Welcome!

by Jeanne on December 11, 2013

author photo Jeanne SauvageWelcome to my blog! I’m so happy you’re here!

If you are a regular reader, you know that I try to help folks as much as I can. And I answer a lot of questions. But before you ask a question, it’s helpful for me (and you) for you to browse through my list of BAKING TIPS/FAQS. Please check out these before you ask me a question in the comments or via email.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with gluten intolerance (or your doc told you to lay off of the gluten for other reasons) check out my Gluten-Intolerance Initial Diagnosis Survival Sheet.  Believe me, I know how hard and confusing everything seems at the beginning–but this sheet should help you navigate the early days.

Also, if you’re brand new to gluten-free, you might want to watch my Google talk–in which I explain gluten, gluten intolerance, gluten-free baking, and my own journey from being diagnosed gluten-free to developing gluten-free recipes (and writing 2 books).

My first book, Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays: 60 Recipes for Traditional Festive Treats (Chronicle Books), came out in October 2012 and has many recipes for the winter holidays and beyond.  Check it out!

My next book, Gluten-Free Wishlist: Sweet and Savory Treats You Miss the Most, is due out from Chronicle Books in Fall 2015.

Please note that I am happy to answer questions and help folks–but I do get a bit overwhelmed when I have to answer the same question over and over–hence the Tips/FAQs.

Happy baking!

–Jeanne

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preserving by the pint cover amazonToday I want to talk about preserving. As you know, I am an avid canner and am part of a nationwide group dedicated to canning (Canning Across America). This year I am thrilled by the release of two books by two of my favorite preservers, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces by Marisa McClellan of the Food in Jars blog and Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry: Recipes and Techniques for Year-Round Preserving, by Cathy Barrow of the Mrs. Wheelbarrow blog. Both of these books are gems. Once again, full disclosure: I have been pals with both of these talented women for several years and have talked about their work on my blog. Not only am I friends with them, I am a fan of each. These two women are two of the most talented preservers around and I am elated to have their books in my preserving library.

With Preserving by the Pint, Marisa gives us a much-needed book on small space and small batch preserving. Canning can be overwhelming—and the notion that you have to buy a flat of fruit in order to try preserving can scare off the folks who might normally be interested in doing it. This book addresses that problem—and does so wonderfully. Most of the recipes here make one or two jars of preserved produce. This allows the city-dweller or the canner with not a lot of time on their hands to pick up a bag of fruit or veggies at the farmer’s market (or the grocery store), go home, and can it within a short amount of time. Heck, I’m an avid canner and have been known to spend the whole day canning dozens of jars in a day, but there are times when I just want to get into the kitchen and preserve something without a lot of hoopla.

As with her first book (Food in Jars—another must-have for the canning kitchen), Marisa not only provides recipes, she provides guidance on equipment, how to process your jars, and addresses all of the issues involved with canning: high acid vs. low acid produce, cooking times, testing for set, yields, shelf-life, and adjusting for altitude. The equipment section is brilliant because it shows just how little you need for small-batch canning. She recommends a pot called a “4th Burner” pot that comes with a basket that is perfect for small-batch canning–even though it’s not officially designed for canning (I think it was designed for veggie cooking). It’s a tall, thin pot that fits on a small or crowded stove top, and it works just perfectly for canning one or two jars at a time.  It is such a great tool—and it doesn’t take up much storage space. I invited my pal Jodi, who was interested in getting into canning, to Marisa’s book talk this past summer.  Jodi is someone who wanted to dip her feet into the preserving pond, but who didn’t want to invest in a ton of equipment just to can a few things.  This book, the pot, and Marisa’s recipes have turned her into an avid canner.  She is a knitting pal of mine, and it seems like almost every week during summer and fall she came to knitting group with another canning success from Marisa’s book. And, since she is a career gal living alone, she has no need (or time) for lots and lots of canned goods—one or two at time suits her perfectly!

The recipes are divided by season (including winter) and include both sweet and savory options. Some of my favorites are: Spicy Apple Cider and Mustard Glaze (for chicken or pork—yum!), Dilled Carrot Spears (my family loves these), Pickled Golden Beet Cubes, Blueberry Maple Jam, Salted Brown Sugar Peach Jam (!!), and Marinated Red Peppers. Actually, I will say that everything I’ve tried is my favorite. Marisa is one of my favorite canning recipe developers—everything of hers is meticulously tested and scrumptious. Each year I do a couple of canning demonstrations at farms and festivals in the area and I always use her recipes—they are easy, work every time, and taste so good.  Finally, Marisa sprinkles the book with recipes in which to use your canned items–perfect!

