Good to the Grain by Kim Boyce, photographs by Quentin Bacon:
I discovered this cookbook at a very inopportune time: right before I decided to go low-carb. So, I've made and tried a few things here and there, but since low-carb means very little grains, I'm afraid I haven't been making any of the scrumptious goodies from the cookbook. However, for anyone who loves baked goods (and really, who doesn't?) this is a great cookbook that might introduce you to some grains that you've never cooked with before.
The chapters are divided into types of grains, with recipes following: whole wheat, oat, quinoa, teff & amaranth, to name a few. In each chapter intro, the author describes the grain, how it smells, how it looks, how it works with other grains or with specific fruits, etc. These insights are great to read because you really get a feel for what you're working with. It's nice to know why you are putting certain ingredients and grains in the recipe and have a better understanding of why it all works.
We've tried the oatmeal pancakes, which are a great way to use up leftover oatmeal, something we always seem to have. My 7-year-old and I really love this recipe, but the others in our household weren't so excited about it. Probably because they are heavier pancakes than the light & fluffy ones I usually make. But, if you are looking for a healthier pancake alternative, this is a great recipe. We also tried the granola bars, which is a good recipe, but unfortunately, I overcooked them a bit. I would definitely give this one a second chance. I made strawberry jam this Spring, using Boyce's recipe, combined with another. I wish I had just used the recipe from the book, because she uses much less sugar than the other recipe I was using. Next strawberry season, I am definitely making the strawberry jam. Also, I made the quinoa porridge & it is very tasty, but I must admit I prefer my quinoa in savory recipes.
There are some recipes in the book for quinoa flour (and some of the other lesser known flours), which my grocery store doesn't sell. Some of the flours are at my local store, and some I would probably need to go to a specialty store or order online. And almost every recipe uses the specialty flour in combination with white flour, something to keep in mind - if you're trying to eliminate white flour from your diet, this probably isn't the cookbook for you.
Alas, now that I'm trying to stick to a low-carb diet, I'm not making any of the recipes. But, if I want to splurge, I will definitely try the chocolate chip cookies, made with whole wheat flour. This recipe got rave reviews on amazon and these cookies sound heavenly. I read about the crumble bars on this blog and had to get the cookbook to get that recipe. But I never did make them, so they are on the list, for a "splurge" day. The olive oil cake and the quinoa and beet pancakes are on the list too - don't those two recipes sound so intriguing? Oh, and next time we have a bonfire with s'mores, I'm making the graham crackers - these are all natural, while the store bought kind have some yucky ingredients in them, like partially hydrated oil, i.e., trans fats (see a great article here about how food companies sneak this in & still say their product has no trans fats).
A note about the photography: it's awesome! Seriously, it's my favorite part of the book! Quentin Bacon (great name for a food photographer, yes?) knows his stuff. Every photograph is done in natural light, and they all remind me of waking up and coming into the kitchen to find that my Mom made me some yummy breakfast treat. They have that feel to me. Not every recipe is shown, but I love each and every photograph.
Good to the Grain is very good, indeed!