Recently in Vegetables Category
Steve and I recently returned from a biking trip in the Dordogne region of France. We pedaled through the beautiful countryside which was adorned with newly opened red poppies and
I’ve been having fun reading and cooking from a few new cookbooks this fall. Although they aren’t specifically gluten-free, every one has plenty of recipes for the gluten-free cook, and every one would make a great gift for yourself, a gluten-free friend, or any friend who loves to cook. And that is the point. The recipes in these books, like on this blog, produce fresh, naturally gluten-free food. No one should say “Oh that’s good for a gluten-free dish,” instead the criterion is that this is delicious food! For anyone!
With the exception of one of these books, they are written by food pros I know, mostly from my years as food editor at Bon Appetit magazine, so I was already familiar with the high quality of the recipes they create. Oh yes, one is my new book, Gluten-Free Baking
, which will be available any day now.
I took a long sabbatical from this blog to write a baking book, and it will be available by December 23. It can preordered now on Amazon.com
and Barns & Noble.com
, and should be in book stores by then too (just barely in time for the holidays). Hopefully it will show up a little earlier in Williams-Sonoma stores.
I am not fond of most of the baked goods in stores or the recipes for goodies I find in books and magazines. They are all packed with nutritionally empty white starches that give an off flavor and dry texture. I preferred to go without, for a while. Eventually I started craving artisanal style gluten-free breads and homemade cookies. So I decided to create my own recipes using whole grain gluten-free flours and naturally gluten-free techniques. I am thrilled with the flavors and textures of the recipes I created, and hope you will be too.
Despite a life filled with exercise, I have osteoporosis, or at least did until my latest bone scan. Now, my bones are growing healthier every day, thanks to diet, an exercise regime designed to strengthen bones, and carefully chosen supplements.
Stuffing was never my favorite dish at Thanksgiving, but it just might be this year. I created the recipe here yesterday, for this blog and for our second gluten-free Thanksgiving, and Steve and I can’t stop eating it. We enjoyed it for lunch and dinner Saturday, and then again for breakfast this morning.
The stuffing starts with my herbed cornbread
, and is loaded with smoky chicken Andouille sausage, bright red bell peppers, and spiced pecans. It has lots of celery too, and for me, that unassuming ingredient is always key to a great stuffing because its fresh flavor and crunchiness balance the richness of the bread and sausage.
Brightly colored and tangy, this relish will offer a refreshing counterpoint to the turkey and gravy at our Thanksgiving dinner. I always serve a sweet cooked cranberry sauce, and I will also be making my Cranberry Sauce with Grapefruit, Honey, and Ginger. However, with this new recipe I am thinking ahead to the turkey leftovers.
Before I adopted a gluten-free diet, I happily devoured turkey sandwiches for several days after the feast. This year, I intend to replace the sandwiches with tacos, and I figure this relish will stand in for salsa. My plan is to fill lightly toasted corn tortillas with avocado, leftover turkey either warmed in gravy or sautéed in olive oil, spoonfuls of this slightly spicy condiment, and a heap of sliced romaine hearts.
When I am not creating a specific recipe for a book, magazine article, or blog post at lunchtime, I want to eat something that takes only a few minutes to prepare and is as satisfying as a sandwich. Corn tortillas have become a favorite replacement for bread, especially as the base for quick tacos.
I discovered there are as many fillings for tacos as for sandwiches on a scouting trip to Oaxaca, Mexico for Bon Appetit magazine about 11 years ago. That was my first introduction to authentic Mexican food, and my cooking was changed forever as I fell in love with the zesty complex flavors of the moles, soups, fresh and dried chiles, and endless dishes made with corn tortillas. Little did I know then that corn tortillas would become a staple in my home when I segued to a gluten-free diet.
My new book, Weeknight Gluten Free, is filled with recipes for luscious, naturally gluten-free sauces. One of my favorites is a vibrant pistachio and basil salsa verde. Salsa verde is an uncooked, fragrant mixture of olive oil and fresh herbs that takes only a few minutes to prepare. There are Italian, French, Spanish, Argentinian, and German versions. I use a full flavored extra-virgin olive oil, a little minced shallot, and lots of aromatic herbs as the base for many variations.
