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, July 13, 2009

Gnocchi Recipe

Homemade Gnocchi

I can still remember my Aunt Vincenzina making gnocchi at our house when she was visiting from Rome. I was only 10 yrs old but can visualize the rolling, cutting and flour, everywhere. I some times forget how much I like them. This weekend, I decided I needed a fix and was motivated. I also realized they are actually pretty easy.

I started the potatoes around 4pm and we were eating at 7pm. Don't be alarmed; it's not 3 hours of work, just an hour to bake, some time to cool, time to make the dough and roll and then let the little "snow snakes" get some air before boiling.

Don't be afraid to get the kids involved in this activity either. I rolled the ropes and they were in charge of cutting. By the time they cut all of the gnocchi, I was half way through rolling them off of the fork. It was fun making this a family affair.

And, in case you are wondering, the ones I made were gluten free. The recipe is here. Since the only difference is really the type of flour, I'm including the traditional one here. Enjoy and mangia bene!

For the gluten-free version, use this recipe.


2-2 1/2 lb russet potatoes (about 4 large)
2-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon melted butter or olive oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt

1. Scrub potatoes and poke 3-4 times with a fork. Bake in a pre-heated 400° oven or 375° convection for about an hour or until soft inside. Baking the potato keeps the moisture down and is better than boiling potatoes for this recipe.
2. When potatoes are soft, remove from oven and cut in half lengthwise. Cool until you are able to handle them. Scoop potatoes out with a spoon and place into a potato ricer. This removes the lumps. If you don't have a potato ricer, mash with a fork until there are no lumps.
3. Cool potatoes slightly. They should not be hot. In a large bowl, add potatoes, butter or oil, eggs and salt. Mix briefly. Add about half of the flour and mix. Continue to add flour until the dough comes together but is no longer sticky. It should almost feel like play dough; tacky but not sticky. You may not need all of the flour. Reserve some flour for your work surface.
4. Roll pieces of the dough on a floured work surface into ropes, about 3/4" thick. Cut pieces about 1" long.
5. Using a fork, roll the gnocchi pieces from the top to the bottom, giving it a ridged look. Once all pieces are rolled, it is recommended to allow gnocchi to sit out for 15-20 minutes to dry out. They can be cooked at that point or frozen (place on a baking sheet or dish, freeze, then place in a freezer bag).
6. Bring a large pot of water filled about 2" from the top, to a boil. Cover the pot to bring the water to a boil quicker. Once boiling, add 1-2 tsp of salt. Gently place gnocchi into the water and stir with a slotted spoon.
7. Cook until all gnocchi are floating on top, stirring occasionally. Cook 1 more minute. Remove with a slotted spoon (draining can cause the gnocchi to stick together).

Monday, July 6, 2009

Healthy Lemonade Recipe

My kids and I made this one day when they asked for lemonade. Making a simple syrup can be time consuming so I opted for the agave nectar. This lemonade is not too sweet and the fresh lemon gives it a nice tart flavor.

We also served this at pre-school. The 3 to 5 yr olds gave it a double thumbs up! Hard to beat considering it has no refined sugar. Agave nectar also has a low glycemic index which means your blood sugar does not shoot up. You can even make individual lemonade right in your glass.

Remember, keeping key ingredients on hand is a great strategy for easy prep and cooking. Happy summer!

Healthy Lemonade

Crushed ice
4 lemons
2-3 Tbl agave nectar

1. In a 2 qt container, place enough crushed ice to fill about 1/4 of the container.
2. Squeeze fresh lemons and place juice in container. Add the agave nectar and then enough water to fill container.
3. Mix and taste. Add more agave if it's not quite sweet enough.

Whole Wheat French Toast Recipe

Whole Wheat French Toast

We have a rotation of breakfast foods and for some reason, we have gotten out of the habit of French Toast, probably when my daughter was eating a gluten free diet. My son asked me to make it at his school, along with our healthy version of lemonade.

As I usually do, I looked at about 3-4 different French Toast recipes and created my own. The one I came up with was fairly low in sugar and high in fiber since I was using a whole wheat bread. This bread from Trader Joe's holds up very well. Instead of butter, I cooked them in a little canola oil. This gave the toast the right crispness without getting burnt.

The recipe may seem simple but you'd be amazed at how delicious it is.
When we served it to the group of pre-schoolers, most were asking for seconds before we were done serving everyone. Give it a try.

Whole Wheat French Toast

8-10 pcs Trader Joe's Harvest Whole Wheat Bread*
3 eggs
2/3 c milk
1/4 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
pinch or two of salt

1 Tbl canola oil (butter is tasty but burns too quickly in your pan; try this instead)

*I liked using this bread because it was thick enough to stand up to the batter. With 3 gm of fiber and only 6 ingredients in it, this bread is a winner.

1. If the bread is soft, put slices on a cookie sheet and place in a low oven (250 degrees) for 5 mins to dry it out. If it's too soft, it will absorb too much batter and be mushy.
2. Mix all other ingredients except oil.
3. Heat pan to medium or grill pan to 400 degrees.
4. Based on the size of your pan, only batter the slices of bread that will be able to fit; don't let bread sit in egg-milk mix.
5. Place about 1 1/2 tsp of oil on pan and spread. Dip bread into batter and place in pan. Cook on each side until golden. Repeat with remaining bread. Keep warm in oven until ready to serve, covered with a damp paper or kitchen towel.