|Gluten-free fried zucchini chips with vegan dipping sauce.|
The Dog Days of Summer are upon us. Gardens are exploding. Vegetables are shiny fresh and happy. From A to Z, produce is queen. 'Tis the season of abundance. You know where I'm going with this, right? Need I say more, Dearest Reader? Do I really have to wax poetic and effusive about the humble cucurbita pepo known as zucchini? Do you crave another verbal celebration of le fabuleux courgette?
Perhaps I should invent a tale about some beatific Italian grandmother and what she used to do with weathered buckets of fresh-picked zucchina, transforming the green torpedoes (still cozy-warm from the sun) into melt-in-your-mouth garlic laced bliss. I could go all James Frey on ya and pretend I had a childhood that included actual, fresh picked produce (in full disclosure, there were potatoes) and not canned corn and fried bologna.
Because I didn't have an Italian grandmother.
Or a French grandmother.
The one I had on hand was Polish. And not only did she not grow vegetables, Darling, I sincerely wonder if she ever ate a vegetable in her long and prickly life of nine decades- beyond said canned corn and the occasional boiled potato. Instant Sanka, Russel Stover Assorted Creams, and Lucky Strikes were her three favored food groups. So I often find it ironic that I blog recipes and take pictures of food.
Though Dr. Freud, perhaps, would not exactly be surprised.
I've been reading the book Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth. It is a thought provoking read, and I highly recommend it. Though it is not for the faint of heart. There's stuff in there we don't necessarily want to hear, clinging as we do, to our assumptions.
Her gentle examination of our shallow culture and our collective obsession with appearance over spirit strikes a meaningful chord. How we all- to some degree- numb ourselves with one distraction or another to keep ourselves detached from living fully in the moment- be it counting cupcake calories or DVR-ing reality TV.
We are a culture living three feet from ourselves.
The painful truth about dieting as an addiction in and of itself, supporting a multi-billion dollar industry with an astonishing record of failure may be difficult to swallow at first (too scary-close to home) but as it sinks in, I find myself scratching through my initial resistance to a tangible sense of hope and freedom.
And I could not help but find parallels between sisters who wrestle with carbs or fat grams and sisters living gluten-free.
And some of us inhabit both camps.
Living gluten-free over time defines our body-mind-spirit- indeed our life- in terms of restriction and hyper-vigilance, even with the most positive, embracing, can-do spin on it, the bare bones fact is that every new day serves up dietary limitations and often, real, tangible scarcity. How we respond to this reality and regulate our lives delineates us. Patterns form and shape our behavior.
Food is emotionally charged with associations of comfort, denial, nourishment, rejection, love, acceptance, guilt, risk, pain. Food is more than just a cookie. And gaining weight is more than just eating said cookie. It's not about the food.
It's about who we are.
Living inside or outside of our body. Living inside or outside our head. It's about the health and wholeness and aliveness of our spirit. The resiliency and tenacity of our soul.
All this- in a culture unkind to imperfection, vulnerability, and aging.
How we eat reflects our core beliefs.
I'm pondering all of this. And I'll be chewing on the implications for some time to come.
As I (gently, kindly) work on a new skill- leaving behind the past, letting go with open hands, and living in the only moment we have. Which- by all accounts- is now.
And as I do my pondering, I'll be sharing more recipes that I love, from my imperfect kitchen.
Like these amazing gluten-free fried zucchini chips.
Comfort food redux from an imagined childhood.
|Zucchini chips and vegan dip. (Photo by Alexander Allrich)|
Gluten-Free Fried Zucchini Chips Recipe with Lime-Mint Dipping Sauce
The gluten-free combo of ground hazelnuts and brown rice flour gives these golden chips a subtle nutty flavor and delicate crunch. I used organic Canola oil to fry these, but you could also use grapeseed oil or any organic oil suitable for high heat cooking. Choose slender, smallish zucchini squash for these chips, not huge, fat zukes.
Organic Expeller-Pressed Canola oil or other high-heat cooking oil
1 cup ground hazelnut meal
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon organic garlic powder
4 slender, firm zucchini squash
1 large organic free-range egg, beaten
Heat about an inch and a half of Canola oil in a heavy bottomed skillet, over medium heat.
Meanwhile, in a shallow soup plate, whisk together the hazelnut meal, sorghum flour, sea salt and garlic powder. Set aside.
Wash and trim the zucchini squash. Evenly slice the squash on a slight diagonal to create 1/4-inch thick chips. Press and pat the slices with a paper towel and set aside.
Pour the beaten egg into a shallow bowl. Working in batches, dip each zucchini slice into the beaten egg, and allow excess to drip off. Dredge the coated slice in the gluten-free flour mixture, patting it to coat both sides.
When the oil is hot (about 325º to 350ºF), carefully place several zucchini slices into the hot oil and fry until they are golden brown on both sides. Don't overcrowd the pan- give the chips some space to sizzle and crisp up.
Use silicone-coated tongs to remove the chips, and place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Note: Keep a baking sheet lined with parchment paper in a 300ºF oven (especially if you are making several batches), and keep the fried chips warm until serving.
Serve immediately with a creamy dipping sauce. See my easy dipping sauce recipe below.
Yield: Serves 4
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
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|Lightly crunchy golden chips of veggie goodness.|
Vegan and Dairy-Free Lime-Mint Dipping Sauce
This light and creamy lime-mint sauce brings out the fresh green taste of tender zucchini chips. And it's a snap to make, thanks to Grapeseed Oil Vegenaise. I love using Vegenaise as a super quick base for non-dairy dips and sauces. It has a lovely bright taste that is not too tangy or mustardy. And it's not too sweet.
1/2 cup Vegenaise
Juice from half a lime
1 packed tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Combine the the Vegenaise, lime juice, fresh mint, sea salt and pepper. Taste test. Add more lime or mint, as you prefer.
Makes about a half cup of dairy-free dip.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
|Let the dipping begin. (Photo by Alexander Allrich)|
For substitution help, please see my guide to baking with substitutions here.