Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Cake Mix Doctor Gets Unbelievably Gluten-Free in Her New Book

Bestselling author Anne Byrn, better known to the world as "The Cake Mix Doctor", has written a new gluten-free cookbook, "Unbelievably Gluten-Free" (NY: Workman Press, 2012) and I was honored to be chosen as an official stop on her book blog tour. I have made good use of my copy of her previous gluten-free cookbook, "The Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free", which I reviewed here previously at the ol' blog (and that reminds me to make that meltingly delicious Bacardi Rum Bundt Cake again soon, because I like big bundts, and I cannot lie...)

The first recipe I have tried out of the new book is her version of that comfort food stand-by, Mac and Cheese. Now, I have made many different versions of Mac and Cheese in my day, most all of them delicious, but I believe Anne Byrn's recipe is definitely the richest and most velvety variety of them all. She dispenses with any thickening cornstarch or brown rice flour for the cheese sauce, preferring to "enrobe" the pasta with a reduced batch of heavy cream, and it makes for a truly decadent dish. You don't need a whole heaping helping to make a meal because it is very rich indeed. My family cleaned their bowls, and thus, paired with a fluffy green salad with vinaigrette, we feasted like Gluten-Free royalty.

Here is Ms. Byrn's wonderful recipe for Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese, reprinted with permission from Workman Press:
Gluten-Free Mac and Cheese
 Serves 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 to 26 minutes
Bake: 8 to 10 minutes (optional)
Pinch of salt
8 ounces gluten-free elbow macaroni (I used brown rice pasta)
1 tablespoon olive oil or butter (I used butter)
3 cups heavy (whipping) cream
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan cheese
Dash of ground nutmeg
Dash of paprika, for sprinkling on top
1 cup gluten-free cracker crumbs, for topping the casserole (optional) (but I say they were essential for adding a nice crunchy counterpoint - I used Glutino crackers)
1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
1. Fill a large pot two-thirds full with water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When the water is boiling add a pinch of salt and stir in the macaroni. Cook the macaroni until it is just done, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the macaroni in a colander and toss it with olive oil or butter. Set the macaroni aside.
2. If you are baking the macaroni and cheese, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
3. Add the cream to the pot in which you cooked the pasta and let come to a boil over medium heat., stirring. Let the cream cook until it has reduced to half its volume, about 1 1/2 cups, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheddar and Parmesan cheeses and nutmeg.
4.  When the cheeses have melted completely, stir the cooked macaroni into the sauce. You can serve the macaroni and cheese at once sprinkled with paprika. Or to bake the dish transfer the macaroni and sauce to a 2-quart baking dish. Toss the cracker crumbs with the melted butter and scatter them over the top. Sprinkle the cracker crumbs with paprika. Bake until the macaroni and cheese is bubbly and the crumbs have browned, 8 to 10 minutes. The macaroni and cheese can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 3 days.

I will be back with more recipe reviews from "Unbelievably Gluten-Free" over the coming weeks, including trying my hand at some new recipes to add to my vegetable repertoire, so be sure to tune in for these blog posts as well as a chance to win a copy of this great new cookbook. You can enter to win a copy of each of Ms. Byrn's gluten-free cookbooks,  "Unbelievably Gluten-Free" and "The Cake Mix Doctor Cooks Gluten-Free". To enter, leave a comment below or at one of the next Crispy Cook posts about the book. I'll pick a random winner (U.S. and Canadian residents only) after the Blog Tour is over.

In the meantime, you can also hop on over to Anne's Facebook page tomorrow, November 14, starting at 6 pm Eastern Standard Time, for a chat with the author, or see what the other bloggers on the Tour think about this great new cookbook.