Thursday, October 14, 2010

Do You Need a Special Recipe Book To Bake Gluten-Free?

Being a dietitian, I have a TON of cookbooks.  I love the promise of new ideas and the thrill of preparing novel food.  I have cookbooks dedicated to pasta and dim sum and African food and vegetarian fare.  I have not one but TWO cookbooks on cupcakes and an entire tome dedicated to pesto.  Yes, pesto.

I started eating strictly gluten-free for health reasons in March of 2008 and at that time, I went crazy shopping for gluten-free cookbooks. My wonderful, glorious collection of recipe books was left on the shelf to collect dust simply because none of the titles contained the words "gluten-free".

After 2½ years of gluten-free living, I'm here to tell you that you do not need to neglect your most cherished recipe books while living the GF life.  In fact, it's a mistake!  

How much baking did you do before you started eating GF?  What were your favorite recipes then?  Now that you've thought of them, can you easily convert your formerly-beloved recipes to gluten-free?  The answer to this question is decidedly yes.

In the past week, I've made apple pie, pumpkin pie and chicken pot pie, all from regular cookbooks. In fact, I think my recipes turned out better having cooked them from a standard recipe book because most GF cookbooks are geared specifically toward baking, which comes at the expense of main dishes.  In order to bake the recipes listed above, I only needed a nice GF pie crust, which you can get pretty much anywhere. Once you have a pie crust you like, you can use it every single time just like a regular gluten crust.  Did you grandmother change crust recipes with every single pie she baked? No? Well, neither should you!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against GF cookbooks.  I own at least five myself.  But finding a cookbook that explains the principles of GF baking and gives you some standard recipes will be more useful to you than purchasing each and every new book that comes out.

Here's where the recipes I baked this last week came from:

GF pie crust: Gluten-Free Baking by Rebecca Reilly (see previous post about this cookbook here)
Pumpkin Pie: Off the pumpkin can.  Yes, really.
Chicken Pot Pie: The New Best Recipe from the editors of Cook's Illustrated

What are your favorite cookbooks?  What favorite recipes can you cook out of them that require very simple conversions?

1 comment:

  1. wow great post and I think folks need to know that thanks so much for visiting my blog, risotto is a great GF recipe, love your blog Rebecca