Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Great Idea for Those Ever-Present Zucchini - Alta's Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole

It's so great to see so many other Gluten-Free blogs being written these days. Even five years ago there were only a handful of brave souls navigating the bloggy waters and letting other folks know about new gluten-free products or delicious new ways to eat. Nowadays there must be at least 300-400 gluten free blogs to peruse (see some of my favorites on the GF Blog List link above) so it is great to have an event like Adopt a Gluten Free Blogger event, created by the Book of Yum to explore them in depth.

This month I have adopted Alta of Tasty Eats at Home down in steamy Texas. Her blog is gluten-free and dairy-free and shows off how imaginative Alta is in the kitchen. You'll find recipes for Swordfish Souvlaki, Creamy Chipotle Butternut Dip (I bookmarked that one for my first home-grown crop of those winter squashes), Vegan "Cheesy" Crackers, Korean Short-Ribs Tacos, and Habanero-Pear Jam. Wow. That's kitchen adventuring!

For my adoption, I looked at my kitchen counters and saw all that garden produce, most notably those forgotten zukes that hide under the umbrella-like leaves of the mother plant and sproing overnight into baseball bats. Luckily, Tasty Eats at Home came to the rescue with a really fantastic plan: Zucchini and Sun-Dried Tomato Casserole.

Just when I think I've exhausted the zucchini repertoire, in comes a new dish to transform this most malleable and productive vegetable, and voila, another fantastic recipe! This combination of so many of my favorite, vibrantly-flavored ingredients, smoked paprika, snipped fresh herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, really zips up the old summer squashes. I used a couple of those zuke bats in this recipe - one had been chomped on the surface by those nasty squash bugs, so I peeled it - and they provided the perfect palette for all those other zesty flavorings.

I made this recipe in a 9 x 12 glass baking dish so that the zucchini would spread out and some of its moisture would bake out (Alta's recipe also instructs the cook to drain off the vegetable juices after sauteeing, which I did - right into my freezer container for future vegetable soups). Fresh sage, thyme and parsley came from the garden, as did the zucchini and tomatoes (slow-roasted rather than sun-dried and reconstituted), so everything tasted so fresh. The only deviation I made from Alta's recipe was to use real Cheddar cheese, rather than the cheese alternative called for in her original, dairy-free recipe (a cheese alternative-alternative, if you will), as we didn't have that on hand.

Alta is also hosting this round of Adopt-A-Gluten-Free Blogger, so be sure to see who else got adopted and shots of all the scrumptious food everyone cooked up back at Tasty Eats at Home after the September 5th deadline. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Crispy Cook Meets Gluten Free Baking on a Podcast

One of our local gluten-free gurus and cookbook authors Elizabeth Barbone of Gluten-Free Baking, has begun publishing podcasts full of recipes, interviews, baking tips and information for food lovers on gluten-free and other allergy diets on a new website, Cook Bliss.

I was honored to be interviewed by Elizabeth recently about blogging, cooking for my mixed gluten-free/gluten-full family and about kitchen disasters (mine, not hers). If you would like to hear about these things or if you just have a burning desire to hear my Crispy voice, check out Episode 006 at Cook Bliss. I'm up after an interesting heirloom pancake recipe and a chat with musician Darius Lux about how he stays gluten-free on the road.  I'd love to hear what you think.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Curried Zucchini Coins

It's that time of the garden year when bowls of cukes, zukes and tomatoes overtake the kitchen real estate. A really hot and dry July burned out my broccoli and greens, except for a hardy patch of escarole in some semi-shade, but our sun-loving vegetables are really enjoying this warm patch of weather.

I've been keeping up fairly well with the veggie bounty, making batches of pesto, zucchini bread and muffins, sauteed grated zucchini with basil and garlic, zucchini stewed with tomato and garlic, and other summer zuke standards in our repertoire, but then the other day I tried a few different spices with my zukes and husband Dan said that the recipe was a keeper. I tried it out again the next day and have to concur. Maybe you will too.

Curried Zucchini Coins

1 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. mild curry powder
1/2 tsp. celery salt
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, peeled, halved and cut into thin rings (we grew purple onions this year)
6-7 small zucchini (about 1.5 - 2 inch diameter) topped, tailed and cut into thin coins

Melt butter in large skillet. Add olive oil and let it bubble up. Add in curry powder, celery salt, onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes. Add in zucchini coins and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes, or until onions are soft and golden and the zucchini is floppy, but still has some bite. You don't want to overcook tender, young zucchini.

Please use small zucchini for this dish, as the bigger, older zucchini that one tends to overlook in the patch under the leaves will be too seedy and watery.

Makes 6-8 servings.

The curry, celery salt and sauteed onions lend such a nice earthy, mellow taste to this dish.

I am sending over a virtual plate of this delicious way to deal with zucchini abundance to Susan the Well-Seasoned Cook, who is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging this week. Weekend Herb Blogging is a long-standing weekly food blog event hosted by Haalo of Cook Almost Anything that celebrates edible plant ingredients.