Thursday, January 24, 2008

A new breakfast option

In addition to the cookbook I mentioned last week, Trillian brought Shauna Ahern's Gluten-Free Girl home from the library. It's a combination memoir and cookbook, along with advice on gluten-free eating. I am enjoying it immensely and have started a mental list of what I want to try next.

One of the grains that she discusses is teff. The grain originated in Ethiopia and is the smallest grain in the world. It's rich in protein and iron. As small as it is, the germ and bran are a higher proportion of each grain and end up as an integral part of the teff flour. Ahern mentions that teff flour works very well in baked goods, adding a silky texture due to its "slightly gelatinous" nature when cooked.

So I've been dying to try this grain, especially to use it in bread made from scratch so that I can see if it takes care of the slightly grainier texture that bugs Trillian about other gf flours. Of course, all I could find was whole grain teff (from Bob's Red Mill), so that experiment will have to wait. But what I could do this morning was use it to make my morning hot cereal.

I followed the recipe off the back of the package:
  1. Bring 2 cups of lightly salted water to a boil.
  2. Add 1/2 cup Teff Grain.
  3. Cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until water is absorbed.
  4. Add honey, raisins, nuts, fruit and/or cinnamon.
For my cooking conditions, the grain never quite absorbed all of the water in the pot, so it had a thin consistency. I'll pull back 1/4 cup next time and see if that helps. But I could definitely see the silkiness Ahern mentions.

I added some honey and frozen peaches and found the concoction quite delicious! The grain itself has just the slightest nutty flavor, and the cereal is smooth on the tongue. I filled my bowl twice and ate the whole thing, although I suppose it could serve two.

According to the back of the package, 1/4 cup dry of the grain (or one serving of the breakfast cereal) contains 6 grams of fiber (24% RDA) and 20% of the RDA of iron, plus 6 grams of protein and 8% of the RDA of calcium. Add in that a serving contains 160 calories (5 from fat) and this is a pretty good substitute for that bowl of oatmeal or cream of wheat.

No comments: