Somehow, nearly two years have passed since I gave up eating wheat, and I’ve managed to navigate around that discussion right here, the very place where I talk about food. There are a lot of reasons for not addressing it. I didn’t trust that I’d stick with it. I wasn’t diagnosed Celiac. I didn’t want to be judged. I’ve always wanted this site to be taken at face value, and not through the lens of gluten-free.
In life, especially where food is involved, I have to confront the anxiety around not wanting to inconvenience people and not wanting to be judged on the regular. I don’t love having to speak up at a restaurant and say, I’m gluten-intolerant, does this have wheat? Once at an event, right after asking about gluten-free choices, a woman next to me, a woman that I did not know, said to anyone in earshot, “Anytime someone says something’s gluten-free, I always ask, Can I get extra gluten on that? Will you serve that with a side of wheat?”
I can be as judgey as the next person. But shaming moments like that are kind of a reminder that we never know the circumstances around another person’s behavior and choices. Do you know how many times people have said to me, I could never give up bread or pasta! I didn’t want to give up bread or pasta either. But I had to. The flip side is that the gluten-free thing is having a moment. There is so much available, and so much experimentation, and it’s awesome.
My symptoms exist in that nebulous zone of gluten-intolerance. Mostly they were debilitating digestive troubles. They’re so much better now that I easily forget how awful I felt, how debilitating it was, and how much it limited my ability to thrive. We all deserve a chance at thriving.
And I have always imagined this space as one of celebration: a celebration of the seasons, the foods that I love, the produce and the farms and the farmers who inspire me, and my favorite places. Now I’d like to be a little more transparent about celebrating the gluten-free thing too.
PUMPKIN BUCKWHEAT WAFFLES WITH SAUTÉED APPLES
waffle recipe loosely adapted from Oprah.com
Yield: 6 waffles
Brown rice and oat flour is my go-to flour combination. It’s a great balance to the dense, nutty buckwheat flour. The sautéed apples and pecans and maple syrup make this perfectly, essentially fall.
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup oat flour
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 eggs, whisked
1 cup almond milk
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly, plus more for cooking
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 small heirloom apples, cored and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin puree, butter, and vanilla extract. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing thoroughly to combine.
Heat your waffle iron now. If using the old-school kind that heats on the stove (as I did), grease the heck out of that thing. It’s the only way to avert a failed waffle. Butter is best for this.
Measure 1/2 cup of the batter and pour into the center of the iron. Close and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. With a stovetop iron, that would be about 3 minutes per side. After 3 minutes on the second side, carefully open to see if the waffle is golden brown. If yes, it’s ready. Carefully remove the waffle from the heat and place on a plate in your warmed oven. Repeat with the remaining batter.
While the waffles cook, if you’re a good multi-tasker, sauté the apples. In a large skillet, warm the butter over medium heat. When the butter is melty and bubbling, add the apples and toss to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft and a little browned, about 4 minutes or so.
To serve, plate the waffle, top with 5 or 6 apple slices, a smattering of pecan pieces, and a generous glug of maple syrup.