IN THE KITCHEN: Books help folks deal with gluten woes

By Faith Bahadurian, Special Writer
   It’s hard to know what do to when a publicist sends you a book titled “Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free” (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2013).
   Is it serious enough to be helpful? And can I use that word in the pages of the Packet? As it turns out, yes and yes. In spite of the provocative title (and the photo of burned toast on the cover), author April Peveteaux’s new release is a straight-talking guide to learning to live with celiac (and related wheat/gluten issues) from a busy wife and mother who never expected her life to be hijacked by this disease.
   Ms. Peveteaux, a mommy blogger, editor, and sometimes performer, strives to find the humor in the inconvenient and uncomfortable (on many levels) situations she constantly encounters. She’s been described as the “Chelsea Handler of the gluten-free set,” having made a comedic career out of personal misfortune. While her language, like Ms. Handler’s, can be . . . spicy? saucy? . . . her heartfelt commiseration and tips will hit the mark for frustrated celiacs everywhere who struggle with mastering the challenge of eating gluten-free.
   Beyond the digestive issues, she rants about fatigue, rashes, weight loss, brain fog, creaky joints and more, and her hilarious (but strategic) “etiquette” tips on how to dine out in restaurants and in others’ homes repay the price of admission in laughs. On the practical side, she discusses the pluses (yay Mexican food) and pitfalls (soy sauce!) of various ethnic cuisines, and also covers topics such as celiac children, travel, medications, and vegan, paleo, and cross-fit diets.
   The book also offers more than 40 gluten-free recipes, including those below, which, for the most part, wisely focus on baked goods and menu staples that those eating gluten-free may not want to give up. After all, how much deprivation can a gluten-free woman take before becoming a total b****?
Prize Coffee Cake
with Streusel Filling
9 servings
Note: Xanthan gum is used to help mimic the stretching and structure that gluten creates in baked goods.
   ½ cup brown sugar
   2 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour
   2 teaspoons cinnamon
   2 tablespoons butter, melted
   ½ cup pecans, chopped
   ¾ cup sugar
   ¼ cup vegetable shortening
   1 egg
   ½ cup milk
   1 ½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
   ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
   2 teaspoons baking powder
   ½ teaspoon salt
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
   For streusel, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, melted butter, and pecans in a medium bowl. Set aside.
   For the cake: Beat sugar, shortening, and egg together. Add milk and beat well.
   Sift flour, xanthan gum, baking powder and salt together. Gradually add this flour mixture to the milk mixture and beat well to combine.
   Pour half the batter into a greased 9-inch square or round pan. Sprinkle half the streusel mixture over the batter. Add remaining batter, then top with remaining streusel mixture.
   Bake for 35 minutes and serve warm.
    Mexican Corn Bread
8 servings
Note: I always wonder why corn bread recipes don’t have more corn and less flour. Well, here you go, all corn, all the way! While you’re at it, give her Beef Brisket Frito Chili Pie a try, too. F.B.
    1 ½ cups gluten-free cornmeal
   3 teaspoons baking powder
   1 teaspoon salt
   2 eggs, beaten
   2/3 cup vegetable oil
   1 cup buttermilk
   3 jalapeños, seeded and chopped
   2 cups creamed corn
   1 cup grated sharp cheddar
   Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the cheddar. Do not over mix the batter.
   Pour half the batter into a greased 9-inch square baking pan. Cover with half the cheddar, then pour in remaining batter and top with the remaining cheese. Bake for 45 minutes.
German Cream Cheese Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
    4 ounces German Sweet Chocolate (or semisweet plus 2 tablespoons sugar)
   5 tablespoons butter, divided
   3 ounces cream cheese, softened
   1 cup sugar
   3 eggs
   ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose gluten-free flour
   1 ½ teaspoons vanilla, divided
   ½ teaspoon baking powder
   ¼ teaspoon salt
   ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
   ¼ teaspoon almond extract
   ½ cup pecans, chopped
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan.
   In a medium saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and 3 tablespoons of the butter. Allow to cool.
   Beat remaining butter and cream cheese together, gradually adding ¼ cup of the sugar and beating until light and fluffy. Add one egg, 1 tablespoon of the flour, and ½ teaspoon of the vanilla to the cream cheese mixture and mix well to combine.
   In a medium bowl, beat the remaining eggs until light and fluffy. Add the remaining sugar, remaining flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum to eggs. Mix in the cooled chocolate mixture, then add the almond extract and the remaining vanilla. Set 1 cup of the batter aside.
   Pour the remaining batter into the prepared pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the batter. Drop the reserved 1 cup of batter on top, in tablespoons, and swirl it together with the cream cheese layer. Top evenly with pecans and bake for 40 minutes.
April Peveteaux blogs at
Faith Bahadurian blogs at (also