I was recently sent a new cookbook to review that I’m very excited about. Excited to tell you about and excited to cook each and every recipe in the 223 page book! You know how, sometimes, as you’re thumbing through a cookbook you’ll go, “I might make that… I’ll try that one… nah… nah… There’s one I might try…. nah…” With this cookbook, I thumbed through the entire book and each recipe was met with a, “I can’t wait to make that one!”
Not a single nah.
Cooking for Isaiah was written by Silvana Nardone, founding editor in Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine. Rachael Ray, herself, wrote the foreword. Silvana is also a columnist for Every Day with Rachael Ray with the “No-Recipe Zone” and “Sweet Spot” columns.
However, in this particular interest, I’m certain she carries a much simpler name – one worn closer to the heart. When you get down to it, this cookbook was written by “Isaiah’s Mom.”
Cooking for Isaiah is a labor of love. Silvana Nardone was challenged to create delicious meals for her beautiful young son, Isaiah, after he was diagnosed with food intolerances to gluten and dairy.
Description: “The cornbread was flavorful, moist and light with a deliciously tender crumb. My only hope with this recipe was that Isaiah would love it… And then Isaiah took a bite. The look on his face was pure heaven.”
Cooking for Isaiah is a love story of Silvana Nardone’s journey to develop great-tasting meals for her son, Isaiah, after he was diagnosed with food intolerances to gluten and dairy. The results of her efforts are found in the pages of this book, through 135 recipes that are not only easy to make, but taste and look delicious.
From “S’mores Pancakes with Marshmallow Sauce” to “Double-Decker Toasted Cornbread and Spicy Greens Stack,” and “Chicken and Waffles with Maple Bacon Gravy” to “Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting,” all of the recipes in Cooking for Isaiah are entirely free of gluten and dairy. Crafted with a variety of cooks in mind, an ingredient substitution chart shows you what to swap if, for example, you need to cook without gluten, but dairy is okay. You’ll also find Silvana’s tried-and-tested all-purpose flour and pancake mix recipes, sure to make gluten-free cooking and baking accessible to all. Written by Silvana Nardone, Editor in Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine, this charming, personal cookbook belongs on every cook’s shelf.
The cookbook is a labor of love. Silvana Nardone was challenged to develop delicious (so delicious even a child would love them, without feeling like he was being robbed of a normal childhood filled with the kinds of foods kids love) meals for her son, Isaiah, after he was diagnosed with food-intolerances to gluten and dairy.
Remarkably, symptoms that had been plaguing young Isaiah cleared up almost immediately after his mom removed gluten and dairy from his diet.
While this cookbook would seem like a gift straight from Heaven for people of all ages who avoid gluten and/or dairy, I want to make one thing perfectly clear: Cooking for Isaiah is an outstanding cookbook for anyone – even those of us who are bedfellows with gluten and dairy.
There are two groups of people who will want to RUSH over to Amazon and buy this cookbook the very minute they finish reading this cookbook review:
- Anyone who is gluten and/or dairy-intolerant – or loves someone who is. These highly-original and creative recipes and meal ideas will knock your socks off. The recipes will open up a whole new culinary world in which you’ll delight in exploring. It’ll make eating fun and exciting again.
- Everyone else! Even those of you who aren’t the least bit intolerant of gluten or dairy will fall instantly in love with this cookbook. There is a wonderful chart on the inside back cover (as well as on page 17) that gives you substitutions to use if you want to… well… gluten-ize and dairy-ize the recipes. Basically, it’s as simple as using your everyday flour, cow’s milk, pancake mix, and cornbread where the author has used her own gluten-free recipe for flour and pancake mix, or where she has substituted with Rice Milk (although I’m such a fanatic for Rice Milk, I wouldn’t dream of substituting for it… LOVE the stuff!).
The creativity the mom-author shows in these recipes boggles the mind while it leaves you drooling over the pictures (the ones in the book as well as the ones in your own mind).
About the Author, Silvana Nardone
Silvana Nardone is the founding Editor in Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, where she has been honored with the magazine industry’s top awards since its launch in 2005. She is the magazine’s “No-Recipe Zone” and “Sweet Spot” columnist. A writer, editor, cooking instructor, and food consultant, she is the coauthor of Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian, has been featured in many publications including the New York Times, and has appeared on NBC Weekend Today, WCBS News This Morning, WABC Eyewitness News This Morning, E! Entertainment True Hollywood Story, Fox News Fox & Friends, and the Food Network’s Roker on the Road. She was profiled by Big Apple Parent and About.com for her focus on gluten-free and dairy- free cooking. Silvana owned an Italian bakery, Fanciulla, when Rachael Ray hired her to launch her magazine. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband Stephen and two children, Isaiah and Chiara. Visit her blog at DishTowelDiaries.com.
