15 July 2009

Carol Fenster's 1000 GF Recipes

I got this cookbook a while back (and it will probably be the last cookbook I buy for a while), and finally tried out a recipe from it on Monday. She uses a sorghum-based flour blend, probably as a compromise between the crumbliness of rice-based mixes and the sometimes overpowering flavor of bean-based mixes. I don't know for sure if it was the recipe or not, but the cupcakes I made were a bit crumblier than any I've made using Bette Hagman's flour mixes. It could also be because I used a mix of dutched and undutched cocoa, and she comments in the intro that it matters which you use. I may have to experiment to find out if she's right. ^/^ It's possible that it matter more with her flour mix than with others, for whatever reason.

As for the book itself, it is very thorough, with a good introduction, and some surprising extras. It actually contains a "southwestern spice mix" that is very similar to the taco spice mix that I came up with on my own. I may compare and see which I like better. This is the first GF book I've come across that does contain such spice-mixes, so that's a plus, though it doesn't contain very many of them.

I have one big complaint about the layout of the book. At the beginning, there's a table of contents with page numbers to take you to the different sections of the book (pies, cakes, pastas, etc.), which is fine. Then you turn to one of those pages, and there's a list of the recipes contained in that section, which is also fine, except that list does not give you the page numbers. You either have to thumb through the section or go to the index. I have a feeling that I'm going to be writing the page numbers in on sections that I wind up using a lot.

I'd also prefer that each and every cookbook was spiral-bound, or some equivalent thereof, but it seems that very few publishers understand this very basic principle. Still, in a cookbook this thick, the spiral binding would be especially appreciated.

The one recipe I tried was "Mini Mexican Chocolate Cupcakes" (page 535-536). I have to admit that I tweaked it a little. I mean, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon? In a recipe that makes 24 cupcakes? I upped it to 2 teaspoons. I also just used the cocoa I had on hand, while she specifically calls for undutched cocoa. I played around with her frosting recipe, but didn't make it as written as I do not have a double boiler. Regardless, the cupcakes turned out to be quite tasty, if a bit crumbly.

So far, I'd recommend this cookbook, 1,000 Gluten-Free Recipes by Carol Fenster, but I may add more as I try more of the recipes. I am very interested to try out her flour blend in converting non-GF recipes myself. Up to this point, my favorite blend to use for that has been Bette Hagman's Featherlight Rice Mix, and sometimes her 4-flour bean mix (made with WHITE bean flour, NEVER EVER EVER Garfava), but it's always interesting to play around with a new mix.

GF Tips Index


John said...

"as I do not have a double boiler"

I find that two saucepans (one small. one medium) work very well.

Qalmlea said...

Hmmm. I'll have to try that the next time I have need of one.