Tag: baking

Cookbook Chat: Against All Grain (2013) by Danielle Walker

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
Goodreads
five-stars

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?

 

five-stars
What Katie Read

ALL FOUR STARS AUTHOR INTERVIEW: TARA DAIRMAN–WORLD TRAVELER

ALL FOUR STARS AUTHOR INTERVIEW: TARA DAIRMAN–WORLD TRAVELERAll Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on July 10th 2014
Pages: 288
Goodreads

Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York's biggest newspaper--she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.

When I posted ALL FOUR STARS by TARA DAIRMAN as one of my top anticipated releases for 2014 at the beginning of the year, I had no idea the blog would be one of her interview stops, or that I would write a recipe-inspired post from the book. If you’ve read my review of this contemporary middle grade novel, out July 10th, you will know that it is one of my new favorites, and I absolutely fell in love with Gladys and her culinary antics!

I appreciate that Tara took the time to visit the blog and answer some questions I devised for her. I think you’ll enjoy reading her responses. And A SEQUEL!! She talked about a sequel!!

Enjoy!

Tara Dairman headshot

1. I loved All Four Stars and think the plot is fantastic. Where and when did the idea for the story start to brew?

Thank you so much, Katie! I was living in New York when I first started to write ALL FOUR STARS, and working as an editor at a small magazine. In that job, I had freelance writers who wrote stories that I edited, but I never met most of them, or even talked to them on the phone. So it occurred to me that if a kid was a good writer, she might be able to hoodwink me into publishing her. And if she could trick me, why not the biggest newspaper in New York? 

I was interested in food and cooking, too, so it made sense for me to make my young writer a wannabe restaurant critic. And I moored her out in the suburbs, where I grew up, with parents who couldn’t have been less interested in gourmet food. The rest of the plot just kind of flowed from that!

I loved the contrast of a foodie protagonist with parents who cooked using the microwave–brilliant! 

2. What’s your writing process like? Is it very structured? Do you have to write in a specific location, have a certain noise level, etc.?

These days, I tend to be more structured about my writing process than I used to be. I prefer to work in the mornings, either at home or in public. I don’t mind a low level of background noise, but I can’t listen to music while I write. A hot beverage next to the computer is nice. But really, I can write anywhere if I have to. I drafted parts of ALL FOUR STARS on the New Jersey Transit Bus during my morning commute when I was living on the east coast, and in various spots (mostly cafes) around the world while I backpacked for two years with my husband.

I love to write while traveling, and I love the idea that some of your story was written in different cafes of the world!

3. What would you say to young readers who pick up ALL FOUR STARS and then want to learn to cook or bake, but have never made anything before? What would you encourage them to start with?



That’s a terrific question! Well, first of all, I’d make sure you have permission from an adult and supervision if necessary, especially if you are going to use knives or the stove or oven. Then I would pick a recipe that has a short list of ingredients. If you’re baking, something like muffins or a quick bread can be a good place to start; for dinner, maybe pasta with a very simple sauce, like garlic and oil. And a fancy salad is easy to make and can be surprisingly delicious—baby spinach with sliced pears and blue cheese was the first salad I ever made, and I love it to this day!

That is a lovely salad combination!

4. I love Gladys’s determination to get that restaurant review completed—are there any parallels between Gladys’s antics and her experiences in the book and your own childhood?

Haha—not that I can recall. Gladys is much bolder and more adventurous than I was at that age. The only real parallel I can think of is that I eventually developed a taste for surprising people—for instance, in high school, I did Mathletes and cheerleading at the same time. But that was about as bold as things got for me. 🙂

I enjoy hearing about unique high school experiences–they definitely make for interesting plot lines…

5. These are important questions I love to ask authors who visit the blog: Favorite kind of donut, Favorite kind of pie, Favorite kind of cake?


My favorite donut is the peanut butter and jelly donut from Square Donuts from Terre Haute, Indiana! My favorite kind of pie is cherry (closely followed by rhubarb), and my favorite kind of cake is carrot. Mmm, now I’m hungry for all of these things.

