Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How Do Foodies Go Gluten-Free?

I have had several friends go gluten-free and we tried at my husband's doctor's suggestion for a short time.  It's a challenging endeavor.  You have to completely change how you cook and eat.  I have a very good friend who's done an amazing job doing that because her husband has celiacs.  In her case, she needs a lot of family food recipes.  But, if you aren't cooking for a family and you are looking for more gourmet recipes with complicated tastes, then what do you do?  

Well, a few weeks ago, a new cookbook arrived in the mail.  It was The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook by Judith Finlayson.  

If you are an adult who has just been diagnosed with celiacs or gluten intolerance or a gluten allergy and you love to cook, then this may be a great cookbook for you.  Who this cookbook is not for?  Parents with little kids (like me).  The recipes in this cookbook draw on a wide variety of gourmet flavors and combinations.  In the beginning, there is a section about how to cook and store gluten-free whole grains including corn, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, oats, quinoa, sorghum, and different varieties of rice.  What I especially like about this section is that the author explains how to cook many of them with a rice cooker, microwave, or slow cooker which makes it seem much more doable to cook these grains I'm not used to. 

The recipes are unusual.  They include a wide range of flavors, as I mentioned before.  In the breakfast section, you'll find a recipe for almond-flavored millet with cherries.  In the main dish section, you'll find southwestern turkey stew with cornmeal dumplings and salmon and wild rice cakes with avocado-chili topping.  For flours, she relies primarily on sorghum, tapioca, a little rice, and coconut.  Xanthum gum is also an ingredient you'll need for many of the recipes in this cookbook, though in very small amounts.  I found it to be most affordable to purchase Bob's Red Mill's Xanthum Gum at our local grocery store when it was on special one week for $6 a pound. I was surprised that sorghum was often the author's choice for flour.  My good friend explained to me that sorghum does have a distinct flavor that you have to get used to if you haven't cooked with it before.  So, if the sorghum flour isn't to your liking, I would try a substitution before giving up on a particular recipe.  I read on one blog that you can substitute white rice flour for sorghum, but that the author of that blog found this to make for blander recipes.  

Unfortunately for me, I can't say that I tried any of these recipes and that's because I know my little kids, who are normally my taste testers aren't quite as experimental as these recipes.  My plan was for my husband to be my taste tester, but that also didn't work out when he decided to not stay on the gluten-free track.  But, we have lots of foodie friends and I know from our conversations with them that these recipes would be right up their alleys. 

So, if you're a foodie who can't have gluten now--I'd try this cookbook!  Amazon does not have a preview available of the cookbook, but you can find one HERE on Robert Rose's website.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this cookbook for review from the Robert Rose Publishing.

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