Monday, 29 March 2010
Last night for dinner I was making steamed beets, sauteed greens, liver & onions and wanted something else to complete the meal. I didn’t want something starchy like potatoes or heavy like grains – I wanted something lighter, more of a comfort food. I wish I could just whip up some biscuits, I thought. Wait a minute, I can do that!
I was in the mood for cornmeal. You know what goes great with cornmeal? Quinoa. I had both flours on hand, so I used half of each. Most traditional biscuit recipes call for butter or shortening, but vegetable shortening has a lot of unhealthy polyunsaturated and/or trans fats, so I avoid those like the plague. I always have some fresh cultured butter on hand so I used that (cultured butter is lactose-free!). I would imagine you could also make them with unrefined coconut oil or palm oil, or even good old-fashioned lard.
(Did you say lard? Seriously?) Yeah, that’s what your grandmother used to use in pie crusts.
Believe it or not, saturated animal fats are actually better for you than most vegetable oils, so I am reading. And it’s not just because of the trans fats – polyunsaturated vegetable oils have a much higher ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, and that leads to inflammation and disease. Animal fats such as butter and lard, particularly from grass-fed animals, contain a much more ideal ratio of the omegas and the saturated fats are heat-stable, less prone to oxidation, are beneficial to the immune system and have cancer-fighting properties. Saturated coconut oil contains lauric acid, which kills viruses and other harmful microbes. In spite of the campaign against saturated fat, our bodies actually need a certain amount of saturated fat to function properly, and that is primarily the kind of fat people ate for thousands of years before the invention of processed food and consequent epidemic of heart disease and obesity. If you don’t believe me, check out the Weston Price Foundation website. There is a growing body of evidence that the whole low-fat movement of the late 20th century actually made us less healthy and more, well, fat.
However, if you are still afraid of saturated fat, just keep using olive oil, which is the next best thing:) I don’t know if that would work as well in this recipe or if it would give it the right texture, but it’s worth trying. They’re so easy to whip up, you can experiment with different oils for texture and flavor.
1/2 cup stone-ground whole cornmeal
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3-4 T cultured butter or lard or coconut/palm oil
1/4 cup rice milk
Mix the dry ingredients in a food processor, add the butter and process until you get a coarse, grainy mixture. Pour it into a bowl, add the rice milk, and stir. Drop by large spoonfuls onto a baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees F for 15 minutes. That’s all there is to it. Top with a little more butter and fresh honey for a real treat.
Makes 6 biscuits – double the recipe for a dozen.