A New Gluten Free Cookbook Find!

I recently received a preview copy of Donna Klein’s new cookbook, "The Gluten Free Vegetarian Kitchen." I love cookbooks but didn’t have high hopes about this particular one. Donna Klein is a well-known cookbook author but what did she know about being gluten-free?

Well, I must say I am truly impressed. The book does a good job of outlining the “Celiac Diet” and places where the perfidious gluten can hide. Ms. Klein makes great use of the alternative flours and gluten free ingredients, highlighting the natural flavors of gluten free food. For a meat-eater like me, it was useful to have all of the recipes categorized by Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Vegan etc. (Now I can have a dinner party for my vegan friends without “contaminating” their food with hidden animal products.) As a diabetic, it was great to see which recipes were labeled as “low-carb” AND have the nutrition facts for each recipe.

OK, that’s all well and good, but would the food actually taste good? My trips to vegetarian restaurants with gluten free menus confirmed that elminating meat doesn't have to hamper you. I had a great time pouring through the cookbook selecting which ones to make first. I decided to have a dinner party with a few friends (Celiac and not) to give the recipes a test run. It was a bit risky to make all new recipes for a dinner party, but everyone was warned and seemed up for the adventure. Well, the risk paid off and everyone loved the food. Meat-eaters, gluten-eaters and the vegetarian-Celiac all gave the recipes rave reviews. (My only comment is that many of the recipes need more salt than is called for, but that is easily remedied.)

I will be highlighting items from the dinner party over the next few weeks – Toasted Tex-Mex Almonds, Spicy Jicama Chips with Guacamole, Black and Green Olive Tapenade, Parmesan Cheese Crisps, Wasabi Cream Cheese Spread, “Creamy” Cauliflower Soup, Sante Fe Style Quinoa Salad, and Pizza made with a Zucchini Crust. The taste memories are flooding back as I type....

Today, let’s start with dessert. I don’t remember enjoying a dessert this thoroughly in a long time. I took Donna’s recipe for Indonesian-Style Warm Bananas in Cinnamon-Coconut Milk and paired it with Gluten Free Gingerbread and low-fat frozen yogurt. The combination of flavors, textures, hot and cold leaves my mouth watering just from the memory. Give it a try and I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Indonesian-Style Warm Bananas in Cinnamon-Coconut Milk (from Donna Klein’s "The Gluten-Free Vegetarian Kitchen")

4 large ripe yet firm bananas
1 ½ cups light coconut milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

Peel the bananas and slice into bite-sized pieces. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk, sugar and cinnamon to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the ingredients are incorporated. Add the bananas and let mixture return to a boil. Reduce the ehat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the bananas are tender but not mushy, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve hot, with an additional sprinkling of cinnamon, if desired.


Natalie said...

Thanks for the post! I am a cookbook junkie, but rarely buy a gluten-free one. I just haven't had a lot of luck with gluten-free cookbooks. My sister is a vegetarian, so I just might try this one!

Catherine said...

I usually stick to "regular" cookbooks myself (with a few gluten free baking exceptions) but this one was so user-friendly and the recipes were great.