This past month has been intense. *Warning- I’m afraid the following is a bit of a “Mommy blog” entry, so feel free to skip to the end for this really super-yummy recipe.* I have to admit that for a few weeks, Mommy stress dominated my life. In order to get some much-needed time to work on my dissertation, we started Toddler Yum at a daycare. Almost instantly, she came down with a tummy bug that dragged on for about a month, through missed days at daycare, Christmas at the grandparents in Colorado, and even into the New Year. Toddler Yum also discovered that she absolutely hated her daycare, especially during the two and a half hour nap time at mid-day when she was not remotely tired. Separation anxiety loomed large and resulted in her following me around like a puppy dog, clinging to my hand or neck or any other body part she could reach, and her biggest dread was being “by myself” as she put it. “I be by myself? Mommy go bye-bye?” she anxiously asked whenever it seemed likely. She cried when I left her at daycare, she cried when I left her with her loving grandparents (who were a little heartbroken), she cried when she woke up, when I walked out of the room… It just wasn’t working. She asked about nap-time at the daycare over and over, saying that she wanted mommy to be there and that she hated nap-time because it was boring, and dark, and she had to be quiet. I could hardly blame her. I remember nap-time in kindergarten myself as a incredibly tedious and ill-timed affair. So, the first step was to stop taking her during nap-time. This helped, but it still didn’t feel right. The kids ate cookies every afternoon… one afternoon their “special snack” was oreos and cheetos on a plate together. The institutional hot meals all the kids got for lunch smelled like fake margarine and a bad cafeteria, and the kids seemed like little lost puppies. So, I promised Toddler Yum to start looking for a new place that would be better for her, and once the schools resumed after the New Year holiday, that is exactly what we did. We visited between one to two schools a day until we found a place where she could attend in the afternoon after nap and had plenty of fun toys, the teachers did circle time and gave fun lessons, there were “baby potties” in easy access to the classroom, and even “baby cars” to ride around in the outside playground. Toddler Yum will start on Monday. And in the meantime, we’ve been reading Toddler Yum’s favorite new book, “Llama Llama Misses Mama” all about Llama Llama’s trials and tribulations on his first day at a new school missing mama. We’ve been stressing the part where “Llama Mama comes back” and I think that is helping as well. For her last day at her old school, I tried something I’d read about in the The No-Cry Separation Anxiety Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley- I drew “my” face on Toddler Yum’s hand and told her that if she got lonely or missed her Mommy, all she had to do was look at her “mini mama” on her hand and remember that her mama loves her and will come back to get her. It really seemed to help.
So- with a bit of our life squared away, hopefully I’ll be able to get some serious work done on my dissertation and even find time to develop new recipes here. You may have seen my old recipe for A gluten-free wholegrain Indian Naan. It called for yogurt, greek yogurt specifically (European yogurt is too runny). But this wouldn’t work for anyone on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet, and my little dairy-free Toddler Yum couldn’t have it either. I thought it would be interesting to play with the flour blend more, and to try using coconut cream instead of yogurt. To supplement the coconut milk, I used the new Pacific original hazelnut milk which they sent me to review. (Toddler Yum is a big fan of the stuff, and I don’t mind it even though I don’t generally care for hazelnuts.) To my delight, it worked perfectly and might even be better than the original! It went beautifully with some of my favorite toor dal (I use peanut oil, coconut oil, or mustard oil instead of ghee to make the Ghee Tarka variation). These naan can also be sliced in half and filled with whatever filling you like. This makes a small but filling recipe that is hardly more difficult than pancakes and a lot more interesting! *Note: because I have an annoying gas oven, it is hard to estimate how long it would take on an electric oven. Start with the given time and then, if it isn’t done enough, extend (non broiler) baking time in five minute increments.
Gluten-free Dairy Free Wholegrain Coconut Naan
1/2 Cup Brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
3 tbsp. amaranth flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
Prepare a large baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 500F.
Combine dry ingredient in a medium-large bowl from brown rice flour through baking powder, and whisk to combine.
Collect the coconut CREAM that has risen to the top of the chilled coconut milk can first in a liquid measuring cup. I use a large spoon but you may also have good luck with a small spatula. For the last bit I poured the milk through a fine strainer and collected the cream remained on top of the strainer. I had about 3/4 cup coconut cream in my can. Combine thin coconut milk with hazelnut milk or other non dairy milk to have a cup of liquid. Warm the thin liquid in a microwave until barely warm. If you heat it so that it is hot rather than warm, just let it sit until lukewarm. Whisk sugar into your warm dairy-free milk and then add your yeast. When it foams, pour into your bowl with the dry ingredients. Then add your coconut cream and whisked egg and fold together. You should have a fairly thick batter that is not runny but not firm enough to pick up with your hands.
Spoon out large rounds of dough onto your parchment paper about 4 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch high. (Or smaller, to your preference. Larger may be difficult to manage.) Smooth out top with a large spoon. If you like you can dampen your hands with water and make the tops really silky and smooth.
Bake in the oven on 500F until golden brown. In my rather freakish gas oven, it took about 15 minutes but yours may take less time so watch carefully. Then I finished them off under the broiler for a little extra browning. Watch them like a hawk during this step! Golden brown is one thing and char-grilled is quite another.
These were amazingly soft and fluffy. The coconut flavor was nice and subtle without overpowering the recipe, and I was surprised by how nice the touch of amaranth was for making them taste whole-grain. Yummy with toor dal!!!