On the other end of the preserving spectrum is Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry.  It is an offshoot of Cathy’s fabulous Mrs. Wheelbarrow blog.  It is a huge and wonderful tome chock full of every type of preserving you can think of, including: both water bath and pressure canning; quick pickling; curing with salt, brine, smoke, and air; and how to make cheese. It’s all here.  No matter what you want to preserve–produce, meat, fish–as well as make your own cheese, this is the book for you. It is designed to answer all of your questions about these arts and to get you started. Cathy has information in each chapter on equipment, safety, troubleshooting problems, and carefully written steps and recipes on how to do each type of preserving.

In addition, she includes “bonus” recipes on how to use what you’ve put up, which are useful as well as being yummy. These recipes are for old favorites (Rugelach), or things that are twists on old favorites–she has a New Fangled Three Bean Salad in which she uses fresh green beans, Dilly Beans (from her recipe) and Canneli Beans (again from her recipe).   In addition, she has sidebars like the “Waste Not, Want Not” in Crushed Tomatoes recipe, where she includes how to use the scooped out gel and seeds to make tomato water—which can be used for a variety of purposes, including as the liquid in rice making or in bread baking, or for reducing to a syrup and using as a glaze for chicken or fish. Truly, this book is amazing in its scope.

I have only been able to skim the surface of treasures in this book, but so far my favorite recipes have been: Maple Bourbon Bacon (!!) with the bonus recipe for Candied Bacon, Sweet Pickle Relish and Dill Pickle Relish, Asian Style Plum Sauce, Spicy Pickled Okra, and Many Berry Pie Filling. One recipe I have yet to try but that I can’t wait for is the Canned Dried Beans recipe. I tend to use dried beans a great deal, and it would be wonderful to have some ones that I canned myself (so as not to worry about additives or chemicals in the cans). Also, I have not yet made cheese, but I am planning to do so this winter. Also, she has a recipe for making your own Pectin, should you not want to go the store-bought route. This, I think, is brilliant.

Truly, Preserving by the Pint and Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry are lovely additions (or starters) to your preserving cookbook shelf.

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Brassicas by Laura B. Russell

by Jeanne on December 15, 2014

Brassicas-home-coverToday I want to talk about something a bit different: vegetables. I am lucky to have a family that loves vegetables. Further, we happen to adore the ones that are often the ones that other people haven’t figured out how to love yet,  brassicas. So today I want to talk about the wonderful cookbook that highlights these veggies: Brassicas: Cooking the Worlds Healthiest Vegetables, by Laura B. Russell.

Laura and I know each other from the gluten-free world (see my review of her first cookbook, The Gluten-Free Asian Kitchen). This time around, Laura turns her recipe creativity towards the often misunderstood brassica family (which, of course, is naturally gluten-free). Brassicas include: kale, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, cabbage, radish, turnips, and rutabaga.

Luckily, D’Ahub, Girlfriend and I love just about all of these. And they have the added bonus of being extraordinarily healthy for you. Now, I’m not going to lie: I haven’t always loved this family of veggies. I grew up with a mom who cooked all vegetables (especially Brussels sprouts) until they were dead, dead, dead. I couldn’t stand them. My opinion of them until I was an adult was simple: Yuck. As you can imagine, they were on my “never, ever eating those disgusting yucky things ever again” list. Then, at some point, I became an adult and was introduced to Brussel’s sprouts, kale, cauliflower, and other brassicas that were cooked in ways that highlighted their deliciousness and I gradually became an ardent fan.

Much as I like them, I will admit that my repertoire for cooking them has been a bit limited. I usually roast or sautee them. But this gets boring. This is why I was so happy when Laura’s book came out. Finally I had a resource with a variety of recipes for each brassica category. I loved the book the second I got it. I attended a book talk where Laura made and shared some samples from the book. The recipe that sealed the deal for me was her Roasted Cauliflower with Pickled Peppers and Mint. In fact, I loved it so much that I bought the ingredients to make it on the way home.

One thing I really like about Laura’s books is that she has done her homework on her topic. In the beginning of the book, she has an invaluable chart that lists the “flavor profiles” for each brassica, ranging from “Mild” (including bok choy and cauliflower) “Stronger (including broccoli, cabbage, kale), “Peppery (including arugula, radishes); to “Pungent” (horseradish and wasabi). I find this categorization quite helpful when I’m planning meals. In addition, she has a “Taming the Beast” section that talks about how to approach the flavors of these strongly flavored vegetables and how to use them in balance with the other flavors in a meal, how to compliment and accentuate the bold flavors, and how to use heat to tame and mellow the flavors. There’s a “Universal Pairings: Brassicas’ Best Friends” section that lists more than 30 ingredients that mate well with brassicas. Of course, there’s a section on how to select and store them, as well as how to wash and cut them.

