MORE Fiber, Fermentation, and Shojin Ryori

Well, my little experiment was a complete success. The low-fiber diet did exactly what I wanted it to do on the GI front, which was pretty darned enlightening, and now that I’ve gone back to my old diet and seen how quickly I go back to chronic upset, it would be ridiculous for me to say that fiber is a good thing for me to be eating as much as I typically do.

Unfortunately, my IBS was the only thing that was helped by eating low-fiber. My adrenal fatigue took a bad blow, and because of my lack of calories (being vegetarian and all), I was frequently low on energy. Unfortunately, plant-based sources of protein and calories often also tend to be sources of unacceptably high levels of fiber unless I go the processed route.

The fact of the matter is, though, that I can’t keep eating upwards of 40 or 50 grams of fiber a day. (And maybe you shouldn’t either – read the links in the previous post.) My goal from now on it to keep it under 15 grams daily; I was doing well under 10 during my fiber fast, and while my bowels were super happy, my appetite… wasn’t. I was eating white rice, tofu, miso, eggs, ramen, and not too much else, and the blandness was driving me crazy. And I’m definitely not alone in feeling this way about low-fiber foods. Moreover these complaints come from people who eat meat too – I don’t even have that much!

Over the course of the next week I’ll be doing more research on low-fiber diets and writing up some recipes for things that I’ve tried and love, and things that I think would love to try when I get the chance. Check out the link in the last paragraph: there are some good ideas to start with there, and the savory bread pudding is something that a vegetarian or vegan could definitely make. Just avoid “healthy” bread – plain white is all that’s allowed.

So to start, I’ll remind everyone of this plain white bread recipe. It’s not “sandwich” bread, but it is hella easy, it counts as unprocessed white bread, and you can make it from your favorite brand of all-purpose white flour. Win-win!

No-Knead Crusty Bread

  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 c. water (or enough to make it floppy and sticky)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. dry yeast
  1. Incorporate all ingredients in a large bowl until consistently mixed. Let sit for anywhere between 8-18 hours at room temperature.
  2. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 450F with your baking vessel – a dutch oven or similar lidded pot – inside so that it can heat up too.
  3. Dump out the risen glob of dough onto a liberally floured work surface with liberally floured hands. Work the dough into a ball shape if you want. Amorphous blobs turn out just fine too.
  4. Take the pot out of the oven and deposit the dough into it, covering with the lid. Bake for 30 minutes or so, then take the lid off and bake for however long until the outside gets brown and crusty – about 10-15 minutes.

Low Carb/Paleo, ZW, and Vegan Pizza Crust (yes, really)

Came up with this on the fly today, and it’s really good! Super-dense and slightly nutty in flavor, but it still gets thin and crispy like traditional pizza dough.

The only problem is… I don’t remember the exact measurements! I eyeballed everything, so I’ll try to approximate…

Ingredients

  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. sorghum flour (if you’re familiar with coconut flour, you can probably sub)
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. flax meal
  • 2 ener-g eggs (or real eggs if paleo)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)
  • pinch of salt or two

This should make about a 10″ diameter pizza with about 1/4″ thickness. Mix all ingredients until a doughy consistency forms; not too wet, not too dry. It should hold shape when squeezed. If too wet, add more flour/meal. If too dry, add a tiny it of water.

When shaped, toss in the oven at about 400F for a few minutes, or until the edges just start to brown. Pull out, throw on toppings, then put it back in for about 10 or so minutes. Enjoy!

As I’m eating the pizza (yes, I’m finishing it up as I type this), I can see that this would make for killer breadsticks (on the smaller, flatter side), or crackers, or…

More Bread Recipes

Here’s a few more that I’ve stumbled across lately that have worked out really well for me. Oh, and because my partner has become a bit interested in the paleo diet, there’s a couple paleo breads in here too. (Haven’t tried them, but they sound pretty good!)

 

German Pancakes
Recipe from Seitan is My Motor

  • 1 3/4 c. flour (I just used 2 c. all-purpose flour)
  • 1/4 c. chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 generous pinch salt
  • 2 1/2 c. soy milk
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 c. water
  • oil for frying

In a large bowl combine flours, sugar, salt, soy milk and oil. Whisk until no lumps are left and let the batter rest for 30 minutes. Add oil to a large pan and set the heat to medium. Whisk baking powder and water into the batter and use a ladle to pour into the pan. Tilt the pan so the batter spreads evenly. You want the pancake as thin as possible, but thicker than a crêpe. Fry for 1 or 2 minutes. When the edges start to brown but the centre is still a bit wet, flip pancake and bake the other side, also for 1-2 minutes.