Excellent choices! Cherry pie is such a perfect choice for this time of year–I have to say I wouldn’t mind a slice myself.

6. I read about your amazing two year journey around the world with your husband—could you name your top three favorite meals? (and places where you had those meals?)

Ooh, a trip down culinary memory lane! It’s almost impossible to narrow it down, but here are three amazing meals I had:

-Breakfast of pan de yuca (cheese bread) and yogurt smoothies in Quito, Ecuador (2009)

Breakfast of pan de yuca and yogurt

-Lunch of donkey meat in Beijing, China—surprisingly tasty! (2011)

Lunch of donkey meat in China

-Christmas dinner in Hyderabad, India—chicken saag, Hyderabadi biryani (a specially-prepared rice dish with beautiful, extremely long rice grains), and so many different kinds of bread that the waiter warned us that we were ordering too much (2010)

Christmas dinner in Hyderabad

These look like three amazing meals! My cousin is getting ready to visit China–I’ll have to ask her about trying donkey meat. That Indian meal is definitely making my mouth water….Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos! 

7. Will there be any future books with Gladys or do you think you will write another foodie book?



Yes—there will be a sequel to ALL FOUR STARS in summer, 2015! It’s set during the summer after sixth grade, and Gladys faces a whole new world of professional and personal challenges. I’ll hopefully be able to share more information about it soon. I’m really excited about it.

(jumps up and down) I can’t wait!

8. Is there a dessert place in NYC like Classy Cakes that you would recommend to your readers?

Classy Cakes wasn’t based on any one place, but the restaurant Serendipity 3 on the Upper East Side is pretty well-known for its pricey desserts (and its long lines and snippy attitudes!), so I may have drawn a bit of inspiration from it. 

The Internet tells me that there is also an all-dessert restaurant in Manhattan called ChikaLicious, which sounds a lot like Classy Cakes, but I’ve never been! Maybe next time I’m in town…

Yes! I’ve been to Serendipity 3–we waited a long time to get in, but we wanted to try that frozen hot chocolate. 🙂 

Thank you so much for having me, Katie! These were terrific questions!

Thank you, Tara!!

Do look up this debut author–see links below! And you can get her book, out in just TWO DAYS!

Indie Bound
Penguin
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Book Depository

Social media links:

Website: www.taradairman.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaraDairman

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TaraDairmanAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13598351-all-four-stars

Also, be sure to check out The Midnight Garden ALL FOUR STARS blog tour, if you haven’t already!

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What Katie Read

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman Blog Tour: Caramel Walnut Brownie Recipe & Giveaway!

All Four Stars by Tara Dairman Blog Tour: Caramel Walnut Brownie Recipe & Giveaway!Genres: Middle Grade, Realistic

Welcome to the July 4th stop of The Midnight Garden’s All Four Stars Blog Tour!

It’s time to celebrate the upcoming release of the fantastic middle grade novel, All Four Stars…with a brownie recipe.

Calling all bakers and aspiring bakers!

When I saw All Four Stars on the list of upcoming releases for 2014, I was beyond excited. Three of my passions were combined in one book: cooking, baking, and writing! What a fantastic premise—a twelve year old chef and foodie accidentally lands a job writing a restaurant review for a prestigious newspaper. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to read the book.

The meals, recipes, and cooking adventures detailed in the story made my mouth water, and led me to brainstorm a baking-related tour stop for The Midnight Garden’s Blog Tour! After much thought and deliberation, I decided to pursue the perfect recipe for the caramel walnut brownies that Gladys’s neighbor, Mrs. Anderson bakes. Mrs. Anderson is known for her “experimental brownies” and gives one to Gladys, though Gladys “never had the heart to tell Mrs. Anderson that she didn’t really like walnuts.” Gladys gives her brownie to a classmate the next day at lunch:

“You want it?” Gladys said, holding out the brownie.

Charissa took it right away, of course, without protesting, proposing a trade, or even saying thank you…Charissa held the brownie at arm’s length. She was shaking…

“Oh my God,” Charissa said, her eyes wide with disbelief.