Then each chapter contains a wonderful collection of recipes for each brassica (or family of brassicas). Each chapter contains appetizers, salads, soups, sides, and main dishes. Thus, you are given a host of ways to prepare the vegetables. Most of them use fairly simple and straightforward preparation techniques—so you don’t have to run around looking for weird ingredients or trying to figure out advanced cooking techniques.

Truly, I’ve loved everything I’ve made from this book. In addition to the cauliflower and peppers recipe above, a few more of my favorite recipes are: Kale and Sweet Potato Saute—which is quite simple to make and then you can use as a topping for corn tortillas; Kimchi Pancakes, for which she has a recipe for making your own kimchi if you don’t want to use store-bought; Wilted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Tomato; Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette; and the Spicy Noodles with Wilted Watercress.

In a nod to her gluten intolerance, in each recipe Laura offers tips on how to make it gluten and wheat-free if it already isn’t.  Then, in the back of the book, she includes an incredibly handy “Special Diets Table” that lists each recipe and whether or not it is vegetarian, vegan, as well as whether or not it contains meat, fish, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, coconut, or sesame.   This is so useful when you or folks for whom you’re cooking need to avoid any of these ingredients.

This is a terrific cookbook and resource book for an under-appreciated family of veggies–it will change the way you think about them!

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Hi there! Long time, no see! I hope you are enjoying this festive season!

For the next few posts, I want to talk about this year’s cookbooks I recommend. Every year there are a zillion books that come out—and I want to get all of them. Unfortunately, D’Ahub and Girlfriend need some space for their books, too, so I have to limit myself to certain categories. The categories I’ve chosen for this year are: baking (duh), gluten-free baking (more duh), canning and preserving, vegetables I like, and tea. I think that covers all of my favorite food groups.

Today I want to talk about Flavor Flours: A New Way to Bake with Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Other Whole and Ancient Grains, Nuts, and Non-Wheat Flours, by Alice Medrich with Maya Klein. This book is a must-have for the baker—gluten-free or not. Medrich and Klein created a book that is not only full of wonderful (gluten-free) recipes, but a book that explores and takes advantage of the flavors and qualities of each individual flour. This is a game changer.

There are a lot of books out there that use a variety of gluten-free flours for baking, but this one is different because it pays particular attention to the flavor profiles of the flours and the ingredients with which they are paired. Each chapter is based on a flour (Rice, Oat, Chestnut, Teff, Corn, Buckwheat, Sorghum, Nut and Coconut Flours). And, at the beginning of the chapters there is a description of the flour and its historical and geographic provenance. What I find extraordinarily valuable is that this introductory information also includes a “Flavor Affinities” section for each flour.  Here Medrich and Klein have done their homework and have provided the other ingredients that play well with each flour, including things like butter, various nuts, fruits, and spices. This is invaluable information.  They then provide a series of recipes that capitalize on these flavor partnerships.

When I first get a new cookbook, I go through and put a Post-It note on each page with a recipe I want to try. Of course, I followed this procedure here. The problem I had here: There is now a forest of Post-It notes coming off of the pages of Flavor Flours! I want to make all of the recipes—even for things I wouldn’t normally want to bake. For example, I was immediately drawn to the Corn Flour Tea Cake With Currants and Pistachios. I am generally not a major fan of corn, pistachios, or anise seed.  But it turns out that the combination is a knock-out! I had the honor and pleasure of baking for a book event for Medrich when she was in town—and I made this cake. It was a hit. People asked for seconds and thirds. Of course, it has now come into regular rotation at our house.

In addition, the authors include a nice variety of baked items: tea cakes, brownies (of course there is chocolate here! The Teff Brownies are to die for), crepes, waffles, layer cakes, tarts, cobblers, scones, cookies, and meringues. I’m always looking for different baked goods to take to parties or for when friends come over and this book has provided me with a plethora of options for every type of occasion and taste preference.

Full disclosure: over the past few years, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Alice on a personal basis. When she comes to town, we get together for breakfast or lunch and chat about life and baking. You can imagine what a thrill this is for me: I’ve been a die-hard fan-girl of Alice’s for years and years. I have every one of her books. She is one of my “Baking Goddesses.” I feel beyond lucky that I can now call her a friend and a colleague. Each time we chat, I am struck by how thoughtful she is about the craft of baking. Of course, she tests her recipes like crazy—she is known for this and her excellent books reflect this. And she is always open to learning. For this book, I am enormously grateful that even though she eats wheat, she is respectful of gluten-free folks and asks questions that allow her to create recipes that are delicious and that address needs of the gluten-free world. In addition, her writing and researching partner, Ms. Klein, is gluten-free and is dedicated to getting it right. I am so thankful to them for creating this book—and I highly recommends that you add it to your baking shelf!

