It is my pleasure to introduce to you all the very talented husband and wife team that put together the Gluten Free Canteen's Book of Nosh. Lisa and Tim Horel have been baking gluten free for 10 years and working hard to make all our favorite Jewish treats gluten free so that everyone can enjoy our traditions. Just in time for the High Holidays, this book will be your lifesaver if you are gluten free or have gluten free guests coming for a visit. From mandelbrot to rugelach to babka you won't miss a thing. Today we talk to Lisa, the master baker behind the book and give you a chance to win your very own copy.
What inspired you to start your blog and write this book?
The truth? I ran out of Post-It Notes. I started the blog as a convenient way to record and organize my recipes and save a tree or two. I archived recipes until one day I hit the publish button and there was no looking back.
I’ve spent years working from childhood memories to recreate our family recipes. Then over a decade ago we became a gluten-free home because of celiac. My motto was no recipe left behind. Even the family recipes were going to get recreated gluten-free. And that became the blog and now the book.
Are there any classic Jewish baked goods you have not been able to adapt to gluten free?
I am sure there are many Jewish baked goods I’ve yet to adapt to gluten-free. Undoubtedly, some are easier than others. The challah, for example, is a work in progress. There are five versions in the book and we are working on more. If anyone has a request, we are more than willing to take on the challenge.
How has gluten free baking changed in the 10 years you have been cooking that way?
A decade or so ago there was but one gluten-free flour on the store shelf in our community and it tasted like sand. That more people are also trying their hand at gluten-free cooking and baking has only increased the selection and quality of products. Today, not only have we seen a huge growth in the marketplace for baking supplies that are gluten-free but we now have shelves dedicated to gluten-free foods and baked goods in our local groceries. There are gluten-free bakeries all over the world that are thriving. That there are superfine gluten free flours from places like Authentic Foods in Los Angeles which are almost indistinguishable from regular AP flours is nothing short of a miracle – no more taste or texture challenged baking is the biggest hurdle for gluten-free over that time.
How and when did you learn to cook?
Here’s a surprise. I don’t really cook, though I know how to cook. Sort of. Growing up, my family ate the same thing every week and none of it was particularly good. My mother could bake like no one else, but she had little to offer when it came to cooking. But my mother-in-law taught me all about the world of food and luckily she taught her son too. He’s good at it and cleans up, it’s a great trade.
What is your most memorable cooking experience?
When we were starving students with two very small children we had few resources to splurge on buying fancy baking ingredients. But I scrimped and saved all week in order to bake something special every weekend. During that time I made my first choux pastry and it was surprisingly successful. We ate an entire plate of custard filled, chocolate topped cream puffs in one evening (recipe in the Canteen blog). Since then I’ve made plenty of choux pastries but none has ever tasted as good or meant as much as that first batch.
Why should someone who is not on a gluten free diet buy your book?
Chances are when someone hosts a holiday dinner or get-together there will be someone in the group who will be eating gluten-free. Celiac and gluten intolerance awareness is growing world-wide and is only going to become more prevalent.
Because we developed these recipes using superfine flours from Authentic Foods, they are virtually indistinguishable from their gluten counterparts. That means no more double duty baking which pretty much eliminates the risks of cross-contamination. Not to mention the flour mix we use throughout the book leads with whole grain superfine brown rice flour – it’s good for you. And surprisingly it imparts a neutral taste in baked goods. It’s good to know that even though you may be eating one too many rugelach you are consuming whole grains and fiber without feeling like you’re eating tree bark.