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Friday, January 30, 2004  

Maude's Beloved Buckwheat
A grain you can love

My grandmother, Maude Williams Garlinghouse, was an osteopath, a whole-body doc back in the early half of the last century. She was a friend of Adele Davis,' and preached from the same food gospel. That is, she spurned packaged foods, believed in eating lots of veggies. And she wanted us to use more buckwheat in our diets.

She made buckwheat pancakes instead of the white-flour sort. Nutty, intensely-favored things. I never had the chance to taste them, but my mother did, remembered them well, hankered for them. So we found and tweaked recipes to make one we feel closely approximates Maude's simple griddle cakes. They were a hit among three generations around our table that morning.

Why was she such a buckwheat nut? Why do we care now? Well, a whole lot of us are sensitive to wheat products. Refined wheat, whole wheat, it doesn't matter. If we have it, we have trouble. So we look for other things to eat. Many, many more of us are insulin resistant and looking for healthier carbohydrates that don't send our insulin production into overdrive with every bite. Those of us in that category cut most grains from our diets at least until we get our blood sugar back in line. Buckwheat offers one exception to grain restriction for those of us in that boat. Well, it's not a grain at all.

I started making my own pasta from buckwheat flour awhile ago. Easily done, you just whip up an egg per person you're serving, then knead in enough buckwheat flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Run it though your pasta maker as you would any pasta. Dry anything you don't want to cook right away.

Buckwheat has a slightly more distinct, nuttish, vegetable flavor that loves stronger sauces. When you cook it, in pasta or griddle cakes, it has a chocolatey look to it, or at least that's how one 14 year-old in my house described it.

Aside from tasting good, it's a higher fiber, higher protein, gluten-free, grain-like food rich in magnesium (we're nearly all deficient in magnesium) and potassium and lots of other goodies. There are compounds in it shown to lower your bad cholesterol and help people with Type II diabetes.

What I'm saying is, grandma was right. Again.

*Use in place of wheat flour in recipes that call for regular flour but don't require the gluten of a wheat flour for rising. Think muffins, crusts, quickbreads, crackers. You'll find buckwheat wants more moisture to work well, and the doughs will be very soft, needing a light hand. I've had great luck with a tart crust, and will soon share my buckwheat morning muffin recipe.

*Make your own pastas from it. Involve kids, who love to cut noodles.

*Eat buckwheat groats, kasha, cooked for breakfast or as a side dish.

*Exchange buckwheat flour for wheat in your cornbread recipe for a delicious difference.

Try Maude's pancakes:

For Maude: Simple Buckwheat Pancakes, 6 servings

3 cups buckwheat flour
2 T. Stevia powder
1 tsp. salt
1 T. cinnamon
4 tsp. baking powder

Whisk together:
2 eggs
3 cups water (or milk if you're not carb careful, or milk and cream if you're not calorie nervous)
2 T Grapeseed oil

Heat your non-stick griddle until it's hot enough for droplets of water to dance like you remember dancing oughtta go. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet stuff. Use an ice cream scoop (If you can find it, because you're not really eating much ice cream any more, are you? That stuff can kill you.) to drop batter onto your griddle, which you may wipe with a smidgen of grapeseed oil or butter if you like. Cook those cakes until they're dry around the edges and bubbling a bit, then flip them. Let them brown on the other side, then serve them up to someone hungry for something real. This mixture will thicken as it stands. You can loosen it with water or milk as you make your cakes.

Lowcarb folks, these are not without carbs, so you may want to wait for your maintenance plan, or enjoy them on special occasions. They won't tank your program, though. Consider topping them with whipped cream or whipped cream cheese sweetened with Stevia, and a few strawberries. Other folks, go easy on the syrups, will you? I worry about you people. Everybody, keep track of the calories. Overeating matters. And these will encourage overeating.

Nutrition info, based on pancakes made with water, from
Servings: 6
Calories per serving 267, Calories from Fat 72
Fiber 6g
Carbohydrates 43g
Fat 8g
Protein 10g

Buckwheat flour facts from
Doc Weil on buckwheat

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posted by Julie |
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