 

Herb-Lime Bread Dumplings
Recipe also from Seitan is My Motor

(For a more traditional version substitute fresh parsley for the herbs and leave out the lime zest.)

  • 1 1/2 to 2 c. stale bread
  • 1-2 c. unsweetened soy milk
  • zest from one lime
  • 2 tbsp packed basil chiffonade
  • 2 tbsp packed lemon balm chiffonade
  • 2 tbsp fried onions
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the stale bread into cubes and place in a large bowl. Add the soy milk and let sit for 30-60 minutes, or until the bread is mushy. Stir from time to time to cover every piece of bread with milk. Add more milk if necessary. The dough should be like bread dough that you just started kneading: very sticky but manageable. You are going to turn it into balls later, so it should have the right consistency. (Sticky but firm. Not mushy.) Add the remaining ingredients, mix and knead the dough with your hands until all ingredients are well combined and shape into 7 round dumplings (a little bit smaller than a tennis ball). Set aside.

In a large pot, bring 8-10 cups of lightly salted water to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add 4 dumplings and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove and drain. Repeat with the remaining dumplings.

 

Microwave Paleo Bread
From Paleo Living Magazine

  • 1/3 c. almond flour
  • 1 tbsp flax meal or coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 whisked egg
  • 2 1/2 tbsp oil, ghee, or melted vegan butter
  • pinch of salt

Grease a mug. Mix together all the ingredients with a fork and pour mixture into mug. Microwave for 90 seconds on high.

 

Single Serve Paleo Bread
From Healthy Serves One

  • 1 tbsp almond meal
  • 1 tbsp seed meal or coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • splash of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 whisked egg
  • pinch of salt
  • olive oil

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, adding cider vinegar. Let fizz for a minute, then add whisked egg. Grease a mug with the oil, add batter, and microwave for 90 seconds on high. Cut in half and serve.

ZW Muffins

I made a batch of these this morning and they came out uh-may-zing. Definitely getting filed away as a staple recipe! I didn’t take any pictures of mine because I was too busy eating them (and yes, they’re heaven with a schmear of honey on top), but they came out looking exactly like Jordan’s, so I’ll just let you ogle her pics instead. Recipe from The Fitchen:

30 Minute Vegan and Gluten-Free Muffins

30-Minute Vegan and Gluten Free Muffins

  • ¼ cup cane sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter (just used whatever vegan butter I had on-hand)
  • 2 flax eggs [2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons water –allow to thicken for 3-4 minutes]
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used 3/4 c. gluten-full flour and 1/4 c. almond meal instead– glutinous flour thickens, obvs, so I had to add more milk)
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup coconut milk (I used my homemade almond milk)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla (I used my homemade vanilla)
  • rolled oats for topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream together sugar and coconut butter. Once flax eggs have set-up, lightly beat them in.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, salt, and baking powder. Slowly pour the dry mixture into the wet mixture along with the vanilla and combine.
  4. Sprinkle with rolled oats and a pinch of sugar.
  5. Fill 8 muffin cups ⅔ full with the batter and bake for 20 minutes.
NOTES
If you’re a batter taster [like me], you might notice that this batter doesn’t taste very sweet pre-baking. Have faith! When they come out of the oven, they’re just right. Sweet, but not too sweet. A good drizzle of honey or agave, or even a slather of coconut butter turn these into a treat. But as is, they’re also great for a running-out-the-door breakfast or a tasty road trip snack. If desired, you could fold in ⅓ – ½ cup of blueberries, raspberries, or whatever kind of berries you happen to dig.
(My batter was very sweet, almost cup-cakey. Due to using brown sugar probably? I also didn’t use liners as I hate those things. Just greased up the cupcake tin instead.)

