As part of last weekend’s Food Book Fair, Liz Prueitt and April Bloomfield held a breakfast talk to introduce Prueitt’s latest, Tartine All Day, moderated by Kerry Diamond of Cherry Bombe magazine. The book focuses on everyday home cooking with a modern Tartine vibe, and while it may not be obvious at the outset, it celebrates recipes for gluten-intolerant readers.
As it happens, Prueitt is one of them. She found out she was intolerant in 1987, “so obviously I don’t take medical diagnoses very seriously, but that was before Google.” After going to culinary school, marrying a baker, and cofounding a bakery, she discovered that while bread baking wasn’t for her, she did enjoy experimenting with non-wheat grains and naturally gluten-free foods. “There are so many interesting grains to ear besides wheat! We’ve become used to it as a default. I don’t even like to call them alternative because they’re grains we should be using.”
Bloomfield added that she has been baking a lot of bread at home herself, using whatever grains look good at her local greenmarket and then milling them into unique flour blends with an electric grinder.
Beyond just a resource for the gluten-avoidant, Prueitt wanted to write a book that home cooks could really use every day. “At Tartine, we always have a recipe, a blueprint, so if something goes wrong it’s pretty easy to understand why and how. For this book, the recipes were already created, so that was great, but we had to translate them into the home kitchen. That was the hard part. When you write a book you need to loosen up and rely on so many other people. My mom was one of my recipe tasters, and there was a real moment of panic one day when she called me and said, I didn’t realize there were 16 tablespoons in a cup! I thought it was 8!”
The recipes have a different organization than many other cookbooks do, but it’s one that Prueitt has been using for her own notes for years. “I’m dyslexic and I grew up cooking, and the way that things are usually arranged didn’t make sense to me. I wanted the quickest way to read and to not have to remember words and numbers. I would look at older recipes, like Julia Child’s and Irma Rombauer’s, and that worked for me. Luckily Ten Speed was completely open to the way I wanted to do it.” Thus, the ingredients appear along the recipe, grouped in the way they are needed.
On translating her own ideas into the mass market, Bloomfield said, “I try to write my book recipes the way I do at my restaurants, but I try to be more specific. And if something seems like too much to expect someone to do at home, rather than change it, it just doesn’t go in the book.” Guess we won’t see her hand-milled flour formulas any time soon, then.
Prueitt’s #1 recommendation on what to cook in the cook is the buckwheat crepes, so here’s the recipe (in her format):
make this one thing
¾ c / 105g buckwheat flour
2 large eggs
1 c / 240ml whole milk
1 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
In a blender, combine the flour, eggs, milk, oil and salt and blend until very smooth. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours. The crepe batter will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for to 5 days.
Splash of water or milk
Unsalted butter, for the pan
To make crepes, whisk the batter and thin it with the water or milk if needed. It should be the thickness of heavy cream. Heat a small (6-to-7 inch) nonstick pan over medium heat and swirl in enough butter to coat the bottom of the pan. Ladle in about 3 tbsp/45ml of batter, tilting the pan in all directions to spread evenly. Cook for about one minute, until the underside of the crepe is lightly browned. Flip, then cook the second side for about 30 seconds. Transfer to a plate and let cool. Continue cooking the crepes, adding butter to the pan as needed, until you’ve used up all the batter. Cooked crepes can be cooled, stacked, and stored, tightly sealed, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
At the breakfast, these were served filled with a thick cream (ricotta?) and with a tart strawberry salad on top.