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Radio Interview, Thursday, December 4, 2014

by Jeanne on December 3, 2014

Greetings!  Long time, no talk!  Tomorrow I have the honor of being interviewed by the amazing Jules Shepard on her blog radio show!  We’ll be chatting about gluten-free baking–especially holiday baking!–as well as my new book, Gluten-Free Wishlist: Sweet and Savory Treats You’ve Missed the Most (which comes out next fall 2015).

Details:

The Gluten-Free Voice with Jules

Thursday, December 4, 2014

11 am to noon, PT/2 to 3 pm, ET

Please join us!

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Classes on Gluten-Free Baking: Breads

by Jeanne on August 8, 2014

vintage_label_clip_art_bread bakery_2Hi!  I’m back!  I’m finally coming out from under book stuff.  And summer stuff.  It’s been a busy and fun summer but, as usual, it’s going by much too fast. Just wanted to let you know that I am starting to schedule gluten-free baking classes for the fall.  I will be teaching Gluten-Free Breads three times at the Pantry at Delancey on October 6th or 7th or 8th, 2014.  Check it out! I will let you know about other classes as they are scheduled.

 

clip art from: vintagegraphics.ohsonifty.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/vgosn_vintage_label_clip_art_bakery_2.jpg

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Hey folks!  I have gotten so many applications for recipe testers for the new book that I am bumping up the deadline to apply to Wednesday, May 7th at 5 pm (versus the original deadline on Friday).  Info for testers and instructions on how to apply in my Call for Testers post.

Get your survey completely quickly! I can’t wait to start!  And thank you!

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Hey folks!  It’s finally recipe-testing time!  I am in need of volunteer recipe testers for my book, Gluten-Free Wishlist, due out Fall 2015.  Recipe testers are the quality control officers for the process of writing a cookbook.  Their work makes sure that the book has recipes that can be easily used and that work well.  I am deeply grateful to the folks who have served (and will serve) as recipe testers for my books!

To apply to be a tester, please read this post and then go to the survey link at the end and complete the survey.  Thank you!!

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA (Not the best photo, but check out the patches of bourbon the cake is infused with)

First, I want to let you know that dAhub finally got a job! Hooray! His new company is wonderful and seems like a perfect fit. He really enjoys his work there and they seem like a dynamic and fun company. Phew. This is such a load off of our minds, I can’t even tell you. We are settling into our new routine (which is like our old routine except for the fact that I now have the house to myself during most of the day. This is very helpful when you’re writing a book!)

The other big thing that happened to us is that one of our chickens, Lulu, developed a life-threatening respiratory infection a couple of a weeks ago. We have been pretty lucky with our chickens–mostly they are fine and healthy and if they do get sick, I haven’t noticed. (Except for the chicken in our old flock who had avian malaria–that was weird). Anyway, one day I kept hearing a sound like a child’s squeaky toy in the back yard. I went out to see what was going on and I noticed that Lulu was sneezing. If you have never heard a chicken sneeze, you are missing out–it’s actually quite cute. The cute part got lost on me when I realized that I could hear her wheezing. It was so loud that it sounded like she was moaning. And she was just kind of standing in one part of the yard, sneezing and wheezing.

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My Big Fat Google Talk Adventure

by Jeanne on January 29, 2014

In November I had the honor of giving a talk on gluten-free baking and my book at Google headquarters (aka, the Googleplex) in Mountain View, CA.   Wowee!  Being asked to do a Google talk is something of a holy grail for an author.  I’ve watched many videos of the talks, but never dared to imagine that I would get a chance to do one!  I still can’t quite believe it happened, but it did–and the video above is proof!

I was told that my topic should center around my book.  I decided to do a talk that I called “The Road to Deliciousness” that chronicled how I became gluten-free, how I learned to bake again after my diagnosis, what gluten intolerance is and who has it, my philosophies around baking, my love of teaching baking, and the principles of community and tradition that I wanted to infuse into my book.  I even included slides!

I was met and taken care of by two awesome folks at Google, Jacky Hayward and Nick Miranda.  After my talk, Jacky and Nick took me to one of the cafes on the Google “campus” called Root that is gluten-free.  The chef at Root is herself gluten-free and she said that she was thrilled that the powers-that-be at Google allowed her to make the cafe gluten-free.  The food was excellent–I was quite pleased and impressed.  Each dish was flavorful, interesting, delicious, and exciting and there were so many options–I kind of wanted to go back again and again to get everything (I restrained myself).  For dessert there were individual gluten-free cakes topped with specialized chocolate bars.  Yum!

Thank you, Google!

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I’m Writing Another Cookbook!

January 6, 2014

Yes, yes I am! I can’t quite believe it! Yes, it is another gluten-free baking book.  The new book will be more general than my first cookbook, which is terrific. The working title is: Gluten-Free Wishlist: Sweet and Savory Treats You Miss the Most. How awesome is that? I am so excited about this book–it […]

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