10 Sep 2012
Silvana Nardone’s got quite a prolific background in food and this served her well when her son Isaiah was diagnosed with gluten and dairy intolerance. You might remember Silvana as our guest judge from last year’s Attune Foods Cooking Challenges Recipe Contest. We are excited to bring her cookbook “Cooking for Isaiah” with its tempting treats and savory recipes to you in this week’s giveaway.
Loosely excerpted from Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals.
My son Isaiah was 10 years old when his homeopathic doctor diagnosed him with intolerance to gluten and dairy. We were thankful that we finally had our answers as to why Isaiah was chronically tired, sick all the time and covered with warts on his hands and knees.
Isaiah was intolerant to gluten and dairy. Now we know. But, what next?
The doctor turned to Isaiah and said, “You’re lucky your mom is who she is.”
Isaiah turned to me and asked, “What am I going to eat?” Everything stopped. “What do you want to eat?” I asked. “Cornbread.”
Later that day, when we got home, I headed straight to the kitchen and started reading every label in the pantry, fridge and freezer. I cleaned out everything—breads, cheeses, cookies, ice cream, snack bars, cereals, condiments and candy. I didn’t want Isaiah to see anything he couldn’t eat. And there it was, all in one big pile: breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner as Isaiah had understood it for practically his whole life.
I knew that I had to make Isaiah that cornbread, and it had to look and taste like cornbread. First, I had to find a substitute for gluten-full flour. I quickly realized that baking without gluten wasn’t as simple as swapping flours. What could help the gluten-free flour behave the way I needed it to? I tasted, smelled and experimented with gluten-free flour after gluten-free flour, jotting down notes about likes and dislikes, successes and failures.
I started to play around with cornmeal-to-flour proportions, quantity of wet to dry ingredients, and on and on, in the hopes of getting the right texture, browning and flavor. The first cornbread I sliced crumbled into what seemed like a million little pieces and had an unappealing beanlike flavor, which came, predictably, from the chickpea-based gluten-free flour blend I had used for the recipe. The second one I made held together nicely, but it was chalky and tasteless. The third was a wonder: The cornbread was flavorful, moist and light, with a deliciously tender crumb. My only hope with this recipe was that Isaiah would love it. Yes, that’s true for everything I make, but none more than this. And then Isaiah took a bite. The look on his face was pure heaven.
Then I was ready to rebuild our favorite recipes. Gradually I developed new ones that would deliver on taste and texture. It took some time, but eventually it all came together. I figured out how to make food that everyone can sit down and enjoy together. It’s nice, after all, to live in a home where the fridge is always full. Isaiah is home again. Right where he belongs.
I hope you’ll join us in the kitchen—and at our family table—one recipe at a time.
Triple Corn Cornbread with Blueberry Honey Butter
Recipe by Silvana Nardone, author of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals and SilvanasKitchen.com.
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 25 min
For the cornbread:
1 cup milk or nondairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
¾ cup cornmeal, preferably medium grind
1 cup Silvana’s Kitchen Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour or your favorite flour
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup corn kernels (about 2 ears corn), plus more for topping
¼ cup coarsely-crushed corn flakes, plus more for topping
For the butter:
1 stick unsalted butter or nondairy buttery sticks, slightly softened
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
½ cup fresh blueberries
1. Make the cornbread: Preheat the oven to 350° and place a 9-inch cast iron skillet inside to heat while you make the batter. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the milk mixture, eggs and oil until just blended; fold in the corn kernels and corn flakes.
2. Grease the bottom and sides of the hot skillet, then pour the batter into the prepared pan; bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting.
3. Meanwhile, make the butter: In the bowl of a food processor, add the butter, honey, cinnamon, orange zest and a pinch of salt; pulse to combine. Add the blueberries until mashed and mostly combined. Scoop into a small bowl, cover, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
About Silvana Nardone
Silvana Nardone is a food lifestyle expert, magazine editor and motivational speaker. She is the editor-in-chief of the all-digital, gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. Silvana is also the author of Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals and publisher of Silvana’s Kitchen, a blog that takes the guesswork out of how to feed a family with food allergies. Previously, she was the founding editor-in-chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray, where she was honored with the magazine industry’s top awards.
Silvana started her publishing career at age 17 as an intern for American Express Custom Publishing. A writer, editor, cooking instructor and food consultant, she coauthored Saveur Cooks Authentic Italian. She was an editor at Food & Wine magazine before opening her successful Italian bakery, Fanciulla. She has appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” NBC’s “Weekend Today” and the Food Network’s “Roker on the Road,” among many other TV appearances. Her numerous features include articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Oprah.com, FoodNetwork.com and Saveur.com.
All photos by Stephen Scott Gross unless otherwise noted.
Giveaway details: The giveaway for “Cooking for Isaiah” cookbook will be open from Monday, September 10 at 8 a.m. EST to Sunday, September 16 at midnight EST. We will select the winner randomly and announce it during our weekly #attune twitter chat on Wednesday at 9a PST / noon EST.