The first recipe I made from this outstanding cookbook was the Toasted Ham-and-Tomato Cornbread Sandwiches with Jalapeno Mayonnaise. I simply used my favorite Buttermilk Cornbread Recipe instead of the “Double Corn Cornbread” called for. The Double Corn Cornbread recipe is found in the book on page 75 and sounds awesome. In fact, I plan to give it a try – but I simply had the ingredients on hand for Buttermilk Cornbread, so I went with it.
Besides, I adore buttermilk cornbread and I knew there’d be enough left over for breakfast the next morning. I love to split cornbread in half, butter it, and toast it lightly on the griddle, right beside eggs as they fry. Then I top off the cornbread with a layer of Pepper Jelly and place the fried egg right up on top. SO GOOD. Then again, the cornbread with pepper jelly is a special experience, with or without the egg.
Toasted Ham-and-Tomato Cornbread Sandwiches with Jalapeno Mayonnaise
1/2 cup mayonnaise
3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro or parsley leaves (I used cilantro)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 (4-inch) squares Double Corn Cornbread (page 75) or store-bought cornbread – split and toasted
shredded lettuce (about 2 cups) for topping
1 pound deli-sliced smoked ham
4 tomato slices, for topping
1. In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice, honey, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until smooth. (This jalapeno mayonnaise is so good you’ll want to eat it straight from the food processor bowl – trust me on this one. Your’s truly spread some on a Ritz cracker and had a fine time.)
2. Spread about 1 tablespoon of the jalapeno mayonnaise on each cornbread bottom; top each with shredded lettuce, ham, and a tomato slice. Spread the remaining jalapeno mayonnaise on each cornbread top and set in place. To serve, cut diagonally.
I actually cooked my cornbread in a large round pan, so my sandwiches were triangular. They were all kinds of cute and even more delicious than I can tell you – however, next time (and there will be many, many next times) I’ll go the square route because it’d be easier to maneuver the tomatoes and lettuce on a wider playing field.
The jalapeno mayonnaise would be incredible on…
- Homemade Vegetarian Subway Sandwiches
- Turkey Paninis
- Chicken Paninis,
- Egg sandwiches
- Ritz Crackers…
The Toasted Ham-and-Tomato Cornbread Sandwiches with Jalapeno Mayonnaise would be an excellent recipe for tailgating. You’d surely rack up points for creativity AND taste.
Recipes such as this one keep your family on their toes. The reason I love creative, original recipes is this: They show your family that you love them enough to make their meals extra-special. Who wants to come home to the same meal every night? Keep things interesting and unexpected!
Other Recipes in Cooking for Isaiah:
- Penne with Walnut Cream Sauce
- Tomato Live Black Bean Soup with Avocado Cream
- Chicken Potpie Soup
- Hash Brown Belgian Waffles with Apple Sausage and Fried Eggs (You should see the picture!)
- Chocolate-Dipped Chocolate Doughnuts
- Bacon-Apple Cornbread Stuffing
- Creamed Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes
- Grilled BBQ Onion-Smothered Double Bacon Burgers (I don’t think a teenager would even breath between bites.)
- Raspberry-Lemon Meringue Layer Cake
- Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
- Super Fudge Brownies
- Rocky Road Rice Crispy Treats
- Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pizza
- Chocolate Chip-Banana Split Belgian Waffles with Wet Walnuts and Hot Fudge Sauce
- Grilled Corn Cakes with Strawberry Syrup
- Isaiah’s Pumpkin Muffins with Crumble Topping
- Asparagus Risotto Casserole
- Creamy Corn Chowder
- Isaiah’s Whipped Hot Cocoaccino (I’m enjoying one right this minute!!! This is so delicious – it calls for rice milk, which I always have on hand. Amazing – you’d know how amazing if you could see me licking my lips like crazy.)
Do yourself a huge favor and order a copy of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy Delicious Meals right now. You will not find recipes like these anywhere else.
As for me, my oldest daughter will be home on her lunch break in a few minutes, and I plan on meeting her in the kitchen with a mug of Isaiah’s Whipped Hot Cocoaccino. She’s kind of under the weather and I KNOW this will set her world right again.