Cookbook Chat: Against All Grain (2013) by Danielle WalkerAgainst All Grain by Danielle Walker
Published by Victory Belt Publishing on July 30th 2013
Genres: Allergy, Cookbooks, Cooking, Gluten-Free, Health & Healing
Pages: 368

Having battled an autoimmune disease the modern-medicine way for many years, Danielle Walker took matters into her own hands and set out to regain her health through the medicine of food. After four years of turning her kitchen into a laboratory for revamping her culinary point of view, Danielle mastered the art of grain- and dairy-free cooking—and improved her well-being, virtually eliminating all her ailments.A self-trained chef, Danielle is the new face of grain-free cooking, tempting foodies of all stripes with her accessible recipes for vibrant Paleo food. Paying homage to the dishes she loved in her pre-Paleo life, she has ingeniously recreated all her favorites without grains or dairy in her first cookbook.Complementing her innovative recipes with elegant photography, Danielle takes you on a culinary Paleo journey that includes everything from quick breakfasts to sinful desserts, with a long list of hearty entrees in-between. And because Danielle knows she's not the only one with a finicky toddler at home, she has included a special section filled with healthy recipes that kids will be eager to eat and moms will be just as eager to serve.These recipes are sure to leave you feeling satisfied and exhilarated, rather than discouraged and deprived. Danielle proves that omitting grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar doesn't correlate with sacrificing taste; in fact, just the opposite. This book will show you that you can go against the grain in the culinary world and enter a paradise of gourmet foods with exciting flavors.

Happy Monday! Today is a great day because it’s the debut day for my Cookbook Chats on the blog. I’ve chosen one of my favorite cookbooks from the last year, Against All Grain by Danielle Walker, (and it’s been well-used, believe me!) and I hope you’ll consider adding it to your own cookbook collection.

What’s In This Cookbook:

A diversity of delicious (and not that difficult) gluten-free, grain-free, and dairy-free recipes. Basically: tasty recipes that almost anyone can enjoy!

The paleo diet may be one you’re familiar with (no grains, legumes, refined sugar and most dairy)—or not—but even if you don’t know anything about paleo recipes, you should consider this cookbook. These recipes are delicious AND healthy! In some cases, especially with the desserts, you would never know you’re eating something without wheat or refined sugar. In place of white sugar, for example, you would use honey or maple syrup.

Danielle Walker includes a great introduction, sharing how she ended up choosing the paleo diet and some of the fantastic health effects of that diet. There’s also a handy section on which fruits and veggies you should strive to always buy organic, and those fruits and veggies that are OK to buy “conventionally grown.”

I love the cookbook’s section on ingredients and equipment, because when I hadn’t heard of an ingredient before, it was de-mystified in this section. Now, my pantry is stocked with things like almond flour, coconut flour, and coconut crystals.

Then we get to the meat of the book: the recipes. There’s an entire section of Breakfast recipes (think French Toast Casserole and Vanilla Almond Granola) followed by “Small Bites.” These snacks include Rosemary-Raisin Crackers and Crispy Sweet Potato Fries with Wasabi Aioli. Also: Sweet Potato Chips with Creamy Cilantro-Serrano Dipping Sauce! Yum…

Soups, Salads, and Sides gets its own section followed by The Main Event. This is further divided into Poultry, Seafood, Beef and Pork. There’s a lot to choose from for your lunch and dinner items, folks. As I said before, this cookbook is chock-full of delicious-ness.

Then there’s the “For the Kids in All of Us”—Cinnamon Applesauce and Fruit Roll Ups and Hidden-Veggie Muffins are a few of these treats.

Two more sections cover “Muffins, Loaves, and Morning Cakes” and “Sweets and Treats.” Some of you may just care about that section, and that’s ok. The cookbook is worth it if you choose to just dip into desserts. The “Basics” is fabulous because this includes everything from salad dressings to BBQ sauce to crepes to nut cheese to salsas.

There’s also a section on Drinks! “Menu Suggestions” and “Resources” are located at the end of the book but are incredibly helpful sections, especially if you want a hand with meal planning.

Recipes Tried and True:

As we speak, I have a batch of Vanilla Almond Granola drying in the oven, and let me tell you, it makes the house smell divine! You might think that for a Paleo lifestyle, you would mostly eat eggs for breakfast, but Against All Grain shows us that’s not quite true. The Banana Porridge is a wonderful choice if you’re craving something like Cream of Wheat or Oatmeal. I can attest that this is an easy and lovely option—the creaminess of the porridge and the banana-cinnamony flavors make it one I enjoy often. Of course I’ve also made the Blueberry Waffles on pg. 36, and they too are tasty and extremely easy. You can use a blender for making these and have a hot breakfast whipped up in no time at all. I haven’t tried the Sausage Quiche with Sweeet Potato Crust or Maple Sage Sausage with Cinnamon Apples, but I intend to.

The Chicken Satay with “Peanut” Sauce is a winner, and though you wouldn’t eat potatoes on the paleo diet, the Mashed Cauliflower is remarkably similar. I’ve added garlic to mine before and the result was perfect.

The Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos is one of the Main Event recipes I would recommend (I use my slow cooker a lot!) and also the Citrus Cumin Chicken. For the tacos, you can either use lettuce wraps or you can make her crepes and use those for filling with the chicken mixture. I actually prefer the lettuce wraps, but if you were ok eating corn, you could even use corn taco shells. The Chicken Tenders from the “Kid” section is another delicious chicken recipe, and it’s pretty quick to prepare. I have tested a lot of the chicken recipes in the book, and I haven’t been disappointed with any. The club sandwich wraps with pesto mayo on pg. 144 is another good choice for lunch or dinner.

I’ve made the spinach sausage lasagna on pg. 168 and this one takes a little more time, but the entire dish is from scratch, so you can imagine the flavors are gorgeous.

For 6 months last year I was on a very strict diet, and at one point I was craving lasagna. This recipe fit all the requirements for what I could eat, so I went into the kitchen and made the Marinara Sauce, the Basic Nut Cheese, and the Crepes (which make up the “noodles” for the lasagna). I was not disappointed with the result and I’ve made this lasagna several times.

You might think you want to avoid making sauces from scratch but the Marinara recipe is worth it. You could even make a large batch and either freeze or can extra for later.

I have a healthy obsession with baking, and I have to say that the Real Deal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on pg. 258 is one of my faves. And not just in this cookbook, but this cookie recipe is actually one of my favorite Cookie Recipes of all time! The Banana Bread is another treat you’ll discover often on my table, if you stop over for tea.

Snickerdoodle cupcakes? Dark chocolate cake brownies? Pumpkin donuts? These are three more “Sweets and Treats” recipes I have yet to try, and I’ll be sure to share my results with you when I do.

Overall Flavor:

Against All Grain is chock-full of recipes for dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Even snacks. At 368 pages, this is a fabulous deal, and you can even get this one on your kindle, if you prefer.

Whether you’re planning to pursue eating paleo all the time or not, this cookbook is fantastic addition to any recipe collection, and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by the flavor and diversity of recipes in Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain.

You can check out her website here.

You can purchase the book here.

Thanks for stopping by for my Cookbook Chat! Have you tried any recipes from this cookbook? What are some of your favorite cookbooks?


What Katie Read