For the recipe in the book, I add a big handful of toasted pistachios and spoon the sauce over creamy buratta
cheese and asparagus stalks. The idea for this dish came from my birthday dinner last year at Farmshop
, a rustic yet sophisticated restaurant in Santa Monica that serves perfectly cooked, creative, farmers’ market inspired food.
The sauce is way too yummy to use only in this specific pairing. Like all the sauces in the book, this one can be served on lots of different items. We have enjoyed it over grilled Alaskan salmon, roasted arctic char, and sautéed
chicken breasts. Carie
at Wheatfree Mom
tweeted that she served it over ricotta cheese, and I am eager to try this as an appetizer with crackers.
I’m very excited about the new Thanksgiving dinner I created for Living Without magazine’s Gluten-Free Holiday Guide
. Check out the menu on the photo here. I‘ve
been eager to treat our family and friends to the new feast ever since I turned in the recipes to the publisher, and now it’s almost time.
You too can serve this menu, or any one of the seasonal recipes in the story. The magazine is available at newsstands, or order by clicking on this link
. Of course, all the food is naturally gluten free, and I guarantee no one will notice that anything is missing.
In the meantime, here’s a recipe for Quinoa, Dried Cranberry and Spice Dressing from the story. This festive dish can replace the customary bread stuffing at Thanksgiving or serve as an addition to many meals. It’s valuable to have in your repertoire because everyone—gluten-free or not—will love it, its got wonderful flavor from the spices and fruit, is easy to transport, and can be made a day ahead.
For our Thanksgiving dinner, I’ll be cooking my favorite dishes. Many of the recipes are already on this blog
, but I just made a few changes to the menu, and I want to share two side dishes with you.
My friend Karen joined me for her first visit to the 4-month-old farmers’ market in Topanga Canyon on Friday. I introduced her to the growers, and encouraged her to select produce for the week by loading up my shopping cart with multihued bell peppers, shiny red lipstick peppers, broccoli rabe, shelled tender lima beans, tiny fingerling potatoes, huge Macarthur avocados, lemons and limes, dark purple cherry tomatoes, a salad mix loaded with baby herbs, and end of the summer peaches.
As we walked to our cars, Karen commented that I had bought a lot of vegetables for just two people. I did, and always do. I am so tempted by the just picked produce, I add more and more to my cart, as ideas for how to prepare my finds dance in my head, and our meals are more interesting, and healthier to boot.
Heirloom beets are showing up in spectacular colors at the farmers’ markets- golden, red, deep purple, and candy cane stripe. Beets with firm, glossy leaves offer a bonus: delicious cooking greens.
Roasting the beet roots intensifies their earthy flavors. Cut off the tops and save them in a plastic bag to cook later. Cut the root tips off too. Then wrap the beets tightly in foil and bake in a hot oven (400°F, or at whatever temperature you are cooking something else) until tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. After the beets cool slightly, the skin will pull off easily. The cooked beets can be stored in the fridge for later use.
Radicchio is at its finest in the cooler months. A member of the chicory family, radicchio is loved for its bright magenta color, crisp texture, and spicy-bitter flavor. I can’t resist buying a head when beauties like this are displayed at Maggie’s Farm and other stands at farmers’ markets throughout Los Angeles. I like to choose a firm one with intense color, and no signs of darkening.
The radicchio has been so good this winter I have been serving it frequently. Most often used as a colorful addition to salads, it mellows slightly when cooked, and develops a pleasing tender but chewy texture. When I only have a few minutes to make dinner, I cut a head into 1½-inch thick wedges, brush them with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast on a baking sheet in a 450°F until tender, turning over after 10 minutes, for about 20 minutes total. This is a great accompaniment to fish, poultry or meat. On a recent cold night I added sliced radicchio to a white bean soup flavored with pancetta and sage, and let it simmer until it wilted- a satisfying meal that warmed up the evening.
I’ve been obsessed with these Mexican flatbreads since learning to make them. Corn tortillas are cooked on a griddle until the bottoms are crisp and the cheese melts, flavored with a fragrant pesto, and topped with vibrant vegetables. They are fun to assemble, take only minutes to cook, and are addictive. I first served them, cut into wedges, as an appetizer at a birthday party for one of my gal pals. Since then, Steve and I have enjoyed this friendly finger food for lunch on a hot weekend afternoon, and I’ve whipped them up for quick snacks.