“This brownie..this brownie…” The cafeteria table was dead silent; all eyes were on them…

“This brownie is…AMAZING!!”

brownie 1

DSC_0246I decided to bake my own caramel walnut brownies, but I also made a batch without the walnuts—and hoped that Gladys would approve. For the recipe, I went straight to the professionals because there was a brownie recipe I was dying to try from an amazing cookbook: Baked Elements by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafito (Photography by Tina Rupp).  I think Lewis & Poliafito really have the best brownie recipe, and you can actually visit their bakery in Brooklyn. Their brownie recipe doesn’t have the caramel walnut glaze or the two tablespoons of boiling water I added, but the rest of the recipe is theirs. I would strongly recommend buying their cookbook–you won’t regret it. There is an amazing recipe for Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls that you should try next!

Gladys: “I’ve made 142 recipes from twelve different cookbooks,” she cried, “and they all turned out fine!”

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(I didn’t have to use my stand mixer for this, but thought it looks lovely next to the cookbook.)

Their Spicy Brownie recipe includes ancho chile powder to deliver a gorgeous spicy dimension to a perfect fudgy brownie. Think ancho chile powder is hard to find? Not really. You can find it at World Market as well as other grocery stores. In a pinch, you could probably use cayenne pepper, but I would recommend using about half of the ancho chile powder amount.

More research found me a simple recipe for a caramel walnut glaze that I thought would be the perfect finish. These spicy brownies could certainly go without them, if you wanted to omit the caramel and walnuts. The truth is—I made these brownies once in California, and then I made them while on holiday on Cape Cod. I actually liked the once with bigger chunks of walnuts, surprisingly. I’m in love with these brownies! Look at that amazing fudgy-ness.

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These actually aren’t THAT spicy and those who are expecting more of a kick could be disappointed. What they do deliver is a smoky and warm flavor that I think pairs perfectly with the caramel and walnuts. The Baked authors had originally used a chipotle powder in these spicy brownies, but felt this was a bit much, and so opted for something a little less spicy. My taste testers were not disappointed—I received raving reviews of these brownies for days.

A few important notes on this recipe:

-Make sure your eggs are room temperature! Don’t skip this step.

-The recipe asks you to grate your cinnamon, but in a pinch, it was fine for me to use the cinnamon I already had in my spice cupboard.

-Don’t overmix the brownies!! This is crucial to their wonderful fudgy texture. Fold everything together at the end just until combined.

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Mrs. Anderson’s Aztec Brownies with Caramel Walnut Glaze

(The Baked Spicy Brownie with Caramel Walnut Glaze)

Adapted slightly from the Spicy Brownies Recipe in Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis, Renato Poliafato, Tina Rupp (Photographer) [2012, by Stewart, Tabori, & Chang]

Makes: 12 large or 24 small brownies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
2 teaspoons freshly grated cinnamon (or from your spice rack)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger OR 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
8 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
2 ounces good-quality milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons of boiling water (from bottom double boiler pan)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature (very important to have the eggs at room temperature!)

Caramel Walnut Glaze

14 unwrapped caramels

¼ cup heavy cream

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (depending on how much walnut-ness you desire)

Making the Brownies

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take a 9 by 13 inch glass or light colored metal baking pan and butter the bottom and sides. Then, line the pan with parchment paper and butter the parchment.

2. Next, get a medium bowl, and whisk the flour, cocoa powder, chile powder, cinnamon, salt, and ginger. Set that aside.

3. Now, you need to melt the butter and chocolate. You can construct your own double boiler on the stove by filling a pot about halfway with water, and then placing a glass bowl or another pot over that one. It’s really easy! Check out this link for more info. Once you get the water boiling, you can place your butter and chocolates in the top bowl. Stir occasionally until everything is melted and combined nicely! Now, turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water. **If you want to add my magic mishap [see description below] into the recipe, take two tablespoons of the boiling water and add it to the chocolate/butter mixture. Then, add both the white sugar and the brown sugar and whisk until they are combined. You need to wait a little now, while the bowl comes to room temperature, but remove it from above the water.

