gluten-free girl and the chef: review and BOOK GIVEAWAY!
I’m doing a cookbook giveaway. Just in time for you to plan your December holiday meals. If you’re gluten-free, I’m sure you’ll want this book. Even if you’re not gluten-free, you’ll still want this book. It’s full of great recipes for all, and wonderful story telling. About a love story. My favorite kind.
So here’s what you have to do: Leave me a comment, about your most memorable romantic meal. Or your least romantic meal. You will be entered once into the drawing. If you want to see how I choose a winner, it’s totally random. See here. If you want to be entered twice in the drawing, blog about this giveaway too, and leave me a comment letting me know you did so.
So what is this book? It’s gluten-free girl and the chef, by Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern.
I like Shauna James Ahern. A lot. We share common ground. She and I are both writers by profession, who love food, and who love to cook. We have both turned dietary restrictions due to illness into something that expanded our lives, instead of contracting it. I began cooking with ingredients I would never have considered if I hadn’t been plunged headfirst into the world of food allergies, and Shauna has done the same. The gluten-free grain companies (you know who you are!) owe Shauna a big fat thank you for putting old world grains back on the map. I don’t think “sorghum” even knew its own name until it met Shauna. I recognize in her a sister. She and I even fell in love with the same “first” cookbook, back in our teens, and this tome, Laurel’s Kitchen, was a source of life altering inspiration, propelling us both to experiment with new ways of thinking about food, new flavors, a new way of living.
So when I was asked to review her new cookbook by her publisher, of course I said “yes”! Let me be clear. In addition to liking Shauna, I had also thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Gluten-Free Girl. It was a sassy, funny, and extremely well written memoir/cookbook. I am a huge fan of the almost dead genre of literary cookbooks. M.F.K. Fisher and Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings rock my world. These are the books I grew up on, that I read voraciously in bed at night. I love food, but I also love the “tale of the food”, the story around the recipe, even the story of the ingredients (ie, “Dora’s Ice Cream” in Cross Creek Cookery is a great little diddy, if you ever get the chance, read it… and fyi, “Dora” is a cow). So, I knew that even if I couldn’t make some of the recipes in Shauna’s new book (due to my own food restrictions), at least I’d get a good yarn out of it. I guess what I’m saying is that I didn’t expect to be so totally out-of-my-mind excited about the recipes, as they stand, alone from the story-telling. But I am. I’m very excited. I’ve seen a lot of reviews that focus on the love story aspect of this book. I’m going to bring it back to the table for a minute. Let’s talk about the FOOD! Apple Rosemary Muffins? What a brilliant idea! TWO recipes for rabbit? I’m in heaven. Veal Paprika, Asian Pear Tart? You’ve got to be kidding me. Sure, there are some recipes in this book that I can’t eat, but there are many more that I can. So I’ll just make those. In fact, I’m planning on cooking my way through this book, with a fervor I haven’t felt since I received “Spice”, by Ana Sortun, and cooked through it, spice chapter, by spice chapter. This isn’t a “Gluten-Free Cookbook”. This is a cookbook, full of inspired, delicious, artful food that just happens to be gluten-free. And while I’m at it, I’ll be treated to some really first rate story telling, and sumptuous food photography. Love it, Shauna and Danny. Can’t wait for the next installment in the story of your gluten free life.
I began my cooking journey through this book with fresh gluten-free pasta. I have included the eggs, as written, because I don’t believe it’s fair to test a recipe, while changing ingredients, and then say it doesn’t work. Try it as written, if you can. That’s how it was developed, and the only fair judge. Then go adapting it. Of course, if you are allergic to eggs, DON’T DO THAT! Wait for my update on how this yummy recipe does with an egg replacer, which will be my next installment.
fresh gluten-free pasta
recipe courtesy of Shauna James Ahern and Daniel Ahern, from gluten-free girl and the chef, p.60
When you find out you cannot eat gluten, one of the first foods you worry about living without is pasta. There’s a certain mourning involved, imagining a trip to Italy without a mound of fresh fettuccine.
Guess what? The Italians make great gluten-free pasta, since many of their citizens have celiac sprue. You can buy a package of gluten-free pasta at the farmacia and take it to the best restaurant in town, where they will make the pasta of the day for you.
