Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A slice of Lasagna, a new discovery, a replacement for ricotta!

     I have been cooking gluten free for a while now, and there are still many times that I feel very much like a novice.  I realize there as so many things I still haven't tried.  So my discovery this week (which I am sure some of you will shake your heads at me, and say "Where have you been?") is cream of buckwheat.  I have had buckwheat pancakes and I really didn't care for them at all.  Probably a major contributor as to why I shunned buckwheat altogether.  But that has changed for me now.

      I had a friend share a new recipe with me that she had cooked for her family.  It was lasagna from The Spunky Coconut Cookbook by Kelly Brozyna.  (By the way the lasagna recipe is on page 110-111 of her cookbook).   She shared with me a slice of her lasagna and included the recipe. When I read the ingredients,  I was surprised that the ricotta like filling in the lasagna was cream of buckwheat!

     So today I tried my hand at making lasagna the way I normally do, with the exception of my new found ricotta wanna be filling.  Out of the ten of us, I had one person say my lasagna was so-so.  Good enough odds for me!

     Cooking the cream of buckwheat was simple.  I followed the directions on the package, but instead of cooking it in water, I choose my favorite milk substitute.  Then you can flavor the cream of buckwheat like Kelly Brozyna did with Italian seasoning or you can just as easily add a little salt and pepper and leave it plain.  Then Viola!  You use it between the layers in your lasagna.  

     As I was making the cream of buckwheat I thought how you could easily spice the buckwheat with pesto, or any of your favorite herb seasonings  to use in savory dishes, or punctuate it with cinnamon and sugar in sweeter dishes.  I am looking forward to trying it in my other recipes that call for ricotta.  And on another note, the box said that it could also be used in place of grits.  After tasting them, I could see where it could be a substitute.  So another thing to check out since we have one person in our family that is allergic to corn.  I have a recipe for a grits casserole and I always cook my grits in a broth for added flavor.   You could easily do the same with the cream of buckwheat for a savory dish.

     I am excited at the prospect of experimenting more with this new found ingredient.  Thanks Sarah for introducing me to cream of buckwheat!  What a good friend!
     And for those of you who already knew about cream of buckwheat,  I am on the train now.  I am catching on!

They said you can freeze your made cream of buckwheat into ice cube portions.  I am giving that a try.

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