I’m not on a gluten-free diet, but we’ve been keeping our kitchen pretty much gluten-free since Thanksgiving, so if our two adult children who have been diagnosed with celiac disease come to visit, we’ll just have to do a thorough cleaning; all of the new pans, bowls, utensils, etc. that we bought have still only been used with 100% gluten-free ingredients. (All this to explain I’m not on a fad diet; we have been learning how to have a safe kitchen for our whole family.)
We’ve been making gluten-free meals for a few months and Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Kelli and Peter Bronski has been my guide. If you’re looking for one cookbook of gluten-free recipes that can do it all, I recommend this one! The subtitle of Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking sums it up: 275 Great-Tasting, From-Scratch Recipes from Around the World, Perfect for Every Meal and for Anyone on a Gluten-Free Diet – and Even Those Who Aren’t. (I like a subtitle that writes my review for me…)
The first thing you learn about gluten-free cooking is that everyone has a favorite blend of flours to substitute for the all-purpose or whole wheat flour usually used in recipes. Cookbook authors Kelli and Peter Bronski, who write the food blog No Gluten, No Problem, are no exception. You can find the recipe for their Artisanal Gluten-Free Flour Blend on their blog.
I expected going gluten-free would be especially difficult in baking, but I guess I never realized how many appetizer, salad, and main course recipes call for flour or some sort of gluten-containing ingredient like pasta, pastry dough, pizza dough, barley, or bread. Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking has over 100 pages of Sweet Treats and Desserts recipes, but also has substantial sections covering Breakfasts and Breads, Appetizers, Soups and Salads, Sides, Entrees, and even Drinks.
I have the 2012 edition of this book, which was originally released in 2009. In the preface, the authors explain that they’ve revised and updated recipes from the first edition, added more than fifteen new recipes, included weight measurements for baking, added fifty all-new full-page photographs, and tried “to make the recipes and information even more accessible and user-friendly.” The authors, Kelli and Peter, write about going gluten-free in a hype-free way and are sensibly matter-of-fact about the current gluten-free dieting craze (See Peter’s response to reading Wheat Belly.)
This is an excerpt from the introduction to Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking:
Gluten, a family of proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye, is pervasive in American cooking and eating. At first glance, it’s everywhere we look: bread, pasta, cake, cookies, beer, cereal, pizza…and the list goes on. If cells are the building blocks of life, then gluten might unfortunately be called the building block of the average American diet.
The recipes in Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking reflect a variety of ethnic influences, including Chinese and Indian, that don’t always call for gluten-containing ingredients, but the cookbook doesn’t rely solely on recipes that are naturally gluten-free such as Mango-Pineapple Salsa, Scrambled Omelet, Quinoa Salad with Vinaigrette, Whole Roasted Chicken with Root Vegetables, and Flan. There are also delicious-sounding recipes for foods such as Belgian Waffles, Bruschetta, Shrimp Pasta Salad, Penne a la Vodka, and Almond Cake. This cookbook includes family-friendly recipes that will please a variety of palates from children’s to grandparents’, as well as more unusual dishes. It’s not vegetarian, but includes many vegetarian and seafood recipes.
I still want to try a lot more recipes from this book, especially Brussels Sprouts and Tofu Fried Rice (I’m a recent shaved Brussels Sprouts convert and a vegetarian wannabe, so this recipe sounds delicious to me!) and Sticky Caramel Popcorn (say no more). Some recipes that I’ll probably wait till we’re having company to try are Rosemary Focaccia, Garlic Naan, Honey Mustard Chicken and Green Apple Salad, Margherita Empanadas, Snickerdoodles, Carrot Cake, and Champagne Citrus Punch. I doubt I’ll ever try making my own pasta, but if you’re a homemade pasta maker who’s had to go gluten-free, this book has you covered!
Here’s what we’ve made so far:
Made successfully, but not pictured here: Butternut Squash Soup, Pumpkin Cheesecake, Apple Pie with Streusel Topping, Frosted Sugar Cookies, and Molasses Cookies. (I also tried the recipe for fudge, unsuccessfully, but I’m going to try again. I overcooked the mixture on the stove because I didn’t have the candy thermometer far enough into the mixture. A separate Weekend Cooking post entirely on fudge will go into detail on the various fudge recipes I’ve tried!)
To sum up, it would be easy to plan family meals or a dinner party entirely gluten-free from this cookbook. I see on the No Gluten, No Problem blog that the authors are coming out with another cookbook called Gluten-Free Family Favorites, and that one looks good, too.
Happy Weekend Cooking!
Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking
Bronski, Kelli and Peter
The Experiment, 2012
Disclosure: I purchased my own copy of this cookbook, but a close family member works for the publisher.