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, December 21, 2011

Grandma Hoerner's Applesauce review and Duck Sauce recipe

Last year, I met the nice folks at Grandma Hoerner's at The Fancy Food show. I loved their products like the preserves and the dark fudge sauce. I must have made a comment about how much it was like the low sugar preserves I buy from Trader Joes. Guess what? That's their product!

Last year, I posted a recipe for Apricot Dijon Chicken which I use for both my family and in cooking classes. I love that their products are natural and mostly organic. For the preserves, they reduce the sugar rather than use a substitute sugar. As a mom, I love that the preserves are not as sugary.

We recently tried the Big Slice Applesauce and served it with gluten-free latkes. This applesauce has no added sugar; it's sweetened from fruit juice instead. This makes it just sweet enough. Both of my kids loved it. I wanted to share some other ideas for how you could use it:

  • Serve with a pork or turkey roast as a side dish.
  • Serve with potato pancakes, aka, latkes.
  • Add to yogurt with a little cinnamon for a snack.
  • Make a "duck sauce" (see recipe below) to serve with eggrolls or wontons.
  • Eat it out of the jar with a spoon (ok, maybe just when it's almost finished).
  • Serve warm over vanilla ice cream (skip the pie crust).
I hope you will give it a try. I don't think they sell this at Trader Joes; maybe they should. You can also order it on-line. Enjoy the recipe!

Amy's Duck Sauce

1 cup of unsweetened or low sugar applesauce
¼ teaspoon each ground garlic and ginger
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoons sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons sugar (use only 1 Tablespoon if applesauce is sweetened)
2-3 Tablespoons apricot or peach preserves (another great Grandma Hoerner's product!)

Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse for 20-30 seconds or until pureed. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes if possible. Serve with eggrolls, wontons, or grilled chicken or shrimp.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Russian kale, lentils and sausage

What do you do when someone drops off a big bag of Russian kale to your house? Cook it like spinach and see what else is in the pantry.

I am fortunate to have friends at The Heal Project which is where it came from. The kale was left over after they were preparing fields for new crops. Lucky me! I wasn't sure what to do with it but figured I would be able to muster something up.

Russian kale is flat and leafy; it almost looks like lettuce you would use for salad. Kale is rich in beta carotene, vitamins K and C and rich in calcium so when it comes to healthy, it fits the bill. Give it a wash to get rid of any dirt and cut into small pieces or slices. I like to let it soak in water for about 5 minutes and then lift it out of the water to keep the dirt at the bottom of the bowl.

When deciding how to prepare it, I thought about how I might use spinach. I had some garlic and herb beef sausage from Markegard Family Grass-fed in the freezer and lentils in the pantry. Pine nuts seemed like a nice addition so I toasted some of those as well.

This meal was more of a "put together the different parts" sort of dish. So, mix and match; use what you have but make sure to eat your veggies. I do think it was an excellent combination of flavors. Enjoy!

Russian Kale, Lentils and Sausage

Cook the kale. Use this blog post as a guide to how to cook kale.  You could use any kind or even chard.

Cook the lentils. I used green lentils (which are closer to brown but that is what they are called). Add 1 cup of rinsed lentils to 3 cups of water or broth with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cook about 30 minutes or until water is absorbed and lentils are soft. I probably only used 2 cups in the dish and saved the rest.

Cook the sausage. Cook 1 pound of sausage either in a saute pan or on the grill. Leave the casing on so it's easier to slice. Drain any fat that accumulates in the pan. To make the dish vegetarian, leave it out. Let it cool, then slice into 1" pieces.

Toast the pine nuts. Some people swear by the oven or toaster oven but for me, personally, I always use a regular saute pan without any added oil. I use a medium to low heat and shake the pan every few minutes until they are golden and fragrant. For this dish, I used about 1/2 cup of pine nuts.

Assemble the dish. It couldn't be easier. Take all of the ingredients and mix in a bowl. Sprinkle with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino romano cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings by adding salt and pepper. You can also add 1 tablespoon of a good quality olive oil. Best served warm.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gluten-free beef stew recipe

When the weather turns cool, I think comfort foods. With a busy day ahead, I knew my crock pot would come in handy. Once again, it delivered, even with a power outage toward the end of its cycle!

Here's a delicious recipe for beef stew which I have converted to gluten-free. To make it "with gluten", use regular flour instead of the white rice and potato starch. The process and seasonings are the same.

We are very lucky to have quality beef right down the road, from Markegard Family Grass-Fed. The test is in the taste which truly delivered. It wasn't too greasy, either, and was very tender.

The only real technique with this recipe is with the flouring of the beef and searing. The directions are very straight forward. Gather your ingredients and, in about 5 hours, dinner is served. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Beef Stew

2 Tablespoons white rice flour
2 Tablespoons potato starch
1/2-1 teaspoon sea or Kosher salt (add more salt or seasonings based on your taste; you can always add at the end)
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2-1 teaspoon herbs de Provence or a combination of dried thyme and oregano
1 lb of stew meat, patted dry
1 Tablespoon olive or vegetable oil
Optional: 2 Tablespoons of sherry, brandy or wine

2 cups beef broth
1 14-15 ounce can of diced tomatoes with juice
1/2 onion, chopped
3 carrots, cut into 1/4" circles

1 pound Yukon gold or red potatoes, about 3 or 4, cubed
1 cup each fresh or frozen corn and peas, thawed slightly

1.    Mix flour, starch, salt, pepper and herbs in a bowl with a lid or sealable plastic bag. Place beef inside, close lid or seal, and shake to coat.
2.    Heat oil in pan to medium high heat. Place beef in pan, reserving the flour mixture. Cook meat 2-3 minutes on each side or until just browned. Optionally add sherry or wine and cook for 1 more minute.
3.    Place broth, tomatoes, onions and carrots in a crock pot. Add 1 Tablespoon of reserved flour mixture (discard the remainder) and stir. Add beef. Cover and cook 2 hours on high or 5 hours on low.
4.    Add potatoes and cook 30 additional minutes or until tender. Add corn and peas and cook 10 minutes or until heated.
5.    Taste and adjust seasonings; it might need more salt at the end.