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Book Review and Giveaway

Posted Feb 17 2012 12:00am

Five years ago I started my gluten-free journey with the realization that in order to heal properly I'd have to cut dairy out of my diet too. That was even more difficult for me to accept than the gluten sensitivity diagnosis. (No cheese?! No ice cream?! Oye.)

I spent a good year and a half trying to concoct dairy-free foods that could replace my beloved creamy treats. And I spent way too much money buying products that attempted to do the same.

Fortunately, as the years have passed, food companies and some publishers are realizing that casein (the protein found in dairy) intolerance often comes along with gluten intolerance - even if it's temporary like mine.

(And then there's this whole other subset of groups who have to avoid dairy: the lactose intolerant, those with autism and/or ADHD, those who are vegan and gluten-free and those who believe that humans aren't meant to consume other mammals milk. )

Which is why I'm excited to see more cookbooks tackling the gluten-free/dairy-free issue.

I received a copy of Denise Jardine's "The Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free Kitchen" and I've been having fun with the recipes: bisque, pizza, fettuccini, lasagna, and flan - foods that normally contain a whole lot of dairy have none.

Photos accompany many of the recipes (I won't buy a cookbook that doesn't have accompanying images - we eat with our eyes after all) and the recipes clearly state what they are "free of" at the top of the page.

But most important, the food is good. Yes, it's gluten-free/dairy-free cooking and with that comes understanding that you can't get non-dairy foods to taste like dairy, but! you can create so much flavor that you don't miss the dairy at all.

Take the broccoli soup I made. It was delicious. So delicious in fact that my dinner last night was three bowls of it. It won't taste like the broccoli cheese soup you find at Panera - where all you taste is the cheese. But it will feel like it: thick and hearty. (And it's so much better for you.)

I want to share the gluten-free/dairy-free love so the publishers have agreed to send out a copy to one lucky commenter on this post. If you leave a comment by midnight on Tuesday, February 21st with a valid email address, and you're chosen by random.org you'll get a free copy sent to you (sorry - you must live in the U.S.)

In the meantime, make this soup. You won't miss the cheese. I pinky-swear.



Creamy Broccoli Soup

2 pounds broccoli, stems and florets chopped separately into 1-inch pieces

1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped

11/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 potatoes)

31/2 cups Chicken Stock (page 176) or Vegetable Stock (page 177)

1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 bay leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup Dairy Milk Alternative (page 173), plus more if needed

Herb Toast (page 185), for garnish (optional)

Grated lemon zest, for garnish (optional)

To prepare the soup: Combine the broccoli stems, onion, potatoes, stock, lemon juice, bay leaves, salt, and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, decrease the heat to low, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add broccoli florets; reduce the heat to low, and simmer until florets are just tender, about 8 minutes. (By placing the broccoli florets on top of the other partially cooked vegetables, they cook via steam, and retain their vibrant green color.)

To puree the soup: Remove the soup from the heat and discard the bay leaves. Ladle half of the soup into a blender along with 1/2 cup of the milk, cover, and puree until smooth. Empty the blender into a large bowl and repeat with the remaining soup and 1/4 cup of milk. Transfer the pureed soup back to the saucepan. Thin the soup if necessary by adding a little more milk, 1/4 cup at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved. Taste and correct the seasonings. Reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through, taking care not to boil the soup. Ladle into bowls and garnish with Herb Toast (recipe in book) and lemon zest.

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