I buy a bunch of new cookbooks and cooking magazines. I read them, cook from them and let you know if they are worth your purchase or not. Read on for my review of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy (author’s affiliate link).
You probably know the blog, Gluten Free on a Shoestring. And if you don’t I encourage you to go check it out. Blogger Nicole Hunn is funny and accessible with recipes that are photographed at multiple points in the process. She has tackled all the kinds of pastry and baked goods that you could possibly want.
She recently released her second cookbook, Gluten Free on a Shoestring: Quick and Easy Meals (this is a link to the author’s Amazon store). And I have to say, in my book it is a hit. (It is one of my favorites from the past year).
This cookbook is full of easy meal ideas, fancy breakfast treats, yeasty pizza crusts and easy to make home baking mixes. (I know I often talk about how I dislike baking mixes, but I do see the benefit of them.) The recipes include a calculation of about what it will cost to make the recipe plus a comparison of what an equivalent store-bought product would cost and frequently it is quite shocking to see the amount you can save.
My only criticism of the book is that there aren’t enough pictures for me. But I work in a creative field where it is very much all about the looks, so I might be a wee bit biased… The layout is easy to follow and the type is big enough to read from a little distance. Making up for the limited number of pictures is the paper. The paper is the kind you can write on. I might be the only person who does this, but I annotate my cookbooks with substitutions I have tried and notes to myself about recipes. This doesn’t work well in fancier, photo-laden books.
This book has a great variety of meals and treats – and they are all presented in easy to follow language with lots of encouragement from the author.
Nicole gladly agreed to an interview about the book via email, and here are her responses.
Why did you decide to write this book?
I realized at some point that I hadn’t given enough thought in my first book to how long the recipes took to complete, and just because I was willing and able to put in the time to cook and bake gluten-free, not everyone else was. And the whole point of everything I do, on my blog and in cookbooks, is to make gluten-free food accessible to everyone who needs or wants it. I want to break down barriers to entry, and in a gluten-free world where preparing food is still portrayed by many as way more precious than it needs to be, quick & easy seemed like the way to go next.
Since I don’t yet have tiny humans of my own, what is one piece of advice you can give my readers about feeding a gluten-free child?
Feeding a very young gluten-free child isn’t any different than feeding any very young child. And feeding a very young child, to me, is what I imagine it would be like to feed a churlish dictator. 3 meals, 2 snacks a day, eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full!
What was the hardest part about learning to bake gluten-free?
Oh, the flours. The gluten-free flours! When I started out doing this in the antediluvian days, there weren’t all of the amazing all-purpose blends on the market, so I was stuck with bean flours—and blending my own bean flours even! That is a large part of the reason that all of my recipes begin with a high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour. I cried real tears when I started out. Why should anyone else suffer the same early fate?
What is your favorite recipe from the book?
The yeast-free English muffins, on page 55. They come together so fast, and make a better burger bun than any burger bun I’ve ever had. Don’t tell the other recipes, though. They’re jealous mistresses.
Did you learn anything about gluten-free cooking/baking while writing this book and what was it?
I learned … that it’s possible (even advisable!) to incorporate good quality packaged gluten-free products into your repertoire without sacrificing your whole paycheck and without sacrificing the integrity of your meal.
Are there plans for more cookbooks?
Of course! Mostly because I have nothing better to do. I am writing a gluten-free bread book, slated for December 2013 publication. No bread machine, no special skills required. No sad, weepy mounds of gluten-free bread dough. No joke.
Did you have to put a doughnut on the cover of the cookbook? It is just mean that it is sitting next to me staring me in the face and making me hungry…
I did, because I’m not a very nice person. You heard it here first.
Author: Nicole Hunn
Format: soft-cover, full color center photo section
Buy it or Forget it: Buy it (and keep the tiny humans happy, the adults satified and gluten-lovers fooled)
Must try recipes: Pumpkin Granola Breakfast Cookies, Chocolate Clafoutis, The whole chapter on make your own mixes.
*Read more about my cookbook review criteria.
I purchased my own copy of this book prior to reaching out to the author & publisher. The giveaway copy of this cookbook is being furnished by Lifelong Books, and has no bearing on my review.
The publisher has kindly agreed to send a copy of this cookbook to one of my readers in the US or Canada! All you need to do is comment here to win by January 12, 2013 at midnight Central Time. Get up to 3 additional entries for sharing this post on social media (Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter – making sure that you tag FrannyCakes in your post) and then leaving a new comment here for each share. A winner will be chosen via random number generator on January 13, 2013, and the cookbook will be sent directly to you from the publisher. You must be a resident of the United States or Canada to win.
- 2 1/4 cups (315 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free four
- 1 teaspoon xantham gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
- 1 teasponn baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (164 g) packed light brown sugar
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- Place all of the ingredients, except the chips, in a large bowl and whisk well, being sure to get out as many of the lumps of brown sugar as possible. Add the chips and mix well. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
- 1 batch make your own chocolate chip cookie mix
- 8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter at room temperature
- 2 extra large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line rimmed baking sheets with unbleached parchment paper and set them aside.
- Place tge dry cookie mix in a large bowl and whisk well. Add the butter, eggs and vanilla, and mix well. Refrigerate until firm or freeze briefly.
- Drop balls of dough about 1 1/4 inches in diameter about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Place the baking sheets in the freezer until the dough is firm, about 10 minutes.
- Once the dough has chilled, place the rimmed baking sheets in the preheated oven one at a time and bake until the cookies are just beginning to brown on the underside, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool until firm on the baking sheets.