Monday, February 16, 2009

Easter Pancakes

by Jacqueline Mallorca, Author of : The Wheat-Free Cook, Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone (Wm. Morrow)

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s traditional to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (or Fat Tuesday, as it known in New Orleans), here’s why. Long ago, the Catholic church decreed that the faithful should abstain from eating meat, butter, milk and eggs during the 40-day Lenten fasting period before Easter. So people used up their dairy supplies and made lots of pancakes before austerity set in.
The pre-Lent pancake tradition lives on as Pancake Day throughout western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but is especially popular in Britain, where Pancake Day races still take place. Contestants run as fast as they can while holding a skillet and simultaneously flipping pancakes without dropping them. Bet they can’t do that at IHop.

Yogurt-Rice Flour Pancakes
A gluten-free batter makes exceptionally light pancakes, and cooking them on an ungreased nonstick griddle ensures a fine surface texture. The recipe is easy to double.

Makes about 16 three-inch pancakes.
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk yogurt (European style, not the condensed Greek kind)
Combine the rice flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, canola oil, and yogurt. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth. The batter will look thick and puffy. Heat a heavy nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-low heat, but do not grease it. Add the batter by the heaped tablespoon, placing the pancakes 1 inch apart and flattening the batter a little with the back if a spoon. Cook until golden on both sides, 2 minutes or less. Stack on heated plates or keep warm in a low oven.

TIP: Eggs at Easter don’t have to be chocolate. For a grown-up appetizer, omit the sugar, and make the pancakes only 2 inches wide. Top with sour cream and fish eggs, aka caviar. Recipe reprinted with permission from The Wheat-Free Cook, Gluten-Free Recipes for Everyone (Wm. Morrow) by Jacqueline Mallorca

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tips for Quick Pastas

Pasta is always a great quick dinner. Here are some tips to make it even quicker.

  • Since gluten-free pasta is not readily available, make sure that you buy several shapes and kinds of gf pasta when you find it. Always try to keep your pantry stocked with spaghetti, fettucine, penne & spiral pasta.
  • Before you start cooking, select ingredients that do not require much preparation. Examples of good, quick complimenting ingredients: canned tomatoes, ground beef, ground pork, fresh herbs, pre-chopped garlic, heavy cream, chicken stock, red wine.
  • Before you begin, place a large stockpot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil. If it comes to a boil before you are ready to cook your pasta, keep the stockpot covered and reduce the heat to low. The water will stay hot and will return to a boil very quickly when the heat is increased.
  • Cook the ingredients that need to be blanched in the boiling pasta water. Remove them with a slotted spoon before you add the pasta. This will not only speed things up but it also adds flavor and nutrients to the water.
  • If you choose to use fresh garlic (highly recommended) smash the cloves with the flat side of a chef’s knife, then remove the skins. Cut shallots and onions in half lengthwise, then trim the ends and peel of the skins.
  • If you have to roast peppers for another recipe, roast 1 or 2 extra. It takes the same amount of time and they will keep for at least 1 week covered in the refrigerator. They make a wonderful addition to cream sauces or pasta stir fry’s