A little over a month ago, I had the pleasure to meet Terry Walters, best-selling author of Clean Food and the newly published Clean Start. In town on her book tour, we chatted after a presentation she gave at Chicago's The Chopping Block.
Walters is a warm and engaging speaker. She trained at The Institute of Integrative Nutrition and serves on the Board of Directors for Urban Oaks Organic Farm. Her new book, which she describes, as a prequel to Clean Food, is beautifully photographed and full of delicious looking and unique recipes.
While Walters refused to describe herself as a vegan, her recipes use no animal products. She felt that people needed more information about how to cook non-meat protein and vegetables. In her own life, she explained that she eats for balance, focusing on the best quality fruits and vegetables.
Walters' recipes are also gluten free. While she doesn't have celiac's disease, she explained that she simply feels better when she avoids gluten. She relayed a theory passed onto her by a California women about the recent increase in gluten intolerance. Before combines were widely used, threshing could take a few days and so it would get wet and then dry over the course of that time. Walter's adopted theory is that the wheat was slightly fermented during their curing process. She finds support for this theory in the fact that she can easily digest breads made from natural yeast.
My favorite recipes in Walter's book thus far are the baked goods. I love that she subsitutes high-protein flour for whole wheat, which she finds to be bland. A parent can feel downright virtuous about serving these "nturitional sweets." Her Banana-Date Cake was devoured by everyone in my house. With leftovers of many of the recipe's ingredients, I'll certainly make it again.
While I received my copy of Clean Start as a gift from the publisher, the views expressed in this post are solely my own.
Banana Date Cake
Reprinted by permission from Clean Start by Terry Walters, Sterling Epicure, 2010.
WET INGREDIENTS 10 dried dates, pitted 2 ripe bananas 1⁄3 cup maple syrup 1⁄4 cup virgin coconut oil, melted 2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
DRY INGREDIENTS 1 cup chickpea flour 1 cup almond meal 1⁄4 cup tapioca flour 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat oven to 350°F and lightly grease 8 x 8-inch baking dish.
Place dates in large bowl and cover with boiling water to soften. Drain well, add bananas and mash both together so that chunks remain. Add maple syrup, melted oil, lemon juice and vanilla and whisk to combine.
In separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Add to bowl with banana mixture and fold gently to combine, making sure not to overmix. Pour into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, place on rack and cool completely before slicing or removing from dish.
MAKES 1 cake
VARIATION Drizzle melted chocolate over the top for an extra-special presentation.