I have a few more gifts to tend to, but I’m determined to stay away from the malls during this last week before Christmas. Here are suggestions for three items that can be ordered to arrive in time and one extra special treat to prepare at home.
These goodies are crisp on the outside, gooey inside with a surprising hint of ginger. They are easy to make too. I’ve already baked one double batch; we took half to a dessert party, and stored the second half in a tin to serve to friends who stop in. Steve’s son was here the day I baked them, and many got eaten as we finished decorating our tree. The recipe is in my new book, Gluten-Free Baking
, and I’ve included it at the end of this post. So keep reading.
There is a big storm due in Los Angeles tonight, and I have the perfect recipe to keep you warm; it worked for us during the last downpour. This soup is so thick and comforting, you could call it a stew or even pasta fagioli.
Parmesan cheese rind simmering in the soup give it a rich flavor and almost creamy texture. I use Parmesan cheese frequently, and ALWAYS save the hard outer layer. If you haven’t gotten into that habit, buy some cheese to grate into this batch of soup just before eating, then save the rind for next time. The rinds seem to hold up for ages in the refrigerator, and are a great resource during soup season.
I’ve been having fun reading and cooking from a few new cookbooks this fall. Although they aren’t specifically gluten-free, every one has plenty of recipes for the gluten-free cook, and every one would make a great gift for yourself, a gluten-free friend, or any friend who loves to cook. And that is the point. The recipes in these books, like on this blog, produce fresh, naturally gluten-free food. No one should say “Oh that’s good for a gluten-free dish,” instead the criterion is that this is delicious food! For anyone!
With the exception of one of these books, they are written by food pros I know, mostly from my years as food editor at Bon Appetit
magazine, so I was already familiar with the high quality of the recipes they create. Oh yes, one is my new book, Gluten-Free Baking
, which will be available any day now.
I took a long sabbatical from this blog to write a baking book, and it will be available by December 23. It can preordered now on Amazon.com
and Barns & Noble.com
, and should be in book stores by then too (just barely in time for the holidays). Hopefully it will show up a little earlier in Williams-Sonoma stores.
I am not fond of most of the baked goods in stores or the recipes for goodies I find in books and magazines. They are all packed with nutritionally empty white starches that give an off flavor and dry texture. I preferred to go without, for a while. Eventually I started craving artisanal style gluten-free breads and homemade cookies. So I decided to create my own recipes using whole grain gluten-free flours and naturally gluten-free techniques. I am thrilled with the flavors and textures of the recipes I created, and hope you will be too.
The book is filled with recipes for everyday and special occasions: morning treats, cookies, cakes, pies and tarts, pudding and custards, other desserts, and breads too. Here are a few that you might want to bake over the holiday season. For a holiday brunch: a not-too-sweet breakfast Cinnamon Crumb Cake, Cornmeal-Pecan Muffins, Chocolate Chip-Ginger Scones, or Sweet Pepper-Manchego Quiche. For Santa, drop in guests and afternoon snacks: Fudgy Ginger-Nut Meringues, Chocolate-Chip Oatmeal Cookies, or Almond-Ginger Crisps. To end Christmas dinner: Chocolate-Cherry Torte. To bring in the New Year: Caramel-Nut Tartlets. To end any wintry dinner: Apple Crumble Pie, comforting Salted Caramel Pots de Crème, or Chai-Spiced Flans. And fabulous breads to have on hand over the vacation: Whole Grain-Walnut Bread or Seeded Irish Soda Bread.
A day or two after the big deal meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, we crave something lighter and more casual, and these turkey tacos have become a once-a-year tradition. Because they rely on leftovers, they are easy to put together.
I’m not talking about wrapping up turkey and gravy in tortillas, these are distinctive and brightly flavored. Quick cranberry salsa is the surprise here. I discovered that stirring fresh lime juice, minced chili, and cilantro into almost any leftover cranberry sauce turns it into an excellent relish for the tacos. The sweeter the cranberry sauce, the more lime juice I mix in. Of course, if you made my Cranberry Relish with Orange, Lime, and Mint
you won’t need to mess with it at all, you are all set.
I didn’t have a recipe for a gluten-free pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving. Missing that holiday classic inspired me to delve deeper into gluten-free baking, which lead to my soon-to-be-released cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking
. One of the stars of the book is a luxurious pumpkin pie, and the variation here will be one of the stars of our holiday meal.
My goal for the book was to create goodies that are so tasty, with such pleasing texture, no one will think they are gluten-free. I didn’t want to fill the recipes with the traditional gluten-free, flavorless and nutritionally empty white starches that are the backbone of most gluten-free baking. I wanted to feature whole grains and naturally gluten-free formulas, with just enough white starch to hold the goodies together. My friends and editors say I succeeded.
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