Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore

| August 19, 2014 | 1 Comment
  • 1 Comment

Yummy Supper by Erin Scott

It’s mid-August and the summer produce is rolling in strong, a perfect time for the release of Erin Scott’s first cookbook, Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore. Erin is a food photographer and writer who runs an award-winning blog (also called Yummy Supper) from her home in Berkeley where she lives with her husband and two children. Erin’s work celebrates the abundance of Bay Area food with such generosity and exuberance that it’s easy to forget the other important fact about Yummy Supper, one that you will find tucked away in curly brackets in the subtitle: all the recipes are gluten-free, or can be made gluten-free with a few basic, easy to find substitutes.

The curly brackets are important because they highlight the mission of the book: to make delicious, fun, celebratory food that just happens to be gluten-free. Erin was diagnosed six years ago with celiac disease but she isn’t interested in separating out the gluten-free eaters from everyone else. “I want Yummy Supper to feel inclusive,” she said when we spoke on the phone. “When I was first diagnosed, I felt excluded from all the joy and pleasure around food, especially living in the Bay Area. I felt like I had to live in my sad corner away from everyone else.”

Author Erin Scott. Photo: Erin Scott

Author Erin Scott. Photo: Erin Scott

“I’m not a picky eater. Before my diagnosis, I would have never had a conversation with a waiter about what I could eat. I would just order food and eat it. So I wanted my cooking at home and the cooking I shared with people to feel like there’s no worry, there’s no fear, there’s no separating. Let’s just eat together. Let’s eat really good delicious food together and not focus on the limitations.”

Yummy Supper fulfills Erin’s wishes by offering 100 delicious-sounding, easy to follow recipes. The book is divided into 10 sections: “Slurp” (beverages), “Egg,” “Veg,” “Sea,” “Butcher Shop,” “Grain and Seed,” “Nut,” “Fruit,” “Kid Favorites,” and a final “Odds and Ends” for salad dressings, a pot of beans, and an uncomplicated GF flaky pastry dough. There is truly something here for everyone, from the simple Watercress Salad with Balsamic Cherries to the more complex Pistachio Kebabs on Rosemary Skewers made with ground lamb, cumin and pistachios to a delightfully refreshing Honeydew Granita with Lemon Verbena and Lime.

Honeydew Granita with Lemon Verbena and Lime. Photo: Erin Scott

Honeydew Granita with Lemon Verbena and Lime. Photo: Erin Scott

Erin’s palate is fresh and adventuresome. It reflects and celebrates the flavors of the Bay Area with recipes such as her Bolinas Crab Pasta with Citrus and Mint or the amazing Candied Tomatoes which are best made with dry-farmed Early Girls, available now at most local farmers’ markets. But don’t think you can’t share this book with your GF sister-in-law in New Jersey!  Erin is careful to walk that thin line of celebrating our local bounty while making recipes accessible to the wider world, with maybe a minor adjustment here and there. 

“I really tried to walk that line, to make sure that there were recipes available to people who live in other places. There are so many other incredible foodsheds around the country and around the world where people are embracing their local food treasures. I would love to go to a place like Madison Wisconsin and explore what they’ve got going on right now. Amazing corn and tomatoes, I would imagine!”

Yummy Supper’s offerings are also influenced by the year Erin and her family spent traveling around the world. There are recipes using black and red rice, a stew from Bali made with chicken and vegetables and topped with fried shallot and cashews, and some intriguing millet crepes inspired by a rental kitchen in New Zealand. Another important thread is family and cooking with children. It’s clear from Erin’s photographs that her son and daughter are no strangers to the kitchen and many of the recipes are introduced with stories of their discoveries and delights in cooking and eating together. Her parents make appearances, too, with mentions of her mother’s influential organic garden and a trip to Tijuana with her father to hunt down the original Caesar salad.

Beyond being a collection of fresh, delicious, and inclusive recipes, Yummy Supper is also a beautiful book. It has a sturdy, satin-smooth soft cover, a good solid binding that lays flat on the counter, and an easy-to-read recipe format. But what’s most standout are the dozens of lush photographs taken by Erin herself, who is also a professional food photographer. In fact, Yummy Supper the blog grew up around her lifelong love of photography and sharing food.

“Photography is something I’ve dabbled in and I’ve always been interested in beauty and aesthetics and design but I never went further than that. I was just a very amateur photographer and an amateur home cook. When I started Yummy Supper, I thought it was important to have a visual element so I started shooting for the blog. My pictures at first were horrible. Horrible! I would just cringe! But I stayed with it and over time they got better. And even today, while I’m still learning, I feel that I’m able to express what I want with the images, which is really wonderful.”

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Yummy Supper is 100% Erin’s baby. She didn’t work with an art director or a food and prop stylist to produce her photographs, the team of people usually present on a cookbook photo shoot.

“It’s all me. I felt it was the best way to tell my story. I didn’t take the normal route and write all of the book first and then do all of the photography in a few rushed weeks at the end. I went through the year developing and honing the recipes and then shooting them as I went along. So I had the luxury of taking the year and going with the seasons.”

“I actually feel a little vulnerable these days, because I’m realizing that Yummy Supper is such a heartfelt love project. When I was making it, it was just me in that space but now that the book has come out, I’m beginning to realize that I’m sharing this with everybody.  Its a wild thing to put that much of my self into something. Hopefully it will be received in a loving way, too!”

Any final words?

“This is not a book only for people with celiac. Gluten-free has become a little polarizing and I don’t want people to feel polarized about food. I want them to feel inclusive and expansive. Yummy Supper offers the kind of food that everybody can enjoy.”

