Tuesday, April 14, 2015

"against the grain" by nancy cain

I adopted a gluten-free lifestyle almost a year ago in hopes that doing so would help some health problems I'd been having. It did, so I've settled in for the long haul. Honestly, being gluten free hasn't been too difficult from a cooking standpoint—in large part due to great recipes like the ones in this cookbook!

Revolutionary all-natural recipes for gluten-free cooking—from the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet.

Nancy Cain came to gluten-free cooking simply enough: Her teenage son was diagnosed with celiac disease. After trying ready-made baking mixes and finding the results rubbery and tasteless, she pioneered gluten-free foods made entirely from natural ingredients—no xanthan or guar gums or other mystery chemical additives allowed. That led her to adapt many of her family's favorite recipes, including their beloved pizzas, pastas, and more, to this real food technique. In Against the Grain, Nancy finally shares 200 groundbreaking recipes for achieving airy, crisp breads, delicious baked goods, and gluten-free main dishes.

For any of these cookies, cakes, pies, sandwiches, and casseroles, you use only natural ingredients such as buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, and ripe fruits and vegetables. Whether you're making Potato Rosemary Bread, iced Red Velvet Cupcakes, Lemon-Thyme-Summer Squash Ravioli, or Rainbow Chard and Kalamata Olive Pizza, you'll be able to use ingredients already in your pantry or easily found at your local supermarket.

With ample information for gluten-free beginners and 100 colorful photographs, this book is a game changer for gluten-free households everywhere.

Against the Grain is a gorgeous cookbook. The photos make the food look incredibly appealing, and as I first paged through the book, I couldn't wait to get cooking!

Fortunately, the recipes don't just look good, they taste good, too! So far, I've only made four of the recipes, but each has been fantastic ... and you'd never guess they're gluten free. My favorite so far is the Caramel Brownies (p. 237).  I did leave out the coconut caramel chips because the recipe for making them is rather involved, and I wanted brownies right away. Even without the caramel, these are easily the best gluten free brownies I've ever tasted. The photo below doesn't quite do them justice, but trust me: they're out of this world!
The recipes range from super simple to fairly complex, making this a cookbook everyone from beginning bakers to master chefs can enjoy. I did notice that the author is very fond of light buckwheat flour and tapioca starch; she explains why in the helpful "fundamentals" section at the beginning of the cookbook. I wasn't able to find light buckwheat flour at my local grocery stores, but I could find regular buckwheat flour, so I've used that instead—it wasn't too overpowering in the Yankee Ginger Snaps (p. 211), but I'm a little apprehensive about using it in more delicately-flavored recipes. Tapioca flour is relatively cheap, which is good considering probably 90% of the recipes in this cookbook call for it. (If you're wondering, my favorite place to order gluten free flours is Vitacost—almost everything I've looked for has been cheaper there than on Amazon.)

So all in all, I'm a huge fan of this cookbook, and I'm sure I'll be using it for years to come. It's a must-have for any gluten-free kitchen! 5 stars.

Buy the book.

Nancy Cain is the owner of Against the Grain Gourmet, a line of gluten-free breads and pizzas available at supermarkets and natural food stores nationwide. She lives with her gluten-free family in Vermont.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links on this page are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase a product, I will receive a commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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