I value the winter farmers markets so much. They keep me connected to a food supply chain that would normally dwindle during the cold months and they regualarly inspire me. Yesterday was one of those times. I have a dear friend Jane, who is 75 plus and magnificent , we work the Dye garden together down at The Western reserve Herb Society gardens which are housed at The Cleveland Botanical Gardens. Because WRHS is a group full of herbalists and cooks, every meeting culminates in a magnificent luncheon potluck. Last week, Jane showed up with the most magnificent loaf of bread and a pot of fromage blanc. She said.." this is the best bread I've ever eaten" to which I replied, "I can't eat it unless it's gluten free". She smiled in that twinkling Irish way that she has and said..."you can eat this dear, it's gluten free!"
I was taken back. This didn't look like any gluten free bread that I'd ever seen, nor did it taste like any gluten free bread that I've ever eaten. It was chewy and stretchy, with a perfect crust. It was absolutely delicious and gave me absolute bread eating pleasure and those of you who absolutely can't live without a perfect baguette and brie know exactly what I'm speaking of!
She gave me the rest to take home, which I spent the next few days spreading with goat cheese , lettuce, tomatoes and avocados and dipping into soup. I vowed to meet her at the Shaker Square indoor farmers market so that she could introduce me to the vendor. Fast forward to yesterday. I'm taking care of my grandcats this weekend and they live right around the corner from the market. Jim went to Tai Chi yesterday morning and I drove to the market. Of course I ran into Jane right away, who grabbed me by the arm and took me over to a table of the most glorious gluten free baked goods that I've ever seen all made by a small local company neamed Uncommon Grains.
I immediately bought a baguette of rye bread and a parmesan rosemary boule. I also bought tow vegetable tarts and wonder of wonders...two peanut butter cookies that I knew that Jim would love. We both feel ever so much better not eating gluten, but giving up cookies has been tough for him:) i also bought a bag of pizza crust which it turned out didn't have a direction label on it. The gentleman took my name and email and promised to send me directions in a day or two. 4 hours later I had them in my inbox along with a lovely personal note. That's such a pleasant way to buy your food, don't you think?
At any rate, I'm not clear what they do that makes this bread (and the tart crust ..oh my god!) so wonderful. I know that very clearly it's not your normal mixture of pasty looking gluten free grains and they must use some kind of well aged starter, because this bread has the holes and crevices that rival the loveliest French loaves.
To say that I'm blown away is an understatement. As a health coach, I'm constantly looking for wonderful gluten free sources for my clients and until now I've not found a bread that I felt that I could recommend. For all of you who aren't local Clevelanders, maybe there will be cookbooks someday.This is bread worth waiting for! This is kitchen alchemy at it's finest...the transformation of alternative grains into something that is so rich , dense and chewy that you don't even realize that you're not eating bread made from wheat and added wheat gluten (yes, they add more gluten to quick rise bread to compensate for having to make it faster.)
The delightful gentleman from the Uncommon Grains table at the Shaker Square indoor farmers market!
The loveliest gluten free rye bread...Who knew that such a thing could ever exist!
Our Gluten Free Brunch! Absolutely delicious tarts with fresh beets, zucchini and mushroom duxelles, farmstead blue cheese and goat cheese, organic pork rillettes, smoked trout , rye bread and parmesan rosemary bread...all gluten free...all delcious!
One incredibly happy husband!
As an aside...Today I went to my local coffee shop (Phoenix Coffee) to pick up some tea for Jim. I looked in the pastry case and there were gorgeous gluten free baked goods from Uncommon Grains. I brought home a chocolate peanut butter tart that was to die for and a cheddar chive scone that one bite of erased the memory of several gluten free home prepared scones that were absolutely disgusting. Life is truly a miracle:)