Lemon Chia Seed Cake {gluten-free,vegan}

Lemon Chia Seed Bread {gluten-free, vegan}

I thought I’d share this new gluten-free, vegan quick bread I’ve been making a lot lately. Consider it a twist on the lemon poppy-seed sort. It swings a little more to the cake end of the spectrum than my other quick breads, but in a good way, with a light, springy texture and a tad extra sweetness. The lemon is subtle, just a teaspoon or so of zest. And chia seeds, while an excellent visual substitute for poppy seeds, play a structural role as an egg-replacer, too.

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A Super Seed
Here are a few cool facts: chia seeds boast more calcium ounce-for-ounce than a glass of milk (great news for the dairy-free!), are a concentrated source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and provide complete protein all on their own (Vegans? Vegetarians? That’s for you.). Poppy seeds are cool and all, but chia seeds win my vote any day for their super-food bragging rights.

To read more about this super-seed and its fascinating history, check out Sarah’s post at My New Roots.

I’ve mentioned already that chia seeds stand in for the binding power of eggs in this recipe, but it is sparkling water that makes up for eggs’ leavening abilities. I find I am using sparkling water more often in my baking to give these arguably heavy gluten-free flours some lift and lightness.

Lemon Chia Seed Bread {gluten-free, vegan}

Also, I like to dust the pan with sugar instead of flour, which creates a wonderfully crunchy sugar crust around the edges, especially at either end.

LEMON CHIA SEED CAKE

Dry Ingredients:
1-2 tablespoons white sugar (for dusting the pan)
2/3 cup brown rice flour
1/3 cup millet flour
1/3 cup potato starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest (about half of a lemon)

Wet Ingredients:
1 tablespoon chia seeds
3 tablespoons hot water
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
3 tablespoons neutral/mild flavored oil like canola
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (about half of a lemon)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sparkling mineral water, like Perrier (sea level bakers may need closer to 3/4 cup)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9×5 loaf pan and sprinkle with 1-2 tablespoons of white sugar, turn the pan to coat, and tap to remove any excess sugar.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the chia seeds and hot water. Set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, beginning with the brown rice flour through the salt. Add the lemon zest to the mix with your fingers so as to break up any clumps of zest.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the coconut oil, canola oil, and turbinado sugar. Add the chia seed gel and mix to incorporate. Add the almond and vanilla extract, along with the lemon juice, mix until fully incorporated. Alternately, add the dry flour mix and sparkling mineral water until the batter is just blended.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 45-50 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. Allow bread to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then remove from pan and allow to cool fully on a rack.

French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}
I saw this on David Lebovitz’s blog and figured if a guy so wholly consumed with pastries, chocolate and sweets enjoys this particular carrot salad (not to mention all of France), then I would, too.  And you, and you, and you.

David has credentials: former pasty chef at Chez Pannise, cookbook writer extraordinaire, an American in Paris, etc, etc.

If you like food or just like a good chuckle (and who doesn’t) I highly recommend his book The Sweet Life in Paris. I found myself not just laughing out loud, but snorting out loud more times than I care to admit. His stories are witty and sharp, offering a nice dose of reality for all of us self-proclaimed Francophiles, not to mention a few good recipes, too.

This would accompany any meal quite well. I like the idea of it with a rich, creamy Tomato Soup and French Bread. I had it for lunch today, all by itself, and it was quite satisfying.

French Bistro Carrot Salad {gluten-free, vegan}

Salade de Carottes Râpées
Adapted from David Lebovitz

The star of this salad is the carrots, just be careful not to smother their natural sweetness and flavor with too much dressing. David says they should glisten with the light vinaigrette, not drown in it. Definitely taste as you go. My quantities are a little different than his, I’m sure due to carrot size and personal taste.

  • 7 large carrots, rinsed and peeled
  • 1/2 cup of ROUGHLY chopped flat leaf parsley
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (I believe I used a little less than 2)
  • a generous pinch of sugar (I used close to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • a few dashes of salt
  • a little fresh cracked pepper

Using the large holes of a box grater or a food pocessor grate the carrots and place in a bowl. Add the roughly chopped parsley. In a separate container whisk together lemon juice, olive oil and a pinch of sugar. Pour dressing over carrots and parsley, using your hands toss the salad.  Add a bit of salt and pepper and toss again. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve immediately.