Food You Want for the Life You Crave by Nealy Fischer (Da Capo Lifelong Books, 2019) is a delight to read. Not only are there at least 128 gluten-free recipes in this kosher cookbook, but there are 107 full-colour photographs, many of the author and her family sampling the recipes and enjoying them.
“These pages are designed to help you obtain a simpler recipe for success, both in and out of the kitchen,” writes Fischer, noting “these pages are infused with craveable global recipes inspired by our life in Asia and Israel.” The author started to adhere to a gluten-free diet more than 10 years ago.
The recipes have two strategies: “nail this,” the most essential elements to master for a dish’s success, and “flip it,” tips to encourage readers to be creative and to adapt the recipe to their preferences and limitations. Fischer gives readers a 10-step guide to becoming a flexible chef; a substitution chart; pantry, fridge and freezer essentials; and useful gadgets. Chapters include all-day breakfast, breads and muffins; soups and small plates; salads and dressings; fish, poultry and meat; veggies; desserts; drinks and nibbles for friends; and condiments and pantry essentials. The book concludes with a conversion cheat sheet.
One nice idea in the formating is a list of what tools to use above the list of ingredients, which is bolded and, where applicable, divided into dry and wet ingredients and toppings. She also has my favourite element in cookbooks – numbered instructions opposite the ingredients so you don’t have to keep looking up and down. My other favourite aspect is a comment about each recipe. Here are a few of the recipes to try.
SAVOURY QUINOA BOWL
1/2 cup red or white quinoa (makes 2 heaping cups cooked)
2 small Persian or Kirby cucumbers, chopped (1 1/2 cups)
2 chopped tomatoes (about 1 cup)
1 peeled, chopped avocado (about 1 cup)
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup chopped green onion (about 4)
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
3 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
6 large eggs
- Start by cooking the quinoa. Mix it with one cup water in a saucepan or pot over medium low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Check to see if it is done or needs a tad more liquid. Set aside to cool.
- Toss the cucumbers, tomatoes, avocado, arugula, green onions, mint and shallots in a large bowl.
- Add the cooled quinoa to the veggie bowl then season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Divide the mixture between six bowls.
- Fry the eggs in a lightly oiled pan over medium heat until the whites have set, or to desired doneness. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then carefully slide them on top of the quinoa bowls.
HERBED EVERYDAY BREAD
2 mini loaves or 1 large loaf
1 packet active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup flax meal
2 tsp xanthan gum (omit if already in flour)
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 large eggs + 1 beaten for brushing
2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp rice vinegar
- In a large bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water; let stand until the yeast bubbles, about eight minutes.
- In a separate medium bowl, whisk together gluten-free flour, oat flour, flax meal, almond flour, xanthan gum, rosemary and salt.
- Stir olive oil, two eggs, honey and rice vinegar into yeast mixture. Stir dry ingredients into bowl. Mix well.
- Transfer dough to parchment-lined loaf pans and let stand covered in a warm place until bread rises to double in height (about 45 minutes).
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Brush the top with the remaining beaten egg.
- Bake the bread until it is golden and set in the centre, 30 to 35 minutes for mini loaves or about 45 minutes for a larger loaf. Cool the bread completely before removing from the pans and slicing.
32 to 36 squares
1 pound Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
juice and zest of 1 orange
2/3 cup coarsely chopped raw walnuts or pecans
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup coconut oil at room temperature
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine dates with half-cup water, maple syrup and orange juice and bring to a boil.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the orange zest, nuts, cinnamon and vanilla. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, mix together flour, rolled oats, brown sugar, coconut oil, baking soda and salt until combination is crumbly but still holds together.
- Press two-thirds of the dough into the baking pan (reserve one-third for the topping).
- Spread the filling evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the remaining one-third of the topping over the filling. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly golden.
- Cool completely then refrigerate until cold to make the cutting easier. Cut into one-and-a-half-inch squares.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.