No doubt you’ve been hearing a lot about gluten lately. Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat. People that are “allergic” to gluten may have celiac disease, which happens when your immune system attacks your small intestine in response to eating foods containing gluten. Others avoid gluten because of health issues such as depression, fatigue and weight gain.
Judith Finlayson, foodie and author of The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grain Cookbook, has written several other cookbooks.
This book starts with an in-depth look at gluten, what it is and why it should be avoided. It goes on to explain why whole grains are so important, how to store them and nutritional information so you can make educated decisions on what you buy and serve to your family.
This book is a wonderful resource for someone who is considering eliminating gluten from their diet, but may not know how to start. If you are already eating gluten-free, there are over 100 recipes in this book for you to try!
Here are two, of the many delicious recipes found in The Complete Gluten-Free Whole Grains Cookbook:
Serve these fritters as part of an antipasti spread.
Preheat oven to 200°F
4 cups shredded zucchini
1 tsp coarse salt
4 oz feta, crumbled
6 green onions, white part with a bit of green, minced
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh dill fronds
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1. In a colander, placed over a sink, combine zucchini and salt. Toss well and set aside for 15 minutes to sweat. Using your hands, squeeze out as much water as possible. Spread on a clean tea towel and press to soak up as much liquid as possible, using a second tea towel, if necessary. (Zucchini should be as dry as possible; otherwise your fritters will be mushy.)
2. In a bowl, combine feta, green onions, dill and garlic. Add zucchini and eggs and mix well. Sprinkle sorghum flour, cornstarch and baking powder evenly over mixture and toss & well.
3. In a large heavy skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Scoop out about 1 heaping tbsp of mixture at a time and drop into hot oil. Repeat until pan is full, leaving about 2 inches between fritters. Cook, turning once, until nicely golden, about 5 minutes per batch. Drain on paper towel–lined platter and keep warm in preheated oven while you complete the frying. Serve warm.
To expedite preparation, shred zucchini and set aside to sweat while you prepare the remaining ingredients.
For ease of preparation use your food processor fitted with the shredding blade to shred the zucchini.
Makes about 2 dozen
Peppery Chicken Quinoa
Not only is this dish pretty to look at, it’s very easy to make. Enjoy this when peppers are in season. It makes a great one-dish weeknight meal.
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken stock
1 tbsp harissa, optional (see Tips)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 tsp cracked black peppercorns
1 lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into thin strips
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
1. In a saucepan over medium heat, bring 2 cups of the stock to a boil. Stir in harissa, if using. Add quinoa in a steady steam, stirring constantly, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add black peppercorns and stir well. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until it turns white and almost cooks through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
3. Add remaining 2 tbsp of oil to pan. Add garlic and cook, stirring, just until it begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Add bell peppers and cook, stirring, until they begin to shimmer, about 2 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup of stock and sherry vinegar and cook until mixture is reduced by half, about 8 minutes. Return chicken to pan and toss until heated through. Remove from heat.
4. To serve: Spread cooked quinoa over a deep platter and scoop out an indentation in the middle. Fill with chicken mixture and garnish with parsley.
If you are using prepared stock, check the label to make sure it doesn’t contain gluten.
Harissa is a North African chili paste. Prepared versions may contain gluten, so check the label. If you don’t have it, pass your favorite hot pepper sauce at the table to satisfy any heat seekers in the group.
Makes 4 servings