Mmm…gruel. Teff gruel.

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Time for more simple Lenten recipes. Gruel. This is similar to the teff porridge I made earlier.

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I added 1/4 C teff flour to about 2 tsp coconut oil.

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Seasoned it with plenty of salt and pepper…

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and about 1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast.

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I added 2 C water and stirred regularly over medium-high heat,

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until it began to thicken.

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But not too much, it should be like soup. After about 10 minutes or so, you’ll notice it’s not getting any thicker. That’s when it’s done.

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Of course it’s Cheesefare Week, so I added some Daiya cheddar.

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It’s not the prettiest thing, but…it’s gruel. And it’s Lent.

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Garnish with a little extra nutritional yeast to give it a little color.

If you leave out the coconut oil and faux cheese, this is a perfectly Lenten meal for an oil-free fasting day. In that case, I would recommend adding an extra 1/2 tbsp of nutritional yeast (making it 2 Tbsp instead of 1 1/2) and little garlic. Maybe a pinch more salt. The pepper really comes through in this, so don’t go crazy.

This is a gluten free meal, minus the garlic bread I ate with it.


Teff Porridge

I love Saturday morning. I get to sleep in, and I get to make breakfast (or lunch, depending on how long I sleep in…). During the week I eat my beloved GreenMax in my office after Matins, but Saturday I can experiment.
So I have this HUGE jar of teff flour, and I guess I’m hooked on it and determined to use all of it up as quickly as possible. This morning I made teff porridge – basically, just another Lenten gruel.

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In a small sauce pan, 1/2 C teff flour…

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plus 2 C water over medium-high heat.

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Stir to combine.

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Keep stirring occasionally to keep it from getting lumpy. It was amazing to me how smooth this got just stirring it with a wooden spoon. If you tried, for example, to make gravy that way using regular flour, you’d have a lumpy mess!

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Optional: margarine and cinnamon, with a bit of salt. I’ve read you don’t need to add anything to this, but I prefer it with a little something. But if during Lent you wanted an oil-free food for a strict fasting day, I think it would be okay to leave out the margarine (maybe add 1/2 Tbsp of tahini to get your fat). I wouldn’t leave out the cinnamon or pinch of salt, though!

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I decided to add a little carob syrup to mine. Alternatively, you could sweeten it with fresh fruit, raisins or date paste.

This makes two servings, so you can share it with someone you love (or eat two servings yourself, that’s what I did). Enjoy!

lenten corn gruel with spicy jalapeno biscuits

Okay, I was planning to try a different kind of gruel every Monday – Friday during this fast, and I didn’t do it. But I got back on track tonight with…corn gruel & biscuits! Spicy biscuits. Preheat your oven to 450 (425 for convection ovens).

I thought it would be safe to use 5 jalapenos when I was making a recipe for 6 biscuits. More on that later…. I needed a recipe for reference, so I used this one for Southern Biscuits by Alton Brown. I halved the recipe, except for the salt (left it at 3/4 tsp), and then made a few other changes. Like adding those minced jalapenos and red bell pepper, along with a minced clove of garlic.

So, this is 1 cup flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/8 tsp baking soda. Mix it up with a fork.

Now things get interesting: I added 2 Tbsp of that walnut mixture, still leftover from Vegan Taco Day. That’s the last of that. Since this is an oil free day, I replaced the margarine and shortening with….apple sauce! That is why I didn’t decrease the salt, but you could probably decrease it a *little*.

To replace the buttermilk, I have here 1/2 c chilled, unsweetened almond milk with 1 tsp vinegar added.

Before adding that “buttermilk,” I mixed the walnuts and applesauce into the dry mix with a fork until it was crumbly. Then I made a well in the center and poured in the almond/vinegar milk. Now….mix! I just kept using the same old fork.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. It’ll be pretty sticky and wet, so sprinkle more flour on the top and fold the dough in on itself. You might have to do it a couple times, don’t be shy.

Press the dough out with your hands. The recipe said to 1″ thick, but I think mine was slightly thinner. I used a glass, dipped in flour, to cut out the rounds.

Like so.

Put them on a baking tray and bake at 450 (425 in a convection oven) for 12 to 20 minutes, depending on size and depending on whether or not you’re using a convection oven. When they’re golden brown on top, they should be done. Meanwhile, you should have had your onions boiling, approximately 1 cup of onions in 2 cups of water. Check out the other gruel recipes here and Here to see how to get started, if you need to.

After the onions were boiled until clear, I added about 2 heaping Tbsp of flour, whisking as I added a little at a time. If you need to add more to make it thicker, do so. It shouldn’t be too thick, though.

