Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pick of the Week: A new book!

When I was writing Pick of the Week for The Advocate and Greenwich Time newspapers, I would often mix things up by mentioning a new product or a new cookbook. Today, it's a cookbook, "125 Gluten-Free Bread Machine Recipes" by Donna Washburn and Heather Butt (Robert Rose, $24.95; $16.47 on Amazon).

Fifteen years ago, I got the horrid news that I had a
bad wheat allergy. I eliminated wheat from my diet, and within a month, my weekly allergy shots and my asthma were gone. My allergy is not to gluten, but it might as well be.

The news hit me hard when I really analyzed my then diet, heavy on pasta and bread, two things I really have almost completely eliminated. Every now and then I'll have some commercial wheat bread -- but if I eat too much, my eyes start watering and my breathing gets labored. It's just not worth it.

Washburn and Butt are Canadians, and for years have been writing gluten-free cookbooks and giving lectures on the subject. There really is no better pair to turn to if you ever get this diagnosis, because their recipes are terrific -- and they work. They spend each day in their test kitchen perfecting the recipes that will eventually make it into their newest tome, so you know that if you follow them to the letter, you will not be disappointed. They are perfectionists and it shows in their writing.

Of course, if you do get this diagnosis, never before heard ingredients such as amaranth, bean and sorghum flours will soon become your best friend. And don't despair because this diagnosis is getting so
prevalent, most markets now have a designated section for gluten-free or wheat-free products.

Washburn and Butt are incredible teachers, explaining these unusual ingredients, which are much better for you to eat than the over-processed ones we are too used to in America. Their cookbooks are filled with recipes AND important information that can spill out into all your cooking.

For example, I loved the section on instant-read thermometers, how to buy one, and the easy test we should all be doing to make sure our thermometer is registering the correct temperature. If it's not, they explain how to adjust. Just one little pearl of wisdom. There are many.

This book is perfect for new machines, especially those with a gluten-free cycle. You know gluten-free is the new
it allergy when the small appliance manufacturers jump on the gluten-free bandwagon. It made me yearn for a new model. So now I have two goals:
  1. Soon, I will buy a new bread machine
  2. I will start at the first recipe in the book and keep on going, filling my house wit wonderful scents and our bodies with nutritious breads/

I am including a recipe for Square Pizza Crust, a thin pizza crust that is big on texture and flavor, followed by directions for a Sausage and Leek Pie.


2/3 cup sorghum flour

1/2 cup quinoa flour

1/3 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tsp. granulated sugar

2 tsp. xanthan gum

1 Tblsp. bread machine or instant yeast

3/4 tsp. salt

1 1/4 cups water

1 Tblsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. cider vinegar

  • In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine sorghum flour, quinoa flour, potato starch, tapioca starch, sugar, xanthan gum, yeast and salt; mix well and set aside.
  • Pour water, oil, and vinegar into the bread machine baking pan.
  • Select the Dough Cycle. Gradually add the dry ingredients as the bread machine is mixing. Scrape a rubber spatula while adding the dry ingredients. Try to incorporate all the dry ingredients within 1 to 2 minutes. Stop bread machine as soon as the kneading portion of the cycle is complete. Do not let bread machine finish the cycle.
  • Gently transfer dough to a 15-by-10-inch lightly greased jelly roll pan and, using a moistened rubber spatula, spread evenly to the edges. Do not smooth top.
  • Bake in 400-degree preheated oven for 12 minutes or until bottom is golden and crust is partially baked. Use right away or wrap airtight and freeze up to 4 weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using to make pizza. Makes 10 pieces. Per serving: 100 calories; 2g fat; no cholesterol; 178mg sodium; 19g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 2g protein; 8mg calcium; 1mg iron.


1 lb. gluten-free sausage, casings removed and meat crumbled

3 carrots, finely chopped

3 leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 1/2-inch slices

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 Tblsp. crumbled dried rosemary

2 Tblsp. dry white wine

1 partially baked Square Pizza Crust

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

  • In a large skillet, over medium heat, brown sausage meat until no pink remains. Using a slotted spoon, remove to a plate and set aside. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon fat from the skillet.
  • In the fat remaining in the skillet, over medium heat, cook carrots, leeks, mushrooms and rosemary, stirring for 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Drain off fat. Return browned sausage to skillet with wine; mix gently and set aside to cool slightly.
  • Spread filling over crust to within 1/4 inch of the edges. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
  • Bake in 400-degree preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until cheese is melted and top is golden. Transfer to a cutting board, let coo slightly, then cut into 10 pieces. Per slice: 332 calories; 17g fat; 37mg cholesterol; 509mg sodium; 32g carbohydrates; 7g fiber; 11g protein; 250mg calcium; 5 mg iron.

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