Adytum is becoming known as having the corner – the “niche” – on accommodating any healthy dietary desire our guests present us with- We cater to foodies, food snobs, fastidious eaters and those that would otherwise send a great cook into a private little panic. Once you’ve tried all the ways of eating for yourself, it’s not that big a deal to recreate it for guests. If you haven’t…well, it can be just plain terrifyingly daunting. At the latest PAII (Professional Innkeepers of America) seminar I noticed that entire blocks of time were dedicated to teaching gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, etc. breakfasts.
When I made my diet changes in my early 30’s, I went from the typical SAD (Standard American Diet- or Shortcut Along-the-way-to Death) to a vegan lifestyle overnight. No one thought the changes would last because I went “cold turkey”. I have little willpower and agreed, however I made one crucial decision: to ask for supernatural help and I lived as a vegan for three years, until I married Donn and we added eggs and cheese (and instant cellulite… Hmmm….) into our lives.
Being vegan made all the difference and I watched my body change in ways that seemed impossible for my age and having three kids. Coupled with Donn surprising me with my first mountain bike, a bright yellow Santa Cruz, it was the total ticket to becoming bikini ready/cellulite free in 6 weeks- not only in body composition, but in the creation of lean, defined muscles.
What a fallacy the Cross Fit teams are propagating- that you have to eat mostly animal protein to create muscle. Muscle is 70% water. It takes massive amounts of energy to extract protein from animal sources; vegetable sources are much more easily absorbed and kinder on the kidneys. My trainer at the athletic club where I worked at the time was a vegan and had bigger biceps and chest measurement than any meat eater I ever trained. Hands down. I saw it work.
Over the years we have lost the vegan emphasis, adding some dairy from sheep and goats primarily, and clean eggs- we will always be vegetarian although we take fish oil daily. But when it’s time to get the bikini out of the drawer however, those “animal extras” fall to the wayside in favor of embracing the vegan approach once again- but this time with the addition of gluten free.
Could you make a meal for us that was vegan, gluten free; fresh, beautiful and tasted fantastic? Some of you guests have taught me and can cook me under the proverbial table, but some of you can imagine the fears some innkeepers face. But not only the hospitality or food service industry; my daughter in law, Lindsey Gritton, will make her first Easter dinner and manage to please vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, SAD diet family members and gluten and sugar free guests all at one table. I admire her for tackling such a feat! So believe me, it can happen to you. While I enjoy cooking from all venues and ranging through most all ethnic menus, it gives me great satisfaction knowing that those at the Adytum table will leave with an increase in health and oftentimes without realizing it was sugar free, gluten free or otherwise “different”.
|Vegan, Gluten Free, Sugar Free AWESOME Muffins; Well Loved By ALL|
When I saw the rising numbers of gluten free, vegan, sugar free guests on our reservation list I got on Amazon and started downloading cookbooks to my Kindle for PC. (a free download if you haven’t tried it). The following recipe comes from Gluten Free Vegan Waffles and Toppings: 43 Recipes From The Global Gluten Free Waffle Cookbook. Being the “can’t color between the lines/can’t follow rules” cook that I am, I adapted it to suit my palate and conscience but the bones (pardon the pun) of this vegan recipe are excellent and it made a hearty, healthy waffle that we topped with a strawberry compote, fresh strawberries and a dollop of coconut vanilla yogurt. They were so good, they didn’t need the addition of pure maple syrup, but when I added a bit around the edges, it was even better. Sorry I didn’t think to photograph them before we devoured them….maybe next time I’ll show more self-control~
By the way a quick story to bring home the vegan point. Donn was raised vegetarian and therefore wasn’t a hunter like some of his friends back in Idaho. He did have a singular attempt at hunting as a young boy. To start, he shot a bird- just for practice. That early boyhood episode ended in humiliating tears. It broke his heart to take the life of a thing of beauty whether it would be eaten or not. Needless to say, he doesn’t hunt now apart from photo safaris… (For some reason this thought process excludes moles who must be some other entity altogether…)
|My Tender Hearted Lover….|
So yesterday, Dash, our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel pointed to a downed raccoon just outside the First Light Suite – no doubt shaken about an inch from death by Gabriel. Gabriel showed up at Adytum just a day before we had to put our beloved Borzoi Sasha to sleep, thus “the Angel Dog” sent to mend my broken heart. He’s turned out to be a fearsome watchdog keeping predators, like the unfortunate raccoon away and dedicated friend to the rest of us.
|Gabe taking a break from guard duty…|
However it was sad as we watched the raccoon laboring to breathe for several hours; clearly he wasn’t going to recover. I prayed God would just take him and spare us the painful decision-making…but no miracles today; he breathed on and raked the gravel with a paw, trying to move out of the path. So I finally asked Donn to do the unthinkable: get the shotgun and put him out of his misery. I’ve never killed anything apart from insects… It takes the heart and stomach of a man sometimes… We had to leave for work at Medical Vision Center and I couldn’t see letting the pitiful animal fear that a dog would finish him off, or die of thirst, etc. I witnessed the struggle in the still tender, boyish heart of my husband and finally, he got the gun and with a single blast he released the poor little spirit from its own struggle.
It takes a brave, loving man to kill with dignity, empathy and compassion. So while I champion the vegan cause, there is room in the world for everyone who comes from a heart of respect and understanding. But for me, who dream of the little happy faces of our enormous Koi in the pond, I will trend toward avoiding eating anything with a face. There always seemed to be a “disconnect” to me with veterinarians who went home to a slab of meat at their table. Go figure. Everyone lives in the way they see fit. However, the rule of the Adytum kitchen is familiar to you: First, “Do no harm – to anyone on either side of the table”.
|Gabe and Dash Man…|
The original recipe for Buckwheat-Molasses Waffles calls for canola oil, which I replaced with coconut oil. Speaking of oil, use generous amounts of oil on the waffle iron- they stick. I also replaced the sugar with honey, used sea salt vs. regular, Blackstrap vs. regular molasses and added more liquid- in this case Hemp Milk. The White Rice Flour can be substituted with Brown Rice Flour. Also, the addition of cinnamon and my favorite exotic spice Cardamom made the house smell seductively warm and sweet. Play around with the basics and make them your own. Don’t forget the power of the “scent of the hands” – the ancient East Indian concept of pouring your heart and your love into the food you lovingly prepare for others. I pray for my guests as I cook for them. You cannot “measure” that and it’s really my secret ingredient that sends everyone into “mouthgasms”… If your attempts to learn new ways of cooking and eating fail just try again; besides, the dogs love and appreciate every mistake…
Makes 4 7” round Belgian Waffles
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
1 Cup White Rice Flour
½ Cup Tapioca Flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Xanthan Gum Powder
2 ½ Cups Soy or other non dairy milk
¼ Canola Oil
2 T sugar
2 T Molasses
Combine dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients separately stirring with a whisk. Combine wet and dry mixing with a whisk and let stand 5 minutes while Belgian Waffle Iron is heating. Ladle batter onto well oiled iron covering no more than 2/3 with batter. Adjust batter with subsequent waffles, adding more or less batter.
|Kindle for PC Edition of a Great Vegan Waffle Cookbook|