The only variations I do here is sift the almond flour and other dry ingredients together (the rougher bits of the almond flour that don’t sift make for fabulous cracker crust) and use milk with a splash of vinegar instead of buttermilk.
The body of these biscuits is soft—too soft for hard butter and they’re prone to crumble—and melt-in-your mouth delicious. I’ve also made them flattened out to make a base for open-faced sandwiches.
Not Your Gramma’s Fruitcake, a poorly named but delicious fruitcake
I wanted to make fruitcake for the holidays and since alternative flours are perfect for dense breads, fruitcake seemed like a good bet. I brought a loaf in to work and got a lot of disgusted faces, since I guess fruitcake is horrible and why wouldn’t I bring in something gross to share with co workers? If you are overly influenced by cartoons and supermarket fruitcake, then let me reassure you that this version tastes good, especially if you just substitute your preferred fruits and nuts. Like I did.
For fruit what I did was a cup of chopped up dried Turskish apricots and half-ish cup currants that I soaked in hot water and a couple bags of Earl Grey. I like tea as a soaking liquid, rather than booze or juice, because it adds a fun complexity to the flavour. For nuts I used like a cup of chopped walnuts and nothing else because I’m weirdly picky. 1/8 cup honey instead of the maple syrup.
I’ll be honest, we weren’t able to switch to this way of eating until both of us were making a little better money. But after three years of ranging between 90% to 60% grain free we’ve figured out how to make it work even when money is tighter.