If you have a special gluten-free someone on your gift list, you’ll want to check my list of fantastic gift ideas!
Even if you’re looking for a gift for someone who doesn’t consider themselves a “baker” or “much of a cook,” beautiful and inspiring cookbooks always make a great present, and finding ways to make favorite recipes possible again is truly a gift in itself!
Some of the newest books on my shelf are listed below, but if you’re in need of a cooking tool or appliance, I’ve also got a huge list of my recommended products here on my blog that I’m always updating. These are some of my favorite gadgets, essential cooking tools and most recommended brands (in other words, the ones I use myself!), so it’s a great place to start! If you’ve ever seen me in a cooking class, these are links to my silicone baking mats, pasta wheels, pie crust savers, flour containers, mixers, beater blades, bread makers, pizza pans … you get the idea! So get shoppin‘!
The Latest & Greatest in Gluten-Free Books
(Artisan publishing 2011)
Whether you knew it or not, New York Times bestselling cookbook author Barbara Kafka is lactose and gluten intolerant. That’s right — she walks in our shoes, shares our table and battles our same social struggles. She considers herself an “Intolerant Gourmet” though, and this book was dedicated to sharing her recipes to overcomes.
She argues that food is “sensations plus tastes,” something that silky cream and butter deliver, but that the dairy-free can no longer enjoy. This fact doesn’t stop her though, and she shares her secrets for recreating those sensations in her lactose-free dishes using gelatins, eggs, coconut milk, oils and even puréed nuts. Her focus is definitely on the savory, so don’t look here for fluffy gluten-free biscuits or creative breads. No, she unabashedly admits to not having mastered gluten-free sandwich bread. This book is an homage to the meal.
The center section is rich with piquant photographs, but fair warning: they are largely geared toward meat lovers. One of my favorite features of this new classic though, is that Kafka doesn’t forget to teach the basics through sections like “How We Do It,” cooking tables on grains and flours, and even an entire chapter dedicated to basic recipes like stocks and spice mixes. But she doesn’t stop there – she includes in depth sections on her favorite gluten-free pasta brands (with her tasting notes), and of course, the 300 recipes focusing on vegetables, salads, soups and meats.
Kafka adds unmistakable flavor to her text as well, and reads like she is talking with friends over tea. This is a treasure you will turn to again and again for cooking references and stunning recipes from a master.
The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen by Laura B. Russell
(Ten Speed Press 2011)
Since being gluten-free, I have gravitated to Asian cuisine. It’s so much easier to eat safely at a Vietnamese or Thai restaurant, for example, than at a restaurant with typical American fare. My initial desire to replace pasta in my diet with anything resembling noodles also drove me into the Asian grocery stores. I then realized that those same Asian groceries had lots of gluten-free flour options … and they were so much cheaper than those milled in the US! My early flour mix experiments were in fact, largely based on flours I harvested from these aisles.
So I was poised to love this book from Laura B. Russell. It is heavy on the main dishes, but I already know how to make dessert! She covers all the bases to make your favorite dishes at home, and educates you on what to watch out for if dining out at Asian restaurants as well. Everything from sauces to wrappers and noodles, she even describes brands of ready-made gluten-free ingredients so you can save a step, if you’re so inclined. One of my favorite sections of her book is her “Guide to Gluten-Free Asian Noodles.” Photographs (this book has loads of gorgeous photos!) and descriptions will guide you right to the product without fail. Using these ready-made noodles, many of her dinner dishes are super quick to make, as well.
If you are ready to explore a cuisine so full of flavor and texture that you will never miss the gluten (or dairy), then this book should be on your shelf!
The Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Kitchen by Denise Jardine
(Ten Speed Press 2011)
Written from the perspective of an expert in dairy-free cooking, nutrition educator Denise Jardine is now tackling gluten as well. Her book covers all types of dishes and meals — my eye was drawn to sections for vegetarian dishes, yeasted and quick breads, and of course, desserts. Her “Basics” section in the back of the book is interesting, as it provides her recipes for a basic gluten-free flour mix (used in all her recipes calling for flour), dairy milk alternative, nut milk yogurt, nut cheese, stocks, essential sauces, as well as other not-so-basic recipes like grilled fruits, candied pecans and date syrup.
I look forward to spending some more time with this book, and to being inspired to make more exotic dairy-free recipes to complement all of my own gluten-free baking. Her “Soy Velvet Whipped Cream” is calling my name …!
Gluten-Free Makeovers by Beth Hillson
(Da Capo Press 2011)
Beth is one of my favorite gluten-free people. She always has been — even before she became my dear friend. Beth is one of the “mavens” of gluten-free, having been diagnosed with celiac over thirty years ago and having forged her own path to found The Gluten-Free Pantry years ago.
Beth’s approach in this book is one I love. She takes recipes we’ve all known and loved and makes them over to be gluten-free. No fuss, just good food. She provides how-tos to make multiple gluten-free flour blend mixtures for all kinds of recipes, and explains the science behind them, in case you’re interested, too.
A book I know I’m going to love as soon as I have time to spend with it. This one is going on my bedside table!
Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free by Amy Green
(Ulysses Press 2011)
Amy began a journey to lose weight, and ended up sixty pounds lighter, more energetic and happier. How did she do it? She gave up refined sugars and gluten. Her path might not be yours, but she has some good arguments to try it!
Her recipes are not dairy-free, but she can school anyone in agave nectar, coconut palm sugar, stevia and carob chips! She covers lots of types of foods, and yes, she has desserts! Chewy Chocolate Date Brownies to Pineapple Mint Sorbet, there are plenty to keep you interested in the creative possibilities!
If you need to avoid refined sugars, this is a book you don’t want to be without for recipes and for inspiration.
Defeat Wheat by Brian Gansmann
(Sakura Publishing 2011)
I only just got my hands on a copy of this brand-new book, hot off the press. Probably the newest gluten-free book out there, it’s an easy gift choice, because it’s a near guarantee that no one on your list will have it yet!
Knowing Brian, I appreciate his humor and his tell-it-like-it-is approach to living with celiac disease. His journey to diagnosis is his own, but it rings so many bells for those of us who have suffered as he did prior to learning the cause of our pain. Brian grabbed this diagnosis by the horns though – and like the gladiator he compares himself to – used it to launch him into the enviable physique, health and happiness he enjoys today.
Unlike many other books about living gluten-free, Brian shares his secrets to shedding weight, gaining muscle and eating really, really well. Teaching the reader about proper food selection, fitting in a work out and changing your approach to health is his mission in this very personal tale of defeating wheat.
A humorous, inspiring read for anyone new to gluten-free or thinking about taking the plunge.
If you need a thoughtful gift, and quick!, then ebooks are just the ticket! Check my ever-growing list of e-cookbooks that are instantly downloadable, bite-sized and full of yummy, beautifully photographed gluten-free goodies! Everything from holiday baking to cookies, breads & meals – you’re bound to find one to suit you (or your gift need)!
My three published books are also listed on the “Books” tab of my site:
Happy gifting and happy reading!