 

Put a Positive Spin On Things

I’ve spent all day either on my bike, in the kitchen, the garden, or laying in bed and chipping away at a 4+ hour documentary about the CIA (!). I’d have gone to the office to work on some of my personal projects and do a little job hunting, but I think the chronic fatigue is creeping back into my life and I find it hard to do much of anything that requires a lot of cognitive input. And thankfully for me, baking and planting cucumbers doesn’t take much higher brain function.

I swear to glob that I’m not getting paid by Abeego. (Abeego, if you want to start paying me, go right ahead.)

Ever since deciding to make all of my almond milk from scratch, I’ve found myself inundated with a steady stream of the resulting meal once or twice a week. And since I ran out of peanut butter (and unable to churn out those awesome and healthy almond cookie balls), it’s just sort of been piling up. I tried making pancakes but those turned out not so good. I put some in a smoothie, but I don’t have the money to make enough smoothies every week to keep up with the meal! So I’m just starting to find myself throwing a little bit of it into everything.

I threw it on top of my baked mac n’ cheese (the recipe which I highly adapted from Pioneer Woman– namely, I used whole wheat flour for the roux, vegan butter, almond milk, dijon mustard, no egg, really huge pasta that I don’t remember the name of, and sprinkled flax seeds on top when I was done too), which turned out to-die-for. I also decided to make the above crackers; because why not? I haven’t baked them yet, so we’ll see if the 2 parts whole wheat flour, 1 part almond meal mix I started with turns out any good.

Adapted from a recipe by The Kitchn:

2ish c. whole wheat flour
1ish c. almond meal
1ish tsp sugar
1ish tsp salt
2ish tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2ish c water

For topping: dried herb of choice, flax seeds, sea salt

Combine, roll thinly, brush with water, cut, top with stuff, bake at 450F for a few minutes.

But it made me realize that I’ve been doing something wrong this whole time. Instead of thinking of my cooking habits as being built up from this heap of trash that I was trying desperately to whittle away, what if I did the opposite? What if I started thinking about things from the standpoint of how much I was no longer using?

Instead of focusing on the fact that my oil still comes in a bottle, my butter in plastic-lined foil, and how its impossible to find pre-packaged pasta without some kind of plastic window, what if I instead focused on the other stuff?

Just by making raw almonds, flax seeds, and flour staples in my kitchen–and I know that lots of households have flour handy, but I really mean it as something that’s used ALL the time–I’ve saved on the packaging from store-bought milks, eggs, almond meal, bread crumbs, crackers, cookies, muffins, and baked goods of every sort. And how often are those things typically purchased? Usually on a weekly basis, right?

Wow, that’s a lot.

I think I’ll stop for a brief moment and be proud of myself. I’ve come a long, long ways in 6 months.

Breads!

I’ve talked a lot about my easy near-weekly bread baking regimen, and about how without this recipe, I’d still be buying it from the market at a ridic price. So here it is! Finally! Also, a few others I’ve found extremely tasty and useful over the past year.

Crusty No-Knead Bread

3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. Instant or Rapid-rise yeast
1 1/2 c. water

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, salt and yeast.  Add water and mix until a shaggy mixture forms.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for 12 – 18 hours.  Overnight works great.  Heat oven to 450 degrees.  When the oven has reached 450 degrees place a cast iron pot with a lid in the oven and heat the pot for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, pour dough onto a heavily floured surface and shape into a ball.  Cover with plastic wrap and let set while the pot is heating.  Remove hot pot from the oven and drop in the dough.  Cover and return to oven for 30 minutes.  After 30 minutes remove the lid and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Remove bread from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool.

Reproduced from here.

Vegan Pancakes

1 c. almond milk
1 c.+ 1 tbsp. flour
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
3-4 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. sugar or 1 tsp. agave nectar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp sunflower oil
dash of cinnamon
egg substitute equivalent to 1 egg

Cook like any other pancake!

(Fluffy pancakes need some air in the batter. So be sure to use enough baking powder combined with some sort of an acid in your batter. This recipe calls for lemon juice. Vinegar or another citrus juice also works.)

Modified recipe from here. (Follow the link for much a much more lemony version and more tips for cooking!)

Easy Tortilla Recipe

1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 c. warm water

Combine all into a dough, rolling into a ball. Tear 1-2″ pieces off and pat flat with your hands to form tortillas. Cook on a skillet, pan, or comal on medium heat until browned.

Halved recipe from here.