By Chelsea Ferguson –
“The Warm Kitchen,” is an essential manual for gluten-free cooking. A must-read for the home chef, it is written and inspired by the experiences of Amy Fothergill. The content of the book evolved when Amy’s infant daughter developed severe food sensitivities which gave Fothergill’s explorations into alternative food preparation a sense of both urgency and passion. However, don’t gluten-free alarm your taste buds! Fothergill demonstrates through testimony, pictures and recipes that you can achieve gourmet flavors by using substitutes for gluten, dairy and egg.
The first portion of the book is devoted to a list and description of ingredients that the author suggests having in a gluten-free pantry. She also explains why to avoid certain ingredients and foods that are labeled gluten-free that might still contain it. Then she introduces common substitutes used in a gluten-free diet, along with her own recipe for a gluten-free flour blend.
Many of the recipes include a chef’s tip or a tester’s review. The content is well organized and there are delectable photos for every recipe. Fothergill ensured that “The Warm Kitchen” could take a place in any kitchen. She even gives lessons throughout such as illustrating basic knife skills, how to saute’ and how to make a pie crust.
After reading “The Warm Kitchen,” I am eager to try gluten-free alternatives. Initially, the book’s cover did not entice me or suggest any promise that I would want to convert to gluten-free cooking. Oh, how Amy Fothergill has changed my mind! “The Warm Kitchen” will be a staple among my collection of cookbooks because it offers interesting and unique recipes for both traditional and gourmet favorites.
Look for these tempting recipes in your journey through “The Warm Kitchen”:
2 cups gluten-free flour
(Makes 14-16 four-inch pancakes)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 ½ cups milk, milk substitute or buttermilk
1 large egg
3-4 tablespoons sugar or sweetener
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (first 9 ingredients) with a whisk. In a large bowl, beat egg briefly then add milk, sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla and mix. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, whisking together until there are no more lumps but without over mixing. Allow to rest for 5 minutes. Batter should be thin enough to pour. If it’s not, add more milk or water. While batter is resting, place a nonstick griddle on the stove and heat to medium to medium-high or heat an electric to 425 degrees. Once griddle is hot, pour ½ cup of batter per pancake. Cook the first side for about 3-4 minutes or until the top just starts to bubble and begins to look dry. Then turn it over. The top should look medium-golden brown. Cook the second side for another 3-4 minutes. The center of the pancakes should be fluffy. If it looks dense, cook longer.
Turkey Quinoa Lettuce Wraps
2 teaspoons olive or vegetable oil
1 ½ pounds ground turkey or chicken
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1 clove chopped garlic
1/3 cup finely chopped water chestnuts (optional)
½ cup low-sodium gluten-free soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2-3 chopped scallions
2-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped peanuts
¼ cup gluten-free hoisin sauce (or add ½ teaspoons honey and 1 tablespoon additional soy sauce)
Iceberg, green or red leaf, or butter lettuce for the wraps
Cook quinoa: place 1 cup of rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of cold water and a punch of salt in a pot. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Turn off the heat, and set aside for 5 minutes. Then, place in a large bowl. While the quinoa cooks, cook the meat. Heat large saute’ pan to medium-high. Add oil and ground meat and break up just a bit with the back of a spoon. Allow meat to brown by not stirring very often. When almost all cooked, add garlic, ginger, and water chestnuts (if using), and cook a few more minutes. Add soy sauce and sesame oil. Take off heat and cool slightly. Add to bowl with the quinoa. Add remaining ingredients to the bowl except lettuce. Stir and adjust for taste. Serve in lettuce cups. Can be topped with additional peanuts, cilantro, scallions, and/or hoisin sauce.
(“The Warm Kitchen,” by Amy Fothergill. The Family Chef Publishing. $26.95.)