I love cookbooks, yes I do. I love cookbooks, how about you?
That’s right, it’s time for another cookbook review. Well, at least part 1 of a cookbook review. Trust me, there is logic behind this 2 part cookbook review.
This time around I’m going gluten-free with the new Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook: 281 delicious whole grain recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury. Now I’m sure you know I’m in no way a gluten-free eater, as I have no medical reason to be, and am not convinced there is evidence to support eliminating any one specific food to overall health. However, I am interested in exploring the gamut of the culinary world, and being knowledgeable about gluten-free cooking is always a good thing for a dietitian. I want to be able to give patients good advice, especially if they are new to the gluten-free world. So finding some good cookbooks to recommend is definitely key.
What specifically drew me to this book is that it features whole grains – something that everyone (gluten-free or not) should try and choose more often over processed/refined grains. I was also interested to see how some of the less mainstream grains were going to be used (think millet, amaranth, teff). I was hoping to push myself out of my grain comfort zone! The book starts with a great primer on gluten-free grains, with descriptions, history, nutritional benefits, and tips on cooking them; as well as some details on stocking your gluten-free pantry. I like that the book includes the basics, making it suitable for any skill level.
The recipes in this cookbook run the gamut from breakfast through dessert, including soups, sides, mains, and baking. Some tasty sounding highlights include:
- Fluffy Lemon Chia Seed Pancakes
- Quinoa Risotto with Bacon and Peas
- Cumin Pork and Millet Bowls with Avocado and Mango
- Ancient Grains Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Olive Oil Cake with Cherries and Dark Chocolate Chunks
Just looking at that list makes me want to get cooking! I really wanted to give the cookbook a good review, and felt that in order to do so I needed to try out one baked good and one main dish (which is the reason this is a 2 part review). You see, gluten-free baking is a very different thing than just making a gluten-free meal. And since I do basically no gluten-free baking, I wanted to challenge myself. So I picked a recipe I knew would be a flavour hit for my taste-tester boyfriend – Carrot Bread with Coconut and Cardamom.
So the bread – it was easy to find the flours I needed (thanks to good ol’ Bulk Barn), and it was easy to make up the batter. It’s a very thick batter that you need to work at to get it evenly spread in the pan. I don’t think I tented mine loosely enough with the tin foil, so it didn’t rise as nice as it could have. But I was impressed with the end product – nice golden brown crust, dense in a good way, with a nice texture. I often find that texture is the biggest issue when it comes to gluten-free baking – things often end up grainy or gritty feeling, but this was neither. As you can see, the bread was rather crumbly, but mostly just the crust. I also thought there might be too much cardamom, but it didn’t over power the coconut or carrot flavours. It makes a great snack, especially spread with a little peanut butter. But I don’t recommend reheating your bread slice – it tends to fall apart!
I will reserve overall thoughts on the cookbook until my next post…so stay tuned! In the mean time, why not bake some carrot bread?
Carrot Bread with Coconut and Cardamom – from Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
makes 1 loaf (12 slices)
The exotic scents of coconut and cardamom instantly elevate this quick and easy bread into a very special treat. It is also loaded with good-for-you ingredients, which means you can savour it for breakfast and snacks.
- 2/3 cup sorghum flour
- 2/3 cup millet flour
- 2/3 cup potato starch
- 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 5 inch metal loaf pan. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together sorghum flour, millet flour, potato starch, baking powder, cardamom, baking soda and salt.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, eggs and coconut oil until well blended.
4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just blended. Gently fold in carrots and coconut.
5. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan and loosely tent pan with foil.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 80-90 minutes or until top is golden and a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool completely.
Tip: An equal amount of olive oil or melted unsalted butter can be used in place of the coconut oil.
Disclaimer – This cookbook was provided to me free of charge to review for the blog. All opinions and photos are my own. Recipe reprinted with permission.