The Jew And The Carrot

Remaking Jewish Food for the Gluten Free

By Talia Lavin (JTA)

  • Print
  • Share Share
jta
Mom’s Double Chocolate Gelt is one of the gluten-free recipes in “Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish American Kitchen.”

When Tim Horel was in his mid-30s, he tripped over his shoelaces and wound up shattering both of his elbows.

“It was way too early for him to be breaking bones like that,” Lisa Stander-Horel, Tim’s wife, told JTA.

The cause for Tim’s weakened bones turned out to be celiac disease, a condition in which the protein found in wheat, rye and other grains provokes an immune response that can damage the small intestine and lead to other health problems.

When the Horels cut gluten from their diet, Stander-Horel found that health problems she had long faced — such as rashes and migraines — disappeared as well.

There is no cure for celiac, which can prevent the body from absorbing needed nutrients and lead to osteoporosis, fatigue and even intestinal cancer. But strict adherence to a gluten-free diet can alleviate most symptoms and provide a chance for the small intestine to heal.

As awareness of the disease has grown, a plethora of dietary options have cropped up. A walk down the aisles of a grocery store finds gluten-free varieties of everything from Rice Krispies to kaiser rolls.

But for kosher keepers and those who just enjoy the pleasures of Jewish foods, adhering to a gluten-free diet can be a challenge. Jewish foods such as kugel, matzah balls and challah are rich in gluten. In fact, wheat and barley are two of the seven species mentioned in Deuteronomy.

To help bring traditional Jewish cooking to the gluten-free, the Horels published “Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish American Kitchen,” which was released in September. The book took 10 years to produce — a process Stander-Horel says was “mostly trial and error.”

Stander-Horel has been a passionate baker from an early age and wanted to reproduce all the recipes she remembered from childhood — a policy she calls “No recipe left behind.” In general, Stander-Horel advises gluten-free cooks to carefully examine the ingredients of all purchases and avoid cross-contamination in the kitchen.

Jewish cooks also can take advantage of products already designed to cater to ritual culinary needs. Faye Levy, author of “Healthy Cooking for the Jewish Home,” told JTA that many Passover products can be repurposed for gluten-free cooking.

“Products that cater to those that don’t eat gebrokts — moistened matzah meal — often use potato or rice flour,” Levy said. “You can use Passover noodles in soups or for kugel, and it turns out really well.”

Chickpea flour, a traditional ingredient in the Indian kitchen, also works well in savory dishes like latkes and kugels, according to Levy.

For the Horels, finding gluten-free foods was difficult in the years following Tim’s diagnosis.

“The only flour available when we started was one, rice flour,” said Stander-Horel. “A lot of things were only available in Canada, and we had to learn to order things from far, far away.”

But Bonnie Gillert, a nutritionist and author of “Passover the Healthy Way,” says there are now many new gluten-free products on the market, making a gluten free diet radically easier than it used to be.

“With my celiac patients, I work on their mindset,” Gillert said. “They often begin feeling that they’re deprived, that this is a life sentence. Well, it’s something they have to consider for a lifetime, but being gluten free is no obstacle to a healthy, vibrant life.”

The following is a recipe for Mom’s Double Chocolate Gelt from “Nosh on This: Gluten-Free Baking from a Jewish-American Kitchen” (reprinted with permission).

Mom’s Double Chocolate Gelt

Makes 35 to 38 small cookies Baking time: 12 to 14 minutes Dairy free

Ingredients:
Granulated sugar (100 grams/ 1/2cup)
Gluten-free flour blend — 2 parts superfine brown rice flour, plus 1 part each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour by weight — (130 grams / 1 cup)
Unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted (35 grams / 1/2 cup)
Baking soda (1/4 teaspoon)
Kosher salt (1/4 teaspoon)
Shortening (95 grams / 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup)
Egg (60 grams / 1 extra-large)
Brewed coffee, decaf OK (1 teaspoon)
Vanilla extract (1/2 teaspoon)
Orange extract (1/4 teaspoon)
Walnuts, roughly chopped (60 grams / 1/2 cup)
Semisweet mini chocolate chips (85 grams / 1/2 cup)
Coarse sugar, optional (125 grams / 1/2 cup)

Preparation:
Preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the shortening. Add the egg, coffee, vanilla, and orange extract. Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips. Knead until the dough comes together. Roll the dough into heaping teaspoon-size balls and flatten slightly into 1/4-inch-thick disks. Roll the outside edges in coarse sugar — like rolling a penny on its edges in sand — if desired. Place 1/4 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a rack and let cool.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jewish food, gluten free, nosh

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.