I have a friend who says being nauseated is a lot like being pregnant. You either are or you are not. There are no halvsies. If you are feeling ill you will have very primeval thoughts about, say, a monkfish piccata dish you recently made. No one vomits with ambivalence and certainly not about a slippery to the touch fish that is described as having a “muddy brown color, mottled with lighter and darker brown speckles.”
I mention this because my intestines, while they technically work and thank god have not been operated on, are assholes. They have been since I was a teenager. I am aware admitting this violates the one rule of food writing: you do not talk about innards. The second rule of food writing: you do not talk about innards.
But this is not Bon Appétit. So I will tell you that last Thursday night, after eating monkfish and drinking precisely one beer, I spent most of the early morning hours lying in a fetal position on my bathroom floor. Because my digestive tract is a delicate flower, or I likely had some form of food poisoning, or some combination thereof.
Are you still with me?
The next day the only thing I could stomach—besides some lemon-lime Gatorade—was this cake. It is a very good recipe and I have made about five different versions of it, including one savory edition that included sun-dried tomatoes, which was a grave mistake.
Brett said, of the dried nightshade rendition, it tasted like gingerbread that had taken a wrong turn. Imagine it is Christmastime and you slice off a piece from a freshly baked loaf, intending to wash it down with some delicious eggnog, but instead of candied ginger or some brandy-soaked currants, you find embedded tomatoes.
It was not completely inedible, per se, but I would not recommend it. I also feel compelled to mention I come from a lineage where it is customary to save leftover tossed salad and eat the soggy vinegar-laden limp greens the next day. Suffice to say tomato gingerbread is not something I ever hope to taste again, and that is saying something.
The version presented today is much better. It is a recipe I have been experimenting with for awhile, because I have a few gluten-free friends who deserve to eat quick breads like the rest of us. It is also very low in fermentable carbohydrates called FODMAPs, which research indicates can worsen digestive woes, like the kind you might experience due to post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome.
It also has a pleasing spongy texture and pretty burnt orange color thanks to the turmeric. Because it is not overly saccharine, you can eat it at any time of day, truly. Plus it makes a fine first meal after a bout of food poisoning.
The original recipe calls it a “golden savory cake” which sounds very sexy, but is not entirely accurate unless you intend to make the bread for an enemy and add those sun-dried tomatoes. Otherwise, it still trends more sweet than savory, though not enough to label it as a cake and get away with it unscathed. Regardless, it is a very good blueprint.
I recently found it is further enhanced by adding a schmear of frosting, which negates some of my earlier assertions. The frosting recipe I used comes from Kindred restaurant, where my good friend Justin is employed. Like most everything they seem to make, their cinnamon bun cream cheese frosting is the kind of thing the devil warns you about.
So there you have it. Not the most seductive of food stories, but an honest one and a damn good recipe. Plus something that anyone who has ever had food poisoning or a colicky colon can relate too, without ambivalence.
Golden Spiced Bread
- ⅓ cup (55 grams) plus 1 tablespoon (10 grams) rice flour, divided
- 3 tablespoons (30 grams) potato starch
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) tapioca flour
- ½ cup (60 grams) buckwheat flour
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon (7 grams) ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (or allspice)
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
- 4 large eggs
- ¼ cup (55 grams) maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon orange blossom water
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) olive oil
- ¾ cup (170 grams) milk (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon (10 grams) apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons (20 grams) lemon juice
- ⅓ cup (50 grams) pistachios, roughly chopped
- ⅓ cup (50 grams) assorted dried fruit, roughly chopped (see notes)
Set the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a standard loaf pan (9 x 5-inch) with a neutral oil, like canola oil. Line with a strip of parchment paper over the width of the pan, so that the parchment will hang over the sides a few inches. Grease the parchment with oil.
In a large bowl, sift together ⅓ cup rice flour, potato starch, tapioca, buckwheat, salt, and spices; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, orange blossom water, and oil; set aside.
In a large measuring cup, add the milk, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice; whisk to combine. (It should froth.)
Pour the wet ingredients (both the egg and the milk mixture) into the dry ingredients and whisk just long enough until everything melds together and the liquid becomes the consistency of pancake batter.
Pour the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. The loaf is done when the top is firm and springs back when touched (because you are using gluten-free flour a toothpick is not a reliable indicator of doneness).
Makes one loaf (enough for about 6 thick slices)
- Any milk (almond, lactaid, whole cow’s milk) could be used here.
- My favorite version so far has involved dried mixed berries (blueberries, strawberries, etc.) as the fruit of choice, but dried cranberries are also very nice.
- The original recipe uses almond flour instead of buckwheat, but almonds are higher in the type of carbohydrate that can cause digestive issues. This is also true of the pistachios, so swap them for walnuts or pecans if you have a sensitive digestive system.
- I realize this is a long list of ingredients, but it ensures that you end up with a bread that no one can tell is gluten-free. (Feel free to leave off orange blossom water if you do not have it.)