Anyone can be "the family chef". You just need good recipes and techniques! Chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes with you for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Get information here about her cookbook, The Warm Kitchen: Gluten-Free Recipes Anyone Can Make and Everyone Will Love.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Best Quinoa Pilaf

I attended a veggie pot-luck dinner with some friends recently. I look forward to meeting up with this group because they are so creative with the use of grains and veggies (ahh, people after my own heart!). Ironically, the family chef brought only wine because I am currently without a kitchen (more to come on that later).

I thought I would share my latest recipe with the girls since I had made up this quinoa dish last week. They said I better write it down before I forget an ingredient and I joked that I might do it on purpose!! Ok, I'll do my best but I can say that some times technique is everything. If you want to learn how to make this dish first hand, check out my website for a class schedule.

Someone who had this dish said it was one of the best dishes they ever had (ok, it was served over a yummy apricot chicken which helped). Even my husband who usually doesn't like sweet entrees, was surprised how much he enjoyed it. I hope you might give it a try.

Almond Quinoa Pilaf
Serves 3-4

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed
Olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 carrot, diced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup Sliced Almonds

1. Prepare quinoa: Place in a pan with 2 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer. Cook for 12-15 minutes.
2. While quinoa cooks, heat pan and add oil. Add onion and cook for a few minutes, then carrot and then pepper. Add a sprinkle of cumin and cinnamon and a few grinds of pepper. Cook until soft. Remove from pan and place in bowl.
3. Wipe pan if necessary. Add almonds and toast. Add to bowl.
4. When all of the water is absorbed in the quinoa, add to the veggies and almonds and stir together. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve warm or room temperature.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beef Saffron Risotto

I was asked recently for my "signature dish". That was a tough one. I have a few that I find I make over and over that would qualify. But when it came down to it, I thought about what it is I feel I represent; easy, nutritious and delicious meals that can feed the whole family.

Although I'm providing the recipe, it always helps to watch someone make it. I'm going to include it in my "Easy Weekday Meals" class. If you are interested in hosting or attending a class, please let me know.
I like this dish because I can get home at 5:00 and dinner is on the table by 5:45. It’s easy and covers my protein-starch-veg dinner goal. My mom made a variation of this for me when I was young so when I eat it, it brings back memories. I hope my children will say the same thing, and maybe yours will, too!
Beef Saffron Risotto
Serves 4

1-1 ½ lbs of natural, grass fed ground beef (like Niman Ranch)
1 Tbl Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (or ½ large)
¼ - ½ tsp pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
½ tsp salt
Few strands of saffron
1 cup of Arborio rice
4 cups of organic chicken broth, heated to just boiling
1 cup frozen peas, slightly thawed
  1. Heat large pot to med and add ground beef. Press into pan and allow to cook for a while before you turn/stir so you get some browning. Add pepper.
  2. After a few minutes, stir and cook until there is no more pink. Remove from pot and drain fat.
  3. In the same pot, add olive oil and heat to medium. Add chopped onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
  4. Add beef, salt, and saffron threads and stir. Add rice and cook for 1 minute.
  5. Begin to add hot chicken broth, 1/2 cup or more at a time. Stir every few minutes and add more broth when needed. Make sure rice is simmering but not boiling. Check after 20 minutes or when broth is used up. If you need more liquid, just add hot water.
  6. Add peas and stir. Cook for 3 minutes or until heated through.
  7. Garnish risotto with freshly grated cheese (please, nothing out of a can!). Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
Tip: You can substitute ground turkey or pork for the beef.