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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Beef Paprikia with Noodles (Gluten and Dairy Free!)

My friend Stuart has been after me to provide some more blog entries. Although he’s a vegetarian, I hope he doesn’t mind this one on beef. I think it’s worthy, and the recipe I provide later could also be made with a veggie ground round.
I have recently become a “conscientious carnivore” by purchasing locally raised beef from Markegard Family Grass-Fed Cattle. Over the last few years, I have become more and more concerned about where our beef comes from and how it’s treated. When I heard about this program, practically in my own backyard, I jumped at the opportunity. Now that I’ve had a chance to make risotto, pot roast, and grilled London broil, I am extremely pleased with both the flavor and leanness (which normally doesn’t go hand in hand when it comes to beef).
On this particular day, I had defrosted some ground beef with the intention of doing “something” with it. When I was putting the spices away the other day, I realized I had quite a bit of paprika. I had some distant memory of a beef paprika dish so I did my research; I checked my favorite recipe website, read through a few entries, picked out the ingredients and method I liked best, and decided tonight would be Beef Paprika night.
Now, remember, another “method” I use when I cook, is to try to use what’s on hand. Besides the beef, I had red peppers that I had gotten from the farmer’s market but I didn’t have mushrooms (which is sometimes called for in the recipe). I didn’t have sour cream but decided I really should make it dairy-free anyway, so I pulled out a plain soy milk. I happened to have some gluten-free fusilli and the dish sort of came together in my head. And all of this happened at 5:30; we were eating by 6:15.
When you’re cooking, it’s best to think of the whole dish. What will take the longest? What ingredients do I have? Does anything need to defrost? What can I cook at the same time and what do I need to serve right away? Since I wanted to cook pasta, the very first thing I did was boiling the water. I always put a lid on the pot to help bring the water to temperature quickest. Then the sauté pan starts up while I slice the onions. Are you getting the idea here? Working in parallel really saves you time.
So what did the little ones think of this dish? They ate it up (at least half of them). Ok, I admit that I did sort of hide the red peppers from my son; he’s not crazy about them when he sees them but by the fact that he doesn’t gag, he can’t dislike them that much. And the little girl who I made this special gluten-free, dairy-free dish decided she was going to eat carrots, cucumbers and yogurt for dinner. Sigh…But she’s such a good eater, I don’t stress about one meal with her. And I’m fairly sure she’ll eat her special pasta tomorrow when she’s hungrier. Oh, and the beef was delicious! I have been so happy at how lean it is when it cooks (there’s virtually no fat to drain), it browns wonderfully and has such a great flavor.
So, I hope you will try this one when you can’t figure out what to have for dinner. You could use different cuts of beef, ground turkey or even chicken strips. I think your kids will like it because it’s not only tasty but the sauce makes it easy to go down.
Beef Paprika with Noodles
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 1/2 Tbl paprika
1 tsp salt
1 lb grass-fed ground beef
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef broth
1 cup plain soy milk
1 Tbl cornstarch
1 Tbl tomato paste
1/2 cup of frozen peas
8 oz gluten-free pasta like Bionaturae Fusilli Pasta which is made with rice, potato, and soy
1. Begin by getting the water boiling. If the water boils before you are ready to cook the pasta, keep the lid on it and lower the temperature.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan. Add onions, peppers, and spices; cook until onion is soft and you can really smell the spices (but the spices should not smell burnt). Add the salt and take off of the heat. Place veggies in a bowl while you cook the meat.
3. Place pan back on stove and heat to medium. Add beef in small pieces. Try not to move the meat very much so that it will brown nicely. Once it’s browned, turn over and cook on the other side. When no more pink remains, add wine and allow to reduce slightly.
4. Add broth and soy milk to beef. In a small bowl or cup, add enough water to cornstarch to make a slurry. Add this to the beef to thicken it. Allow to cook a few minutes then add tomato paste. Once beef is slightly thickened, add peas and turn off heat.
5. While the beef is cooking, boil the pasta, making sure to salt the water right before the pasta goes in. Cook 8-10 minutes or until al dente. Don’t rely on package directions. Always taste pasta to determine doneness and err on the side of caution.
6. Drain pasta and add back to the pot. Add beef mixture to this and stir. Adjust seasoning (may need more salt) and serve. Unfortunately, gluten-free pasta doesn’t hold it’s shape as long as regular pasta does so try to eat this fairly quickly. And of course, if you don’t require gluten-free pasta, use what you have. This would be delicious over some wide egg noodles.

Saffron Risotto topped with Cod

On my last post, I made reference to a risotto I made. I didn't even think to include the recipe so here it is. Sorry about that!

