Socca (Chickpea Flatbreads)

Socca, and its cousins farinata, cecina, tortillata, or fainá (among others), is probably the best gluten-free bread you’ve never heard of. At its most basic, it consists of three ingredients: chickpea (garbanzo bean0 flour, water, and olive oil. These ingredients are mixed together, the batter is poured into a hot pan or skillet, baked until crisp and brown.

Simple, huh? As you can imagine, any food that simple has be delicious and flexible. Socca (and relatives) takes on different flavors based on how you choose to season it. Want to keep it basic? Fresh rosemary is traditional. Thyme is delicious. Za’atar is unusual — or not, since this dish has a Middle Eastern cousin. Even Indian spices work well here.

Socca is traditionally thin and a bit crisp on the outside, but still flexible. Farinata, or those I’ve encountered, are a bit thicker. Much of the final product depends on how thick your batter is — for the recipe, I’m suggesting a medium-weight batter. Make it thicker or thinner according to your taste.

Hint: since this is a great flatbread, you can also treat it a bit like a pizza, with great toppings!

Scalloped Potatoes

My first memories of scalloped potatoes come from making this dish from a box. It was…good, but not something I’d crave. When I went gluten-free, I just assumed scalloped potatoes were off the menu. But, one night I found myself wanting something a little cheesy, a little creamy, and a lot potato-y.

And scalloped potatoes were exactly what I craved! This recipe is perfect for weeknights or dinner parties. Parboiling the potatoes in the cream mixture cuts the cooking time, getting this dish on the table with little hands-on effort.

40 Clove Garlic Chicken

Garlic is one of my favorite foods. I know it gets a bad rap from some quarters (who are those people?), but it adds great flavor to just about any dish. Including this delightful chicken stew. As the dish cooks, the garlic mellows, growing soft and buttery…perfect for spreading on breads or crackers or just eating whole.

So don’t let the amount of garlic worry you. Instead, enjoy the scent as the chicken roasts in the pan.

Chicken with Vinegar Sauce

I love chicken. I love vinegar. I love chicken and vinegar together. I love it so much that when I cleaned out my recipe clippings a few weeks ago, I had, in addition to my own recipe, three others from various publications. Clearly I’m not alone in my love of this flavor combination.

This meal packs a lot of flavor and adds a note of elegance to a weeknight or weekend meal. Make sure you plan for leftovers!

As with all my recipes, adjust the proportions to suit your needs, but you probably won’t need to increase the amount of vinegar — one cup is the maximum you’ll need for most meals. And the chicken stock and heavy cream are about right as well…unless you are feeding a small crowd.

If you love garlic (and who doesn’t?), the cloves come out of the pot soft and a bit pickled, so don’t be afraid to add some extra.

Chicken with Dijon-Cream Sauce

Chicken — tasty, versatile, convenient — chicken is my fallback for many a weeknight dinner. It’s fast and easy, and there are so many ways to prepare chicken that I feel guilty when I fall back on traditional baked chicken breast with rice and veggies (don’t get me wrong: I love this combo, but it can get a bit monotonous).

I feel less guilty once grilling season rolls around because everything tastes better hot off the grill.

On the other hand, I’ve fallen in love with pan sauces. They are a terrific, easy way to pep up ordinary chicken. The mustardy, creamy sauce here brightens up any cut of chicken. Added bonus is it brings loads of flavor to accompanying rice or potatoes (or even GF bread or biscuits).

I’ve made this with a variety of cuts of chicken, but (typically!) prefer bone-in skin-on thighs for their flavor. You can substitute for what you prefer, adjusting cooking times accordingly. Also, regular smooth Dijon mustard works quite well here.

Lentil Soup

When I get obsessed with a food, I get really obsessed. Like I’ll eat a particular food every day until my friends stage an intervention. I think the first time this happened was the summer I was nine. Ever wonder how many tiny tuna sandwiches a girl can make from a long, skinny loaf of French bread?

I know the answer. To say more is to tell you too much about me.

Luckily, I outgrew that obsession before it was taken away from me.

So, other foods that have inspired this level of devotion in me? Chopped salad. Oh, a good chopped salad is like heaven. This may be where I determined salads should be good or not offered at all.

And lentil soup. I think I was 28 or so when I first had lentil soup. I was wary, coming from a household where vegetables were regarded with suspicion. Of course, I was also trying to be totally cool with the fact that I tried a) hummus (OMG!) and b) lentil soup in the same meal.

Nothing was ever the same.

Making lentil soup is absurdly simple. In fact, to the best of my knowledge, there is only one rule, and that is the addition of acid right before serving. Lemon juice or vinegar turns lentil soup into something one obsesses over. Don’t be shy, taste and taste, adjust.

Trust me. After all, I ate lentil soup every day for, oh man, a month!

[box type=”note” style=”rounded” border=”full”]This soup can be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead of chicken stock.[/box]