4. Add 3 of your room temperature eggs, and mix it until everything comes together nicely. Don’t overmix! Add the last 2 eggs and do the same–mix until just combined.

5. Now you can add the flour mixture to the batter and fold the flour mixture in with a spatula. It’s very important that you don’t overmix here—once you see the last of the flour disappear…stop!

6. Pour the brownie batter into your prepared pan with the parchment.

7. Bake for 30 minutes in your preheated oven, but set your timer for 15 minutes and rotate the pan halfway.

You’ll need to check to see that the brownies are finished by using a toothpick. You should only see a few crumbs on the toothpick to make sure the brownies are done. Let them cool now and transfer to a wire rack.

Once the brownies are cool, you can make the glaze.

8. Chop about ½ to 1 cup of walnuts—it’s up to you depending on how many walnuts you like on your brownie. You can preheat the oven to 350 degrees and toast the walnuts for about 8 minutes first, if you prefer. Or, skip this step, if you’re pressed for time.

9. Unwrap your 14 caramels and place in a bowl that you can microwave, or in a pot on the stove.

10. Add ¼ cup of the heavy cream and stir everything as it melts. I melted the caramel and cream on the stove, and this worked out just fine. You just want to make sure you keep an eye on the mixture and turn off the heat as soon as everything is combined.

11. You can drizzle some caramel on the brownies first, and then top with the walnuts. Or you can sprinkle the walnuts, and then pour the caramel over.

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Cut into squares and enjoy with a cup of tea or coffee. And be sure to read ALL FOUR STARS, out JULY 10TH from Putnam!

BONUS: *My Baking Mishap*

No, it wasn’t as destructive as Gladys’s experience making crème brulee, but since I didn’t have a double boiler to melt the butter and the chocolate, I constructed my own. My pots weren’t the right size, though, and as I was stirring my chocolate and butter for these brownies (and they were melting very nicely), my top pot slipped and tipped into the water below it! That gave me a start, but I quickly righted the pot, and surveyed the damage. Had any water gone into the chocolate and butter? How would that affect the final product? I had no choice but to press on—time was of the essence!

The fact is, that some of the water had gone into my chocolate and butter, a few tablespoons, by my estimation. But….the texture and taste of the brownies was so amazing, that I really couldn’t say if it damaged the recipe at all. In fact, I thought the finished brownie was so perfect, that I think I may have to suggest adding a tiny bit of boiling water to the chocolate and butter mixture, in case there was a bit of magic in my mishap.

Should I be berated for this? Maybe. But I think Gladys would show me grace. And I certainly hope she would appreciate the brownies, minus the walnuts, of course.

Win a copy of All Four Stars!

Thanks to Putnam, there are 8 finished copies of this lovely book to give away throughout the blog tour. Visit each stop to earn extra points, or you can also tweet, pin, etc.

Open to U.S. and Canadian residents aged 18 or older, or 13 or older with parental permission. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to visit the blog again on Monday for a special interview with author, TARA DAIRMAN!

All Four Stars Tour Schedule
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the All Four Stars Blog Tour! There are fantastic posts, excerpts, recipes, and giveaways at each stop.

Tuesday, July 1st              The Midnight Garden
Wednesday, July 2nd        The Reading Date
Thursday, July 3rd            For What It’s Worth
Friday, July 4th                 The Spirit of Children’s Literature
                                           A Baked Creation
Monday, July 7th              Xpresso Reads
Tuesday, July 8th             For the Love of Words
Wednesday, July 9th        Finding Bliss in Books
Thursday, July 10th          Candace’s Book Blog
Review stops, July 7th – 10th: Cuddlebuggery, Great Imaginations, Lone Star on a Lark, Log Cabin Library, The Hiding Spot, Fic Talk, Carina’s Books, Karen Brissette @ GoodReads, Book Jems, Sporadic Reads , The Social Potato Reviews

Where to buy the book links:

Indie Bound Penguin
Barnes & Noble
AmazonBook Depository

BON APPETIT & HAPPY READING!

TMG blog tours

 

What Katie Read
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