Read-through Reviews: More New Gluten Free Cookbooks

Wrapping up gluten-free cookbook week on the blog, I’ll review the final two cookbooks from my library loot. Check out my first two reviews if you haven’t already.

photoI check out a lot of cookbooks from the library. When I get them home, I do a quick read-through of each one to make sure that it’s something that fits my family’s tastes and needs. In the area of gluten-free cooking especially, some books may rely on a flour or ingredient that we don’t use. Do I want to spend my time making substitutions in an unfamiliar cookbook, or move on to something that’s a better fit?

 

3. The Gluten Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook by Susan O’Brien

So far, I’ve reviewed only baking books, so although we’re not vegetarians, I was excited to look through some what’s-for-dinner recipes.

The style of the cookbook was very simple: black and white, one page per recipe, with a few color pages for pictures in the middle. Flipping through the cookbook, I noticed a great feature: the top outside corner of some pages marked with a gray disk reading “Quick and Easy”. This made it really easy to zero in on the recipes I was most likely to try.

Even though the breakfast section was mostly baked goods involving vegan ingredients like almond meal, coconut oil and palm sugar that we don’t normally eat, I found a few recipes that I want to try. The teff and chia seed waffles sounded good, mostly because I have a bag of each laying around that I don’t know what to do with. I hope the teff waffles don’t taste like horse feed like the last thing I made with teff.  There are also two protein bar recipes – one a fairly standard oat-seed-peanut butter-brown rice syrup concoction that I’ve probably made before, and another made from all seeds and brown rice syrup that is recommended for a pre exercise snack.

The rest of the cookbook was some serious veggie lovin’ – even the stuffed mushrooms were veggie stuffed. This is no starch, tofu, and fake meat cookbook – it reminded me more of the Moosewood cookbooks, especially the low fat one. While I would have eaten most of the recipes, my veggie-averse family wouldn’t, so I moved on…

4. Let Them Eat Cake – by Gesine Bullock-Prado

Ahh. Back to baking. This cookbook doesn’t even bother with boring bread and muffins – it’s all dessert. It’s also not strictly a gluten-free cookbook. Rather, it offers gluten free variations as well as vegan and “healthy” ones.

l admit it. I went straight to the Pop-tarts. And I wondered: would the author offer me an actual alternate gluten-free recipe, or just tell me to substitute a GF blend? Because I could do that with any cookbook. As it turns out, the recipe does provide a reasonable looking sorghum/brown rice flour blend with potato starch and tapioca, although the resulting dough is noted as “delicate to work with”. Some of the other recipes, like the brownie variations, had a much sketchier flour substitution – cornstarch.

I found the cookbook hard to browse; although it was in color, most of the color was dedicated to cute formatting, borders, and boxes for all the variations. There were few pictures, and I found myself skipping through recipes. In the end, the recipes I found were similar to ones I have in other cookbooks already, like Samoas – try The Ultimate Gluten Free Cookie Cookbook if your ears perked up for that one – coffee cake, cherry pie. ice creams. There were some really fancy cakes if you’re into that, but I’m not. In the end, this cookbook just wasn’t the right fit for me.

Final Haul: Two more cookbooks back in the bin, but I finally get to use up that bag of teff.

Remember, I haven’t tried any recipes from these cookbooks yet. Have you? If so, please post here and add your recommendation!

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Read-through Reviews: New Gluten Free Cookbooks

Earlier this week, I posted about my library loot: four new gluten-free cookbooks!

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I check out a lot of cookbooks from the library. When I get them home, I do a quick read-through of each one to make sure that it’s something that fits my family’s tastes and needs. In the area of gluten-free cooking especially, some books may rely on a flour or ingredient that we don’t use. Do I want to spend my time making substitutions in an unfamiliar cookbook, or move on to something that’s a better fit?

1. Bread & Butter by Erin McKenna

Written by the author/owner of BabyCakes, this is no simple bread cookbook: It’s all about everything bread – first the recipes, and then what you can do with what you’ve made. Loaves, sandwiches, pizza, crackers, pastry, dips and spreads, and sweet breads (but no muffins or cupcakes). It does have a few odd entries like kale chips – are those just obligatory now? – but overall presents a comprehensive collection of bread recipes, from a basic white loaf to puff pastry to Ethiopian bread.

My family’s take: We don’t eat yeast, so bread books are tricky. Some, but not all, gluten-free bread cookbooks include yeast-free loaves: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Bakes Bread gives it a good try; Celeste’s Best is a lot more successful. Bread and Butter doesn’t even go there. But I am eager to try some of the cracker recipes: imitation cheez-its, Ritz crackers, and wheat thins look promising. Since most of the recipes include gluten-free oat flour, we’ll have to add that to our repertoire before trying anything out.

2. Gluten-Free Flour Power by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot

This thick cookbook covers much of the same turf as Bread and Butter, plus adds in pasta and desserts. It looks – and reads – like a more serious cookbook, with lots of detailed instructions and pictures. The format reminded me of the America’s Test Kitchen series, and some of the recipes – kimchi cavatelli with bulgogi sauce – were too ambitious for my purposes.

But can I find some good recipes in it for my family?: The first thing I noticed is this is one of those “flour blend” cookbooks. They offer you three possible flour blends up-front. One, the low-allergy blend containing tapioca flour, sweet rice flour, arrowroot, sorghum, potato flour, and golden flaxseed meal, will work for us. Once again, though, the yeast bread section is just that — all yeast breads, followed by yeasted flatbreads and puff pastry. They’ve even got yeast in the bundt cakes (which are numerous).

I was almost ready to set this book aside, when I found the microwave sweet rice cakes. They’re based on traditional Japanese mochi, but made from sweet rice flour. They look so easy and delicious, and can be served with sweet or savory accompaniments. The authors suggest grilled shrimp or fresh berries and ginger ice cream.

From there, it gets better: peanut butter blondies, chocolate piecrust, and banana butterfinger cream pie all sound good.

Final Haul: A few recipes to try (Ritz crackers and microwave sweet rice cakes)  before putting these two books back in the library bin. I’ll review the other two books in a later post.

Remember, I haven’t tried any recipes from these cookbooks yet. Have you? If so, please post here and add your recommendation!

Library Loot: Four New Gluten-Free Cookbooks

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Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by The Captive Reader and Silly Little Mischief that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries

 

For some reason, I got a huge haul of gluten-free cookbooks this week. I’m especially excited about Bread and Butter, which is by the author of Babycakes. I’m hoping I can sneak some Gluten-Free Vegetarian Family Cookbook recipes by my husband, who is a meat-and-potatoes guy. Gluten-Free Flour Power is the thickest book of the bunch, and Let Them Eat Cake is a regular cookbook with GF variations.

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What did you pick up this week?