Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Recommendations from elsewhere, including: Thai Coconut Soup, Teff Banana Bread, and Parsnip Fries

Well hello! I've wanted to share some good recipes I've tackled from other sources in the last week. So here you go!

(Lisa: The Closer is on Sesame Street right now. She is singing (quite nicely - who knew?) and it makes the resemblance between you two even stronger. Resemblance as in she could be your mother.)

(1) My New Roots' Best Ever Coconut Soup. The recipe is HERE.


Follow it as written; it is perfectly delightful. I made it for my family last week and then again Sunday night for a baby shower. Everyone wants the recipe because it's amazing. Complex, layered - all these exotic yet strangely familiar flavors making you increasingly excited for every next spoonful. The flavor culprits: lemongrass, galangal (like ginger but better), kaffir lime leaves, cilantro, jalapeƱos (Thai chilies are ideal but there weren't any at my grocery store), fish sauce, coconut palm sugar. I'm told that all these ingredients are available at Asian markets, but I am quite intimidated by international food markets, generally, and cautious because of our allergies (food labeling in different languages can be scary for us). I got fresh galangal and dried kaffir lime leaves at Whole Foods (the one by Lake Calhoun) and fresh lemongrass stalks at the Wedge (Franklin and Lyndale). (Lunds and Whole Foods and the Wedge sell small packages of lemongrass with their fresh herbs - Jacob's Farms brand, I believe - and they are great but the long stalks are much more economical, if you can find them. Also, dried galangal is available at Penzey's on Hennepin.) I followed the recipe precisely as written, except that I used half the amount of chili the second time, as the first batch was a little spicy for us (but we are spice lightweights, so go with your gut). I garnished it with thinly sliced red spring onions. (Spring? What is spring?)


(2) Teff Banana Bread. This has no dairy, egg, or wheat, and it is only slightly sweetened with molasses. To make it sweeter, use honey or maple syrup or agave nectar or brown rice syrup or sorghum... et cetera... in place of all or part of the molasses. I used half honey, half molasses. I really liked it that way and so did my children.


Teff is a delicious grain that we've been messing around with since Beckett's allergies were first diagnosed. Our first encounter with it was in Peter Reinhart's recipe for injera bread, which is a v. sour Ethiopian flatbread. I thought teff was sour because of how I made its acquaintance, but it's not. The sourness comes from the fermentation of injera (it is a yeasted bread that requires a sourdough-like starter). Teff itself is mild but unique in flavor, sort of malty and almost sweet. My understanding is that  it has some gluten in it, but either it is such a different form of the protein or it has such a small amount of gluten in it that it is still safe for most people who cannot tolerate gluten (even celiacs, according to a few sources). Bobs Red Mill's version is even labeled gluten free. 

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This bread is super moist. Like, almost underdone moist. Or maybe mine was underdone, despite baking it for over an hour. I'm still going to make it again. I might add another tablespoon or two of teff flour or something, or I might just eat it slightly gooey next time too. As my friend Christine mentioned yesterday, sometimes her traditional wheat + eggs banana bread doesn't quite cook all the way through. We've all been there, right? Anyway - the recipe is HERE - scroll down a little.

(3) Oh She Glows! Nut-Butter Parsnip Fries. (That's a link.) We used half sweet potatoes and half parsnips. And we are a no-nut household so we used sunflower seed butter. So good.


A tip from a teacher: try to space out your fries as much as you can on your baking sheets (like, more than I did in picture above). They "sweat" a little while cooking, which makes steam, which cuts against the crispiness that we all like in our fries, baked or otherwise.

You're welcome! And godspeed! xoxo 

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