Friday, November 16, 2007

Unprofitable Servant

We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do. Luke 17:10

I guess it's becoming clear that I hang out with a lot of foodie kind of people. It kind of happens that people who are in the same set of circumstances gravitate together. A goodly number of the email lists I inhabit are about food and food choices. Many of the people that come are, like me, in search of answers to questions that the medical community does not appear to possess the ability to answer. There are an astonishing and saddening number of people that persist in having problems that doctors and tests say aren't there. How contrary of us. I like hanging out with these kinds of people because the pooled experiences, feedback, ideas, and synergy of highly motivated folk can produce astonishing results. My best puzzle pieces came from these kinds of dynamic exchanges.

Change can be hard. Especially when it comes to eating. There are ten million diets out there, each with their own line of highly specialized products just for this very reason. Most of us want the variables and details figured out for us. But some people can see a truth, foresee the consequences to themselves, and set a course for themselves for change that is unwavering, in spite of the fact that they have no immediate feedback mechanisms rewarding or punishing them along the way. They just see a future danger and discipline themselves toward change without flinching. I admire these people so much because I had to be dragged into this. I'm one of those people for whom the consequences had to be more immediate and intense or I probably wouldn't have come along for the ride. That said, I'm never tempted to least on the Hobbits' behalf...the consequences are too severe for us. That's why I admire people who can look down the road at potential cumulative damage and change direction. That takes so much more will power. I have to say that I admire them a lot more than I admire me. I only did these things because I was spanked into it. I'm the unprofitable servant....I've only done what was required of me.

Shortly after our introduction of bread, I started having my own set of difficulties that pushed grains off the menu for me. During this time I played around with a grain-free sourdough bread made from bean flour. This bread uses garbanzo and fava bean flour, but any mild bean could be milled in most grain mills and then used. It has a hearty taste, but the texture tends to be a bit crumbly. I can't say that it is something that I'd yearn for like chocolate chip cookies, but as a stop-gap bread, it's a pretty good fill in.

Grain-Free Almost Everything Free Bread


2 cups bean flour
2 cups kefir-fermented apple juice

Mix thoroughly and let stand for 24 hours.

In a bowl, measure out:

1/2 cup tapioca starch flour
1/2 cup potato starch flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons guar gum

In a mixer, whip up 4-6 egg whites until frothy.

Into the meringue, pour:

1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 cups sourdough starter

Mix in dry ingredients. This yields a rather thin batter for a bread. It will be about the consistency of toothpaste, but not spreading out with the ease of pancake batter. Pour into bread pan and let rise until doubled. Bake at 350* for an hour.

I'm still reading farming books. The latest point of inspiration is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This is the first of her books that I've ever read...I've never been much of a follower of Oprah Book Club type of books. But I loved it. It was a great book. I laughed and cried, but mostly I thought that she'd been looking in my windows. She and I share an affinity for tomatoes and her description of her summer kitchen sounds a lot like mine. Actually, given our different perspectives on life, I was amazed that we had so much in common. Their story of making the changes necessary to eat local, uprooting their lives and relocating across country to follow this dream is amazing. I'm astonished and have a profound amount of respect for people who are willing to shake up the status quo and endure the disequilibrium that this brings all for the sake of personal growth and for ideological reasons. These people who are willing to endure the inconvenience and sacrifice with no other motivation than an intrinsic ideal...they've got what I want.

I think I'm ready to move beyond just dragging my feet and doing what is required of me. Look out I come.


Anonymous said...

I read that book too and was truly inspired to eat locally, too. Tomorrow I pick up a locally grown butchered pig; 2 weeks ago I picked up a locally grown 1/4 of a cow. Our freezers are full! I canned and dried tons of vegetables. Saturday is the last farmer's market of the season. Sigh....

Next year?


Loztnausten said...

Yep! I, too, have big plans for next year!

FarmSchooler said...

Did YOU take that picture? Is that the bread that YOU made out of bean flour? If it is youve convinced me to try it - lol. I have serious issues with baker's teast and am TRYING sourdoughs, but just cant make them do what I want them to do. Im sprouting kamut most recently, but I have beans, so can mill bean flour too - lol. Good to see you at CTF. I have a blogspot also.....Chronicles of an OK Farmschooler I think....havnt visted it for quite a while though....but its still there. Having a thunder storm in OK, so Im off for the evening. Chat again soon. Beautiful photo! ~ Dona in OK

Loztnausten said...

Yep. My pic, my bread. For being grain-free, it's not bad. LMK if you give this a try and holler if you need technical input. Next time I make this bread, I'm going to try sprouting the beans first. I'm into sprouting these days...LOL!

Thanks for visiting, Dona, and your kind words! Let's hear it for cooking dangerously! :)

Zenseer said...

Baking gluten free/grain free bread is tricky.
It's hard to find a good recipe though. I don't use bakers yeast anymore: I find the taste and smell way too overpowering in GF breads.
I think I do better without anyway.
I'll give your bread a try but I'll substitute homemade yogurt to the fermented apple juice (I've tried kefir in all ways possible, it's just not my thing).
One question though: do you keep the starter at room temperature or in the fridge (esp. with yogurt)?

Thanks ;).

Loztnausten said...

In addition to being overpowering, the yeast isolates in instant yeasts really aren't healthy for anyone. Sourdoughs without the assistance of commercial yeasts are by far the best.

I can't speak with any experience to using yogurt as a starter, since we're dairy-free, but I know of people who are using kefir whey in the same manner. I refrigerate my starter between uses to keep the taste mellow and to encourage cold, slow ferments. But starters don't need to be refrigerated from a safety aspect. And fermented dairy doesn't was kind of the original reason for fermenting in the first place...preservation. All of the additional probiotic goodies were just the lagnappe!

If you try this, post back about how it turned out! :)