Review: The Gluten-Free Table

Posted by Brette in Books | Food

I recently received this cookbook as a birthday gift. The authors, Jilly Lagasse and Jessie Lagasse Swanson, are Emeril Lagasse’s daughters. Definitely intriguing. One of them has celiac and the other is gluten intolerant. They grew up with their dad’s food, but then had to learn to make their own gluten-free versions.

The book is broken down into appetizers, salads, soups, sides, entrees and desserts. It begins with some explanation about gluten, gluten allergies, and food that contains gluten.

There are several things I like about this book. First of all, it’s not one of those books that just takes old favorites and changes them to gluten-free. These are recipes anyone would make, not just people with gluten issues. Many of the recipes have nothing to do with gluten (salads, veggie sides, etc.). It’s just good food that happens not to have any gluten. This makes you feel like you’re eating real food and are not so restricted in your diet.

Secondly, what I really appreciate is that the recipes rely on all-purpose gluten free flour. I am not a fan of cookbooks that have you using 5 ingredients to compose the flour part of the recipe. I want to buy one good all-purpose GF flour and be able to use it in everything.

The recipes are a nice mix of creative with traditional. Wilted Chard with Walnut Pesto and Balsamic Reduction  and Baked Halibut with Creole Tomato and Vidalia Onion Vinaigrette  are included as well as Spaghetti Bolognese, Carrot Cake, and Crab Cakes.

The book has lots of photos and each recipe has a little note from the authors describing it.

I recently made:

Stewed Butternut Squash with Apples and Smoked Bacon

4 strips bacon, diced

1 1/2 cups small diced onion

1 tbsp minced garlic

2 tbsp butter

1 apple, peeled, cored and diced

1 butternut squash (about 2 lbs), peeled, seeded, diced

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups chicken stock

Set a medium sized saute pan on medium heat. Add the bacon and render, stirring until crisp, about 6-8 minutes.

Add the onion and cook until slightly caramelized, 4-5 minutes.

Add garlic, butter, apple, and cook, stirring until the apple is tender, about 5 minutes.

Add squash and increase heat to medium high. Cook undisturbed, about 3-4 minutes then stir in nutmeg, thyme, salt and pepper.

Cook another 3-4 minutes and add the syrup and stock. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until squash is tender and most of the liquid evaporates, about 15 minutes.

Remove the lid, stir gently and re-season as needed.

The authors suggest serving this as a stand alone stew. I served it with rice. It has a nice rich flavor and is a great alternative to a meat-based stew. Very hearty and perfect on a cold night.

This is a great book for someone recently diagnosed with a gluten issue, or for someone who has been cooking gluten free for a long time.

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5 Responses

  • Thanks for alerting me to this cookbook. Sounds like a perfect gift for my daughter.

  • Putting apples with butternut squash seems to be a popular trend these days. I had lunch with friends yesterday and the restaurant served butternut squash soup with apple crisp – two flavors that absolutely complement each other.

  • This review cracked me up. I *hate gluten free cookbooks that are filled with recipes for items that never had gluten in the first place. I know how to do that – what I need help with is figuring out how to make things that generally DO have gluten safe for my family to eat. And I *loathe recipes that require a pre-mixed GF flour. I much prefer to add ingredients separately. Quite the opposite of what you like, eh?

  • Brette says:

    Yes, I guess so. I appreciated it just as a cookbook I could use without worrying about gluten – it’s a nice little cookbook that anyone can appreciate I think. I have been able to substitute out most of my own favorite recipes to be gluten free, so I’m not really looking for that. And I really hate mixing a million flours and gums. To each his own.

  • First of all, I Love that recipe. Butternut squash is one of my favorites. And it’s so interesting that his daughters have food things to work around. Good for them for creating their own recipes and turning it into a book.