Buckwheat-Quinoa Biscuits

In my quest for delicious gluten-free baked goods I have been experimenting in my kitchen and have been putting my hand-powered grain mill to work. I am a huge fan of both buckwheat and quinoa – they both have a wonderful nutty flavor that I find very satisfying. I buy these two grains, as well as other things I use often, whole and in bulk. So now that I am 100% gluten-free, I have begun grinding my own gluten-free flour. I do love my gluten-free scones, but I wanted to create a bready item that could be used for sandwiches and so these biscuits were born.

I still have not plunged into gluten-free sourdough baking because I am intimidated by it. Right now I don’t have a lot of extra time to put into that new skill set…yet. But it is on my agenda for 2011 and I think the final solution for our lack of artisan bread in the house. So for now I content myself with some bread “stand-ins” that I can quickly whip up in my food processor without hassle or learning curve.

(My grain mill, from Country Living – sorry about the quality of the photo, but my camera died recently, and I took this with my droid)

Roberto loves these biscuits and that is a huge plus! It is tough being a native-born Italian and living in a gluten-free household. But I have to give it to my man, he is ever supportive of me and cheers me on through my challenges. He has learned to love corn pasta and relishes these little gluten-free breads, which is why every year for his birthday he gets a tray of real lasagna and bread made with wheat flour.

I adapted a recipe I got from Cultures for Health. I signed up for their newsletter and got a free e-book of kefir recipes. Pretty nice deal and it is still going on! So get over there and get signed up!

Kefir is a nice leavening agent, as it contains a colony of both yeast and bacteria to culture milk. I will be doing a kefir post next week, so keep your eyes out for more on this wonderful health elixir.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
½ cup quinoa flour
¾ cup kefir (you can also use buttermilk)
¼ tsp aluminum-free baking soda
1 TBS aluminum-free baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
6 TBS cold butter

METHOD:

12-24 hours prior to making biscuits, mix the flours and kefir together. Cover and allow the flour to soak. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut the butter into chunks then work it into the flour/kefir mixture along with the baking soda, baking powder and salt. I use my food processor using quick pulses. Do not over mix. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more kefir. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board. Gently pat the dough to ½ inch thick (this will yield lighter biscuits than using a rolling pin). Use a round cutter to cut out the biscuits. Place biscuits on a cookie sheet. If you want biscuits with soft edges (and a higher rise), place the rounds touching each other. If you want biscuits with crusty sides, place the rounds about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Makes 10 biscuits.

This blog post is part of the Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop!

ThinkFood Feature: Breakfast of Champions & My First YouTube!

I am excited to announce that today; my recipe which appears in the ThinkFood Cookbook, about brain health is Today’s Featured Recipe !

You may recall many months ago, when I told you about the book, and how you could get free weekly recipes delivered right to your inbox! If you signed up for the weekly recipe, then this post is old news to you, as you should have the recipe in your inbox! I hope you enjoy it.

But don’t stop reading, because I have more news to share with you.

I started developing my “Breakfast of Champions” over a year ago – when I first started getting heavy into weight lifting. I wanted a “real food” alternative to all the protein powder, power bars, etc. that most people into this kind of exercise seem to be into. So I created a super balanced, but very versatile dish, which can be eaten almost daily without feeling like you are eating the same thing. This is a recipe for anyone who needs sustained energy throughout the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so you might as well, go for it! Even kids love this recipe. One of my favorite kids in the world often asks her mom to make her “The Champions” for breakfast.

The grain component to this dish is soaked buckwheat. However, I have often made it with sprouted quinoa, or leftover roasted potatoes. I also switch up the greens and cheeses depending on what is in season or on hand. I even made this dish with leftover mole sauce ! Like I said, it is so versatile!

I am so proud of this dish, especially because it was featured in this cookbook, and also because it includes EGGS, which have become a big part of our life since we got laying hens this past summer and they started laying this fall (click here to read about our first egg).

I love that this dish is so balanced nutritionally, but also includes major components of my food philosophy – real food, local food, grow/raise your own, etc.

That is why I decided to prepare this recipe on film, to submit as my entry to MasterChef, Season 2. So I ask all of you to keep your fingers crossed for me that I am invited to be part of the show. My goal for wanting to be on the show is to present real food and traditional food preparation to the masses. Here is my first ever YouTube video! Hope you enjoy it! (running time @ 15 minutes)…

You can order your copy of ThinkFood: Recipes For Brain Fitness via this link !

Acorn Squash w/ Gluten Free Sausage Stuffing

sausage_stuffed-squash_ready-to-eat

I don’t always have a plan for dinner. It is about 50/50. But for me, that is OK – because how can I call myself The Leftover Queen if I’m not quick on the draw in the kitchen?! For me, some of my most creative, exciting and delicious adventures in the kitchen are the result of not having a plan. In these cases, sometime in the afternoon, or when dinner time rolls around, I look around in the veggie bowl, the fridge and the pantry, and let all the items therein swirl around in my mind until the perfect pairing of flavors – or an interesting combination comes to the forefront. Then I roll with it. These meals are the ones I tend to get the most compliments on from the spousal unit.

Such a night happened this week. I had an acorn squash, 2 links of chicken sausage (leftover from the corn pasta ) and some leftover buckwheat and quinoa from my daily Breakfast of Champions .

A plan started to form. Stuffed acorn squash sounded perfect. All I needed to do was scrounge around in the veggie bin and fridge to see what I could add to give it something – a spark, VT cheddar, red bell pepper, red onion and homemade yogurt filled the space. I threw the squash halves in a roasting pan while I did my daily exercise and after, I stuffed the squash with my stuffing, threw it in the oven and took a shower, while it was cooking. Having healthy, whole and nourishing food doesn’t require slaving in the kitchen and can easily be accommodated into a busy schedule!

This dish was super easy, very filling and so satisfying in the flavor department. Plus it was really good for us. I can’t ask for more than that. Having a pantry and fridge full of staple items that you love, make dinner making easy, even in a pinch, if you allow yourself just to have fun, and be creative.

Acorn Squash w/ Gluten Free Sausage Stuffing

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium acorn squash
2 links of chicken sausage
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
¼ cup red onion, chopped
1 clove garlic
¼ cup pre-soaked red quinoa
¼ cup pre-soaked buckwheat
(why do I soak? Check it out here )
handful of sharp VT cheddar cheese cubes (or any cheese you have on hand – but something sharp!)
¼ cup of homemade plain yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:

Roast ( @350 F) acorn squash halves (cut side down) in a small roasting pan, with a splash of water.
While the squash is roasting – make the stuffing. Remove casings from sausage and brown in a skillet with olive oil, red pepper, red onion and garlic. Once sausage is browned on the outside, and veggies are getting soft, place in a bowl. Add the quinoa, buckwheat and yogurt. Once the squash is finished scoop out most of the flesh – making sure to keep the structure of the squash intact. Raise oven temp to 400 F. Mix flesh with the other stuffing ingredients and fold in the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stuff the squash halves with the mixture and cook at 400 F for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and serve immediately.