For the past few weeks, Danny and I have been in the kitchen, listening to the oil in the cast-iron skillet splatter on the stove, taking notes, and writing revisions on our recipe forms. We’re deep in the process of testing recipes for our next cookbook, American Classics Reinvented.
So many of you have written to tell us how much you love our latest cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. Thank you. Thank you for making the four-onion soup, the sushi rice with edamame and miso-maple ginger dressing, the zucchini noodles with spinach pesto, the chickpea vegetable stew with brown basmati rice, the pork tenderloin stuffed with chorizo, the biscuits with sausage gravy, shrimp and bok choy stir fry, the chicken and dumplings, and the teff chocolate chip cookies. I love receiving emails that say, “I’ve been scared of making pie crust my entire life. But my husband so loves pie, and he can’t eat gluten, so I decided to face my fear and try it. I made your apple pie recipe in your latest cookbook and gave it to my husband. He cried. He said it was the best apple pie he has ever eaten. Thank you, Shauna and Danny.”
And that is why we do this work. Truly.
Fact is, we started working on our next cookbook, American Classics Reinvented, months before our latest cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day was released. We should have been telling you about our latest cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, every day, for months, reminding you that it’s out there. We’ve been so busy making the very best gluten-free chicken-fried steak we can for you that we’re just not able to promote our last book the way it deserves. But we’re happy to say that the book has almost been selling itself. Did you know that it’s in every Target in America? This feels like gluten-free is slowly being more accepted in mainstream culture.
(However, we’d love if you could spread the word for us about our latest cookbook, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day. The holidays are coming up, of course. If you have been enjoying the book, could you make it your project to tell your people about it? After all, if you support our work by buying our books, we can create more cookbooks for you. Thank you.)
This was a fun day, when we bought a bit of four different kinds of steaks, trying to determine which one makes the best chicken-fried steak. There was no question. It’s the cheapest one cube steak all the way.
This is what we do for you.
And we’re baking bread, day after day, trying to figure out how to get the most loft on sandwich bread, with the fewest ingredients and the least amount of work.
We’re feeling pretty happy with this one.
American Classics Reinvented is quite a different kind of cookbook for us. Our first two cookbooks, and my food memoir, were based entirely on the kind of food we like to make and eat. Whether it was everyday food, celebratory food, or the best food we could make so you would feel entirely that there is no deprivation in being gluten-free, the recipes we offered were our food. American Classics Reinvented, on the other hand, is your food.
This is a crowd-sourced cookbook. We’ve been asking folks for months on Facebook, on Twitter, and in person on our trip in New England what foods they miss, what foods feel like comfort, and what foods they would like us to reinvent for them. And then we spent weeks putting them all on paper, playing with potential chapters, and figuring out a balance between savory and sweet. And for weeks now, we’ve been making food for you.
This is a fresh crab melt on sourdough bread with cheddar cheese.
And this is a smoked salmon eggs benedict with an olive oil hollandaise sauce.
These are hash brown waffles. Now these were fun to imagine and create.
Let’s face it. Very few of us have kale as our comfort food. This isn’t exactly going to be a health food cookbook.
I’ll say it now and I’ll say it all through the book. This is a book full of splurge food. This is not an everyday food book.
That being said, we’re going to show you the best way to make these foods, not the fastest. Doughnuts probably shouldn’t be easily accessible, from thought of them to eating in 10 minutes.
But there will be an entire doughnut chapter in the book. Oh, how we Americans love our sweet fried dough.
These are coconut flour doughnuts with a salted goat’s milk caramel glaze.
And pie. Oh goodness, there is an entire chapter of pie. Chess pie, shoofly pie, cherry pie, blackberry meringue pie, and sweet potato pie, among others.
I do so love making pie.
Not every pie is sweet. This is a seafood pot pie we made last week.
And sometimes, occasionally, there are dishes with no flour or crust or fried dough at all.
This is a crab sushi roll salad, with cauliflower rice.
That was a fine lunch the other day.
These are fried green tomatoes. Oh, fried green tomatoes.
And fried foods. Americans sure love their fried foods.
Tomorrow is Fry Day around here. We’ve invited a bunch of friends over for lunch, and we’re making beer-battered fish and chips, fried catfish, hush puppies, a Wisconsin fish fry, Navajo fry bread, and fried cheese curds.
Thank goodness there are friends coming over.
This cookbook, we finally know how to do this. We’ve been taking two or three bites, at the most, of each baked good we make. And then we give them away. Each Sunday night, we have been sending out a list of what we are making to a big group of friends here on Vashon, asking who would like each dish. Our friends are over the moon. And we nibble on dishes, making sure they work, and spend the rest of the day eating lots and lots of vegetables.
Our next project is going to include far more vegetables.
Still, I am fascinated with the breads. I’ve fallen in love with bread baking again, or for the first time. These are the best breads I’ve ever created.
And it turns out that all the breads, and baked goods, and floured foods in the book will be grain-free, not merely gluten-free. There are a lot of reasons for that. I have a post on that coming soon. But at first, it was merely to make these recipes more accessible to those of you reading, and those who might be new to the book. So many of you have told us that being gluten-free was not enough for your health. Going grain-free made you better. Well, we want to feed as many gluten-free folks as possible.
And then, we found, to our astonishment, that the grain-free flour mixes we have been creating are the best flour mixes we’ve made so far. Grain-free bread is kick-ass. I’m not kidding. I wake up every morning excited to make bread.
We’ve been posting photos on Instagram and Twitter, and so many of you have been asking us, begging us, for the recipes now. Well, we can’t give them to you now, of course. I wish we could! Except, I’m glad we can’t. We’re posting photos so you can participate with us, watch the recipes develop in real time. But believe me, these recipes will be far, far better by the time the book comes out in the fall of 2015.
(I know. It’s a really long time away.)
This was the first draft of the rolls we’re making for lobster rolls. They were good. But they will be better, later.
My favorite recipe in the book, by far, is the sourdough bread.
This is grain-free sourdough bread. It’s also dairy-free and egg-free. It’s the simplest bread I’ve ever made. It has the most complex taste of any bread I’ve ever made.
And this bread has made several people cry. When I first tasted it, excited beyond words at the thump of that crust and the soft crumb, tears came to my eyes. I had not tasted sourdough bread in over 8 years. At least three people we have fed this bread to have reacted in the same way.
Sourdough bread. Oh goodness.
And these are sourdough bagels.
We have plenty of work to do, Danny and I. We send Lu off to school in the mornings, then move to the kitchen together, talking about the day and the recipes we want to create. And every day, we think of these dishes in your kitchen some day.
There’s a lot of living to do between now and the fall of 2015, and a lot more work to do. But I can’t wait for this book to be in your hands.