We love a mystery. Preferably with a trail of clues, a touch of suspense and opportunities to toss our who-done-it theories around at the dinner table like amateur sleuths. This journal has chronicled such before—tales of monster zucchinis, mystery vines and compost packages. It’s been a while though, so when our youngest decided to clean her room recently it was only fitting that a puzzle emerge—along with a mountain of dirty socks.
Gluten-free is one of the hottest cooking topics around—and no longer the exclusive realm of those with celiac’s disease or gluten-intolerance. More and more diners are looking for strategies to cut down on wheat and grain products. With that in mind, this week I’m delighted to welcome guest blogger, E. Chloé Lauer, an expert on gluten-free cooking and nutrition. Chloé has an enthusiasm for clean eating that’s infectious, and her approach is both practical and easy. And simply delicious. Chloé’s recipe prompted me to take a peek at our archives, to see how we stack up in the gluten-free world. You’ll notice a new gluten-free tag in our recipe index this week (right side bar), that should make it easier to identify wheat-free recipes. Watch how the category grows as I slog through the files over the next few weeks.
This easy sauté features crunchy sweet corn and summer tomatoes, stirred up with the spices of Mexico. Wrap some in a warm tortilla, scoop it with corn chips or serve as a side dish. Add a can of rinsed and drained black beans for a more substantial main course. Or a minced jalapeño for spice.
Iowa City, Iowa — We’re visiting family in the Midwest, and today is another in a series of 90-plus-degree scorchers. Hot stew on a hot summer day? The idea sounds absurd, if not downright tortured. The usual loyal kitchen helpers are likely to scatter the moment you crank up the stove. No doubt you’ll be left chopping and stirring in solitude. No worries. Ratatouille is a simple dish, just right for one cook. Use vine-ripened tomatoes, tender-skinned squash and sweet peppers, plus plenty of garlic and onion. Sauté each vegetable in olive oil, one at a time, then stir them all together in a sturdy pot and simmer the mixture, so the flavors commingle in a magical way.
This recipe is adapted from a favorite cookbook author, Neelam Batra (1000 Indian Recipes). You’ll find fenugreek seeds (a mustard-colored, flat and squarish whole Indian spice, pictured at right-center in the photo below) at Whole Foods or other high-quality markets, but you’ll probably need to head to an Indian grocery for jarred tamarind paste (also called tamarind concentrate). If you live in the San Francisco Bay area you shouldn’t have any trouble locating one nearby, and the trip is well worth taking for inexpensive bulk spices, tea and unusual produce as well.