Gluten free buckwheat soba made without wheat flour are hard to come by. I know this because I’ve been off-handedly searching for it for years. My local Whole Foods sometimes carries it, but it’s expensive. I’m talking like $10 for 1 package (of dried noodles!), which is hard for me to justify. A while back, I tried to make my own soba using only buckwheat flour and water, but as this article on the Kitchn noted, it is difficult to do without the presence of wheat flour. It worked ok, but the noodles began to dry out as soon as I rolled them and didn’t hold together very well once boiled.
Recently, I came across a gluten free buckwheat soba recipe that I hadn’t seen before on Fork and Beans. Rather than support the buckwheat flour with wheat flour, Cara uses arrowroot powder and psyllium husk powder. The recipe worked perfectly; the noodles were easy to roll out without sticking or drying and held together when cooked.
This hearty gluten free buckwheat soba is a nice contrast to the creamy lemony sauce in this springtime dish. Coconut cream is a perfect substitute to heavy cream and gives the dish a subtly sweet flavor. The peas and spinach are my favorite springtime vegetables, but really any vegetables would work here. Just don’t skip the sunflower seed “parm,” which gives the dish a layer of salty, crunchy texture.
When I was an undergrad living in New York City, inexpensive, delicious food was important. There were only so many dining hall omelettes, midnight waffles and Quiznos subs I could eat, so my friends and I were always on the lookout for cheap meals. Aside from Moaz, Vietnamese bánh mi sandwiches and Venezuelan arepas were two quick East Village standbys that fit the bill. Ever since moving out of NYC, I’ve been meaning to make both bánh mi and arepas at home. It’s been seven (holy shit!) years since college, but I finally got around to it by making them both with these bánh mi arepas.
Arepas are gluten free, round, chewy flatbreads made out of precooked cornmeal, traditionally eaten in both Colombia and Venezuela. There are very serious debates on the difference between Colombian and Venezuelan arepas (it seems Venezuelan arepas are more likely to be stuffed), but I’m pretty sure this version isn’t traditional to either country. The filling is based on the flavors of the Vietnamese bánh mi sandwich though “bánh mi” technically refers to the type of bread this sandwich is usually served on, which is like a baguette. The Vietnamese filling of these arepas is highly adaptable to be vegan, vegetarian or traditional with meat. If you’re vegan, the main flavor components to include are the cilantro, pickled veggies, sriracha mayo (vegan if needed) and jalapeños; the protein is completely up to you. I used pulled pork for mine, but omitted the pâté. Baked tofu or tempeh would also work well.
For Christmas this year, Isabel got me Bar Tartine. When I opened it, she immediately said that she regretted buying the book for me. She thought it looked good at first, but seemed to complicated, obscure and fussy for everyday cooking. I disagreed with her.
After owning the cookbook for several months now, I admit that – although I’ve flipped through it often – until last weekend had yet to make anything from it. The use of ingredients like black garlic powder, mushroom vinegar, pickled green walnuts and fermented honey make the book fun for weekend projects, but not very practical for everyday use.
This month’s issue of Bon Appetit included a recipe from the Bar Tartine cookbook: “Lentil Croquettes with Watercress and Kefir.” Reading over the ingredients, the recipe in the magazine seemed more accessible and easy than I remembered seeing in the book. I immediately got out my cookbook and compared. While the cookbook calls for “kombu dashi,” Bon Appetit’s version calls for vegetable broth. Fermented honey becomes regular honey, kerfir cream becomes kefir.
It wasn’t until I received this issue of Bon Appetit that I realized something about Bar Tartine: the recipes in the cookbook are written as they are prepared at Bar Tartine in San Francisco. If you prepare them as written, you will produce incredible, restaurant quality food – the type of food you think you could never make at home. I respect this book for that. April’s issue of Bon Appetit, however, made me realize that these recipes are highly adaptable for weeknight cooking. Don’t have black garlic powder? Regular garlic powder will probably work. Never heard of green walnuts? Normal brown ones should taste good too. Even though these more obscure ingredients may help elevate a recipe to a higher level, substituting more common ingredients will still produce delicious results.
Here, I’ve used Bon Appetit’s version of the recipe and adapted it a bit further to make it gluten free, dairy free and vegan. These sprouted lentil falafel use gluten free bread and a simple cashew “ricotta,” from Detoxinista, which is really just soaked cashews blended with a bit of lemon juice and garlic. The arugula sauce is completely optional and, if you’re short on time, I think serving the lentil falafel on a bed of arugula salad would be equally as good.
When I’m home in Boston, lunch and dinner always is made with a side salad: mixed greens, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. That’s it. I usually eat it first before enjoying the more creative part of the meal; the quinoa pizza, sweet potato shepherd’s pie, empanadas, etc. What I love about Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks is that the line between the side salad and main entree is blurred. All of his salad recipes are creative and exciting enough to be the part of the meal that you look forward to.
Since my parents were going away this Easter, Isabel and I went to my parents house last weekend. They have the entire Ottolenghi library and Isabel and I always find ourselves bookmarking a lot of recipes (often adapted to be gluten free or dairy free) and making way too many grocery store trips. This past weekend we had some mangos on hand, so we went for an adaptation of the Alphonso Mango and Curried Chickpea Salad from Plenty More. Instead of chickpeas, we used roasted sweet potatoes and created an Indian-spiced coconut dressing that would be great on other salads and roast vegetables, so don’t worry if you have extra.