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.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Miso Salad Dressing recipe

A friend of mine recently introduced me to a delicious salad at the California Pizza Kitchen: the Miso Salad. The CPK Miso Salad is a combination of shredded red and napa cabbages, avocado, carrots, cucumbers, red onion, daikon, cilantro, edamame, crispy rice noodles, fried wonton strips, and of course, the miso dressing.

She requested that I try to recreate the dressing. When I attempted to research this elusive recipe, I was surprised to find there were not many versions out there. I've always had a good sense of taste so I thought I would attempt to make it at home.

Often when I cook, I use what is on hand or to what I have access. For the salad, I used a combo of shredded napa cabbage and romaine lettuce, cilantro, shredded carrots and cucumbers, toasted sliced almonds and sesame seeds, cubed firm tofu, edamame, crushed tortilla chips, and avocado. Not the original recipe but still delicious.

I came up with the following dressing which my friend and I both think is a pretty good version. Plus, even if it's not exact, it's extremely tasty and one that both kids (almost 6 and 4 yrs old) seemed to like.

And so you know what to expect, the dressing is thin. When I added more oil, it seemed to dilute the vinegar and miso flavor. You can add more mayo to make it a bit thicker if you'd like. However, the fact that it's thin does not mean it's less flavorful. Also, it's better if it is refrigerated it for at least 30 minutes.

Miso Salad Dressing
Makes about 1 cup

3 Tbl whtie or brown miso paste
3 Tbl rice vinegar (this gives it great tang)
2 tbl mayo (this gives it creaminess; I like the Best Foods brand)
3-4 Tbl agave, honey or brown rice syrup (it's easier to use something that is liquidy; the sugar would need to be dissolved)
1 Tbl Kosher salt (or 1 1/2 tsp regular; or use less if you'd like)
2 Tbl safflower or any vegetable oil

Note: If you don't have a food processor, use a glass jar with a lid. Make sure the miso is dissolved well. You may need to use a mini whisk to do that.

1. Place miso and vinegar in a food processor like a Cuisinart, fitted with a steel blade. Process for 10 seconds or so.
2. Add mayo, agave and salt and process again until smooth.
3. Through the top of the food processor, pour the oil into the miso mixture. Process for about another 20 seconds to emulsify.
4. Taste and adjust for seasonings if needed.
5. Refrigerate for 30 minutes prior to using. The dressing tastes a bit better colder; feel free to use as is.
6. Toss with lettuce, shredded napa cabbage, cilantro, etc. Keep any leftovers refrigerated.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Week of Family Meals

Sausage and Ravioli Soup on Thursday

A Week’s Worth of Meals (most of the recipes will feed a family of 4)

Mon: Slow Cooker Chicken served with a quick gravy, mashed potatoes and veggies and/or salad. Remove remaining chicken from the bone for dinner on Wednesday.

Tips: Quick gravy can be made by simmering 1 cup of chicken broth and adding a cornstarch slurry (mix 1 Tbl cold water + 1 Tbl cornstarch). Cook for at least 5 minutes to remove the starchy texture and thickened. Add a drop of “Gravy Master” to this to make it darker. Gravy Master is a blend of roasted vegetables and can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store. Add a few sprinkles of sage and thyme or poultry seasoning as well as salt and pepper to the gravy.

Tips: Make the mashed “dirty” which means to leave the skin on the potatoes. This saves you a step. Cut potatoes into 4-6 pieces, cover with water and add a teaspoon or two of sea or kosher salt. Cover the pot, bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook until tender. Mash with milk, butter, salt and pepper.

Tues: Beef Saffron Risotto (one pot meal and a signature recipe!)

Wed: Chicken Enchilada Casserole with quick Spanish rice

Tip: To make a quick "Spanish" rice, place 2 cups of chicken broth, 1 cup of long grain rice, 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 tablespoon butter or plain coconut oil and a pinch of salt  to a rice cooker. Turn rice cooker on.  Serve with your favorite Mexican dish.

Thurs: Ravioli and Sausage Soup

Fri: Burrito Casserole (use leftover rice if you have it or make brown rice in the rice cooker the day before or earlier in the day)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This recipe is a combination of two of my favorite recipes: green chile chicken enchiladas and a vegetarian enchilada casserole made with strips of corn tortillas. If the chicken is done ahead of time, it's just a matter of assembling. If you don't have chicken, you can use pork, beef, turkey, tofu or just some beans for the protein.

Try preparing this dish in the morning and then popping it into the oven about 60 minutes before dinner.

The trick is to make sure you have enough enchilada sauce so keep extra on hand. I like Las Palmas Green Chile Enchilada sauce the best in the large can. The medium is a little spicy but the sour cream helps to make it not as hot.

All I know is, this meal is a winner. Beware of family members fighting over the crispy tortillas on top. Those are addictive!

Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Makes 6-8 Servings

12-15 corn tortillas, cut into 1/2" strips
2-3 extra tortillas, cut into 1/2" strips for the top, reserved
1-2 28 oz can(s) of green enchilada sauce (mild or medium depending upon your taste)
1/2 c sour cream or plain yogurt
1 Tbl flour
1/2 tsp cumin
1-2 c cooked chicken (see video for crock pot chicken here; you can also use a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store)
1 cup shredded cheese, like cheddar or Monterey jack
1/4 c chopped cilantro for garnish

  • The variations in the amounts depend upon a few things; how much you have on hand and the size of the pan. For example, if you only have 1 cup of chicken and are serving 2 adults and 2 children, make this dish in a 8”x8” pan. If you are making this dish to serve the same amount of people but want leftovers for another meal, use more chicken and cook in a 13”x9” dish. You can also make this dish with 3 layers instead of 2.
  • Corn tortillas freeze well. Cut them before you freeze them for this dish and you can defrost them while you put the dish together or even the day before in the fridge.
  • You may not need all of the chile sauce, especially if you open a second can. If you have leftover green chile sauce, use in a burrito casserole and mix with the meat.
  • You can make this recipe with red enchilada sauce as well.

1. Spray or grease a 13”x9” pan. Pre-heat oven to 375ºF.

2. Mix the sour cream with the flour first until combined then add cumin, the chicken, 1/2 c of the cheese (reserve the other 1/2 cup for the top) and 1 1/4 c of the sauce. Set aside.

3. Place 1 1/4 c plain enchilada sauce on the bottom of the pan to cover. Arrange 1/2 of the tortilla strips on the bottom, criss-crossing, to cover.

4. Pour the chicken and sauce mixture on top. If you have enough tortillas and sauce or a smaller pan, you can make 3 layers instead of 2.

5. Top with more criss-crossed tortillas and then about 1 c sauce to cover. Cover with foil and bake until bubbly, about 30-35 minutes.

6. Remove foil and add extra tortilla strips and cheese. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes or until strips are browned and crisp. You can even increase the temperature of the oven to 400ºF to make it brown more quickly.

7. Remove from oven and allow to rest 10 minutes before serving. Garnish with cilantro.