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, July 14, 2011

Gluten-Free Zucchini Pancakes recipe

I bought some lovely zucchini at the farmer's market last week and somehow managed to...well, forget about them. I opened the veggie drawer today, looking at the 4 pieces with guilt, and decided something had to be done.

I settled on zucchini muffins (I used my gluten-free carrot muffin recipe but substituted zucchini for carrots).  While using the food processor to shred the zucchini, I thought why not try zucchini pancakes. It's one of those dishes I haven't made since being gluten-free. I didn't think it would be that hard; I just wondered if the kids would be up for it.

After looking at three or four recipes, I decided to just make them. One thing to note, I don't like "raw" onion flavor so I cooked the onion first. Most recipes don't call for that. I'll leave it up to you.

The result was a crisp outside, moist inside delicious little pancake. It tasted even better with the ranch dressing from yesterday. And as for the kids? 7 yr old-thumbs up. 5 yr old-blech. Oh well.

Some Family Chef advice: If you have a picky eater, don't give up. Something changed this year for the 7 yr old; he started liking foods he never liked before. He was more willing to try things. He is enthusiastic. The 5 yr old has some catching up to do but she's still in the "good eater" category. Don't let her review of this dish sway you; they were really good!

Gluten-Free Zucchini Pancakes

2-3 zucchinis (see step 1)
Olive oil for sauteing
1/2 onion, chopped or sliced thinly
1 egg
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Optional seasonings (1/4 tsp of each): dried dill, thyme and/or oregano
1/4 c gluten-free flour blend (I used about 1/2 of my flour blend and 1/2 potato starch)

1. Shred the zucchini with the skin on with a food processor, mandoline or a metal box grater. You should have about 2 cups in total. Place in a mesh strainer over a bowl. Sprinkle salt over zucchini (at least 1/4 tsp) and mix. Let sit for at least 15 minutes while you prep other ingredients.

2. Saute onion in about 1-2 tsp of olive oil until just softened. The onion is optional but gives the pancakes good flavor. By cooking them first, they are sweeter and less harsh tasting. Once cooked, place in a medium to large bowl to cool.

3. Remove the liquid from the zucchini by pressing it against the strainer or wringing it in a kitchen towel. Place in the bowl with the onion. Add the egg and black pepper and mix with either a spoon or your hands. If you are using any optional seasonings, add them now. Add the flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture is moist but not runny. You should be able to make  pancakes that will keep their shape (see picture above). It is ok if you do not use all of the flour.

4. Heat a non-stick griddle or saute pan. Spray with non-stick spray or use just a little olive oil. If you use a metal pan, you will need to use a little more oil or else it will stick.

5. Place 2" pancakes on pan and flatten out slightly. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Serve plain or with sour cream. I served mine with ranch dressing. Delicious!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Gluten-Free Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing recipe

I was sitting at the table, reviewing one of my recipes which had not been tested yet for my cookbook. Ranch dressing is one of those items you would assume would be gluten-free until you look at the label. Then you also might see all of the other ingredients that aren't so appealing.

My kids are big fans of ranch dressing so I thought, why not try it right now?  I normally don’t make everything from scratch but I was curious to see if it was worth it to make my own.

Assuming you have the ingredients in your kitchen (which I usually do), this can be whipped up in less than 5 minutes. It’s always better if it sets but if you can’t wait, don’t worry, it’s still great.

When I made it, I called the kids over for a taste test. They grabbed some carrots from the fridge and dug in. My son then announced “That’s the best ranch dressing I ever had”. Ok, there’s my motivation!

Gluten-Free Ranch Dip or Dressing
Makes 1 1/2 cups

1/2 c mayonnaise*
1 c sour cream*
1 Tbl chopped dried parsley (or 2 Tbl fresh)
1/2 tsp dry dill (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
1/2 tsp sea or Kosher salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 Tbl white vinegar
*For dairy-free, use 1 1/2 cups of a soy based mayonnaise

Note: make sure the mayonnaise is gluten-free. Some people are sensitive to dried herbs, especially those in bulk.

To make dip, mix all ingredients. Place in the fridge and wait at least 30 minutes before using.

To make dressing, mix all ingredients plus 1-2 Tbl milk to make it more pourable. Follow directions above.