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Monday, 27 January 2014 14:38

Fast & Simple Gluten Free

 

Fast  Simple Gluten-Free cover image Picmonkeyby Gretchen F. Brown, R.D.

 

Fair Winds Press, October 2012

ISBN: 9780159233-524-4

Softcover, 175 pages $21.99

 

Without a reviewer who has intimate and technical knowledge of gluten, a protein found in many grains, nor of the various gluten-sensitivity issues, including celiac disease, Taste California Travel will stipulate that author Gretchen Brown is knowledgeable on this topic. The first chapter of Fast & Simple Gluten-Free gives a fairly simple explanation of the issue and, as a Registered Dietician, Brown certainly has credibility.

We might have assumed that her cookbook would provide ingredient substitutions that would redefine standard recipes to avoid the dreaded gluten. Indeed, there are recipes where traditional sources of gluten—mostly wheat flour—would be dropped. The modifications in these cases look reasonable and not likely to change the taste of more traditional preparations too much. These alone might be enough to recommend it to someone interested in cooking to accommodate family members or guests who might have a problem with gluten.

But there is really so much more to this book. Good photos caught our eye, as well as intriguing recipes that didn't seem to have any relation to gluten—either its presence or its absence. These just sounded healthy and seemed like they'd taste good. Deviled Eggs with Horseradish, Bacon and Cheddar was such an offering in the Simple Starters and Sips section. The Grilled Ribeye with Orange Balsamic Glaze in Fast & Filling Full Plate Meals also looked tasty, as did the Roasted Salmon & Asparagus with Lemon-Caper-Dill Aioli. A winner from the Super Quick Sides section might be Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Cranberries & Walnuts.

Substantial space is devoted to preparation of breads and baked desserts and we imagine this would be quite helpful to those looking to avoid gluten. We can imagine those opting for a gluten-free diet could be daunted by the prospects of complicated preparations for that need. However, there is a badge on the book's cover reading “30 minutes or less to fresh and classic favorites,” which tends to support the "Fast & Simple" in the title. Maybe eating well while avoiding gluten is not so difficult.

 

--reviewed by Dan Clarke

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