Grain Free Tortillas

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Yes, I’ve been MIA again.  Life just seems to get busier every year.  I’ll spare you the details for now but I just wanted to share something I thought was so exciting.  Grain free tortillas!  I’ve made versions of this with coconut flour but coconut flour has a very distinctive flavor that I like in baked goods but not much else.  These tortillas are soft, elastic and pliable with a neutral flavor.   Aren’t tortillas really about what you are eating them with??  These stayed together, didn’t get soggy and weren’t grainy.  Can you tell I’ve tried several different versions?  I’ve been doing a lot of reading about gut health, our microbiota and  increasing dietary fiber.  I’m certainly guilty of not having anywhere near enough soluble or insoluble fiber in my diet for years and years on end.  And I’ve paid the price.  So in my quest to rectify that I’ve been trying out new foods to work with.  Plantains were on that list.  Plantains have about 57 grams of carbohydrate for a medium green one.  Yes, that’s a lot but I’ve never come close to eating a whole one in one sitting anyway.  Of those carbs 4 grams are resistant starch.  Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber that we are unable to digest.  It travels down to our large intestine where our bacterial army does it’s magic.  That starch/fiber is what our gut bacteria feed on.  If we don’t feed our micro flora they don’t tend to stick around and proliferate.  We can take probiotics but unless we feed them they are transient and temporary.  Why is our gut bacteria important?  Well, It’s what keeps us healthy.  80% of our immune system is in our guts.  It drives our metabolism and those bacteria are the producers of butyrate.  Butyrate is a byproduct or waste product of our bacteria feeding on the resistant starch.  That butyrate is used by our bodies as energy.  It is also a powerful inflammatory in our guts, it helps decrease gut permeability and because that starch isn’t digestible by us but by our bacteria there is no spike in our blood sugar.  Actually, resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar. Amazingly, it has a “second meal effect” meaning that it helps control your blood sugar for the following meal as well as the meal in which it was consumed. Resistant starch is associated with a decreased risk of colon cancer and may help with weight loss due to its ability to decrease blood sugar spikes post meal.  It may help decrease appetite and help to maintain lean muscle mass.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  These are the reasons I am excited to find a way to enjoy plantain.  Now to the recipe.  This was super fast and easy.  You will need a high powered blender and a large nonstick pan.

Ingredients:

1 green plantain

2 eggs

2-3 T milk or water

pinch of sea salt

coconut oil for the pan

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Peel and slice the plantain.  Add it and the eggs and salt to the blender.  Blend until smooth. Add just enough milk to thin out the batter so that you can pour out the batter into a thin layer.  Water may work just as well if you are dairy free.  Heat pan and enough coconut oil to lightly cover the bottom.  Pour about 1/4 cup of batter into the hot pan and swirl the pan or use the back side of a spoon to spread the batter into and 8-10 inch round.  Cook on medium heat until the bottom side is lightly browned and then flip to brown the top side.  When finished lay it on a plate covered with a paper towel.  Repeat for the rest of the batter stacking them on top of each other with paper towel in between.  These were great warm with a little butter (has to be Kerrygold!) or dipped into olive oil.  I added some Italian seasoning to one batch and it was great.  Next time I will try some herbs de provence.  Cumin and coriander might be good too.  When they are completely cooled the paper towels can be removed and these can be stored, covered in the fridge.  Warm slightly in the microwave for a few seconds to enjoy them later.  They are just as soft, elastic and pliable the next day.

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GF Cranberry Pecan Bread

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Ok, this recipe is not in any way paleo.  Not even close.  That said, despite the fact that I have been mostly paleo/primal for the last 2 years this blog gets more traffic from my bread recipes (see here, and here) than anything else.  So, for those that want great gluten free bread that is better than anything you can find in a store, that is moist and tender and doesn’t have a grainy texture or fall apart if you look at it funny, here it is.  This is a slightly sweet bread and is really nice for a change.  I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Wet Ingredients

3 eggs

1/3 cup expeller pressed melted coconut oil

1/3 cup honey

1 1/3 cup very warm water

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 T yeast

Dry Ingredients

1 cup sorghum flour

1 cup tapioca flour

1/2 cup ivory teff

1/2 cup dark teff 

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 T plus 1/2 top xanthan gum

1/2 cup chopped raw pecans

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and then turn it off keeping the oven light on.  Heat water (it needs to be pretty hot because when you add it to the eggs etc it will cool down considerably.  After adding the water to your other wet ingredients you want the temperature to end up being about body temperature.)  Add cranberries to soak for a couple of minutes while you get the other wet ingredients assembled.   In the bowl of your stand mixer add the eggs, melted coconut oil and honey and mix well.  Add water and cranberries and yeast and stir until combined. Let it sit so the yeast will proof while you assemble your dry ingredients and prepare your pans.  Using mini loaf pans lightly grease with coconut oil and then line with wax paper.  This doesn’t have to be pretty or exact.  It won’t matter in the end.  Roughly trim the edges of the paper so it doesn’t hang over the sides too far.  In a large bowl sift all of your flours with the xanthan gum and salt.  When your liquid ingredients look all foamy add the dry ingredients with the mixer on medium low.  Mix well.  Scrape down the sides.  Mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes until well combined.  Add pecans and mix through.  Divide the dough between the two pans.  Coat your hands in melted coconut oil and smooth the tops of the loaves.  Make sure your oven is turned off with the light on and place the pans on the middle rack to rise for 25 minutes.  When the time is up turn on the oven to 350 degrees and set the timer for 38 minutes.  No need to pull the bread out to pre-heat the oven.  When they are done remove from oven and let cool on the counter top, in the pans.  When they are cool enough to touch you can remove from the pans and slice and serve.