Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free Review

Reader Contribution by Wendy Gregory Kaho
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Amy Green is known for her popular blog, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free. There she has created gluten-free recipes and a warm community where others share their own recipes each Tuesday in a weekly post called Slightly Indulgent Tuesday. Now Amy shares recipes she developed for her blog and 140 new recipes that are free of gluten and white sugar. I’ve spent the last few weeks cooking from Amy’s new book, Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make in 20 minutes or Less.Not only does Amy provide the basics of setting up a gluten-free kitchen with the right equipment, but also a well-stocked pantry for gluten-free cooking success.

From muffins and donuts to hot cereals and crepes, Amy creatively features the whole grains many on the gluten-free diet are missing. Her snacks and condiments pack flavor and nutrition into every bite, which is also important especially for celiacs following a gluten-free diet where nutrients, fiber and flavor count.

I tried several of her savory recipes for family dinners. They were quick, easy, and full of texture and flavor that pleased the whole family.The Socca Pizzas were the most popular and we have had two pizza nights where we topped Amy’s garbanzo bean flour soccas with pesto or tomato sauce, cheese and her topping suggestions. We also had the soccas as flatbreads with just a light spread of pesto and a sprinkle of cheese paired with soup. The soccas get crisp on the edges as they bake in a cast iron skillet and have a nice bite with both crisp edges and then chewier middle. The beauty of this crust is the simply ingredients. It wasn’t the usual production of all those bags of flours and starches on the counter that is typical of gluten-free pizza nights at our house.

No gluten-free cook’s repertoire is complete without quick, easy vegetable dishes that can be tossed together and cooked quickly. Amy provides the basic recipe for roasted cauliflower with a list of possible veggie and herb and spice combinations.This is perfect for the beginning cook and the more experienced, but busy cook who needs some inspiration to get out of a busy work night cooking rut. Chard, green beans, kale and zucchini also get the quick cooking treatment for colorful and flavorful sides. Vegetables are the stars in some of Amy’s entrees. The Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with a Carrot and Jicama Slaw pack a lot of nutrition into a corn tortilla while making the taste buds happy, too.

Desserts using substitutes for white sugar are Amy’s specialty and her cookbook has plenty. We tried the Vanilla Bean Cake, which is an adaptation from Kelly Brozyna’s recipe of the Spunky Coconut blog and cookbook fame. While Kelly used coconut flour and coconut oil, Amy uses her flour blend and a non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening.I liked having an alternative to the more expensive coconut ingredients, but I do like that hint of coconut flavor. Amy’s cake was just as light and moist and surprising given that the main ingredient is cooked white beans.Amy’s Lemon Cornmeal Biscotti were an afternoon coffee break treat that was slightly sweet and could have fooled a gluten-eater with a real biscotti texture accented by cornmeal and almonds.

New gluten-free cooks will appreciate all the tips and tricks, resource lists and quick healthy meals ideas. More experienced cooks will find new flavors for salads, slow cooker meals and entrees, and new possibilities using gluten-free whole grains and alternative sweeteners. I have shelves full of glossy cookbooks that I have just read over a cup of tea on a leisurely afternoon and tried one or two recipes. Then there are the hard-working cookbooks that have splatters and drifts of gluten-free flours when opened that I use often. Amy Green’s book is already looking well-used and well-loved and for the price has already earned its keep on my kitchen bookshelf.

Amy will be doing a guest post this week and sharing a whole grain breakfast recipe from her book.