Yummy Supper: Erin Scott's Honest Approach to Gluten-Free Cooking

September 26, 2014

You know how some people are obsessed with stamp collections or fantasy football teams? Well, we're obsessed with cookbooks. Here, in Books We Love, we'll talk about our favorites.

Today: Gluten-free meals feel fresh and vibrant thanks to Erin Scott's new cookbook Yummy Supper, based on her award-winning blog of the same name. Get the backstory on the book, then bake some Buckwheat Zucchini Muffins.

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Erin Scott has been tackling gluten-free cooking ever since she was diagnosed with celiac disease six years ago. Just a few months later, her two young children were diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Both motivated her to transform her approach to cooking, focusing on simple foods that meet her family's dietary restrictions but don't sacrifice flavor.

We long been fans of Erin's blog Yummy Supper, where she takes the road less traveled when it come to gluten-free cooking. Instead of approaching it as something difficult and time-consuming, she brings a fresh take to it, providing seasonal, fresh and yes, yummy, recipes that also happen to be gluten-free. She's recently come out with a cookbook of the same name, full of nutty grain salads, hearty egg dishes, and warm fruit desserts that you'll want to feed your family, too. We asked her a few questions about the book, her cooking style, and her favorite recipes.

What's a good recipe for everyone to have in their back pocket when they're entertaining gluten-free guests?
On the savory side of things, I don’t think you can go wrong with a creamy bowl of Parmesan polenta -- comfort food at its best! For my carnivorous friends, I serve polenta with braised short ribs or pork ragu, but polenta is just as satisfying topped with a pile of spicy sautéed rapini. 

When it comes to dessert, more often than not I make my Simple Almond Torte, which is packed with almond flour and honey and can be served with a little crème fraîche and seasonal fruit, from strawberries to figs to pears to apricots.  The recipe is so easy; my kids make it themselves all the time. I also like to serve refreshing, jewel-toned granitas – blood orange with cardamom and honeydew with lemon verbena and lime are two seasonal favorites.

More: Put your leftover wine to work in this granita recipe from Alice Medrich.

How did writing this cookbook change the way you cook?
By nature, I’m a very loose, improvisational cook - I love to experiment and play in the kitchen. In making the cookbook, I dove deep into my creative instincts, letting myself be free to explore and create recipes that always had an element of surprise. During the editing and extensive recipe testing phase, my more analytical, perfectionist side honed the recipes until they were foolproof and totally accessible to cooks in faraway kitchens. I wanted every recipe to be grounded and reliable for every home cook, while still maintaining a bit of whimsy.

What's on your Thanksgiving menu? 
This year we’re heading to Mexico with friends for a total change of scene, but most years we visit our family in Sonoma County, where we cook a very traditional Thanksgiving meal. It’s a cooperative affair; each of us has our tasks. We’re lucky to have a family full of amazing home cooks and, I’ve gotta say, I think we’ve perfected the whole affair. We do a Judy Rodgers-inspired brined bird with an herby sage stuffing and traditional gravy, mashed potatoes with plenty of butter and heavy cream, green beans with slivered almonds, and carrots braised in orange juice with fresh ginger. And for dessert, I like to make Lilah’s Little Apple Galettes with a little whipped cream on the side. There isn’t a hint of gluten in the meal, but no one seems to miss a thing…my aunt makes the stuffing with almond bread, and we use a little sorghum flour to thicken the gravy.

How would you describe the recipes in this book in 5 words or less?
Simple, seasonal, vibrant, real food.

Luckily everyone's pretty "over" that assumption that a meal without gluten is somehow incomplete -- but so many people still want for a bread basket or other gluten-y starch on their dinner table. What's your favorite replacement for that bread basket?
I’m a big fan of DIY Corn Tortillas and they’re super fun to make! There’s something so satisfying about rolling the dough between your palms, flattening the rounds in the tortilla press, and watching the tortillas quickly come to life on the hot griddle. Tortilla making is a playful task my kids have seriously mastered and dinner guests delight in the handmade goodness!

More: Turn your corn tortillas into tortilla chips and get dipping.

Which recipe in the book took you the longest to get right? 
The Red Rice Risotto was one of the trickiest recipes to perfect. I knew what I wanted in terms of flavor and texture, but red rice isn’t as starchy as Arborio, so I had a really tough time getting the creaminess I desired. At some point, I had a thought to soak the red rice to extract some of the starchiness from the kernels and voilà: Once I added that starch back into the broth, the risotto thickened just the way I hoped. A generous helping of Parmesan didn’t hurt either. I’m damn proud of that recipe.

Do your kids cook with you? How do you get them involved in the kitchen?
Yes, I love having my kids in the kitchen whenever possible. Getting them involved often starts with grocery shopping: I usually ask each kid to pick out two vegetables and two types of fruit. Once they’ve taken the lead and feel empowered, they’re more likely to get excited about cooking the goodies they’ve selected.

My kids are old enough now that they are quite adept and independent in the kitchen. Lilah, my 10-year-old, likes to cook recipes from my book -- Old School Caesar and the Simple Almond Torte are her current favorites. My 14-year-old, Otis can whip up a salad dressing like it’s no one’s business and after his years spent in the Edible Schoolyard program, he’s actually taught me a few things, like how to make a killer homemade ricotta!

Buckwheat Zucchini Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

 cups 100% buckwheat flour
 cup oat flour (gluten-free folks: Make sure your oat flour is certified gluten-free!)
 teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon baking powder
teaspoon baking soda
teaspoon ground cinnamon
eggs, at room temperature
cups honey, melted and cooled
cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
tablespoons molasses
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 
cups packed shredded zucchini, patted dry with a paper towel
 cups chopped walnuts

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Book cover and muffin photos by Erin Scott; all other photos by James Ransom. Excerpted from the book Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore by Erin Scott. Reprinted by permission of Rodale Books, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sheela Prakash is a food and wine writer, recipe developer, and the author of Salad Seasons: Vegetable-Forward Dishes All Year and Mediterranean Every Day: Simple, Inspired Recipes for Feel-Good Food. Her writing and recipes can be found in numerous online and print publications, including Kitchn, Epicurious, Food52, Serious Eats, Tasting Table, The Splendid Table, Simply Recipes, Culture Cheese Magazine, Clean Plates, and Slow Food USA. She received her master's degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy, holds Level 2 and Level 3 Awards in Wines from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), graduated from New York University's Department of Nutrition and Food Studies, and is also a Registered Dietitian.