Erin generously shared her recipe from Yummy Supper for Candied Tomatoes. The recipe is a simple method for slow-roasting tomatoes until they are sweet and concentrated but still moist and juicy.  The tomatoes can then be popped into the freezer to be used in the darkest winter months for stews, soups, or anywhere the tangy-sweet flavor of a tomato would be appreciated. The recipe was especially developed to use dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes which can be found in large tumbling mounds all over Bay Area farmers’ markets in August and September.

I found this recipe quick and easy to follow. The tomatoes emerged wrinkled and shrunken and bursting with concentrated tomato sweetness. It really feels wonderful to have them tucked away in the freezer for those sad and dreary times when tomatoes aren’t in season.

A few notes: Erin’s line “I like to sprinkle on a bit of sugar or drizzle with agave nectar to enhance caramelization of the slow roast” makes this step sound more like a suggestion than a command, so you may hesitate. I recommend doing it, especially if your tomatoes are a little on the acidic side. I found I needed less than the 1.5 tablespoon recommended, however; just a few pinches were enough. Do be careful not to sprinkle too much sugar onto the baking sheet, however, as it is bound to burn in the 4-5 hours the tomatoes are in the oven.

Speaking of ovens, this is one of those recipes where you want to be sure your oven’s temperature is accurate since you really want the roast to be low and slow. Check the tomatoes in the beginning and lower the heat if they seem to be coloring too quickly. Also, if your oven has any hot spots, be sure to rotate the tray to ensure even cooking.

Brilliant recipe, Erin!  Thank you!

Candied Tomatoes. Photo: Erin Scott

Candied Tomatoes. Photo: Erin Scott

Recipe: Candied Tomatoes

There is nothing like the deep flavor of roasted tomatoes to combat the winter doldrums. You heard me right: I’m talking about tomatoes in winter. This recipe is all about taking advantage of summer produce at its peak and giving us access to summer delights well into the winter months.

If you are lucky enough to grow your own tomatoes, this is a perfect way to turn your bounty into an ingredient you can enjoy long after the summer sun has set. If you are like us and love tomatoes but don’t grow them yourself, don’t despair. When the days are hot and the time is right, go out and buy bags of your favorite local tomatoes. I hit the market in August and September, when our Northern California tomatoes are at their sweetest (and their prices are at their lowest), and I get to work candying dry-farmed Early Girls by the crateful. I toss them into freezer bags, and the juicy roasted tomatoes are ours to savor year-round.

Feel free to double or even quadruple this recipe. You won’t be sorry when you have a stash of sweet roasted tomatoes waiting for you in the freezer. See Candied Tomatoes put to use in these recipes: Pork Ragu and Cozy Winter Soup with Fennel Sausage, Leeks, White Beans, and Rapini.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

    Ingredients:

  • 4 pounds tomatoes (I’m partial to dry-farmed Early Girls–they may not look fancy, but the flavor is unbeatable)
  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or 1 tablespoon light agave nectar
    Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 250°F.
  2. Slice small or medium tomatoes in half and spread them out, face up, over a large baking sheet. (If you are using huge heirloom tomatoes, cut them into large wedges.) Lightly drizzle the olive oil over the tops of the tomatoes. Sprinkle with salt. I like to sprinkle on a bit of sugar or drizzle on a bit of agave nectar to enhance the caramelization of the slow roast. Slide the baking sheet into the warm oven.
  3. After 4 to 5 hours of roasting, your tomatoes will be ready. They will have shrunk in size significantly and the flavors will have concentrated. The tops will be caramelized, but the tomatoes will still be nice and juicy.
  4. If you’re like me, you’ll need to go ahead and eat some roasted tomatoes right away–they are hard to resist. Maybe make yourself a bowl of roasted tomato pasta with fresh basil, mozzarella, plenty of olive oil, and garlic. Or how about roasted tomato soup?

Tip: To save some Candied Tomatoes, fill a resealable plastic bag or two and store them in your freezer. When you pull them out in deep winter, you’ll smile as you taste a bit of summer.

Reprinted from Yummy Supper by Erin Scott. Copyright (c) 2014 by Erin Scott. By permission of Rodale Books. Available wherever books are sold.

Information

Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore by Erin Scott can be found at your local Bay Area Bookstore or online at Amazon.

Erin will be doing many Yummy Supper related events this fall, most notably a free book launch party at The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley on September 7.  Check out the Book Tour page on her website for more information.

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About the Author ()

Dana Velden grew up in the lush green suburbs of Wisconsin. Her earliest food memory is helping her grandfather slaughter and roast a delicious chicken for dinner. She was age 5. A man seriously ahead of his time, he also taught her to grow and eat kohlrabi and to make sourdough bread. She now lives in Oakland amongst apple, pear, lime, plum, apricot, persimmon and fig trees where she is working on her first book, a collection of essays about life in the kitchen, due out from Rodale in Fall, 2015. She has written for The Kitchn since 2008 and is a contributor to The Kitchn Cookbook, October 2014. Follow Dana on Instagram.
  • Philafiily

    Suzanne Somers included this in her cookbooks (minus the agave, which I don’t think is essential) and I’ve been making them for years. I usually keep a jar with some covered in olive oil in the fridge … they never did make it to the freezer! Also, if you do the same thing with halved cherry tomatoes and cook them a bit past the juicy stage, they’re a wonderful knibble. More satisfying that a potato chip, warm and chewy. Great tossed in pasta (gluten free) , salads and sandwiches ….