Vanessa Maltin, author of Beyond Rice Cakes and Food & Lifestyle Editor for Delight gluten free Magazine, has released The Gloriously Gluten Free Cookbook, a new book filled with delicious gluten free recipes for Italian, Asian and Mexican dishes. Vanessa was kind enough to send us a copy to review and give away to one lucky blog reader.
The gorgeous cover has been calling to me ever since it arrived on my desk, though life kept getting in the way and it wasn’t until our long holiday weekend that I could take it home and give it some of the love it deserved. Upon opening the book, my only disappointment was the lack of beautiful photos inside. I’m a visual leaner and it helps me to see what I’m making, especially when delving into cuisine that is not my forte.
It only took a few pages before I was making a shopping list and marking recipe after delicious recipe to make over the weekend. Page after page of delicious variations on risotto and Thai noodle dishes called to me, but we have some dietary restrictions in our house and I had to find something that was vegetarian and dairy-free. I happened upon Fried Eggplant with Garlic Ginger Sauce and Jasmine Rice which met all of our requirements and sounded both drool-worthy and a wee bit challenging. When testing a cookbook, I like to try a recipe that will challenge me. If I can pull it off- that’s a pretty good indication that the recipes are written well.
Fast forward to Saturday. I had everything I needed, except Jasmine Rice (d’oh!). I used Brown Basmati Rice because I had it on hand and thought it would work just fine (it did). I followed each step and ended up with a delicious, exotic dish unlike anything I’ve ever made at home. Yes, the recipe did involve a good amount of frying; frying is one of my challenges. I’m afraid of it. That’s the truth. The idea of a hot pot of oil is a little scary and something I usually avoid like the plague, but the recipe sounded oh-so-yummy that I couldn’t resist giving it a whirl. It was delicious and glorious and gluten free! See below for the recipe.
Vanessa worked with three well-known chefs, Keith Brunell of Maggiano’s Little Italy, Katie Chin of Thai Kitchen and Edgar Steele of Café Atlantico, to be sure her recipes were authentic and easy on the beginning gluten-free chef. Asian and Italian dishes intimidate me, they use ingredients I’m not familiar with and call for techniques I’ve never tried. What I loved about this book, beyond the delicious, well-written recipes, was that it didn’t feel overwhelming. I have always wanted to try making moo shu and gnocchi and now I feel that I can tackle them with Vanessa’s guidance.
Did I mention a giveaway? YES! I have one beautiful copy of Vanessa’s book to give away to one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is tell me about an Italian, Asian or Mexican dish that you’ve always wanted to try, but been afraid to give it a go. I’m not promising that the recipe will be in her book, but I’d love to hear what challenges you in the kitchen. Leave your comment here on the blog post, on our Facebook wall or direct message us on Twitter (@bobs_red_mill). I will select a winner from all those who enter by midnight on 07/12/10. That gives you a week to enter. If you don’t win, we’ll be selling Vanessa’s book on our website soon.
Fried Eggplant with Garlic-Ginger Sauce and Jasmine Rice
From Gloriously Gluten Free
For the Garlic-Ginger Sauce:
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp chili flakes (Note: if you don’t like things spicy, you may want to decrease this to 1 tsp)
1 Tbsp ground ginger
For the Rice and Eggplant
1-1/2 cups jasmine rice
2 large eggs
1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 Tbsp salt
2 large eggplants
3 cups (or enough to submerge the eggplant halfway) vegetable or canola oil for frying
For the Garlic-Ginger Sauce:
In a large sauce-pan, combine the carrots, mushrooms, stock, soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, garlic, chili flakes and ginger. Cook over medium heat until reduced by half and a thick sauce is formed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
For the Rice and Eggplant:
1. Cook the rice according to package instructions.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and soy sauce. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch and salt.
3. Slice the eggplants into 2-inch squares about 1/2-inch thick. Dip the eggplant into the egg-and-soy-sauce mixture and then coat it with the flour-and-cornstarch mixture.
4. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat; it’s ready when you see little bubbles forming in the oil. Fry eggplant until the batter turns golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side.
5. Gently stir the fried eggplant into the sauce. Pour heaping portions of the eggplant and sauce over the rice and serve.