Monday, October 25, 2010

Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef - A Preliminary Review

I was recently offered the chance to review a gluten-free cookbook and I jumped at it. The majority of the meals I cook are gluten-free and I have a serious cookbook addiction. So I was very excited to get the chance to review Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef.

Normally I wouldn’t review a cookbook prior to trying the recipes but Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef isn’t solely a cookbook. It is also a love story. Since food and love go hand and hand, at least in my opinion, a love story within a cookbook makes perfect sense.

Gluten-Free Girl’s name is Shauna James Ahern and her chef, and husband, is Daniel Ahern. They met through a dating service just when Shauna had ever given up hope of meeting “the one.”

Shauna tells of their first meeting and how they clicked. She tells the tale of a most interesting proposal and she talks of how she and Daniel shop and cook together.

She tells the story of how Daniel accidentally served her gluten and how after that, he made every dish in his restaurant without gluten. He told her he didn’t want to cook anything he couldn’t share with her.

Imagine walking in a restaurant and not having to explain to the server what gluten is. Or imagine asking for a gluten-free menu and not being handed a single page that mostly consists of salads without their dressing or burgers without a bun. Just think what it would be like to be handed a menu for the whole restaurant with every single item being gluten-free. There would be no more staring longingly at the onion rings across the table while you ate your boring burger patty with no sides. That restaurant would earn my loyalty twenty times over.

I have only briefly touched on the love story. You will have to read it yourself. Now I want to touch lightly on the recipes and the cooking tips.

One of the first cooking tips was on the importance of mise en place. Mise en place translates to everything in place. Basically, it means all your ingredients should be chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. This is actually something I have always done but only because I have the land speed of a snail when I am chopping. I find this is the only way I can have all my ingredients ready to go at the right time.

Shauna also talks about the importance of cooking in season and the importance of fresh herbs. A friend of mine who has a garden very kindly shared some fresh herbs with me for my first recipe. I will share more on that in my recipe review.

This cookbook is definitely for foodies. You know who you are! These are not hurried recipes. These are recipes that will take a bit of time, especially for those snail- paced food-choppers like me. On a night when the kids are yelling they are hungry and hanging underfoot in the kitchen, these are not the recipes I will be cooking. But on weekends or other days when I have some extra time, I am going to enjoy the experience of trying out this book.

Some of the recipe titles sound intimidating. Roasted chicken roulade with goat cheese and arugula was one of the recipes that sounded pretty intimidating to me. However, I looked at the ingredients, none of which I would consider exotic. Then I read the instructions and said, “Ah, I can do this.”

That is not, however, the recipe I picked. Later this week I will tell which recipe I picked and why. For now, imagine how my kitchen smells with a chicken stock simmering on the back burner. I think the word Heaven definitely comes close to describing the scent. Are you jealous yet? You should be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peter Peter

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater
Had a wife and could not feed her
Rising prices at the grocery store
Meant that he could shop no more
So he put her in a pumpkin shell
Until the bank took that as well
So now sad Peter lives with his mother
and his sis and little brother
While they wait for the economy to recover
The U.S. is losing its middle class
Poor old Peter, what a kick in the a$$.