Easter, Okonomiyaki, & Gluten-Free Festivity

If you're feeling uncommon, poor in the way of options, or wondering what to do with
traditionally gluten-filled Easter menus, check out my brunch (below). I love freelancing and
fusing foods -- and something about playing with variety pulls me right out of
the old habit of self-pity, paralysis, and false sense of deprivation that celiac can induce. 

Easter is a time to receive life. Not deprivation or fear.

I eat gluten-free.

That means I eat -- and can eat -- a whole menagerie of fantastic foods. Like Okonomiyaki, the Japanese "pancake".
Slow-roasted Eggs.
Cuban Black Beans and Charred Corn Tortillas...



He is risen! goes the traditional Easter greeting. But so are doughs, breads ready to bake in traditional Easter-style, and a list of invites on my social media radar from friends holding brunches, picnics, and potlucks to celebrate Christ's dealing death to Death.

That doesn't mean I have to do the opposite of rise, and sink into isolation or self-pity.

I'm jaunting off to an Easter pot-luck, and I'm freelancing a Japanese-Cuban fusion brunch in my gluten-free kitchen -- who will come, contributing some naturally gluten-free foodstuffs to the endeavour (I'm cooking -- they can bring ingredients)


A GLUTEN-FREE EASTER BRUNCH TO SHARE WITH FAMILY OR FRIENDS


Okonomiyaki

:: the Japanese pancake whose name broadly means
"as you like it" ::

I take mine gluten-free, thankee. 

Cuban-Style Black Beans & Roasted Fennel
Charred Corn Tortillas

:: naturally gf beans & fragrant fennel make
this dish sweet & savoury ::

I can haz extra garlic, plz?

Onigiri
with Sephardic Roasted Eggs

:: rice cakes = Japanese. eggs = Sephardic/Jewish.
final product: brilliant gf fusion cuisine ::

I like to add sweet tsubu-an or anko like jam to both. It
is paste or spread made of little adzuki beans.


I don't avoid holiday food (anymore). I make the holiday food -- or at least, the menu.

And when I don't, I let go of the expectation that others will know or meet my needs, however much they want to. I enjoy the company, and I focus on what's always gluten-free: friendship.

Happy Easter!  

The recipes follow below, and I hope if you dig in, you'll drop me a line to let me know how playing with food fusion turned out for your celebration.


CJ



recipes 


OKONOMIYAKI

 -- in contemporary cuisine, this often-savoury "pancake" uses a classic wheat flour. Not this version.  Enjoy. If you grew up in the West, this little bloke will be a novelty to the taste buds.


The Savoury or Umami:

3 cups shredded bok choy or cabbage
1/2 scallions
1/4 -1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup nori flakes, or wakame or kelp
4 large organic eggs
1 tbsp coconut flour
Japanese mayo (to taste)
optional: bacon, shrimp, mushrooms, maple syrup, gomasio, sesame seeds

The Sweet:

3 cups shredded bok choy, fennel bulb, or cabbage
1/2 cup scallions
4 large organic eggs
 2 tbsp coconut flour
maple syrup (to taste) (or syrup or jam of your choice)
optional: fresh Asian pear, anko or tsubu-an, various fresh fruit

Directions:

1) Combine flour, milk, eggs, and beat well in a single mixing bowl. Add cabbage, scallions (or fennel), and fold into the batter.  
2) NOTE: If using MEAT, heat a skillet pan and oil of choice, and fry while mixing pancake batter until well done. If using FRUIT, it can be fun to fry pear or banana before adding batter as well.
3) Pour  about 1/2 batter a) into oiled, heated skillet or b) over meat in oiled, heated skillet. Cook covered for 2-3 minutes. Remove cover, flip, and cook another 2-3 minutes.
4) Using a spatula, remove from pan, plate, and top with syrups, spreads or various edibles of choice. 
5) Repeat process until all batter is used, making sure to reserve enough meat/fillings for at least 3-4 pancakes.
6) As is indicated by the name...this is as you like it. One can't ruin this recipe. Make one enormous egg-cake if you like. Or -- one other option -- fry in singly, but then sandwich over fruit or meat filling to make stackers.

Here is a recipe for a homemade traditional Okonomiyaki-sauce. (Do be aware: It's rather an acquired taste.) http://from-japan-with-love.blogspot.com/2010/06/homemade-gluten-free-okonomiyaki.html

TSUBU-AN

--this paste is better than jam in my book most days of the week.



Ingredients:

1 cup small azuki or red beans
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar OR 10 drops liquid stevia (I like to use NOW Foods)
1 strip of kombu, or dried kelp, about 2"
Directions:

1) Add beans and water to a large pot, and soak overnight. Drain in the morning, add another 2 cups of water, and kombu, and set to boil. Once you've gotten a good boil going, reduce to a simmer until water has almost cooked away.
2) Pour bean mixture into a china bowl, add sweetener, and mash. Paste can be blended in a blender or food processor to create a smoothe paste if a few tablespoons to a 1/4 cup of water is added.

Refrigerate until ready to eat.


ROASTED EGGS

--they're roasted. That's it. But flavour and appearance post-roasting is smoky-creamy, whites gone a pale coffee brown.

Directions:

Heat oven to 220F. Place eggs directly on rack. Bake for 5 hours. Remove.

Serve immediately.

They're easy to peel, and the yolk should have remained surprisingly soft and creamy.

 ONIGIRI

--plain and simple: rice. But better.

This recipe for Black Rice Balls is the bloody best, and a fun-sweet (non-traditional) take on the simpler plain onigiri.

CHARRED TORTILLAS

Directions:

I usually purchase the sprouted tortillas  from Food For Life (only the corn, don't accidentally nab the wheaty-other-sprouted tortillas). 

Place directly on a grill, or burner, with heat on a burner at medium, and flip when the tortilla begins to show the marks from the grill/burner. Wrap in a clean towel, and serve fast.

CUBAN BLACK BEANS WITH FENNEL

--fennel and coriander add a sweet edge that nicely sets off the subtle garlic and pungeant oregano; sort of tickles the taste buds.

Directions:

1) Soak those beans overnight. In the morning, drain and boil until soft. Drain any extra water.
2) Adding coconut or olive oil to a skillet, heat, and fry vegetables until soft; then add your beans with spices and fry until all vegetables have become indistinguishable from bean matter, and you have a nice frijole-smooth consistency.
3) Remove from heat, allow to cool if you mean to store them (they do taste better after a few days in the fridge), or serve immediately. To reheat, I recommend re-frying again in a little oil.

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