Bob’s Red Mill is famous in the gluten-free world. The grain manufacturer, located near Portland, Oregon, has a separate dedicated gluten-free facility, and supplies a wide variety of grains at reasonable prices. This cookbook features many lesser-known grains, all of which are appropriate for people with Celiac disease, or others who choose to avoid gluten.
Personally, I have nothing against gluten. But Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook: 281 delicious whole-grain recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury prompted me to expand my grain cookery beyond rice and the occasional batch of couscous. With Saulsbury’s guidance, I felt confident diving into a world of sorghum, millet and teff.
Early chapters, such as “Gluten-Free Grains Primer” and “The Everyday Gluten-Free Pantry” explain the basics – many of which I didn’t know. Here readers learn several ways to cook each grain, differences between flours, and nifty tricks like making a nondairy buttermilk substitute, or testing the potency of baking soda.
Recipes: Both meat and meatless
The recipe part of the book is divided into breakfasts; soups, stews and chilies; salads and sides; meatless main dishes; seafood, poultry and meat main dishes; breads, muffins and snacks; and desserts. I appreciated that meatless main dishes were given as much space as meaty dishes, making it a good cookbook for vegetarians or omnivores who don’t always want to eat meat.
My favorite was chocolate buckwheat granola. After visiting two stores to obtain buckwheat groats, I substituted teff for buckwheat, an alternative suggested in the book. In most granola recipes I’ve made, most everything is pretty much tossed in a pan together. This recipe had the extra step of combining coconut oil, cocoa powder, brown sugar and salt in a saucepan before mixing it with the oats, almonds and, in this case, teff. It turned out the teff was the best part of the granola. This tiny, crunchy grain adds a very different mouth feel than the usual oaty texture. The combination of coconut oil and chocolate was delicious.
The miso, mushroom and buckwheat soup also turned out well. Again, this one called for buckwheat groats. This time I substituted millet, which was going off-book. But in the grain cooking section it looked like millet took approximately the same amount of time to cook as buckwheat groats. It worked pretty well. The stars here were shitake mushrooms and a good dose of garlic and ginger root. The grain made it much more filling than a usual miso soup, so that with crackers or toast, it became a meal.
The roasted eggplant and cherry tomatoes with sorghum was slightly less successful. While the eggplant seasoned with thyme and garlic was good, the sorghum tasted pretty plain. I wound up with a bowl of bland sorghum with not quite enough vegetables on top.
Just as the main dishes section included many vegetarian options, Saulsbury also remembers the vegans throughout. Many salads and desserts are vegan, or can easily be made so by substituting a psyllium “egg” – which she explains how to make in her pantry primer chapter – for a real one. While some of the desserts might be a bit exotic for some, such as a chia gelato or teff pudding, most family members wouldn’t question the appearance of a chocolate cream or gingery pumpkin pie at a holiday gathering.
The Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook is, of course, of special use for anybody cooking for a gluten-free person. But it’s also very good if you’ve been wanting to cook with ancient or unfamiliar grains, and don’t know where to start. – Teresa Bergen, RFT Vegan/Vegetarian Editor