Laura B. Russell has a great list of books that cater to the gluten-free crowd.
Gluten Freedom: New books will expand your wheat-free universe
If you’re hosting New Year’s Eve revelers, anyone — whether or not they’re gluten-intolerant — can enjoy this punchy Greek-inspired dip.
Serve it with celery sticks, cucumber slices and rice crackers for those who can’t eat wheat, and some bread or crackers for those who can. For a special holiday touch, arrange some large chilled boiled shrimp on a plate for dipping as well.
Recipe included with this story: Roasted Pepper and Feta Dip.
Gluten-free field trip: 2011 book roundup
It’s been a big year for gluten-free cookbook releases. Here are a few standouts:
“The Pure Kitchen” by Hallie Klecker (Pure Living Press, $22.95, 248 pages)
For those looking to transition to a healthier way of eating, “The Pure Kitchen” will be an indispensable addition to your cookbook collection. Each of the 100 recipes is free of gluten, dairy and refined sugar, and focuses instead on flavorful dishes based on vegetables, fruits, lean protein, gluten-free grains, and healthy fats.
Klecker presents a thoughtful and logical approach to “pure” eating, including the idea that home cooking is the key to a healthy lifestyle. She walks you through the steps of transitioning to a whole-foods diet, identifying which products to eliminate (refined flours, sugars, packaged foods) and how to rebuild your pantry with healthier choices.
Her recipes are also clean and simple. I’ll be starting the New Year off right with the energizing breakfast dishes, such as Cherry Ginger Smoothie and Pumpkin Oatmeal Breakfast Clusters. Many of the soups and stews, such as Moroccan Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew, and Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili, sound perfect for a rainy Portland winter. And you can bet I’ll be serving those with Klecker’s Buckwheat and Olive Oil Flatbreads.
“Artisanal Gluten-Free Cupcakes” by Kelli and Peter Bronski (The Experiment, $16.95, 272 pages)
This new book from the Bronskis maintains the high bar set by their first book, “Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking,”
For this volume, the authors divide their 50 appealing recipes into several enticing categories, including classics, fruity, nutty, “chocoholic” and “sweet surprises.” The cupcakes are based on the authors’ “artisan gluten-free flour blend,” which succeeds both with taste and texture.
The book also employs several general types of frostings (buttercream, cream cheese, ganache, whipped creams, glazes), which are customized to match the personality of each cupcake. One way the authors reinforce these flavor profiles is by using the main ingredient — such as fresh cherries — in both the cake and the frosting. In addition to the recipes, the book provides an easy-to-follow chart that clearly shows ingredient substitutions for people with dietary restrictions beyond gluten-free, such as refined sugar, dairy-free, egg-free or vegan lifestyles.
“Simply … Gluten-Free Desserts” by Carol Kicinski (St. Martin’s Press, $26.99, 304 pages)
This collection of 150 recipes for gluten-free cakes and cupcakes, cookies, pies and tarts, puddings, frozen treats and more is surely going to become one of my go-to cookbooks. In addition to being completely gluten-free, many of the recipes are also grain-free and dairy-free.
What I love about Kicinski’s book is that a high percentage of the recipes are naturally gluten-free, which is no small feat when it comes to baked goods. I’ve enjoyed Mexican Chocolate Cake With Cinnamon Whipped Cream, Italian Baci di Dama cookies made from ground hazelnuts, and a decadent Pumpkin Crème Brlée. For those recipes that aren’t naturally gluten-free, an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend containing rice flour, sweet rice flour, potato starch and tapioca stands in as a grit-free substitute for wheat flour.
“Quick-Fix Gluten Free” by Robert M. Landolphi (Andrews McMeel, $16.99, 184 pages)
This follow-up to Landolphi’s “Gluten Free Every Day” is another collection of accessible recipes that are great for families and weeknight cooking. Chef Rob covers many important gluten-free topics, such as “dusting, encrusting, battering, and frying” along with a detailed pie crust tutorial. Comfort fare such Chicken and Dumplings and the gluten-free Corn Dogs are sure to appeal to adults as well as kids.
The book contains a wide-ranging mix of recipes that are naturally gluten-free versus those adapted to fit the diet. The “Understanding Gluten Free Flours, Dough, and Batters” section offers great tips for anyone new to gluten-free cooking. The extremely addictive Jalapeño Cheddar Buttermilk Biscuits inspired me to work my way through the rest of the “Manna” chapter.
Laura Byrne Russell is a food writer, recipe developer and author of “The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen.” Read her blog, Notes from a Gluten Free Kitchen, at www.laurabrussell.com.