A few months ago, I had the real pleasure of getting a signed copy of David Lebovitz's latest book at Union Square's Greenmarket in NYC.
My Paris Kitchen was an inviting title for me, a Parisian-born living in Berkeley (and formerly in NY) who had been experimenting and discovering local foods in her own kitchen. I had a small and fun chat with David Lebovitz about West Coast-East Coast-France travels and living (something in common), and what's more in NY, the rough geographic central point of the locations we had both lived in. Based on this short but nice encounter, I was really looking forward to reading my copy of his book. And I was not disappointed. Still pouring through it but, so far so very good: with a good introduction (always important), great and fun accounts of David Lebovitz's experiences and thoughts (as the cover says it is about recipes and stories), a nice ingredient list, recipes that reflect both diversity and tradition (and the chef's own touch), people (food is about them too!), beautiful pictures and tips.
A few recipes grabbed my attention fairly quickly: those with buckwheat. And not just because it is a gluten-free grain, but because I grew up with the stuff! It was in those delicious galettes Bretonnes at the local Creperie. And it was considered healthy in my home, so that I (reluctantly back then) ate (make that: had to eat) buckwheat cookies with unrefined sweeteners while friends snacked on (so appealing then) mainstream sugary cookies. And now, older and wiser, I have made a big return to buckwheat, which is rich in protein and fibers (among other things) and imparts a nutty, bolder flavor to baked goods, works wonder with chocolate and is also great in granola, as kasha and other of its known forms. So the book's buckwheat roll with nori butter and the buckwheat madeleines recipes spoke to me right away.
So I proceeded to make the galette batter. It is a very easy 3-ingredient deal and I have already declared it a kitchen staple. Traditionally with crepes, the hardest part is to avoid clumps, called "grumeaux".
But this batter is made with 100% buckwheat which I have found mixes really well, even hand mixed. You still need to add the water little bit by little bit so that you can homogenize the batter more easily.
I then made two types of flavored butter. The first one, with real (organic) butter mixed with finely chopped sea beans in the food processor - made in anticipation of resistance from a certain little mouth to the second one.
The second one, out of curiosity, made with plant-based sources only: roasted macadamia nuts, olive oil and sea beans. I used about 1/2 cup of the nuts, about 1/4 cup sea beans, a little bit of pepper, and enough oil to form a smooth, a bit runny paste (a little less runny than pesto).
I made some galettes as instructed, though got a bit of lazy Sunday syndrome attack (and got hungry too!) and omitted the rolling/quick-panfrying section of the recipe in favor of a fold/spread butter/eat version.
And served with an incredibly fresh (and beautiful!) lettuce from the Farmers Market, that was a healthy and tasty lunch fare, perfect before getting en route for an afternoon in SF. The macadamia and salicornes butter, spread on the galette, worked really well with the nuttiness of the buckwheat too.
Then, I decided to move to the madeleines. Here I had to make a few mods to get a gluten-free version with natural sweeteners. And I also wanted to try with vegetable oil, olive oil in particular. I had some lovely currants from my local Farmers Market, and fresh homemade almond milk I wanted to eat the madeleines with, and I was curious about the combination of flavors with olive oil.
This being said, I would highly recommend trying the recipe with some good quality butter if you have some and eat butter - and that is what I would do for another batch. For this batch, I replaced the wheat flour with rice flour, the sugar with: 1/4 cup coconut sugar and 1/4 maple syrup, and I used 4 tbsp of olive oil. I also omitted the cocoa nibs, although that was such a great combo, so that said kiddo could eat the madeleines (which were already super healthy and different with the buckwheat) without raising the eyebrows too high. Luckily, kiddo declared them really good (and is still happily eating them as snacks). The madeleines were light in texture, and the honey and buckwheat combination made for a sweet but stronger (in a good way) taste than ordinary madeleines.
They were delicious dunk in the almond milk, as tradition requires. And so, in my Berkeley Kitchen, we had a buckwheat Sunday filled with little Proust moments. :)
By the way:
- Marin Roots Organic is the vendor who had sea beans at the SF Ferry Building Farmers Market. I have never seen any in NY surprisingly but perhaps I just missed them. If you find some, buy a bunch and freeze!
- The galette batter will keep well for a few days. I like to keep it in a mason jar or other tall container and pour it directly from it into the pan.
- This madeleine recipe is a great base recipe. I will definitely try the cocoa nibs some time as the pairing of honey, buckwheat and chocolate will be divine (the madeleines could also be dipped in dark chocolate). I can imagine other flavor extensions and will update if anything good on this blog or IG.
- All gluten-free and dairy free, and is or can be made low in fodmap (you can omit the honey and coconut sugar in the madeleines and stick to maple syrup only).