Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Life without gluten can be easier, tasty




By Carol Fenster, Ph. D (Wiley, $35)

It isn’t easy to prepare meals for those who have wheat allergies, gluten intolerance, or celiac disease. Carol Fenster, an internationally recognized food expert, discovered that she was gluten intolerant more than two decades ago. Since then, she has spent much of her time developing gluten-free strategies and helping others who need to make the transition to a free-gluten lifestyle.

Most recipes for even basic pies, cakes, pastas and breads contain wheat, the most common source of gluten. Since even packaged foods such as dressings and seasons may contain it, consumers must be educated and vigilant.

If your household requires gluten-free cooking, this new collection of recipes will be essential and indispensable. There are recipes that are suitable for almost every meal of every day. Best of all, the selections are fairly easy to prepare and delicious.

This massive 700-page book is divided into 17 chapters: Pancakes, Waffles and Other Breakfast Foods; Quick Breads and Muffins’ Yeast Breads; Appetizers and Snacks; Salads and Soups; Sandwiches, Wraps and Tacos; Pastas; Grains and Beans; Fish and Seafood; Poultry; Meats; Vegetables; Cookies and Bars; Cakes and Cupcakes: Pies and Pastries; Fruit and Custard Desserts; and Homemade Gluten-Free Ingredients. There is also a new outline for a gluten-free diet that is compatible for our 21st century.

Two recipes were tested from this cookbook, a delicious Corned Beef and Cabbage – since St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner – and a surprisingly good Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (yes, I said mayonnaise).

This excellent collection features 172 breakfast recipes; 75 for sandwiches, salads, and soups; 106 pasta, grain, bean, and vegetable dishes; 205 for main courses; and 377 for cookies, cakes, pies, and other mouth-watering desserts. Simply put, this is the best gluten-free cookbook I’ve seen and it is highly recommended, even if you aren’t on a restricted diet. It’s that good.

Tucsonan Larry Cox’s “Shelf Life” reviews of fiction and nonfiction books and his “Treasures and Trends” antiques column run Thursdays in Calendar Plus. For more, go to tucsoncitizen.com/calendar.

E-mail: contactlarrycox@aol.com

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake

Makes 12 servings

3/4 cup boiling water

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process or alkali)

3/4 cup real mayonnaise (not reduced fat or salad dressing)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I used Mexican vanilla)

2 cups Carol’s Sorghum Blend*

1 teaspoon baking soda

Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch square nonstick cake pan (gray, not black).

In a small bowl, pour boiling water over cocoa and stir until smooth. Set aside while you measure remaining ingredients.

In a large mixing bowl, beat mayonnaise, sugar, and vanilla extract with electric mixer at medium speed about one minute. Reduce speed to low and beat in cocoa mixture just until incorporated. Gradually add sorghum blend and basking soda, beating just enough that the batter thickens. Spread evenly in the pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut and serve immediately.

*Carol’s Sorghum Blend

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour

1 1/2 cups starch/cornstarch

1 cup tapioca flour

Whisk ingredients together until well blended. Store it tightly covered and in a dark, dry place. You may refrigerate or freeze the blend but bring it to room temperature before using.

Makes 4 cups. You can double or triple this recipe.

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