When we first started making pasta, we tried our favorite gluten pasta recipes with gluten-free flours, without much success. It took us about fifteen different recipes and wranglings with flour combinations before we figured out the right ratio of flours to liquids. Now, at least once a week, when we want a quick meal, we pull out flours and make homemade pasta.
2/3 cup (70g/2.5oz) corn flour
1/2 cup (70g/2.5oz) quinoa flour
1/2 cup (60g/2.125oz) potato starch
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
4 egg yolks from large eggs
Combining the flours
Sift the corn flour, quinoa flour, and potato starch into a large bowl. Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt and stir. Sift the entire mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
Forming the pasta dough
Put the eggs and egg yolks into the bowl of dry ingredients. Run the stand mixer on medium speed with a paddle attachment until the dough feels fully formed, about 3 minutes. The final dough should feel firm yet still pliable, a little like playdough.
Making the pasta
If you are using a pasta machine, cut the ball of dough into quarters and roll out each piece of dough to about a 1/2-inch thickness. We like to roll out each piece between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Lightly flour both sides of the dough with a bit more potato starch. Run the dough through the machine, increasing the setting each time, until the dough is paper-thin and long. If the pasta sheet starts to break, it is thin enough.
If you are making the dough by hand, we suggest you cut the ball of dough into 8 pieces, and then cut each of those pieces in half, so they are about the size of golf balls. Roll out each piece of dough as thin as you possibly can.
For fettuccine, use the fettuccine setting on the pasta machine. If you are cutting the dough by hand, you want ribbons of pasta, about 1/4-inch wide. For spaghetti, use the spaghetti setting on the pasta machine. If you are cutting the dough by hand, you want thin strings of pasta.
For ravioli, cut the rolled-out pasta into 2-inch-square pieces. Dollop the filling in the middle of a square of pasta. Brush the edges of the pasta with an egg wash. Place another pasta square on top and press down, crimping the edges. (Having a ravioli cutter on hand helps with this process.)
For lasagna, leave the pasta in long sheets.
To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put the pasta shape of your choice into the boiling water. When the pasta rises to the surface, take a little piece and taste it. You should be able to bite into it without it falling apart. (With gluten-free pasta, it’s a fine line. One moment it’s al dente, and the next it’s one big ball of mush, so watch the pot.) Cooking times will vary for the different shapes. Fettuccine generally takes 4 to 5 minutes, spaghetti 3 to 4 minutes. Ravioli takes a little longer, about 5 to 6 minutes. The cooking times will differ in each kitchen, depending on how thin you were able to roll out the dough. Let your taste be the judge.
You have some wiggle room with different flours here. Tapioca flour works as a replacement for the potato starch, as does cornstarch. You might try sorghum or brown rice if you cannot eat corn. However, be sure to substitute by weight instead of volume.
You can easily double or even triple this recipe for more pasta. Work with the pasta in batches if you do.
Please don’t forget to leave me a comment below about your most or least romantic meal!!! I will do the drawing and announce the winner 1 week from today on December 8th.
One of my most romantic meals had to be lunch outside of the Sistine Chapel in a little piazza in Rome with my husband.
I would love this for my friend who cooks allergen/gluten free for her kids. My most memorable romantic meal is when my now hubby cooked shrimp and lobster tails. He went to sprinkle some salt on his lobster and the salt shaker cap fell off, burying his lobster in a mound of salt. He was upset to ruin his expensive meal but I still tease him about it! I don’t even remember what the occasion was. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
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One of the most romantic meals I have enjoyed was when my husband grilled succulent rib eye steaks with his special grilled potatoes and a nice salad. He not only cooked but he cleaned up too 🙂
our most romantic meal was at one of our favorite steak restaurants 🙂
My most memorable romantic meal was with my husband when we lived on Maui. There’s this famous place in Paia, Maui called Mama’s Fish House. Everything on the menu is divine lots of fresh seafood and to die for desserts. My husband and I got married on the beach right in front of the restaurant so it holds a special place in our hearts and the food is out of this world..
I enjoy the Aherns’ blog even though I can’t make most of their recipes.
