Gluten-Free: A New Normal? 

Kristina’s Bookshelf

It used to be that a cookbook featuring recipes for dishes without gluten was something of a specialty item, intended for a small contingent of people who need to avoid that protein in wheat, rye, barley, and other cereal grains which gives dough its elasticity. But that small niche market is evolving. Even people without celiac disease, allergies, or sensitivities are avoiding gluten, perhaps as a result of a choice to limit intake of processed carbohydrates. These days, most cookbooks and restaurants offer some gluten-free options, and cookbooks tend to provide a broader selection of recipes made with gluten-free grains or just fewer grain-based ingredients. Tartine All Day, from the co-owner of Tartine Bakery in San Francisco, delivers delicious, creative ways to eat gluten-free or make meals with reduced carbohydrates.

Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook
by Elisabeth Prueitt
(Lorena Jones Books/Ten Speed Press, 2017)

Many East Bay residents know the much-loved San Francisco–based Tartine Bakery and Tartine Manufactory with its associated ice cream shop, Cookies & Cream. Co-owner Elisabeth Prueitt is in charge of producing all the delicious pastries and sweets while her husband, Chad Robertson, is responsible for producing the star-quality bread. Prueitt is also a repeat nominee and winner of the James Beard Best Pastry Chef Award, the author of the original Tartine cookbook, and the founder of the Conductive Education Center of San Francisco. 

What fans might not know is that despite being a baker extraordinaire, Prueitt is gluten-sensitive. She’s the family cook, and the recipes in her latest cookbook are for home-cooked meals that she’s refined and perfected to feed her family and herself. It’s an excellent collection, with helpful headnotes and tips for each of the 200 recipes. For instance, we learn that almond meal and almond flour can be used interchangeably, and that Valrhona is a great dark chocolate for cooking. Find dishes like Kuku Sabzi (a Persian omelet dense with vegetables and flavorful herbs), Beets and Greens with Hazelnuts and Honey-Vinegar Dressing, Masa Harina and Millet Cornbread (gluten-free!), and Savory Bread Pudding with Wild Mushrooms and Bacon, as well as a number of hearty, flavorful meat dishes. 

A “basics” section at the beginning includes pantry items like Spiced Date Nut Sauce (a thick, uncooked spread that complements cheeses or meats), and Quick Vegetable Pickles (sliced vegetables made piquant with light vinegar and aromatic spices like allspice and cloves). Basics are followed by salads, appetizers, mains, and recipe suggestions for gatherings. Desserts, not surprisingly given Prueitt’s day job, are real standouts. Whether or not you need to eat gluten-free, you might be tempted by Chocolate-Buckwheat Madeleines, the Apple Beehive (a stack of apple slices shingled on top of one another, sugared, buttered, and baked until caramelized), or the fabulous Tartine Chocolate-Almond Cake.

Edible East Bay’s book editor Kristina Sepetys is eager to share her ideas and book recommendations with our readers.