Holiday Cooking: Recipes For The Rest of Us

Book cover for The Gluten-Free Almond Flour CookbookIt’s that time of the year when friends and family host a delicious smorgasbord of potlucks and holiday gatherings, and opportunities for sharing your culinary creations are everywhere. But do you have a nephew who’s vegan? A coworker with celiac disease? A friend on the Paleo diet? Different dietary restrictions can be challenging to accommodate, but it’s also a great opportunity to use your creativity and figure out how to prepare a dish that eliminates certain ingredients. Here are a few cookbooks to help with cooking meals that fit within a few different diets.

For vegans, try the “Veganomicon.” This book is written by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, the team that forms the Post Punk Kitchen. Some omnivores cringe when they hear the term “vegan,” but this book could seriously change your mind. None of these recipes call for fake meat or fake cheese, so the food really shows off what you can do with pure vegetables (not to mention being more cost-effective). All of their recipes that I’ve tried have been delicious, even for a meat-eater like myself! My favorites: the acorn squash, pear and adzuki soup; corn and edamame sesame salad; and creamy kalamata spread. These two have also penned several vegan dessert cookbooks, including “Vegan Pie in the Sky” and “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.”

Though everyone seems to have some sort of strong opinion one way or another about gluten, gluten-free diets are becoming increasing popular. The “Gluten-free Almond Flour Cookbook” presents different gluten-free recipes for desserts and baked goods, as well as some entrees, breakfasts and savory dishes. One nice thing about this cookbook is that it tells you the level of sweetness of the sugary items, so you can adjust accordingly. In “Nosh on This,” authors Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel  provide gluten-free interpretations of the Jewish-American pastries and savory dishes they grew up on. The cherry chocolate mandelbrot and the savory hand pies definitely caught my eye!

Book cover for Gather: The Art of Paleo EntertainingThere is a lot of overlap in cookbooks that adhere to both gluten-free and Paleo diets, but the library also has many book specifically dedicated to Paleo dishes. “Gather: The Art of Paleo Entertaining” is a great resource if you you’re hosting guests on the Paleo diet. This book has everything from fake take-out dinners to salads to Paleo chocolate martinis. (Take that, cavemen!) The recipes are organized by season and theme, which makes it easy to pick out dishes for specific holiday parties. Recipes that stood out to me: crostini with goat cheese and fig compote; wild mushroom soup; and apple veal stuffing.

For those with some serious food allergies try “The Complete Allergy-free Comfort Food Cookbook.” Every single recipe in this book is free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts and eggs. There are plenty of small plates (including pot stickers and dolmades), entrees (shepherd’s pie, chicken curry) and side dishes (cornbread stuffing, rosemary smashed potatoes), among other items. This book even offers a recipe for allergy-free Twinkies! Author Elizabeth Gordon also has a book dedicated to allergy-free desserts, appropriately titled “Allergy-free Desserts.”

Finally, “Food52” is great for those who follow a local and seasonal food diet. Winter can be a challenging time start cooking seasonally, but with the help of a winter farmers’ market and a good cookbook you can tackle this one! DBRL actually has a plenty of resources on this subject. “Food52″ is based on a website of the same title, where readers are encouraged to share their seasonal creations, many of which are included in this book. Beautiful photos illustrate these simple, farm-fresh recipes and completely entice the reader. A few that make my mouth water: sweet potato and pancetta gratin; burnt caramel pudding; and fig and blue cheese savories.

Happy holidays, and happy cooking!

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