At first I thought that this week I’d offer some books that marry well with Julia’s Blackberry pie (Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Pie and Pastry Bible comes to mind!). Who isn’t curious for pastry and pie making tips? But then I thought…why not offer some ideas for those of you who can’t have gluten, don’t eat gluten, or are looking for some great alternatives to wheat flour/gluten based recipes. If you have favorite gluten-free resources, please share them here or on Twitter, I’d love to learn more, too! –Kristina
CLICK HERE for the full cookbook reviews after the jump!
I have two books tied for first place this week. The first is Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood (Bantam Press). This is a phenomenal book that has moved to my inner circle, especially for entertaining or group events where you are unsure of dietary restrictions. Note, it relies heavily on nuts, so if you have nut allergies, this is not a good book for you. However, if you can have nuts, Eastwood has designed all of the recipes to use rice flour and wheat flour interchangeably. She also has designed the majority of her recipes to use vegetables (carrot, zucchini, butternut squash, sweet potato, even eggplant!!) often in place of butter or oil, consequently the cakes are fantastic and soft without compromising at all on flavor. In fact, she calls these healthy natural cakes! (Which seems like an oxymoron, but try for yourself and see.) To sweeten, Harry uses muscovado sugar or honey. These unique cakes (think Zucchini and Chamomile Cupcakes) are a welcome change to the usual flavor combos I see around. She has given her cakes personalities, and describes each one to you as though they were a neighbor or friend. Chapters include her recipe development notes which give insight into how the final recipe came to be. I am particularly fond of the Coffee and Walnut Courage Cake, and the Almond Vanilla Honey cake with Apricots. My celiac colleagues give the cakes a thumbs up! With wonderfully styled and photographed images of her very home-made (but neat) looking desserts, I love flipping through this book for photography ideas.
Tied for first place for me this week is also Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by ex plus-sized model Sophie Dahl (published by HarperCollins). This book is the result of Sophie Dahl’s ‘coming to terms’ with her relationship with food, and is a personal narrative as well as a collection of recipes. The recipes are generally portioned for one to two people, and are designed to provide healthy, balanced, flavorful meals. The chapters are divided into seasons and each season into meals (7 breakfast, 7 lunch, 7 dinners for each season). To celebrate the coming autumn for example, last weekend, I made Indian Sweet Potato Pancakes (with scallions and curry) and Squid and Chargrilled Peppers with Cilanto dressing. The photography and colors in the book are so inviting, I just pick images and go source the ingredients so that I can taste. There is enough variety in the book, that vegetarians (Vegan and non) as well as omnivores will find plenty of satisfaction. If lots of pictures of an author in their own books annoys you, consider yourself warned! You can see sample images from both of these books by following their hot links above)
Uncooked by Lyndsay and Patrick Mikanowski (Flammarion). This is certainly a book to pick up if you’d like to see what types of dishes you might prepare on a raw diet. Although it is intended to be a full on “cook”book, I find it appropriate for appetizers, or finger food rather than mains. This book is excellent for vegans, and people with gluten intolerance. Fish is used a lot and some duck breast, but most recipes easily accommodate substitutions or omissions. The soups (creamy asparagus (no dairy); garden pea soup with coconut milk and coriander) and the sushi (salmon and melon; mango, avocado, pear, and carrot maki, and spring roll of cucumber and fresh goat’s cheese) are perfect and quick to make. It is ordered alphabetically, an ingredient for most letters of the alphabet. The book is presented in an artsy fashion, highly composed food, just look at the cover! –and this is generally a turn off for me– but I was able to get used to it once I realized the utility of the recipes, and the inspiration the book gives me to try my own food combinations! I wasn’t discouraged by the use of some ingredients I can’t find here. I know what I like and am happy to substitute it. I also am not worried about perfect looking food, as presented in the images. It’s all about taste. Pieter from last week’s post wouldn’t like the coated pages, but I don’t mind them.
The Gluten-Free Cookbook for Kids by Adriana Rabinovich (published by Vermilion). I have used this so far for reference, but have not had a chance to try it. It is designed for the newbie to Celiac disease and gluten-free diet needs. It provides simple advice and tips on preparing your kitchen and adapting to your child’s specific dietary needs. It is also intended to be a book you use together with your child so that they learn how to prepare gluten-free food. Not all of the recipes would be that easy for a child to make, but they could definitely help. The recipes offer gluten-free versions of what kids may see their friends eat- chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, fish fingers, pasta dishes, party food, Mexican food, in short, a well-rounded sampling of food. In the US and the UK at least, certain ingredients like xanthan or guar gum may be easy to find to make the baked goods, but this definitely is a challenge for me where I live. Still, I found this book, very basic in its approach, helped me understand a bit more about living with gluten intolerance. One note– there is a recipe for gluten free play dough… which I found odd…in a cookbook… The author also has a website.