I took it off the heat and stirred an ice cube in it to cool it so I could put it in my food processor. Then I added 1/4 of a can of corn, and salt & pepper to taste. I kept the salt to a minimum since I made the biscuits a little salty.

After processing. Now for the fun part – it goes back in the pan!

I added another 1/4 can of corn and a little more pepper.

And then a couple shakes of cayenne.

Biscuits out of the oven. I didn’t really have it perfectly timed, but I’m making it look that way for this post. It is good to let them cool a little before you cut them, though.

Don’t they look pretty on the inside? You will only see it for a minute, though, because you’re going to cover them up…

with the corn gruel.

Let it soak for a while so you can cut the biscuit with your spoon. The bottom might be a little tough since there was no oil to make the dough soft(er). If you find this to be true of your biscuit, just tear it into bits from the start, before you cover it with the gruel.

P.S. the recipe ended up making only 5 biscuits, which meant I had one jalapeno per biscuit. And when I ate them, even though my tongue wasn’t even burning and barely felt it at all, I got hiccups. So be careful of that.

Lenten gruel #2, pumpkin

Today is day two of my Lenten gruel extravaganza. I had an old can of pumpkin sitting around, so I decided to go with it. I started this one almost the same as yesterday’s, by boiling about 1 cup of onions in 1 cup of water until they were clear, but I also added 1 clove of garlic, chopped.

If you want to see onions boiling, take a look at the original gruel recipe.

Next I added 1/2 cup canned pumpkin. I ended up adding a whole other cup of water because the pumpkin made the gruel so thick, and I hadn’t even added my oat flour yet.

I think I ended up adding about 1/8 cup oat flour, and 15-20 shakes of salt.  I dunno, something about the canned flavor, it needed some sprucing up…but I’m trying to stick to my original plan of nothing remotely fancy.

After I gave it a taste, I wished I could add some sort of fat. On an oil free day, like today, I would normally turn to tahini or coconut milk for that, but…I don’t think tahini would improve the flavor, and I didn’t have any coconut milk. Plus I wouldn’t want it to be sweet. So, I went for fillers instead.

These plain old, extra plain, non-flavored Kavli Crisp Breads! So tasty, like dipping cardboard in my gruel! Haha. It’s definitely better when I eat them with a spread.

While I was eating the first bowl, I realized the best thing in the world for this gruel would be to blend or process it. Eating a big chunk of onion didn’t do anything for the pumpkin flavor, but once I started chewing it was…different. In a good way. But I won’t be able to experiment with that tomorrow because I’ll be moving on to another flavor!

vegan gruel: a perfectly lenten meal

Gruel. It doesn’t sound very pleasant. I never really knew what it was, but it’s what I imagined I was eating while staring down a hot bowl of soupy oatmeal on a cold winter day. Guess what? I was pretty much right.

Gruel was a staple item in many a Medieval home, mostly the homes of peasants, and could be made with millet, hemp or barley, or more recently, rye, wheat, rice…or oats! The grains would be ground in a mortar, then simmered in water or milk. Believe it or not, people didn’t mind eating it. After all, Oliver Twist did ask if he could have some more…how bad could it be?

Since the Dormition Fast started today, I decided to try something different. I decided to feed myself gruel Monday through Friday during the fast. Lenten meals should be simple and cheap, nothing fancy. I don’t want to eat bad tasting food, but since I already abstain from The Big Three (meat, eggs & dairy) every day, I want to make a change in my diet that makes me feel like I’m actually keeping the fast.

So anyway, tonight I made my first Lenten gruel.

I measured one cup of water and got it heating on the stove top on high in a small pan. The green & black thing is my pair of onion goggles, the foam is supposed to keep the onion from burning your eyes. I like wearing them even when I’m not cutting onions.

Here we have one heaping cup of roughly chopped onion. I used yellow, but white would be fine.

By the time you finish chopping the onion, your water will probably be boiling. It slowed down a little when I added the cold onion, but that didn’t hurt anything.

Back to boiling in no time. Let the onions boil until they are soft and clear.

I have this little coffee mill that I only ever use to grind oatmeal. I put in about 1/4 cup oats, but I didn’t use it all.

Once the onions were clear, I started adding the oat flour 1 spoonful at a time. I also decided to add another 1/4 cup water because I was really hungry.  I kind of wanted to just dump in all the oatmeal, but if it gets too thick it’ll be more like porridge, and that’s for another time. Gruel is supposed to be somewhat loose and soupy.

Like this.

It made a decent size bowl, just enough to fill me up. For now.

Without getting fancier than I’d like to, there’s really no way to make it pretty; however, there is a way to make it tasty – add a pinch of salt! And then, if you’re like me, add another pinch or two.

That’s it: Water, onions, oat flour, salt. I actually really liked it, and I’m looking forward to trying a variation tomorrow night.