Sunday, February 12, 2012

Savory Sage Cornbread - Gluten Free and Delicious

Gluten Free Sage Cornbread

I walked out in the yard the other day and was surprised to see that there were still herbs growing in the garden, in the middle of February.  We have had a mild winter in New Jersey this year with little snow, but I was amazed looking at the parsley, rosemary and sage plants that were still alive and fairly healthy.  The sage in particular surprised me.  It's usually dead, frosted over by the end of November when I try to pick the leaves to use in my Thanksgiving dressing.

I decided that since fresh herbs were still alive and available, I ought to at least respect Mother Nature's gift by cooking with them a little more frequently.  I had been working on perfecting a gluten free cornbread recipe and decided that a little sage would make the perfect addition.

 I made the Sage Cornbread the other night and served it along side a wonderful 10 garlic clove chicken soup my husband had prepared.  (I'll be sharing that recipe another time).  The cornbread was fabulous!  It was light, raised nicely and was not dry.  The savory flavor of the added sage definitely elevated the bread to another level.   I think the sage and the golden flax meal I added also helped the cornbread retain moisture.  Even the few slices we had leftover the next day were still moist.  Not dried out at all.

Savory Sage Cornbread

1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
1 cup brown rice flour (I used Bob's Organic)
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal (I use Arrowhead Mills organic)
3 tablespoons sugar (organic)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of xantham gum (helps in rising)
1 tablespoon organic golden flax meal (Bob's)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg plus 3 tablespoons liquid egg whites (or you could just use 2 eggs)
1 cup low fat milk
1/4 cup melted butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free Margarine)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix together all ingredients,
pour into a greased pan 9 inch baking pan, square or oval.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Serve warm.

* There are a couple of substitutions that can be made in this recipe.  White rice flour can be used instead of brown rice flour.  You could also leave out the golden flax meal entirely if you choose.  2 large eggs can be used in place of the 1 egg and 3 Tb liquid egg whites.  Regular butter or margarine can be used instead of Earth Balance.  If you don't have the xanthum gum, you could probably leave that out too, although the cornbread might not be quite as fluffy.

Notes about eating gluten-free:
When a person finds themselves having to embrace a gluten-free diet or any allergy related diet, although there are restrictions with some of the ingredients you would normally use to cook with, you still have a choice about the "quality" of ingredients that you do use.  It really bothers me to read  gluten-free cookbooks that conveniently defer to using recipes that rely on the unhealthy, high sodium  "dump a box or can" method of cooking.  Trading a diet of white flour and white sugar for a diet of white rice flour, tapioca starch and white sugar... does nothing for you nutritionally.  Gluten free baked goods are never going to be the same as those baked with white flour.  Why so many people try to completely replicate it and pretend it is just amazes me.  It is what it is.  But by taking the time to learn to cook using new grains and new ingredients, you'll be amazed at how delicious the dishes really can be. 

Brown rice flour is more nutritious the white rice flour.  Automatically adding a tablespoon of flax meal to anything boosts the fiber and nutritional content.  It has also been proven that flax meal helps reduce cholesterol. could use 2 whole eggs and butter in your batter, but why why not save the fat and cholesterol by making substituting with some egg whites and margarine?  Take responsibility for what you are eating and accept eating a gluten-free diet for what it is.  Not what you want it to be.  Appreciate the foods you can eat.  By being given the gift of having to eat gluten-free, you are being given a chance to improve your eating habits and also become more educated about health and nutrition.  You will end up being healthier as a result.
                                                 Another Buddy Fergurson approved recipe!

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