Mar 25, 2015

Book Review: Against the Grain

Against the Grain: Extraordinary Gluten-Free Recipes Made From Real, All-Natural Ingredients
Nancy Cain
[ Find on Amazon  ]

Today's an awkward sort of book review since I did not read this book cover-to-cover, and rightfully so, since its a cookbook! But I have flipped through the different sections and bookmarked a few recipes I am sure to try soon!

The front cover alone had me nearly salivating at the gluten-free delicacies in store within the pages of this cookbook. The large photos only doubled that effect! I may need a snack while I am writing this review!

Cain lays some groundwork before diving into the world of gluten-free recipes. She has a chapter on the fundamentals of gluten-free baking, focusing on "building blocks" such as healthy fats and oils, starches, and proteins -- with specific emphasis on eggs, "basis of many flour less recipes" (p.23). Basic tools, which are pretty generic for any time of cooking, are mentioned as well as diving into the "naturally gluten-free pantry" (including milk, chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, nuts and nut butter, cocoa, coconut [oil, milk, butter, flaked, cream], dates, cinnamon, raisins, beans, molasses and honey, bananas, avocados, potatoes, vinegar, baking soda and powder). Likewise, an important pantry item for gluten-free cooking is the type of flour to be used, which is discussed next in this portion of the book. I never realized there were so many gluten-free flours until I started cooking occasional gluten-free meals about a year ago.A few examples are: brown rice, oats, teff, sorghum, almond flour, arrowroot starch, buckwheat flour, fava flour, coconut flour, flam meal, quinua flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch. 

Once she lays the groundwork, Cain jumps into the recipes, neatly categorized by the following:
  • Traditional breads and flatbreads 
  • Quick breads, breakfast foods, and muffins
  • Savories
  • Cookies and bars
  • Cakes
  • Pies and desserts
  • Recipes featuring pre-made breads

I am looking forward to trying a lot of these recipes out. Currently, I've got my eyes set on the olive flatbread (p. 104), lobster rolls (p. 177), italian cream cake (p. 265), sponge shortcakes (p.305), and coconut eclairs (p. 338).  bon appetit!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free through Blogging For Books  in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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