Wheat & Gluten-Free: Serious Consideration

Coconut-Chocolate Gluten-Free Pound Cake

Okay, I’ve been reading and listening to discussions about wheat and its connection to neuron damage.  Neuron damage is not easily detected and involves a slow degenerative process that may have a connection to Alzheimer’s disease.

We know that excessive consumption of sugar and flour (includes pasta, rice, fruits and high glycemic vegetables) leads to many diseases that make themselves known via signals from the body, however diseases of the brain are often revealed more subtly.

I have been a bread lover from way back and recently have been noticing incidences of brain fog.

A book titled, Grain Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, discusses the connection between wheat and the onset of Alzheimer’s due to the damage that a diet containing an excess of gluten has on neuron cells.

Damage to neurons is very serious as they are not easily replaced.  And oftentimes we cannot “feel” this damage physically until too late.

The chemistry of the body is very complex which is why we are fed easy-to-understand concepts such as low-fat diets being beneficial for optimum health.

My investigation continues…

It’s time to take gluten free/wheat free baking in a more determined direction.

I baked this cake using an original recipe from Bon Appetit.com.  It calls for white flour.  I was unsatisfied with the result as it was way too light to be considered a “pound cake”.  I re-baked it and added cream cheese and a gluten-free flour mixture and the result was much closer to a pound cake consistency.

Here’s the recipe.

Coconut-Chocolate Gluten-Free Pound Cake

Ingredients

Creaming
4 T butter, softened
½ C coconut oil, softened
4 T cream cheese
1 ¼ C sugar

2 eggs
1 t vanilla

Dry
Gluten-free Flour Mix
½ C brown rice flour
½ C white rice flour
¼ C tapioca starch
¼ C almond flour
1 t guar gum

1 t salt
¾ t baking powder (gluten-free)
½ C unsweetened cocoa powder

Wet
1/3 C plain yogurt
1/3 C milk

Topping
¼ C sweetened or unsweetened coconut flakes

Process:  combine your flours and all other dry ingredients and mix well then set aside; combine the yogurt and milk and mix well; cream the butter, oil, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy; add the eggs and vanilla and continue to mix for another 3 minutes; add the dry and wet mixtures to the creamed mixture and mix well (no gluten to overwork in this recipe, okay to mix); pour batter into prepared pan; add the coconut flakes evenly over the top of the batter and bake at 325F for about 40 minutes or when cake tester comes out clean.

Notes:  I have baked this again since writing this post and added 1 teaspoon of freeze-dried coffee to the dry ingredients and used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour ready mixed baking flour.  The result was improved further!

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Contents: Coconut, Carrot, Curry

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

 I have to admit although I am a veggie lover, I have never been a fan of carrots; not cooked carrots any way. The taste variations are amazing depending on how they’re cooked (or not cooked).

Carrots are always around too, yet they seem to sink into oblivion when I’m in the produce section. Orange or coral, is one of my favorite colors so I wonder how I’ve avoided carrots till now.

While perusing the web for new and tantalizing ideas in food, I zeroed in on a carrot soup presented by a fellow food blogger. The ingredients of the soup contained many that I have used and love and the chef pureed the soup which “cream-ifies” the carrots therefore making it much more amenable to my liking.

I continued searching around and discovered that carrot soup is an easy dish to make and can be made using any number of different spices and herbs. The idea of curry and coconut came to me as my mind wandered east to the flavors of Thailand where both curry and coconut are staple ingredients in their dishes.

Just an aside: I haven’t had good Thai food in quite a while and I rarely, if ever, attempt to replicate it or most other Asian dishes for that matter; sometimes you just have to eat out.

I’ve made many pureed soups before using sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, leeks, the usual suspects, so I am not a novice. I went with my instincts and used some of my favorite ingredients for this tasty soup that I am very proud to say, is quite delicious and of course, full of flavor!

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Some extra soup to savor…

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

…or share?

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

 Yes, soup in the summer!  These carrots are fruity and refreshing, even in the warm weather.

Here’s the easy recipe.

Curried Carrot Coconut Soup

Ingredients:

3 C organic carrots, peeled and cut
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
¼ t red pepper flakes
2 t curry powder
¼ t salt
1 t minced ginger
5 C vegetable or chicken stock
6 oz. coconut milk
1 T brown sugar

Process: 

Sauté the following: onion, carrots, ginger, garlic; add the stock, pepper flakes, curry powder, and salt and cook until the carrots have softened (about 25 minutes); add the coconut milk and sugar; cook for another 10 minutes and allow to cool. Puree the mixture until smooth, reheat and serve.

Suggestion: Adding a squeeze of lime offers another layer of flavor.