Sunday, September 04, 2011

Let's Talk About Teff

Let's talk about all the good things (since I'm unaware of any bad things) teff can bring. Teff is a delicious, ancient grain (though ubiquitous in Ethiopia, it's new-fangled under the star-spangled banner) reminiscent of whole wheat with a touch of its subtle sweetness. In my experience, teff has worked great for baking with sweets (chocolate, cinnamon, berries, fruit, etc. . . .) or pairing with meats (lamb, chicken . . .).

Why try teff? Bottom line: it tastes good, and our culture is hooked on wheat flour. Why not try something exotic? I don't mean to push it, but I like a healthy challenge to try something new & nourishing for you ("you" as in "one" or people in general. Who will courageously join the fight to reinstate "thou" & "one"? Life would be so much easier. "Y'all" works for disambiguating "you" too . . .). Tasting teff is akin to trying out a touch of cayenne pepper & pink Himalayan salt in lieu of the iodized girl-in-a-rain-slicker granules & powdery grey-black McCormick.

According to my doctor, by switching up what foods I eat on a rotational diet, I can avoid exacerbating allergies to foods that I am already prone to having (as my detrimental almond addiction, which I began as an alternative to mold-prone peanut butter, may have illustrated). In general I just ask myself: what have I been eating almost every day? Then I stop eating that item (rice, soy, cashews, corn, etc.) for a day or two to give myself a change of pace. It's sorta like a food safari (or, even better: an exotic excursion to New England!).

According to me, Teff is a fun way to eat something gluten-free. Cook accordingly and griddle that darling grain to fashion a fantastic farewell to summer in a fond fall foodie fashion!

Teffkin Pancakes (gluten-free, webkin-free & vegan)

1 cup teff flour (other types of flours would work fine too) 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon-ish/a dash allspice
1/8 teaspoon-ish/a dash cloves
(could use cinnamon or nutmeg if you don't have these spices on hand)

1 cup pumpkin 
1/3 cup light coconut milk, unsweetened (or other milk, sweetened or not, here I come)
1 Tablespoon of maple syrup
2 or 3 Tablespoons oil (I used grapeseed. Canola, coconut, or another oil would also work. I started with 2 T and added a bit more to get the batter to be a bit less thick.)  

oil for greasing griddle (I used about a 1/2 Tablespoon of grapeseed oil, which has a relatively high smoke point . . . coconut oil made my first pan smoke!)

1/4 cup pecans (or other nut or seed. Entirely optional)
3 dates, sliced (or 1/4 cup raisins. Utterly optional but wholeheartedly suggested)

Take the 1 cup flour and, if possible, sift it to make it fluffier, but it's no big deal (I haven't tried it unsifted, but I wanted to use a sifter since I had one on hand). 

Add all dry ingredients together in one big bowl: spices, baking soda, salt, flour.


Put all wet ingredients together (milk, pumpkin, maple syrup, & oil) in a different bowl. 

Once that's stirred well, incorporate the wet ingredients into the flour mixture. Then stir in the optional nuts and dried fruit.


Cook over medium high heat on the pre-oiled griddle. It's ready when you shake water from your fingertips onto it and the droplets sizzle.

I used a rubber scraper/spatula to even out the pancake depth once it rested on the griddle, making the cakes a bit thinner. 

Top with some maple syrup, and sink your teeth into some warm, doughy goodness.

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