Alisa Fleming ~ Gluten-free is definitely becoming a household term, but when I saw that Silvana Nardone, founding editor in chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, had released a cookbook that was gluten-free AND dairy-free, I jumped for joy. According to the book’s foreward, “Cooking for Isaiah is the story of Silvana Nardone’s heartfelt journey to develop great-tasting meals for her son, Isaiah, after he was diagnosed with food intolerances to gluten and dairy.”
True to form, this gorgeous cookbook has many kid-friendly options, but unlike so many GFCF cookbooks, it doesn’t simply cater to wee little taste buds and non-adventurous palates. Silvana steps just slightly away from the norm, adding unexpected twists and turns to create recipes that are intriguing, appealing, and at times, quite gourmet. Yet her instructions are simple and the ingredients she uses are everyday staples (of course the flours used would be “everyday” for a gluten-free household, but may be new to you if you’ve never baked gluten-free).
Some sample recipe titles from Cooking for Isaiah include: S’mores Pancakes with Marshmallow Sauce, Hash Brown Belgian Waffles (yes, potatoes in the waffle maker!) with Apple Sausage and Fried Eggs, Sugar and Spiced Doughnuts, Sloppy Joe-Stuffed Potato Skins, Pan-Fried Shrimp and Caramelized Scallion Rice Cakes, Chicken and Waffles with Maple Bacon Gravy, and Nut Butter and Jelly Cookie Cups.
On my first go around with this cookbook, I wanted to stay true to the recipes, so I only chose recipes that were egg-free. We have an egg allergy in my household and several of the recipes in Cooking with Isaiah do call for eggs. For many of those recipes, I think suitable substitutes could be made, but I wasn’t quite ready for experimenting …
I started by trialing the Penne with Walnut Cream Sauce. At the bottom of the recipe, Silvana wrote, “Before this recipe, I had never blanched a nut in my life …” Well that makes two of us! Blanching the nuts and using the cooking water in the sauce made the end result quite creamy and intensely walnut flavored. This was a fun and new adventure for me indeed. The recipe also called for some fresh parsley, which I didn’t have on hand, so I blanched some broccoli in the cooking water. This added both some veggie power and color contrast to the meal. I wish I had a picture for you, but we were simply too hungry!
Yesterday, I moved onto the recipe for Mom’s Tomato Bisque (pictured above). It has an extra surprise of hidden carrots blended in, and gains its thicker texture from cooked and pureed white rice. The end result with a thick and hearty tomato soup that still retained a delicate flavor. I plan to make some rolls to go with the leftovers today, as this soup begs for an accompaniment.
To note, Cooking for Isaiah is a hardback, full color cookbook. About half of the recipes contain a full page, gorgeous photo. In addition there are some family pictures within that include shots of Isaiah, Silvana, and the rest of their family. I think it all ties in nicely to “her story” and the pictures of her healthy-looking kids definitely add a positive energy to the entire book.
This is a third-party review by Alisa Fleming, founder of GoDairyFree.org, blogger at Alisa Cooks, and author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living. Alisa is also a freelance writer for several publications, with an emphasis on creating recipes for various types of special diets.
Visit Amazon to purchase Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals