Berkeley cook proves gluten-free makes for Yummy Suppers

Serious cooking — and eating — can be deliciously gluten-free. As it can be vegetarian, or vegan, or any other dietary construct you choose to adopt. At the heart of it all is fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables.

On a recent sunny Sunday in Berkeley, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of Erin Scott’s new cookbook, “Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious, & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore,” which celebrates gluten-free foods with a California flair. Basking in the glory of the Edible Schoolyard founded by Alice Waters, slurping a honeydew-lime-lemon verbena popsicle (recipes in the book!) while thumbing through the recipes, I wondered what motivates this mother of two.

“I started cooking because I love to eat,” says Erin, who learned to cook at her mother’s apron strings. “Food has always been a great source of pleasure in my life, and being able to feed myself well meant I could easily tap into an endless font of joy.”

Rocked by a diagnosis of celiac disease several years ago, Erin boldly reclaimed her passion for the culinary arts, and now shares her successes on her blog (yummysupper.blogspot.com).

The Yummy Supper cookbook, although not totally vegetarian, is brimming with delectable recipes that rejoice in fresh, seasonal produce, and many of the recipes are easily adapted to meat- or animal-free versions.

“Cooking is also an amazing way to bring happiness and health to other peoples’ bellies as well,” Erin says. “I love cooking for my family, my friends, and now with the cookbook and blog I have these wonderful vehicles to share recipes I adore with a bigger audience — spreading the love I guess you could say!”

Like many chefs and home cooks, Erin gets her inspiration from the local farmers market: “All that color, vibrancy and bounty makes me want to run to the kitchen and cook. I think those of us who shop at the farmers market (or grow our own food) see that with lovingly grown ingredients we don’t need fancy cooking techniques to make a really wonderful, healthful meal.

“My goal is to manipulate the raw ingredient as little as possible, to simply honor the honest real flavor of the fruit or veggie and let it speak for itself at the table. If we buy wonderful produce, we can eat really, really well with little fuss! I love that.”

Recipes that capture the sunshine

With summer waning, I thought it fitting to prolong the season a bit longer with a vibrant heirloom tomato soup Erin has appropriately called “Sunshine Soup.” Just grab yourself a nice selection of heirloom tomatoes at your local farmers market (or from your garden), and you’re on your way to a easy, refreshing meal. (I even used some of it on pasta!) Here’s the recipe, excerpted from Erin Scott’s “Yummy Supper: 100 Fresh, Luscious, & Honest Recipes from a {Gluten-Free} Omnivore.”

Sunshine Soup

Sunshine Soup from the Yummy Supper cookbook. Photos: Kristi Garrett

Sunshine Soup

serves 4

For the soup:
7-8 cups mixed heirloom tomatoes cut into large wedges
2 large bell peppers or 8-10 smaller Gypsy peppers (mixed yellow, red, and orange), seeded and halved
1/2 cup loosely packed whole fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Pinch of freshly ground white pepper

Toppings (optional):
1/4 pepitas
Chopped basil leaves (Kristi’s note: I used Thai basil in mine; one of my favorites if I can find it)
Dollop of creme fraiche (Kristi used Tofutti sour cream)
Garlicky croutons
Chile oil or red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Erin’s instructions:

Place the tomatoes, peppers, and 1/2 cup basil leaves in a 13″x9″ ceramic or glass roasting dish. Pour the olive oil over the veggies and season with salt to taste. I use a teaspoon of salt myself. Give the goodies a toss with your hands, if you are so inclined. I find that hands do a much better job than any spoon.

Roast the veggies for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes and peppers are tender, juicy, and just hinting at a char around the edges. Let everything cool to room temp.

Puree the vegetables thoroughly in a standing blender or food processor. (I use my standing blender and do the pureeing in a few batches.) Season with additional salt and some ground white pepper.

Serve with pepitas, chopped basil, creme fraiche, and/or garlicky croutons, as it pleases you. Add chile oil or red-pepper flakes if you like it spicy.

Get familiar with more of Erin’s fresh, yummy recipes on her blog, and pick up a copy of Yummy Supper in the Little Green Wheelbarrow store.

Kristi Garrett

Kristi Garrett is the Publisher, Editor and Chief Veggie Enthusiast of Little Green Wheelbarrow. After 16 years in journalism and corporate communications, she figures it's time to get some dirt under her nails.

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