When I think of the Williams-Sonoma brand, I picture a perfect kitchen where I make perfect meals. In general that is not my reality. But I wanted to try out the new Williams-Sonoma Weeknight Gluten Free cookbook to see if it could whip me into shape.
The book is authored by Kristine Kidd, editor of Bon Apetit magazine who also has celiac disease. She brings a wealth of experience both editorially and personally to this book.
It is my feeling that if you consider yourself a “foodie” (gluten-free or not) you’ll like this cookbook. The photos are phenomenal and the ingredients are natural with a variety of flavors. If you are a general collector of cookbooks, this gluten free cookbook is a great one to have on your bookshelf — because after all, gluten free should be represented by a cookbook that could double as a coffee table book.
I made two recipes: Roast Chicken and Vegetables with Fall Spices and Cornbread.
I realized a few things with the chicken recipe– It was easy (as long as I had the ingredients), and I should consider making things this way more often. The chicken was juicy, the fingerling potatoes were done to perfection and when it came out of the oven it literally looked exactly like the photo in the book (when does that EVER happen?).
However, this recipe was not for my family. Not quite anyway. I can honestly tell you my family ate the chicken and said it was okay, but they didn’t care for the spices (cumin, paprika, coriander and red pepper flakes). I also didn’t do the squash as recommended in the recipe, instead I did carrots because I know my family will eat those. While we are very “meat and potatoes” eaters (which is why I chose this recipe), those flavors weren’t for us.
I can say my takeaway is that I can make my own version of this very dish and I did learn something.
As for the cornbread, we LOVED it. It had more flavor than the basic cornbread I usually make from scratch and it was no more difficult to make. My husband wanted only a bite at first but after he tried it he asked me to cut him a piece. We went the basic route with the cornbread recipe. We didn’t add the sage or rosemary, nor did we add the optional additions of cheese or jalapeno chiles. I just baked it in an 8 inch round cake pan, not in the cast iron skillet that the recipe called for.
Throughout the book there are food preparation tips, information on cooking in season and how to prepare to cook gluten free in your kitchen. The one thing I wish the book had was more substitution information. I just assumed the cornbread would work okay in a regular baking pan because I don’t own a cast iron skillet (nor was I going to buy one just for this recipe). But a little note like “Don’t have a skillet? Any baking pan will do” would have been nice for we cooks who are more novice than others and like to follow the rules. Also, since we aren’t a spicy family, knowing options on how we could make the flavors more tame without ignoring the recipe altogether would have been a good learning experience for me.
So did the book whip me into cooking perfection as I had fantasized earlier? Nope. But, the recipes turned out the first time I tried them and they really only took about 30 minutes which, in my book, does go within my time range of cooking a meal on a weeknight.
If you want to bring out your inner gluten-free foodie, take a look at Williams-Sonoma’s Weeknight Gluten Free.