is coming to town to speak to our community, which has prompted me to reread some of his books: The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
, and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
, and Food Rules: An Eater's Manual.
...to name a few.
Have you seen the new edition of Food Rules: An Eater's Manual, with illustrations by Maira Kalman?
After reading The Omnivore's Dilemma
for the first time, I changed the way I buy meat and chicken. I swore off feedlot beef, industrial pork and chicken that never see the light of day. My freezer is now full of meat and poultry that has been sourced from local farmers or game harvested by my husband. (See below for sources.)
My pantry is devoid of edible food-like substances, Pollan's term for processed foods. (Unless you count my Fig Newmans and the occasional box of Wheat Thins.)
My refrigerator is full of farmers market produce. I grow my own herbs, make dairy products from local milk
, and source my coffee beans from the roaster in town.
I became a Kalman fan after I received her illustrated version of The Elements of Style.
When I read Pollan's work, I usually feel pretty good about my food choices.
But I must admit that there is an elephant in my whole foods packed-kitchen, a big white elephant: White Flour. I like to bake, and I go through bags and bags of the stuff. Although I love the nutty flavor and toothsome texture of whole grain baked goods, I live in a household of White Bread Lovers, and I love white bread too.
Which bring us to Food Rule #42.
The new edition of Food Rules is updated with rules that readers submitted through the organization Slow Food.
As Pollan so eloquently explains, when Americans stopped stone-grinding wheat to make flour and started processing it on a large scale, we robbed the flour of its B vitamins, fiber, and healthy fats. The resulting white flour is nutritionally pallid by comparison, and akin to giving our bodies a shot of glucose, which wreaks havoc on our insulin metabolism.
Peasant White from 460Bread is really all I need to be happy, and it's probably the most nutritious white bread you can buy.
In an effort to reduce my consumption of white flour, I will be baking with whole-grain flours throughout the fall, adapting for altitude many recipes from Kim Boyce's Good to the Grain cookbook. (Available at the Teton County Public Library.) Flour made from amaranth, barley, buckwheat, corn, kamut, multigrain, oat, quinoa, rye, spelt and teff will hopefully find a comfortable place in my kitchen.
Last night, enthused by my whole grain mission, I made a cake with spelt flour, olive oil, chocolate and rosemary. The sweet and nutty spelt was a nice contrast to the creamy dark chocolate and the piney rosemary. But it is apparent that I have much to learn about whole-grain baking at high altitude; the cake was dry as toast, and now sits on the counter half-eaten. Baking with whole-grain flours can be tricky.
My first cake make with spelt flour was not a roaring success.
So instead I will share my recipe for Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies. Substituting nut flours--almond, hazelnut and chestnut--for white flour in desserts is something I have been doing for years, and is a great way to boost their nutritional value. My kids like the Almond Flour Cookies even better than their all white predecessors, and my friends go crazy over them.
Almond flour is made of just almonds, which are milled finer than almond meal. It can be difficult to find at the typical grocery store, so I buy my almond flour online. It is perishable but keeps well if refrigerated. My 10-pound bag has lasted almost a year.
Almond flour costs more than your supermarket all-purpose flour, but it only needs to be used in small amounts to boost the nutritional value of most anything you bake.
When substituting nut flour for white in a recipe, there is a fine line between too much--which makes the cookie grainy and tough--and too little. I have found that replacing just under half of the white flour yields the best result.
Rule #79: Treat treats as treats. This is not my favorite Food Rule, and a real challenge for a dessert-lover like me. (Do you know what DESSERTS spelled backwards spells?) But I am trying to change my ways and come to terms with the fact that every night is not a special occasion.
When it comes to homemade cookies, I do have a few strategies to keep myself and my family from eating the entire batch.
After mixing up the dough, I immediately freeze half for another special day. Then I'll freeze half of the cookies that get baked to pull out for future lunchbox treats. There will still be plenty of cookies to go around.
Michael Pollan has changed my thinking about food in so many ways, and now he's changing my cookies.
For a printable version of the recipe, click on the file below it.
Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies
I also love these cookies made with Bob's Red Mill Hazelnut flour/meal, available locally. Substitute hazelnut flour for the almond flour in the recipe.
Makes more than you should eat in one sitting.
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 teaspoons water
- 2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375ºF.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour. all purpose flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter with the sugars until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat well.
- Add the vanilla, almond extract, and water. Mix well.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture until almost combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix with a few more turns. Be careful not to over mix the dough.
- Finish combining by hand with a wooden spoon if necessary. Chill the dough for at least 30 minutes or overnight. (If you skip this step, your cookies will cook up flat like pancakes, but they will still taste fine.)
- When ready to bake, line a cookie sheet with a silicon mat (if you have one) or parchment paper. Drop 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough onto the sheet for each cookie. Leave a few inches of space in between.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes, pulling them out of the oven just before they look done. They will firm up as they sit on the hot cookie sheet.
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If you have a question for Michael Pollan, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll see if I can get you an answer!
Almond Flour: http://store.honeyvillegrain.com
.Hutterite Chickens from Montana
: Ted Wells is a farmer in Victor, Idaho who sources chickens and turkeys raised by Hutterite farmers in Montana in their small, Amish-like colonies. Although not technically organic, the birds are raised to forage, without hormones or antibiotics. To get on Ted's email list, contact him at mailto:email@example.comLocal Lamb, Pork and Beef
: Derek Ellis is my source for custom animal butchery of the elk, deer, antelope and bison that we harvest. He also sells whole and half animals, raised locally and ethically in Idaho and Wyoming, butchered to your preference. http://www.elliscustommeats.com
. The Aspens Market
in Jackson provides nose to tail butchering of pork from Robinson Family Farm in Star Valley, Wy, and local grass fed beef. You can read more about sourcing local meat by clicking Aspens Market Butcher Shop in the sidebar.460Bread
: Bread made from local wheat ground at the bakery, available at their shop
, or at most good local grocery stores.
The Aspens Market is a good place to shop if you want to know where your pork comes from.