Most romantic dinner? On our honeymoon my husband and I had breakfast at the hotel and I remember I kept thinking how amazing it was that we were married. It was just so nice to be together with the sun streaming into the big glass windows. 🙂 I almost listed our first date but I was so nervous I hardly ate – though the cool thing was that when he asked where we should eat and I remarked that I was vegetarian and he said he was as well. It is certainly easier when you are on the same page.
It isn’t really romantic, but it was one of those moments that my husband and I knew we were in it together for the long haul. We had just moved from PA to SoCal and just moved into a very overpriced one bedroom apartment and had no furniture. We spent our last $20 on some chinese take out and a six pack and were so excited….only to discover that the food was all but inedible and had to throw it out. We wanted to cry, but just laughed instead 🙂
My most romantic meal was one my boyfriend cooked for me last Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t particularly the most tasty (shh! Mum’s the word) but it was soo thoughtful and I enjoyed it so much 🙂
Our most romantic meal was probably in Italy. the food was delicious too !
Wow, this is so fun to read everyone’s comments! Thanks for sharing them. Remember if you post about this giveaway on your blog, and let me know in comments, you’ll be entered into the drawing twice.
One of our most romantic meals was our 15th Anniversary dinner. At the time, my husband was working for a country club that had a 3-star restaurant. We were treated like royalty because of his connections with the staff and the food was delicious. To add to the fun, we had recently found out that we would be adopting a child in a couple of months, so we had a lot to celebrate that night. I still smile thinking about it.
My least romantic meal was one I went on with my first date in high school…he took me to a fast food joint and it not only was unhealthy, but also awkward!
It’s Jessie again; here is my blog post! http://therewillbeanothersunrise.blogspot.com/2010/12/cookbook-giveaway-at-cybele-pascals.html
hve a nice day =)
This books looks so great. I would love to try some of the recipes, like the pasta. If I don’t get it, I will be adding it to my Christmas wish list.
My most memorial romantic meal? When my husband and I were first dating, he took me to a lovely restaurant for Valentine’s Day. We sat by candlelight, admiring the freshly falling snow outside. I opened my menu and started to peruse the offerings. Next thing we knew my menu was on fire! Boy, did that ever break the ice. We’ve been married seven years now and still have fond memories of that ‘fiery’ meal.
One of my most romantic meals was when my husband asked me to marry him. After proprosing, he had a full four-course meal, along with a waiter, sent to our room to celebrate. He selected the menu based on my favorite foods, so sweet!
Fast forward to my life now, I have 2 sons, my first has allergies to wheat,peanut, and eggs. I try to cook all meals that are suitable for all family memebers. I havce several allergy-friendly cookbooks that are medioocre (excluding of course both of Cybel’s books which i use constantly). Having more resources would be so helpful as we tend to entertain often.
I can’t really think of a romantic meal, but the least romantic was probably in the university cafeteria.
My most romantic dinner was my first Valentine’s Day dinner with my husband (boyfriend at the time). We were dating and it was a long distance relationship. I was living in New York and flew out to visit him in Chicago. He had made lobster raviolis and decorated his apartment with votive candles and rose petals. It was so sweet!
I shared/posted about this on my facebook page, does that count?
Honestly I am having a hard time remembering any type of romantic meal – I guess that is life when you have kids… especially two boys! We do occassionally get to go out to eat without the kids. I guess the most romantic meal was when we were in the bay area and drove up the coast sightseeing and then went across the bay to Sausalito to a famous sushi restaurant. We sat at the sushi bar which wasn’t very romantic at all – but sharing plate after plate of sushi was such a neat way to end a special day. Food is love right? If so, then how could any meal not be romantic… especially when it is prepared with love.
Well, I was asked out to dinner by a friend. At least I thought he was just a friend, but he obviously had other intentions. I was quite shocked at the romantic setting, the flowers and his whole demeanor towards me. I had NO IDEA he was interested in me so I spent the entire dinner oblivious to his intentions. He never approached me in any way other than like a brother.
Thanks for keeping the comments coming. In answer to your question Sandy, no sorry, fb doesn’t count! Just blogs/websites.
But thanks for your comment. You are certainly entered for that!