We’ll start off with Butternut Squash Hummus
with blue corn tortilla chips and carrot and celery sticks as dippers. I’ll make the dip and cut up the vegetables a day or two before the party. Submerged in cold water, the vegetables will stay fresh and crisp.
Here’s a simple and easy-to-put-together dish that gets its great taste from fresh vegetables and basil, snappy extra-virgin olive oil, and truly delectable pasta. Barilla
is one of my favorite gluten-free pastas, but I recently discovered Power Pasta
at a gluten-free festival in Austin, and I developed this recipe to show it off.
I created this lusty dish last week when my stepson, Ethan Peck
, squeezed in a dinner with us before heading to Milan. He stars in a 2 minute video
for the luxury fashion company Ferragamo
, and he was invited to make an appearance at Italian fashion week. Having little warning about his visit with us, I looked in my fridge and cupboards for inspiration, and this recipe was born.
This delightfully creamy but not too rich potato recipe has been a favorite since I first made it early this summer. Dutch Yellow Potatoes are steamed with peas, and then tossed with a yogurt, olive oil, and basil sauce. Chunks of briny feta cheese and toasted pine nuts top it off. Served warm, this is satisfying as a meatless main course; it’s also a great side dish at meals featuring grilled salmon, burgers, or chicken, and ideal for Labor Day gatherings.
Have you ever tasted roasted vegetables dipped in homemade mayonnaise, crafted with an exquisite extra-virgin olive oil? If not, get shopping and cooking right now for a delectable experience. Please don’t conjure jarred mayo when you imagine this recipe, the homemade version is an opulent sauce, and the better the oil the tastier the results. I’ve been experimenting with several outstanding California extra-virgin oils lately, and in the process this became my favorite way to enjoy them.
Tender, fresh lima beans are available right now at the McGrath Family Farms stand at several farmers’ markets. Because the beans are already removed from their pods, it takes only a few minutes to get them ready to use, and I am having fun fooling around with them. I have braised them with peppers, zucchini, and green beans; tossed them with spaghetti and fresh pesto; created a fresh succotash; and fashioned a hearty soup with the limas, fingerling potatoes, winter squash, and greens.
I discovered that the fresh limas develop a rich, earthy flavor and silky texture when simmered with sautéed shallot or onion and a few herbs until tender, and then left to cool in the salted liquid for at least 20 minutes. The first time I prepared the fresh limas, the process felt a little awkward, because I am accustomed to simply boiling frozen limas in water for about 15 minutes. Now I cook the limas when I get them home from the market, and store them in the refrigerator to use over the next few days.
There is a big storm due in Los Angeles tonight, and I have the perfect recipe to keep you warm; it worked for us during the last downpour. This soup is so thick and comforting, you could call it a stew or even pasta fagioli.
During the summer, when I get home from my weekly visit to the farmers’ market, it always seems like I have purchased too many heirloom tomatoes. But every week we devour them all.
A few of my favorite preparations:
- a quick salad of large tomato wedges, sprinkled with salt and pepper, drizzled with balsamic vinegar, and finished with a shower of fresh marjoram or basil
- to accompany grilled fish or chicken, sweet cherry tomatoes halved and sautéed with red onion and thyme
- for an intense cold soup, the ripest specimens pureed with extra-virgin olive oil, shallots, and breadcrumbs
I’ve been having lots of fun cooking from my friend Amelia Saltsman’s
new cookbook, The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen
. This is a warm, personal book, filled with Amelia’s spins on Jewish recipes, often influenced by the intense flavors of Middle Eastern fare. It is organized by the seasons, features fresh produce, and offers fascinating history and family stories. You might remember Amelia from her wonderful The Santa Monica Farmer’s Market Cookbook
After cooking a feast for Thanksgiving, I couldn’t believe I needed to shop for food on Monday, but we were running out of a few staples. As I went through the store, gathering soy milk, yogurt, and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Mighty Hot Cereal
, I found myself drawn to the produce section, and I added a couple of bright red bell peppers, a sweet butternut squash, and some curly black kale to my cart before heading home.
I was craving vegetables, and relief from the rich holiday fare. As soon as I unloaded the groceries, I poured a little olive oil into a large pot and set it over medium heat, cut a big onion and one of the bell peppers into ½-inch cubes (faster than finely chopping), and got a cauldron of fragrant soup started.