If you are not already familiar with “going gluten free”, the thought of re-inventing yourself as a gluten-free cook (or as a cook at all!) can be intimidating. Don’t worry. Making dinner with whole or minimally processed ingredients can be really simple. As for your daily bread, baking your own healthful loaves is really rewarding, and is making a comeback with thinking cooks from coast to coast whether gluten intolerant or not. To get you started, try the quickly-made gluten-free flaxmeal focaccia recipe that follows.
As for eating out, gluten-free choices are starred on many restaurant menus across America, and gluten-free bakeries are popping up like mushrooms. And should you need an excuse to visit France, a sleek (and popular!) restaurant has recently opened in Paris called Noglu, at 16, passage des Panoramas in the 2nd arrondissement. They serves only gluten-free food, made with stunning professional expertise in a totally wheat, barley and rye-free kitchen. Now that’s a new restaurant trend I can get behind.
FLAX & PEANUT FOCACCIA
Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease the sides of an 8-inch square baking pan with butter or gf non-stick cooking spray, and line the base with parchment paper. Mix together 3/4 cup flaxseed meal (preferably golden), 1/2 cup almond meal, 2 tablespoons brown rice flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum, and 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt in a large bowl. In a food processor, blend 6 tablespoons peanut butter and 2 large eggs until creamy. Add 3/4 cup water and process to mix. Pour over the flour mix and stir until smooth. The batter will be very moist. Pour into the pan, spread out evenly, and smooth the surface. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until risen and springy to a light touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 imnutes, loosen the sides with a knife, and turn out onto a rack. Peel off the paper and let cool right side up before slicing into 9 portions. (Refrigerate or freeze any extras.)
Tip: To make 3/4 cup golden flaxmeal, which is more difficult to find than the regular tan variety, grind 1/2 cup golden flax seeds in a clean electric coffee mill. (A food processor won’t work; it just whirls them about.)