Most romantic dinner: My husband and I had just met when he left town to go home for Christmas vacation. On the trip back, he was miserably sick, and had an overnight layover in the airport (poor guy!). When he got back to town he called me and asked if I could pick up a few groceries. I did, and cooked my first ever dinner for him (orange-glazed chicken, green beans, and rice pilaf–out of Betty Crocker’s cookbook). The recipes are a little bit different every year to reflect our changing eating habits, but every year we have this same meal together on the same day of the year as the first time.
Thanks for the giveaway! I am always looking for new cookbooks that have recipes I can eat, too!
I think my most romantic meal was when my then-boyfriend took me to a nice villa and we literally ate under the stars…oh and candlelight. It was romantic!
My husband prepared:
– dungeness crab salad in endive leaf
– parmesan chicken on a bed of arugula with shaved parmesan and lemon vinaigrette
– white chocolate mousse
– individual tiramisu in a martini glass
for my birthday. *sigh* it was very romantic!!
hmmm….probably any anniversary dinner my husband has prepared.always SO romantic! 🙂
I would LOVE this book! My most romantic meal was with my husband on our honeymoon in Disney World….we at at a little french restaurant!
one of the most romantic meal i ever had was with my then boyfriend. he took me out for our 2 year anniversary to my favorite italian restaurant. we had a delicious dinner followed by dessert. during dessert he proposed to me in the middle of the restaurant! 🙂
The most romantic meal my now husband I shared was during our first (of many) trips to Las Vegas one night in the restaurant Top of the World at the top of the Stratosphere hotel as we looked out over the night lights of Las Vegas and shared one of their sinfully delicious chocolate cake tortes (long before I found out I had to be GF). It was a first for us, especially spending that much $ for one meal, but so magical it was worth every .01!
It sounds silly, but pretty much any meal with my husband is the least romantic. Not because we don’t love one another dearly. Not because we don’t get along. But simply because when it’s food time, romance is about the LAST thing on our minds. 😉
my LEAST romantic meal was
a blind date where
the guy ordered sprite?
and i ordered red wine and he
spent most of the meal wiping
his teeth with his cloth napkin.
most romantic – the
inn of the seventh ray
with my now husband.
we got married there. ; )
My most romantic meal was with my boyfriend (now my husband) – he surprised me one evening when we were first dating by making me dinner. He had flowers and candles set out and even bought new dishes just for the occasion. And he made the most wonderful scallops in an apple-citrus sauce. Just delicious! We rounded out the evening by sipping cocoa and talking until the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, I feel in love with him ( and married him!)
Bought Gluten-free Girl and the Chef for my sister (who has Celiac) read a few tidbits and fell in love! I would definitely love to have this book for my own collection and especially for GF dinner parties with my sis whenever time permits.
Most romantic meal memory was actually one during which we (my future husband and I) did not eat. We were so enamored with one another we failed to notice our meal had not been delivered. The restaurant finally realized the error after wehad been there chatting (and gazing in each others eyes) for 2 hours without so much as an appetizer to break the mood. Our dessert was free. We were not bothered in the least and the rest is history.
It wasn’t exactly a meal, but it was wine and appetizers on a hotel rooftop in Portland for an outdoor Summer movie with the love of my life. We didn’t stay to see the end of the movie. 😉
When my husband (of 22 yrs now) and I were first dating, he took me to a hotel in Santa Monica, California, where the restaurant is on the roof with the most magnificent views of the ocean. Having dated for some time, he knew me well and had ordered my favorite meal….in reverse!! Dessert first: chocolate souffle with fresh whipped cream; then salmon fettucini for dinner with a beautiful green salad……love, love, love that man!!! He know’s my all time favorite part of a meal is the dessert!!
