Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Review of Vanessa Maltin's "Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook"

Since embarking on the Gluten-Free voyage four years ago with my husband's celiac disease diagnosis we've been gravitating towards cooking more Mexican and Asian meals. These cuisines feature corn and rice more often than wheat so many traditional recipes are naturally gluten-free.

Vanessa Maltin, the author of the new "The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook" (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2010) puts the spotlight on these cuisines in this delightful new GF cookbook, as well as many recipes from those wheaty, pasta-loving Italians (though polenta, rice and vegetables feature in the Italian section of this book most prominently). I received a review copy of this cookbook from the publisher and have been using it quite a lot since. The recipes are easy to make, full of fresh flavors and are the perfect rebuttal to those who hear the phrase "gluten-free food" and think about tasteless piles of rice cakes with a side order of cardboard.

The author is in fact an enthusiastic proponent of the tasty gluten-free lifestyle, on her blog, Celiac Princess, and is the author of a previous book, "Beyond Rice Cakes: A Young Person's Guide to Cooking, Eating & Living Gluten-Free". In this second book of hers she teams up with professional chefs Keith Brunell, Katie Chin and Edgar Steele to cook up 125 recipes for everything from risottos to potstickers to Tequila Shrimp and even a handful of baked goods.

I ran the book by my celiac husband to see what his first requests would be and he immediately went for the Seafood Tacos. These were easy to make and a hit with the whole family, as Taco Night usually is. The difference here is that the filling was a delectable mix of tender shrimp and bay scallops in a spicy brown sauce.

We took a second test drive of Maltin's cookbook with a sweet treat, Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cheesecake. The cake turned out to be enormous and being so rich, it lasted a week in our house. The crust is basically a big shell of peanut butter, sugar and egg that you bake up like a giant cookie first and then top with the rich filling. Another winner!

After clogging our arteries with all that cheesecake, I insisted on a therapeutic salad, and the Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella with Balsamic Vinegar recipe was simple, elegant and perfect.

I have made some other recipes from the book and they are wonderfully good. Dan has repeatedly asked me to make him a vegetarian variant of the stromboli recipe, so that's next up for experimentation. There are many other classics and some interesting sounding new dishes to try out, so this great new cookbook will get a real work out in The Crispy Kitchen for years to come. A wholehearted recommendation for people who need to eat gluten-free and for those who love feeding them. It's glorious indeed.


Ellen said...

I have this cookbook and love it, too!

Stephanie said...

This sounds like my kind of cookbook! Thanks for sharing it :)