The world of gluten-free cooking has expanded enormously. Once, it was difficult to find any gluten-free products in the stores and was hard to find the grains needed to make one’s own gluten-free breads, cakes and cookies. Bob’s Red Mill was an early purveyor of grains without gluten, and now there’s “Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook” by Camilla V. Saulsbury to help introduce these grains into the family cooking circle.
Saulsbury’s compilation of recipes and explanations of the various choices among grains and flours is a perfect introduction to the panoply of new possibilities for your kitchen. This cooking maven has won several large national awards, including the $100,000 National Chicken Cook-Off and the Food Network’s “$25,000 Ultimate Recipe Showdown” (”Cookies” episode) among others. Saulsbury also has academic credentials in food. She holds a PhD in sociology from Indiana University with a specialization in food studies. Her work as a recipe developer and writer has appeared in many magazines and her own cookbooks, and she has been the featured cooking expert for the online magazine Gal Time.
Saulsbury calls this cookbook, “The game-changing, one-stop source for incorporating gluten-free, wholesome ancient grains into your everyday diet with great flavor ease and aplomb.”
Her approach is methodical and artful. She explains everything you want to know about each of the grains she discusses (all available from Bob’s Red Mill) in the front of the book and then provides an amazing array of tantalizing recipes, organized by meal. The index in the back will guide you if you want to try recipes by type of grain. For instance, “millet, cooked” brings up two-dozen recipes ranging from Low Country Okra, Tomatoes and Black-eyed Peas with Creamy Millet to Sicilian Pork and Peppers with Millet Polenta. Then there are more than two-dozen recipes for baking with millet flour.
I don’t know whether the parallel trend to adopt nutrient-dense ancient grains into the modern diet was spurred by the increasing numbers of people who need to be gluten-free, or if it was simply the delicious taste of these alternative grains that has caused an explosion on grocery shelves at both custom “health food” grocers and ordinary markets, but I can tell you there are several bags of Bob’s Red Mill ancient grains in my own pantry, even though my home does not have to be gluten-free.
The reason is the flavor and nutrient value of these other grains. My pantry now contains quinoa (a substance I could barely pronounce five years ago), freekah and faro, among others. I have bags of chickpea flour, almond flour and teff. There is so much variety, whereas a decade ago, the wildest thing I did with cooking was to use whole-wheat flour or unbleached white in my baking.
For those who are starting to eat less gluten (but do not medically have to go gluten-free), Saulsbury says the easiest way to make the transition is to “embrace the wealth of ancient grains that are naturally gluten-free such as amaranth, teff, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, sorghum and quinoa.” She says flours from these grains can be swapped out with regular flour (see her notes on this) with great success, and the grains themselves are wonderful to eat in salads, soups, stews and other preparations. She adds that the most underused grain in the world is millet.
“[Millet] has everything you want from a grain: inexpensive, naturally gluten-free and incredibly versatile,” Saulsbury says in this book, which would make a good gift for anyone who wants to add some pizzazz to their cooking repertoire.
If you think grains are just for heavy foods or baking, think again. Many of the recipes in this book are for salads that make a great accompaniment to any summer dinner or can stand on their own as a vegetarian main course. The Zucchini and Millet Salad recipe is an example.
At a glance
Title | Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook
Author | Camilla V. Saulsbury
Publisher | Robert Rose Press
Length | 336 pages
Cost | $24.95
Zucchini and Millet Salad
A trio of fresh, zesty ingredients — lemon, Parmesan cheese and hazelnuts — elevates modest millet and fresh zucchini with style.
Yield: 6 side-dish servings
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 cups cooked millet (see page 11), cooled
3 small zucchini, diced
1⁄2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1⁄4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
In a small bowl, whisk together oil, lemon zest and lemon juice.
In a large bowl, combine millet, zucchini and cheese. Add dressing and gently toss to coat.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with hazelnuts.
Tips: This salad is also wonderful made with cooked amaranth or quinoa, cooled. For the best flavor, use small to medium zucchini in this recipe, as they are sweeter when raw than larger ones.
— Reprinted with permission from Robert Rose Press