My most romatic meal was lying under big bear skins in a mountain cabin during a snowstorm. The power was out, the was frost on the inside of the windows. We checked the inside temps and it was in the high 20’s Brrr. As the storm was wailing my then boyfriend (now husband of 30+ yrs) fed me little tidbits he had scavenged out of the cupboard in the downstairs of the cabin. He risked freezing his gnoo gnoo’s off to get those tidbits and then fed me so lovingly how could I resist? Sweet, he won my heart then and he wins it (almost) every day now. He deserves an off day every once in awhle after sticking around so long. ; )
It was late July. The morning of my 60th birthday began leisurely, embellished with my husband preparing and serving me a beautiful presented, colorful breakfast of thin slices of smoked salmon, fresh juice, a medley of fresh fruits and cheeses. He followed our meal with a long bike along the river trail, and when we were hungry, he escorted me to a table where we dined outdoors at a riverfront cafe to enjoy a lovely seafood salad, and while we ate, he made call with his cell phone and bought me a sailboat for my birthday, a racing class sloop, which we enjoyed throughout the rest of the sailing season, day after day… packing gourmet picnics and wine and sailing ’til sunset.
All my romantic meals happened pre allergy diagnosis. I still dream that I could have one again!!! As a divorcee I’d have to meet the right man – a romantic meal would certainly be a plus! The food doesnt matter so much as the company and ambiance – candles, flowers, linens, table setting and a nice smile!
On the first night of our honeymoon, my husband and I were treated like royalty at a decedent restaurant on an island with a view on Auckland.
My most romantic meal was made for me by my now husband. We were dating at the time, and I had just been diagnosed w/ Celiacs and a dairy intolerance. My wonderful husband, who is not a cook, mind you, spent all day in the kitchen making ricotta cheese out of tofu, and simmering a homemade marinara sauce. That man made me cry that day. He spent all day making a lasagna that I could actually eat. It was the most romantic gesture of love and support I had ever experienced.
Most romantic dinner – 1st wedding anniversary, Italian restaurant, 22 years old, completely drunk off one (very large) glass of wine, baffled husband has to help me down the stairs…
Funny, I’ve never been much of a foodie until I couldn’t eat wheat. Now I’m reading blogs (glad I found this one!), checking out cookbooks, becoming a foodie at 55!
So most romantic meal? Probably Inn of the Seventh Ray but I have no idea what we ate. Least would have to be a fast food joint with a blind date.
the most romantic meal was when my then fiance (now hubby) made dinner, set the table with flower petals and candles and proposed to me. it was perfect!
One romantic meal was on my wedding night. My husband and I sat in the dining room of the bed and breakfast where we hosted our wedding reception and feasted on leftovers. We never really had a chance to eat at the reception and we were very tired and hungry. Those cold leftovers tasted great!
The first meal my ex-husband cooked for me when we were dating was stuffed green peppers. Green pepper is one taste that I’ve disliked my entire life. I should have taken that meal as a sign of things to come.
Least romantic had to be a blind date I was tricked into at college. Many meal with my husband are romantic but I think I enjoyed the phase where he got all inspired and went “Iron Chef” on me. The good was great because he has the nack of figuring out spices and recreating things. He is so much better than I am at it! Our son is finally finding some joy in some food but not enough yet. One of those kids on the spectrum that give new meaning to “picky eater!” I love the fact that you weigh the ingredients – makes sense since I used to make wedding cakes… One way or another this cookbook will make it into my cooking world!
My husband and I aren’t romantic people, so I can’t recall a particularly romantic meal. One of my most memorable meals we’ve had recently was a few months ago on our honeymoon – we were in Paris and had spent the week practically starving because it was hard to find food that was gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian (we have intolerances, not allergies or Celiac). One night, we just said, ‘Screw it’ and went to a little pizzeria and had some delicious pizza. A surprisingly, we didn’t pay for it the next day.
Unfortunately i haven’t really had many very romantic meals but the best was when i went out for valentines day with my girlfriend and my best friend and her boyfriend to applebees.
The most romantic dinner I had… haha. Well this is going to be funny, it was with my best friend Brandi. We took a girls weekend to Vegas and got reservations at Tao. We both ordered the same thing and it was sumptuous. The lighting was perfect, the ambiance great, the service friendly. We’re still talking about that meal to this day. If only I’d have been on a date with my husband. 🙂 Wouldn’t change a thing though. It truly was the perfect meal.
babyfro97 at gmail dot com
it’s amazing how for some it was the food, for others, the ambiance… for others the circumstances. keep ’em comin!
Sadly, I can’t remember my most romantic meal. I do remember the least, at the time of separating from my husband. Total silence during most of the meal!
