Wednesday, June 21, 2017

What Do You Cook for a Gluten-Free Vegetarian?

Last week I had a little dinner party for two young couples at church who are moving away soon.

Three of my four guests are vegetarians, which is not a problem because I do a lot of vegetarian cooking anyway. High-quality meat is expensive and I try to limit my consumption for health reasons. But there was a little twist: one of the guests has celiac disease and has to avoid gluten. So I had to throw out my plan to make a vegetarian pasta dish, which is my usual go-to for pleasing a crowd of noncarnivores. He made a "joke" about being tired of eating rice all the time, so there went my plan B of making mushroom risotto.

I looked through my cookbooks and finally found the solution: a zucchini, artichoke heart, and caramelized onion frittata recipe in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen. I also used one of her recipes for a salad with asparagus, chickpeas, and roasted red pepper. Both dishes were completely devoured by my guests, and they had nothing but rave reviews. For dessert, I made a chocolate mousse. I wish I had thought to take a picture of it, because it was quite beautiful with whipped cream and chocolate shavings on the top. Everyone went home full and satisfied, which is the hallmark of a successful dinner.

In other food news, I've made it to the farmers' market only twice so far this summer. Last week I got big containers of strawberries and raspberries and used most of them to make my first batch of popsicles of the season. They turned out far better than I expected. I ran the fruit through the blender with some water, sugar, lemon juice, and triple sec (you know I can't make popsicles without booze, right?), and then strained out the seeds and poured the resulting mixture into the molds. Et voila!

Hope you're enjoying the summer produce and eating well.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Easter Dinner 2017

I know this post is a little late but the last couple of weeks have been insanely busy. I got ambitious this year and decided to cook Easter dinner for some friends.

Half of my guest are vegetarian, so I made a spinach lasagna recipe I got from America's Test Kitchen. As a side dish, I made a broccoli salad I got from the Smitten Kitchen cookbook. And for dessert, I made this fabulous orange marmalade cake from the Gift of Southern Cooking cookbook.

Please ignore the wrinkled tablecloth in those photos. I hope you had a lovely Easter or Passover and that you're enjoying mild spring weather, wherever you may be.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Winter Cooking

Long time, no update! I need to be more diligent about taking photos of what I cook and updating this blog. Maybe I'll make that a goal for this year. I don't like to do new year's resolutions per se but I will set some realistic goals for myself.

So back in December, I baked some bread for the church bake sale. It sold out pretty quickly, which is always gratifying.

I love to make stews in the Crock-Pot in the winter, and vegetarian chili works perfectly. I like that you don't have to take the time to brown any meat, you just dump everything in the pot, stir it, and turn it on. Three to four hours later, you have a feast fit for kings.

Have you ever tried making homemade pasta? It's easier than you think. You can mix the dough by hand or in the food processor, and you don't need a special machine to roll and cut the dough. I rolled out this dough with a rolling pin and used a pizza wheel to cut it into rectangles. Then I pinched the centers together with my fingers and used a fork to crimp the edges to make bow-tie pasta. It's not perfect but that's the charm of making something by hand.

I hope you're feasting well in 2017, my friends.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

There Is No Family Biscuit Recipe

My family is from Kentucky on both sides, and they all love to eat biscuits, but oddly enough, there is no family biscuit recipe passed down through the generations. In fact, both my parents never made anything except biscuits from a can. I don't know whether their mothers never bothered to show them how to make biscuits or if it was something that didn't interest them. To be honest, neither of them was much of a baker, so I pretty much taught myself how to bake by using cookbooks.

Unlike my parents, I love to bake biscuits from scratch, and my current favorite biscuit recipe is from Mark Bittmann's How to Cook Everything. It's easy and yields great biscuits every time.

If you're afraid to make biscuits, I highly recommend that you try Bittmann's recipe. You'll be surprised at how easy it is.