Monday, November 10, 2008

reaching for a bit of "love grass"

When I was in college, I used to head to Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, California on the weekends for a bit of entertainment, book store browsing, and of course to frequent all the lovely food choices. Down one of the alleys there used to be (I don't think it exists anymore) a small family owned hole-in-wall Ethiopian restaurant. Being 18 and raised in a small town in Northern Nevada, I had never experienced the wonder of Ethiopian food. I quickly fell in love, especially with the spongy fermented bread called injera, made from teff flour. I've tried to make injera over the years, but never had the "secret recipe". I'm still experimenting with it the perfect injera recipe, but mostly am finding that teff works for us and our cooking in many other forms too.
(image: man sieving teff grain, from WaterAid International)

Lately we've been using it to make bread, pancakes, these pumpkin bars, and muffins like these:

We simply used this banana muffin recipe and substituted ivory teff flour for wheat flour.

We've been getting our teff in bulk through The Teff Company, but it is available in smaller doses in some grocery stores as well.

Here's a bit more about teff and its many nutritious properties, making it a wonderful grain choice in any healthy family's cooking experiences:

The grain has a high concentration of different nutrients, a very high calcium content, and high levels of phosphorus, iron, copper, aluminum, barium, and thiamin. A big advantage, the iron from teff is easily absorbed by the body. Teff is high in protein. It is considered to have an excellent amino acid composition (including all 8 essential amino acids for humans) and has lysine levels higher than wheat or barley. Because of this variety, it stimulates the flora of the large intestine. Teff is high in carbohydrates and fiber. It contains no gluten, so it is appropriate for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

One of the many things I just adore about using teff, is that it takes its name from the Greek word for Love Grass. That just makes me smile. :)

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