On my second date with my husband, we tried to go to a Mexican restaurant, but it was closed. So we wound up at a bagel place. I have celiac and really couldn’t eat much there. That was why we had originally planned to eat at the Mexican place. I had a greek salad and he had a bagel sandwich. I was kind of anxious and grilled him nervously… telling him I thought dating was an archaic ritual; that I wasn’t any good at it and even asked if he was gay (because then it really wouldn’t work out so well, since I am a straight woman.) The whole time I was having this verbal diarrhea, he sat smiling at me. His eyes were smiling and I thought it was the most adorable thing I had ever seen.
that is a great story, colleen! sounds like me!
My most romantic meal was prepared by my then boyfriend ~ he made a delicious paella, cracked a fantastic bottle of Zinfandel and we sat and talked for hours. We had both been married before, he with a acrimonious divorce, that made him a bit gun shy. But the wine loosened the tongue and we really talk that night; he told me ” it’s about friendship, loyalty, and trust…the rest falls into place.” That night, that meal, that wine, set the stage for a marriage proposal a year and a half later. His words graced our wedding announcement and is the manifesto by which we base our union.
Thanks so much for reviewing Shauna’s book, she’s a great chef herself and I’ve so enjoyed your recipes as well!
My most romantic/memorable meal was with my husband when we went to celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary. He picked me up from the spa (which he had arranged a day of pampering) to come home to a nice candle light dinner served on our back deck with our children. He had hired one of the neighborhood teenage boys we know to be our waiter. We were then presented with a wonderful bottle of wine, freshly cooked steaks, baked potatoes and a garden salad. He made an attempt at even doing dessert, only to figure out that it didn’t work, so we ended up munching on fresh fruit instead. It may not have been all that romantic as our kids were there, but you could still feel the love in the air that day. To this day, I’m still surprised we didn’t end up with baby number 3, from that night. 🙂
Sadly, I cannot recall any romantic meal. Yet, you spoke of the opposite. In this case, which is strange to me, the meal is long-forgotten; but the experience is not. In the early 1990s, I was meeting a new potential date, from a personal ad, at my favorite diner in NYC. It was called “Tiffany’s” and was near Chistopher Street.
When I arrived and met my blind date, he was nice-looking, but had a very stern look on his face. In my personal ad, which he had answered, I noted my adoration of New York City as my favorite city in the world.
We ordered our meals. He didn’t smile once and seemed, for lack of a better explanation . . . bitter. I asked him a question and his answer was negative, or a complaint. Then, as I was making plans for my escape, he said, “Most of all, I hate New York City! I can’t wait to leave!”
As I laughed, realizing he hadn’t bothered to read my profile; I told him I plan to spend the rest of my life in New York.
I wish I had a better story. Nevertheless, in those years (1980s-1997) I was a trim, sexy woman. In 1997 at 150 lbs, I gained another 70 lbs on medication (one year on medication) and have never been able to get and remain in shape since (now between 220-230lbs, no matter how much I try). Still unemployed (for over a year), I just qualified for health insurance. I have doctors telling me just to eat less (I do not eat that much or that badly). Gluton free has been suggested to help me finally drop the extra weight I’ve gathered since 1997. I am considered, now, obese. I’m not much of a cook, thus, with directions (a gluten-free cookbook), I could give it a good college try!
I don’t have a good romantic dinner story, but a romantic food related story. A few years after my husband and I were married, I decided to go back to school and started taking some classes at the local junior college. One class in particular gave me such a hard time and really stressed me out. The night of the final, I went in, took the test, and waited for my husband to pick me up. We only had one vehicle at the time and for some reason he had to come get me. I remember it was snowing and it seemed like we were the last ones in the parking lot. He asked me how my test went, and I told him with a sad look that I really wasn’t sure but I did my best. He asked me to get something out of the trunk, so I opened it. To my surprise, there was this big tin of flavored popcorn with some cute puppies on the outside. I threw my arms around him and gave him a big hug and kiss. That popcorn was so needed that night. I forgot about the class and it was one of the most romantic things he has ever done for me.
I’m a serious intolerant
Eggs in this pasta recipe are mandatory ?
I’ll try to find your book “The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook ”
and sorry for my English