We’ve been waiting quite awhile to share this with you. Two years, actually. Pregnancy and childbirth go faster than conceiving, creating, and bringing a cookbook to bookstore shelves. We don’t mind, though. We love this process.
And we love this cookbook: Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. If you click on that link, you can pre-order it. The publication date is April 30th, which is only 2 weeks from now. (!!!) But fact is, Amazon always seems to release books earlier than their pub date, so really? It could be in your hands in a matter of days.
We’d like to show you around the book.
This is, of course, a cookbook entirely free of gluten. I can’t eat even a bit of it. Danny and Lucy don’t eat it in our home. So every single recipe is safe for those who have gluten intolerance, celiac, or who are avoiding gluten for one reason or another. (They’re all valid, of course. If your body does better without gluten, the rest is just a label.)
So, we have about 15 to 20 recipes that might be foods you crave when you find out you can’t eat gluten: chicken and dumplings, grilled pizza, apple pie. That one up there is a Moroccan lamb burger with a gluten-free hamburger bun. And those are gluten-free biscuits and sausage gravy. That’s right. Biscuits and gravy.
We worked hard on these recipes, testing them again and again, because we knew they might be the ones you go to first. Frankly, it’s not good enough for us if a recipe is merely gluten-free. For us, it has to be good. Danny’s a chef. Lucy might even have a more particular palate than he does. These are the foods we eat in our home, regularly.
However, most of these recipes don’t contain flour at all. There’s more to life than baked goods, after all.
This cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, truly is an everyday book. Our last cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story with 100 Tempting Recipes was meant to be a love story, between me and Danny, but also with food. It’s filled with recipes for people who have hours to cook and want to create restaurant-quality meals in their home. I still love that cookbook. But Gluten-Free Girl Every Day? We’re still cooking from it here, nearly a year after finishing the first draft. This book is how we cook now.
I wanted to call this book Feeding Lucy. (The publishers, probably pretty wisely, insisted that Gluten-Free Girl be in the title so you could find it.) It’s a cookbook about how we choose to feed our daughter: lots of seasonal vegetables, good whole grains, spices from around the world, and plenty of variety so we never grow bored. There’s nothing like having a child to make time in the kitchen more meaningful.
As I wrote in the book, “A good meal can change someone’s day. Cooking is the most deeply creative act with the most practical application.”
When you first find you have to go gluten-free, you might focus first on what you have lost. That’s fine. It’s understandable. But when you adjust, and you find you have to cook most every meal for yourself? You want more than baked goods and flour tortillas. You want chile-lime shrimp stir fry for a fast weeknight dinner. Or zucchini noodles with pesto, French feta, and sunflower seeds on a hot summer night when you don’t want to turn on the stove.
Even though every recipe in Gluten-Free Girl Every Day is gluten-free, we really intended this to be a cookbook for anyone who loves to cook and eat.
It just so happens that a good many of the recipes in Gluten-Free Girl Every Day are vegetarian. That wasn’t intentional. We just don’t eat every meat at every meal. We listen to our bodies and the produce in season at the farmers’ market, as well as our budget at the moment, to make the dinner we want to eat that night.
That’s a chickpea vegetable stew with brown basmati rice. (If you look closely, you’ll also see the gluten-free pita bread that’s in the cookbook.) And on the right is a kale, butternut squash, and black bean chili. It might be Danny’s favorite chili to eat. It also happens to be vegan.
We pulled most of the recipes in our last cookbook from Danny’s 20-plus years of being a professional chef in restaurants across the country. By definition, the food was more elaborate and sometimes decadent than we eat on a daily basis. It was treat food, meals meant to make you realize that there is no real deprivation to living gluten-free. Gluten-Free Girl Every Day has recipes intended to be eaten on weeknights, at home, so they are recipes more people might consider “healthy.” (That’s a dangerous word, since we all have different definitions.) Brown rice fettucine with walnut-kale pesto, cannellini beans, and roasted tomatoes. Roasted chicken salad with apples, golden raisins, and tarrgon in butter-leaf lettuce cups. Quinoa-stuffed roasted peppers. Vegetarian burgers with quinoa and black beans. Smoked paprika hummus. Savory oat risotto with mushrooms and spinach. Grilled salmon with a grilled jalapeno-lemon relish.
Our cookbook might have more kale in it than any other before it.
Perhaps what I love most about this book aside from the stunning photographs from Penny De Los Santos and the gorgeous design of the pages is the structure. As I wrote in the book, “Thank you to my brother, who sat down with me at the table one day and said, ‘Listen, I don’t cook according to ingredient, the way you do. I think about the kind of dinner I want to make. Why don’t you structure the book according to types of meals? Breakfast for dinner. Rice and beans. One-pot meals.’ He was right, of course.”
