Thursday, April 28, 2011
Muffins, not Vegan, Not Weston A. Price, but a strange combination
Here are some muffins that are crisp outside, while staying moist and bran muffin-like on the inside. I started with a recipe for pre-cooked oatmeal and banana muffins from Kim Boyce's cookbook, Good To the Grain, Baking With Whole -Grain Flours, and then took off from there with things I had in my pantry. One item I had on hand was pre-soaked, pre-cooked 5 grain cracked cereal from local Gee Creek Farm. Other things were raw goat's milk, homemade unsweetened apple sauce and coconut oil. I'm sure that the recipe would work using any kind of non-dairy or dairy milk, cooked whole grains and butter.
I've been looking into the Weston A. Price Foundation since I found an old book at a friend's house about Price's findings that indigenous people didn't have many, if any, cavities or need braces for cramming their teeth in to their mouths like those of us who eat refined foods do. The book was an old one from a book exchange, and when I Googled Price, I was really surprised to find out that there is a huge movement in the natural foods world connected with his findings- I am so not on the cutting edge of food.
Simplifying here, but Price found that by eating fewer grains (and those being whole grains, of course) and more fats and animal organs, people were healthier and able to remineralize teeth and bones, as well as regulate hormones. Of course, this is another controversial subject, and while I would be interested in trying out the diet, I realize that I would never be able to stick with a restricted regime of any kind, as I'm too much a product of my culture, and croissants, muffins and the like call my name.
However, I have been willing to try a few things out. One of these things is the notion of *'properly' soaking grains to neutralize the phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors in grains and beans. According to the Foundation folks, until fairly recently, most people fermented their grains or at least soaked them for a period of time in an acid to unlock the nutrients in them, so that the body can uptake minerals from the food. This makes sense to me when I consider all of the starters, beers, nixtamals, etc. that people around the world have used. Ahh, it's all making sense now- I always wondered why people of European descent have so many dental problems compared to all of the people with gorgeous teeth in the National Geographic magazines. Some people say that an overnight soak is not enough to ferment and really do the job of neutralizing enzyme inhibitors, but I did notice that the sesame seeds in my grain mix sprouted a tail, so that's something.
The other thing I've been willing to try is raw goat's milk. It is legal in Oregon to sell raw goat's milk, but not cow's milk. That's fine with me, because as some people have pointed out, goats are easier to keep clean than cows which makes it easier to keep their milk clean. Plus, they're smaller, and need less forage to provide the milk. I found that I like the taste of it, it's a bit salty, then sweet, and then slightly goaty, but not as strong as many goat cheeses. I've been giving my family rice milk for a long time because I didn't like the taste of cow's milk and didn't want to give my son estrogenic soy milk. Now, I feel like it might have been beneficial to him to get more calcium and protein, but I'd just as soon not give him 'dead' milk. The farm we've been getting the milk from through our local co-op is State certified, so I feel fairly confident that we can avoid listeria. Apparently, one is more likely to get listeria from lunch meat and produce, anyway.
So, if anyone is still with me here, back to the muffins! I was planning to make these with no milk because I wanted to share them with a friend who has a milk allergy. I started them with coconut oil instead of butter- but then I remembered that I'd soaked the five grain cereal with water and yogurt the night before I cooked them, so I decided to throw some goat's milk in as well. If you have an extra coffee grinder (I just got one) to grind whole spices, it really makes a difference. Next time I'll try to grind my own grains to get the most out of them, and that is going to take yet another lifestyle change, but maybe it'll offset the rest of the stuff I eat.
Here's the deal on the muffins in my non-professional style:
Makes medium sized muffins
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Sift dry ingredients together in a large bowl:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rye flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
In a stand mixer bowl, or mix very well by hand:
3/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 T molasses
2/3 cup raw goat milk
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup cooked whole grain cereal
Add nuts, seeds, dates or raisins if you have some on hand.
Spoon into coconut oil greased muffin tin. Bake for 30- 40 minutes. Kim had a great suggestion to twist the muffins out of the tins and cant them on their sides to cool after they are baked. This way they keep their crisp outer layer.
* To soak whole grains, add yogurt, kefir or lemon juice to soak water, leave over night, cook the next day. There are many whole food sites on the net explaining the process in detail, and a few refuting it, so go check them out if you are interested.