My sister, except for a brief period of time, has been vegetarian her whole life. When I took over Thanksgiving duties from my mother — something that made both of us happy — I made it a point to include a main dish that worked with my sister’s dietary restriction. That dish was a riff on spanakopita, a phyllo dough-wrapped spinach dish. I made mine as a casserole, featuring rice.
What I didn’t know at the time was that I was feeding my sister — and me — something that was making us very sick. We are both now gluten free and much healthier for it!
But I do miss that dish. It was a perfect vegetarian (though not vegan) main course, packed with flavor and nutrition. I’ve finally taken the time to recreate the dish, this time using thinly sliced potatoes in place of phyllo. As with that long-ago dish, this one was a hit (and gone the next day!).
Needless to say, when it comes to carbs, potatoes are my first (and second!) choice. I love them in all forms, but since I’ve given up most restaurant french fries due to the possibility of gluten cross-contamination, I tend to eat my crispy potatoes at home.
The key to a perfect roasted potato is this: parboil before roasting. Parboiling starts the cooking process, meaning the potato will be cooked on the inside when the outside is done. Parboiling also releases starches necessary for crispy exteriors.
This recipe works equally well for oven fries! Note that you can season your potatoes with anything, from a simple salt and pepper with olive oil glaze to an aioli crust. Mmm, that sounds so good right about now.
Tip of the Week
Roasting vegetables requires high heat, making your outdoor grill perfect for this task. To make it easier to turn the veggies on a hot grill, place them on skewers before grilling. And remember that denser veggies like potatoes will require more cooking time than vegetables like asparagus (here’s a quick reference guide).
Menu of the Week
In Southern California, it’s almost always grilling season, so I tend to think about cooking outside whenever I cook certain cuts of meat. A flank steak with a chimichurri sauce is a perfect signal that it’s time to set up the outside table!
While I like to dip my potatoes in the chimichurri, you can make a quick creamy ranch-style dressing with mayonnaise, sour cream or greek yogurt, and a bit of seasoning. This can offset the garlicky, peppery heat of the chimichurri sauce!
- Grilled Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
- Roasted Salt and Pepper Potatoes
- Grilled Corn on the Cob or Grilled Stone Fruit
Vindaloo is a tangy, spicy curry with origins in Portugal — the vin in vindaloo stands for “vinha de alhos”, or wine vinegar. The spiciness comes from a mix of warm spices such as cumin and coriander, as supplemented by a bit of cayenne. My husband would probably eat this dish every day if he could.
If you have time, marinate your chicken — or lamb, beef, pork — in some of the curry paste before cooking. If not, no worries. I prefer chicken thighs over chicken breasts because they carry more flavor. If have breasts on hand, they’re a fine choice.
As with most curries, this recipe is naturally gluten free. The list of ingredients is long, but don’t let that daunt you. The whole thing comes together very quickly!
One day, as I was shredding potatoes for hash browns, I had an epiphany. A little one, but an epiphany nonetheless. I realized I needed to squeeze all the excess water out of the potatoes before cooking them. Now, based on what I see on the Internets, *everybody* already knew this somehow. I guessed I missed a memo.
So, putting two and two together — never let it be said that I don’t catch on quickly — I realized I needed to do the same thing for zucchini when making fritters. It is fascinating to discover how much liquid is in a zucchini. And making fritters is a tasty way to make zucchini interesting again. Seriously…it’s been coming on strong all summer, and I don’t think there’s an end in sight!
If you make too many fritters, you can freeze and reheat in the oven. If you’re looking for a party appetizer, make smaller fritters. The best part of this recipe? Nobody will ever know they’re gluten-free. I love delicious recipes that showcase GF-specific ingredients — the lack of gluten doesn’t mean a lack of flavor.
When researching this recipe, I discovered a few recipes featuring freshly grated Parmesan cheese, and one that used feta. I think cheese is always a good idea! Now, given my druthers, I’d go with the feta (and skip any additional salt), but it’s always good to have options. Also, you can make the dipping sauce however you like. I use Greek yogurt all the time, so naturally gravitate in that direction.