Each chapter in Gluten-Free Girl Every Day is a different strategy for getting dinner on the table. It’s relatively easy to make some kind of whole grain, cook up a protein, and sauté some veggies. But what makes meals far more interesting is a little variety. So we have a whole-grains chapter, where we show you how we cook up a big pot of brown rice, quinoa, or millet, then freeze them in 2-cup portions in plastic bags. Time to make dinner? Grab some brown rice for a quick fried rice with roasted chicken, bok choy, and pickled ginger. Need dinner fast? Once you master the basic rules of how to make a great stir fry? You can be eating a deeply flavorful, healthy meal in 15 minutes. There’s One-Pot Wonders, Rice and Beans, A Big Bowl of Pasta, The Meat Chapter, Breaking Down a Chicken (how to use every part of that chicken for a meal in the week), and Fire Up the Grill.
Maybe my favorite chapter at the moment is Buffets. My brother pointed out that his somewhat-picky-eating son grows excited about buffet meals: a dozen bowls of different ingredients, which he can combine any way he wants. So we created a taco bar, with homemade carnitas, corn tortillas, and pickled carrots. Make a few things from scratch and buy the rest at the store. We love the Indian buffet, the Anitpasti buffet, and the spring rolls dinner. Turns out that Lucy adores buffet dinners now too.
But actually, I still think my favorite chapter is Breakfast for Dinner. Chicken and waffles. Sweet potato-chorizo hash. Grits with smoked salmon and eggs over easy. Baked egg casserole with collard greens and bacon. Irish frittata. Huevos rancheros. Lemon ricotta pancakes. And fried egg sandwiches on gluten-free sandwich bread with bacon-tomato jam.
I’m hungry now.
This is a book full of recipes for weeknight dinners. The opening recipe of each chapter is the least complicated to make. They progress to recipes with slightly more unusual ingredients or preparations. However, we worked hard to make sure these recipes contain ingredients you can find at your local grocery store. There might be some unfamiliar spices or ingredients, but we gave you good online sources from where to order them. We also made sure that any ingredient that might seem “exotic” to some is in at least three recipes in the cookbook.
We also lay out the basic and splurge ingredients in our pantry, as well as show you how to make an all-purpose flour mix and a whole-grain flour mix. They both work in every recipe in the book that involves flours.
Each recipe has a little green box called Feel Like Playing? That’s where we give you suggestions of how to make the recipe differently, based on what you can eat in your kitchen or what is in season. Consider these recipes strong suggestions, clearly written so you can feel successful in your kitchen and make them differently the next time.
This is a cookbook for busy people who still love to cook.
We really want you to cook out of this book. We want these beautiful pages to be food stained soon.
Of course, we couldn’t have a cookbook without a few desserts. Sweetness at the End of the Evening is our weeknight desserts chapter. We don’t show you how to make gluten-free croissants or puff pastry. Instead, these are desserts meant for the 2 or 3 nights a week we share something sweet after dinner. I’m quite partial to the coconut-cashew panna cotta with blueberry compote, the cherries poached in Sauternes with creme fraiche, and the lemon-yogurt cake. But these chocolate chip cookies with teff and hazelnuts are my favorite cookies of all time.
As I wrote in the book:
“Danny and I both love big flavors, with levels of complexity in a dish.…Mostly, [if you come into our kitchen], the food will be fresh, based on what is in season, and full of interesting tastes. And there will be plenty for you.
Everybody’s welcome, even at the last moment. Both Danny and I grew up wanting to have the kind of house someday where friends felt comfortable just stopping by. We set an extra place at the table. That’s the kind of home we have. Spill something? No big deal.
So you see, this book isn’t meant as an admonition of how we think you should eat or a lecture of what is the healthiest way to be. We all have to find our own way of eating that works for us now.
Instead, think of this book as an invitation. We’ve invited you into our kitchen. We hope you stay. We hope something inspires you. We hope you feel comfortable here.
Here’s a peeler. I’m putting you to work. Can you peel apples? Let’s make some pie.”
This summer, our dear friends Debra and Rod from Smith Bites Photography spent a couple of weeks with us here on Vashon. It was so joyful. And they shot footage of us cooking and laughing with Lucy. They understand us so well that we asked them to make a trailer about the book for us. We think that, if you watch it, you’ll understand what this book is truly about.
And we hope that you buy Gluten-Free Girl Every Day and cook from it.
You can order Gluten-Free Girl Every Day from
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