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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Zucchini Muffin recipe

Well, you may remember that we started a garden this year. For me, this is a big deal as I've always described myself as having a brown thumb. The zucchini are really doing well.

I was looking at one the other day and then noticed a really big one growing; it was almost hidden. It reminded me of the time my dad brought in a zucchini to my mom that he picked in our garden (my mom was a great gardener; not me). He was so proud until my mom looked at it and said "Sandy, that's a pumpkin!". Oh well; at least he tried.

The one thing with zucchini is that you don't want them too big. If you are using them in a salad or sauteing them, go for the smaller ones which usually have more flavor. For muffins or bread, a larger one is fine.

I had found a recipe online a few years ago and started playing with it, changing the butter to oil, white sugar to less refined and adding coconut and walnuts for flavor and added nutrition. Remember, unless your child is overweight, kids need fat, especially healthy fats (for example from plants and nuts as opposed to fat from dairy and meats).

If you still have zucchini in your garden and find it at the farmer's market, try this recipe for yourself or your family.

Here are some recommendations for equipment and products I like to use:
Cuisinart food processor
Stainless steel measuring cups
Stainless steel mixing bowls
Silicone scrapers

Zucchini Muffins
Makes 12 or about 32 mini

2 1/8 cups whole wheat pastry flour (this is slightly lighter than wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup molasses
3/4 cup sucanat (Sugar Cane Natural; look for it in stores or use an unrefined cane sugar)
1/4 cup organic white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
2 cups finely shredded unpeeled zucchini-about 2-3 small or 1 medium
2-4 Tbl water

1. Grease and flour 12 muffin cups. Heat oven to 375°.
2. Combine the flour, soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a medium to large bowl.
3. In another mixing bowl, beat the eggs first then add oil, molasses, sugars, vanilla extract and coconut.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring briefly until blended. Fold in the shredded zucchini and nuts. If the mixture is too stiff, add water until it has more of a batter consistency.
5. Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes. Make sure you test with a toothpick at the lower end of the time. If there is still batter on the toothpick, cook in 1-2 minute intervals until done.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Crustless quiche recipe

As some of you may know, this is one of my favorite recipes. It's so easy and so many people like it from children to grown-ups. Last week, I grabbed a zucchini from my garden (yes, my garden!), sliced it up, halved the recipe and about 40 minutes later, had a nice, healthy lunch.

The recipe was originally my maternal grandmother's. We called it Grandma Rosie's Zucchini Pie. It really was closer to a fritatta. She made it with quite a lot of oil so I slimmed it down and used non-fat milk instead. By using a combination of eggs and milk, it creates a lovely custard-like texture. She used to add Jiffy or Bisquick to thicken (basically a pancake mix) and I eventually started using flour. When you use the pancake mix, it does tend to be a bit less wet, especially when using a fresh vegetable like zucchini. When I make the recipe with drier ingredients, it comes out perfect with the flour. And in case you want a gluten free version, click here.

Cooking isn't hard when you have the right ingredients on hand. Try this recipe and serve it any time of the day. It's also good to serve in small pieces as an appetizer. I'm sure Grandma Rosie is happy she was able to contribute to my culinary repertoire! Enjoy.

Crustless Zucchini Quiche (creamy version)

1/2 - 1 cup par-boiled vegetable like cauliflower, broccoli or 2 raw zucchini, sliced thin or 1 box frozen, chopped spinach, drained
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

6 eggs
2 cups of milk or cream
1/2 cup flour or pancake mix (you can also use a gluten-free flour blend to make the dish GF)
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ea nutmeg and dry mustard (or 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard)

1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
2. Grease a 13"x9" baking dish with non-stick spray or oil. Place vegetable on bottom and then top with cheese.
3. In a large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, flour or pancake mix, salt, pepper, nutmeg and mustard.
4. Pour egg mixture on top. Place in oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until egg is set and top is golden brown and puffed.
5. Allow quiche to cool for at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Crustless Spinach and Feta Quiche (this one has great flavor)

1 small box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and dried
½ c crumbled feta
½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
½ tsp each dried oregano and garlic powder

6 eggs
2 cups of milk or cream
1/2 cup flour or pancake mix (see note above)
1/2 tsp ea salt and pepper
1/4 tsp ea nutmeg and dry mustard (or 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard)
1/2 tsp ea

Follow directions from above except, instead of zucchini, place spinach, feta and tomato halves in bottom of pan. Omit other cheeses (or keep them in for more cheese flavor). Add oregano and garlic powder to egg mixture. Follow mixing and baking instructions.

2 Crustless Quiches I served at the Ferry Building to rave reviews:
Sautéed chard and feta & Broccoli and garlic cheddar cheese