Photo Credit: Robert Rose Inc
We are thrilled and excited to be completing our first cookbook review! It is a big mile stone for us here on our blog. What better way to start things off than with a book that sets my (Amy’s) heart a flutter….Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook: 281 delicious whole grain recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury.
Considering my reality of having a husband with celiac disease and personally feeling significant symptom improvement when eating gluten free, I was quite curious to read this book! My first impression was excitement when I realized that this was EXACTLY what I was looking for – a gluten free cookbook that actually uses whole grain flours! I didn’t know that was possible!!!
If you are in the world of gluten free living, you know the realities of what a “typical” gluten free muffin looks like.
If you are not in that world, allow me to enlighten you. A gluten free muffin traditionally consists of a lot of rice based flours (most of which is white/processed), add a good bit of pure starch in there to lighten things up, lots of oil to make it palatable and then a dash of xanthan gum to help it all stick together (what is xanthan gum made of anyway?) The result? You get a “muffin-like” product that tastes a little funky, it turns stale within a day and is nutritionally questionable considering the amount of refined flours that go into it. I’ve been attempting to experiment with using more whole grains but I get frustrated and discouraged when my recipes fail! Those specialty flours are expensive!
Lunches and suppers in a typical gluten free world? It’s usually a whole lot of rice based bread, steamed brown rice, rice based pasta, quinoa and potatoes. Not so stimulating.
As a dietitian I believe in the importance of eating a VARIETY of foods, including grains, and focusing on foods as close to nature as possible. The less we process food, the more nutritious they are for our bodies!
When I got this cookbook in the mail I immediate cracked it open to the baking section. Every recipe I saw got me more and more excited….these recipe all are made primarily with whole grain flours (xanthan gum isn’t even mentioned)! The cooking sections are equally interesting featuring twists on common recipes and ethnic dishes. A variety of flours and grains are used to make “normal” everyday recipes into nourishing food for those needing a gluten free diet! Honestly, these recipes are even so appealing that someone able to eat wheat would be intrigued to diversity their cooking and baking. Simple, nourishing and easy – it truly is an everyday cookbook.
Banana Quinoa Muffins – Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook, photo credit – Deliciousdietitianduo
The cookbook also features a fantastic reference section at the beginning of the book which offers historical background, characteristics, storage and cooking methods of a variety of gluten free grains and seeds. It is engaging and motivates the reader to courageously try different grains.
After this inspiration I made a serious shopping list, headed out to the local bulk foods store and bought myself $50 worth of different gluten free flours that I have always curiously eyed in the grocery store but never took the time to figure out how to use them. Things like amaranth, millet, teff, quinoa and buckwheat flour.
Amaranth Apricot Bread – Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
All of the recipes that I have tried so far have been a success. These have included Banana Quinoa Muffins, Amaranth Apricot Bread and Ethiopian Injera. (Stay tuned for blog posts) I love how the recipes seem to celebrate the individual characteristics and flavours of the grains instead of masking them or trying to make it taste like wheat.
Next up? For breakfast: No-Cook Maple Buckwheat Porridge and Salted Caramel Banana Waffles. For lunch: Waldorf Steel-Cut Oats Salad and Wheat-Free Thins. For supper: Trinidadian Fish Stew with Millet and Quinoa Tortillas. For dessert: Teff Shortbread and Whole-Grain Gluten-Free Pie Crust. Whoa!
Thanks Camilla Saulsbury, I’ve officially diversified the GF grain inventory in my pantry. No longer will my amaranth, millet and steel cut oats sit idle.
Disclaimer – This cookbook was provided to me free of charge to review for the blog. All opinions and photos are my own.