Saturday, December 5, 2009

NY State of Mind: Grain-Free Bagels

Though I've been yearning to post recently, I have been esconced in a whirl of friends, family, colleagues - it's been incredibly busy, but above all incredible. I've honestly had a love-hate relationship with my hometown for as long as I can remember. In high school, my (still) best friends and I swore after college we couldn't see ourselves living anywhere else. College in Pittsburgh compounded that wish (no disrespect, PPGers and Steelers fans)...and then came a wonderful year of freedom and self-discovery in London. Coming home was as Monica Ali describes in her latest, 'In The Kitchen', living in a state of suspended animation, in constant oscillation between unbearable tension and annihilating lethargy. It was the agony of familiarity, the awful inevitability of home.

This trip, however, has been something amazingly different. A year a way can do a lot...My old life, all of the people I left, have re-embraced me so fully I feel gratitude and warmth. Christmas lights in Columbus Circle, New Yawk accents on the subway, are for once slightly unfamiliar and thus fascinating.

I am also struggling to continue eating the foods that keep me healthy. Thanksgiving predictably did not help (I was sick for 3 days after), but I did make some new discoveries in the American health market. My LOCAL grocery store now has a large gluten free section, even with gluten free oats! I've also warmed up to cultured veggies that are kosher and unsweetened for their rich probiotics, kefir, and almond cheese :) And though I'm laying off grains this month, I am continuing on my flax kick. A couple of weeks ago I baked my version of a full loaf of Laura Dolson's flax bread (recipe at the bottom). Above all, my proudest creation is a healthy gluten free grain free version of what I see in the carts as I stroll to my old Wall St. office everyday: the New York breakfast bagel.

3 heaping tablespoons of golden flax meal
4 T parmesan cheese (or vegan imitation)
1/2 t baking powder
3/4 cup egg whites
2-3 t water
3/4 T olive oil
dash of salt/onion powder/pepper

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

  • In a medium-small bowl mix the dry ingredients - the golden flax meal, parmesan, baking powder, and spices.

  • Whisk in the egg whites, water, and oil. Allow the dough to sit for 5 minutes to firm up.

  • Spoon half of the dough onto parchment or a greased baking sheet in a dome shape. Spoon the remaining half in a similar manner.

  • Scoop out the center to create a bagel shape - the dough will be firm enough to hold.

  • Bake for twenty minutes until the flax turns a darker golden shade.

  • Allow to cool completely before eating (they will fall slightly).

  • Put the two halves together, add your favorite bagel filling (lox? cream cheese? butter?!) and enjoy!!
I ate mine with earth balance spread and a fried egg. Deja vu in the BEST way, believe me....
After thinking of swearing of one of my favorites, turkey sandwiches, I used Laura Dolson's simple focaccia flax recipe with some modifications (i.e. less oil) to make a delicious and filling lunch.

Flax Sandwich Bread

2 cups flaxseed meal
1 T GF baking powder
1 t sea salt
1 T sweetener (I used 3 packs of Stevia powder)
1 1/4 cup liquid egg whites (eq. 5 beaten eggs)
1 cup water
1 T canola oil
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/ 190 C and oil a rectangular baking pan.
  • Use a whisk to mix the flax, baking powder, salt, and sweetener.
  • Add the eggs, water, and oil (and liquid sweetener if using) dry ingredients.
  • Let the batter sit and thicken for 3 minutes before spreading in about 1.5 inches thick in the pan. It won't reach the sides but no worries, the batter will hold.
  • Put pan in oven and bake for 35 minutes, or until bread goes a deeper brown around the corners.
  • Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes or better yet several hours, then slice into 12 - 14 pieces (cut into 6 or 7 large slices and then cut in half ) for delicious sandwich bread!
  • Slather on your favorite dressing and toppings for both regular and open-faced sandwiches.

This bread, despite being grain free, is remarkably like classic wheat bread. Except that each slice has 40% of your daily fiber and 18% protein. Though flax is high in fat, it's all the good stuff and a high does of omega-3s. Nutrition per slice: 170 calories, 10.8g carbs, 10.6 g fiber, .2 g net carbs, 12.5 g fat. 10% daily iron, phosphorus, and calcium.

I had an amazing turkey sandwich for lunch with the bread, a kosher dill relish, turkey breast and homemade garlic mayo. Simple, satiating, and soo delish.....

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