Saffron Risotto topped with Cod

1 Tbl Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (or ½ large)
¼ - ½ tsp pepper
½ tsp salt
Few strands of saffron
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup of Arborio rice
4 cups of organic vegetable or chicken broth, heated to just boiling
1 cup of chopped, fresh spinach
3-4 oz of cooked white fish per person (baked or grilled)

  1. Heat large pot to med and add oil, onion and pepper. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add salt, and saffron threads and stir, then add wine and cook until it is evaporated.
  3. Add rice and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Begin to add hot 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.
  5. Add spinach and stir. Cook for 3 minutes or until wilted.
  6. Top risotto with cooked fish. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My First Home-Cooked Meal

On August 8, at 4:30 pm, I was a happy girl. The gas stove and dishwasher were both installed that day and the kitchen was ready to move back into. I didn't know what to do first. Pasta? Some type of saute? My husband may beg to differ, but I really have a frugal side. I had baked some fish the other night and wanted to use that up so...why not my favorite dish of saffron risotto topped with cod?

For his birthday, a friend gave Santo a little Remy doll (the very talented rat chef in "Ratatouille"). For the last few months, I've been hearing it say "I'm going to make something special...something with saffron!" Are you laughing that this is what inspired me? So, that's how the first real meal in the kitchen was born. I sauteed the onions with care, added saffron and black pepper, a little wine and then the chicken broth. Yum, yum, yum.

The smells coming from the stove were heavenly. How I missed that! I thought back to what has been hardest during the remodel. Beyond a shadow of a doubt; a sink. And next would be a stove. I've been able to get by with a microwave, toaster oven and outdoor grill but I missed "cooking".

I'm almost completely moved in. There are a few more boxes in the garage. With the exception of the dishwasher not working correctly (arghh), it's been an easy transition back to normal. I've made lots of pancakes, waffles, pasta, scrambled eggs and pizza. Today I made a vegetable soup, whole wheat bread and gluten-free bagels. I guess the term "back in business" would be appropriate!

I should have less of an excuse for not being able to blog. I just have to remember to take pictures of the food before everyone digs in.

Yes, there I am with the risotto. Notice the pot filler! I didn't think I needed it but it has already come in handy. I LOVE the stove as well. Backsplash to come...Ok everyone, thanks for listening.

Amy's Chili

First, I'll have to apologize for no picture but this chili, although delicious, doesn't quite photograph well...don't worry, more pics soon of other things!

I don’t know why but I have always loved chili, even when I lived on the east coast. If it had meat and beans, a bit of spice and some tomato sauce, yum-yum! I like it plain, over rice, over a baked potato, with French fries, with nachos and even on top of a salad.
And probably because I tend to make it every few weeks, my family has come to like it as well. Some times the beans are canned and some times fresh. Some times the meat is beef; other times it could be turkey or pork. But lately there’s one thing I have discovered. It’s a great way to use up some of those “veggies on the verge” in the fridge. And of course, if we manage to throw some extra nutrition into a fairly nutritious meal, who am I to complain?
This is also a great recipe to double; you can put it in the freezer or send down the street to that neighbor who just had a baby. I hope you will try it; I’m fairly sure you’ll like it! Enjoy.
Amy’s Chili
1 medium onion, chopped
Olive or vegetable oil
Spices like cumin, garlic, chili powder, black pepper and oregano (start with ½ tsp of each and increase to taste)
Vegetables like carrots, celery, red pepper, sweet potato, zucchini and kale (1/2 – 3/4 cup of each)
1 lb of lean ground beef or turkey
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed*
1-2 cups chicken broth or water
1 Tbl tomato puree
Salt to taste
*Note-if you only have 1 can/type of bean, use that. You can always use about 2 cups fresh or other types like pinto.
1. Get a large pot and heat to medium (I usually do this and then chop the onion). Add oil and then onion and give it a quick stir or shake. Sprinkle with spices, stir and allow to cook while you chop the other veggies. Add these, one type at a time, and continue to cook. The kale will get soft as it cooks in the chili so you don’t have to cook for very long.
2. When veggies are soft, remove from pot and place in bowl. Make sure the pan is hot again, add a little oil and then the meat. Move the meat around quickly so it covers the bottom and then just let it cook. This enables the meat to brown and develop good flavor.
3. Once the meat is cooked through, add the veggies, diced tomatoes, and beans. Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook 20-30 minutes. If the chili looks dry, add chicken broth or water and maybe some tomato puree. If I have chicken broth in the fridge, I use that; otherwise I use water.
4. Taste chili and adjust the seasonings. Add salt to taste as well.
5. Serve with rice, baked potato, or as is.