First, I have two words: duck eggs.
Second, I am happy to say that the noble lemon has found its way back into to my diet.
Third, the Minneapolis Farmers Market has the most beautiful strawberries in the whole world.
And fourth? These three foods have made my culinary life much more interesting lately.
Ah yes, I'm reintroducing foods again, for better or worse. So far, it is only for the better - I think - so I'll just keep rolling with it, and hope that it never seems worse.
In the meantime, I am taking full advantage of my new foods. It is so exciting to have access to this incredible trio of ingredients! Let's start with the duck eggs. Minneapolis has multiple places to easily purchase duck eggs: the Seward Co-op, Traditional Foods of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Farmers Market. This is absolutely incredible and makes me feel über fortunate. After deciding to take the plunge and try them, I was first a little perplexed - I haven't cooked with eggs in two years, and really didn't know what to do! So, my first duck egg experience was simple: scrambled with fresh herbs and arugula from my garden, finished with smoked sea salt.
It was heaven. Duck eggs are rich, fluffy, and wonderfully flavored. I love them. The yolks are a deep, beautiful golden orange color, yielding lovely, deep yellow scrambled eggs. Gorgeous. They are higher in protein than chicken eggs, and chock full of healthy omegas. I love them.
A couple days later, I used duck eggs in an awesome zucchini bread recipe (don't worry, you'll get it some day). I was amazed at what it allowed me to do with gluten-free flours! My binder-free bread was beautiful - easily sliceable, lofty, and with a nice, light crumb. One thing entered my mind: What are all those gluten-free people who eat eggs complaining about? Geez, lighten up, people! When baking with eggs, the gluten-free thing is barely an issue because eggs hold stuff together so darn well, even without binders. Seriously, eggs make it awfully easy to bake gluten-free.
I have since enjoyed duck eggs a variety of ways. This morning, I ate one fried up with some leftover seaweed rice and some raw sauerkraut on the side. Yum.
And as for the lemon? Well, I'm elated. Lemon is one of my favorite foods, and I have missed it terribly. I am so pleased to have it back, but I must remember not to overdo it - I must use it in rotation for now, just to be safe. If this goes well, I will try out limes. Oranges and grapefruit, on the other hand, are staying far away.
Strawberries are another recent re-addition to my diet. I have a touchy relationship with fruit, and for some reason, I am actually tolerating it right now. Since we are at the height of strawberry season, I'm taking full advantage of it. And when strawberries at the farmers market look like this, how can you resist?
Oh, don't worry, I will still make lots of things without eggs and lemons and fruit. But I will use them from time to time, because they are too good not to incorporate! Thankfully, eggs, as we know, are easy to substitute, and lemon is too, so even if I do include them in a recipe, don't discount it - there is probably a way to adapt it to fit your needs! I will try to include substitution options.
All right, moving on.
Let's talk about bread.
As I mentioned earlier, baking gluten-free with eggs is much easier than baking without. Especially in things like bread when you actually want something that really holds together but you don't like xanthan or guar.
This bread is sweet and moist and lovely and incredibly flavorful, and most importantly, slices like a dream. It was one of those breads that came into existence from the perfect set of circumstances: I had a lovely container of fresh berries at the farmers market that needed to be used, eggs, lemon, a full flour bin, and the desire to bake.
So, I went for it. This bread is seriously loaded: strawberries, lemon, poppyseeds, coconut, cashews, and cardamom, tucked into a lovely, light, crumby loaf of coconut and sorghum flours. I added just a little teeny bit of raw honey (easily omitted if desired) with my stevia powder. If you do not tolerate either duck or chicken eggs, try using a vegan egg substitute of your choice. I haven't tried it, so I can't guarantee the outcome - but it would be worth a shot. That said, if you are not using real eggs, you may need to add 1/2-1 tsp of guar gum or xanthan gum to bind the flour since vegan egg substitutes do not bind quite as effectively as real eggs. You may also want to add a little baking powder, maybe a 1/2-1 tsp or so, to make up for the loft that eggs provide.
Sweet, flavorful, and awfully pretty, this is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. It was a wonderful throwback to the days of lemon poppyseed cake, which was one of my favorite desserts. And best yet, it is another way for me to indulge my early summer obsession with strawberries. Did you see my recipe for sugar-free strawberry rhubarb jam?
Happy summer, and happy baking!
Loaded Strawberry Lemon Poppyseed Bread
Yield 4 mini loaves
These sweet mini loaves are loaded with goodness - strawberries, lemon, poppyseeds, coconut, cashews, and cardamom. It sounds like a lot of ingredients - and it is - but it is so good! If you really want to simplify, feel free to cut back on select ingredients for a more pared-down bread. I use duck eggs in this recipe - if you do not tolerate either duck or chicken eggs, try using a vegan egg substitute of your choice. I haven't tried it, so I can't guarantee results, but it would be worth a shot! That said, if you are not using real eggs, you may need to add 1/2-1 tsp of guar gum or xanthan gum to bind the flours, since vegan egg substitutes do not bind quite as effectively as real eggs. You may also want to add a little baking powder, maybe 1/2-1 tsp, to make up for the loft that eggs provide.
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour/starch
1 1/2 tsp stevia extract powder
2 tsp ground cardamom
4 tsp poppyseeds
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
juice and zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 duck eggs (or large chicken eggs)
optional: 1 Tbsp raw honey or other sweetener
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups finely chopped strawberries
1/2 cup finely chopped cashews
3-4 Tbsp finely shredded unsweetened coconut
Preheat oven to 350º F and oil 4 mini loaf pans.
Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, oil, honey (if using) and lemon juice, then add water and whisk until well combined. Add to dry ingredients, stirring until just evenly moistened, then fold in strawberries, lemon zest, and cashews. Batter will be thick.
Divide into prepared pans, and smooth out batter. Sprinkle with coconut and place in oven. Bake 40 minutes, until loaves are golden and toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool in pans 10-15 minutes, then remove from pans and finish cooling on a wire rack. Once cool, slice and serve.
Leftovers freeze well.