Holiday Noshing With Gluten Free Canteen
GG: If there's one recipe in the book you'd recommend to someone new to gluten-free baking, which one would it be and why?
LSH: The Quick Challah is easy to make and would impress everyone at your holiday tableor just because you wanted challah. It is just about fool-proof as long as you stick to the ingredients list and directions. Just the perfume from the yeasty bread baking in the oven will make you feel pretty happy.
I’d also add the Chocolate Cherry or Almond Mandelbrot recipe to that list. No fancy equipment is necessaryjust a bowl and a strong wooden spoon. The recipe is also quite flexible. No cherries? Use dates. No almonds? Use another nut. And Mandelbrot will taste great no matter how pretty or rustic they look.
I’d also like to mention that the book includes not only a section on gluten-free baking tips but a section for resources for locating ingredients.
GG: Rosh Hashanah is right around the corner. What recipes from the book do you recommend to use to celebrate the New Year?
LSH: The Quick Challah (in the round) is the number one Rosh Hashanah recipe. The Turban Challah with raisins is close behind. Round challah is an important symbol for the New Year, representing the circle of life and the cycle of a new year. For those more ambitious bakers, there is a braided challah round.
I’d also recommend Honey Cake, or the Apple Upside Down Cake for Rosh Hashanah dessertboth traditional holiday recipes. We also like the fig or apple tarts, both also traditional, but less so than honey cake.
All these recipes are dairy-free, which gives you some freedom in making a kosher meal for Rosh Hashanah.
GG: If you had to describe your perfect holiday meal, what would it include?
LSH: I can go back in time and appreciate a family New Year when we were all together. Of course it is one of those things you don’t appreciate as much until years later when everyone is scattered around the world and others are no longer with us. But it would include not only the people you love (family and friends) but great traditional food.
We would begin with matzo ball soup and, since we have our own recipe for GF matzo in the book, we would use that as the base for matzo balls. We might have a carrot and sweet potato tzimmes (stew) drizzled with honey. A beautiful roast was always on our table, but these days, I might think about a roasted chicken drizzled with a honey pomegranate glaze. Great wine to toast the New Year and a variety of (kosher) desserts would top off the meal. A little honey cake, apple and fig tarts and maybe a little Mandelbrot to eat while sipping coffee. It’s a lot of food, but it is one of those meals that seem to last for hours.
GG: Why would people who aren’t gluten-free want to buy this book?
Chances are when someone hosts a holiday dinner or get-together, there will be someone in the group who will be eating gluten-free. About 1 in 133 people in the United States suffer from Celiac. That’s almost 3 million Americans. And about 18 million suffer from some sort of gluten insensitivity.
Celiac and gluten intolerance awareness is growing world-wide. Baking for people who suffer from celiac or gluten intolerance is only going to become more prevalent as awareness spreads.
The flour mix we use throughout the book leads with whole grain superfine brown rice flourit’s good for you. And surprisingly it imparts a neutral taste in baked goods. It’s good to know that even though you may be eating one too many slices of Honey Cake you’re at least consuming whole grains and fiberand none of it tastes like Styrofoam or wet sand.