Source: Kumquat Blog
We are so excited about this month’s “Dishing with” guest, Gretchen Brown. As a registered dietitian, recipe developer, experienced food stylist and cookbook author, she truly is a culinary leader. After studying nutrition at Baylor University in Texas and Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Gretchen traded in her white lab coat for a successful career in the culinary world.
Gretchen has nearly two decades of experience testing recipes and styling food for cookbooks and culinary magazines. In 2011, she started her own blog called Kumquat. Her popular site features delicious and comforting gluten-free recipes, complete with beautiful photography, of course. Several years ago, Gretchen co-created an annual invitation-only blogger retreat, where established and aspiring food bloggers can hone their food photography skills.
We love Gretchen’s website so much, we caught up with her to learn more about her passion for gluten-free recipes and her love of seafood.
Tell us about your blog.
I blog at kumquatblog.com, an exclusively gluten-free food blog that is devoted to the belief that gluten-free food can and should be easy to prepare, wholesome, and delicious enough for everyone. I have a particular passion for gluten- and grain-free baking, with the hope of bringing joy and delight to gluten-free eaters.
Why do you love seafood?
As a home cook, I love seafood because it is so quick and easy to prepare. Seafood is the simplest protein to incorporate into so many different cuisines and flavors, and it allows a tasty dinner to grace the table without too much effort in the kitchen. As a mom, I love knowing my kids are getting a nutritious dose of high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fats. We are big fans of brain health at our house, and fish oil plays a key role in that.
What is your favorite seafood dish to make at home or order at a restaurant?
I am especially fond of a simple piece of salmon. I love it roasted with fresh dill and lemon. It is so simple, I know, but so delicious and satisfying in its simplicity. I’ve also recently fallen in love with hot-smoked salmon. It’s a piece of fish that’s firmer than its cold-smoked counterpart, but it’s so full of flavor. I’ve been topping all of my lunches with it lately…salads, bagels, crackers – I can’t get enough!
What’s next on your “must-make” or “must-order” seafood list?
I have a Gluten-Free Tempura Shrimp dish in my cookbook that I haven’t made in years! It isn’t easy to find gluten-free tempura in restaurants, so I had to come up with my own version. My kids loved it, with its light, crunchy breading and sweet chili sauce. It’s been too long!
What are your tips for people who might be intimidated by the idea of preparing seafood at home?
Don’t be afraid to talk to the fishmongers behind the seafood counter at your grocery store. They are a wealth of knowledge for helping you know which fish to choose for your dinner plan, how to make substitutions if the fish you want isn’t available, and ways to broaden your horizons through new seafood ideas you might just end up loving. Start simple with a mild-flavored whitefish or shrimp – they are both delicious and full of flavor – and go with the most-basic recipe of salt, pepper and lemon. And remember, seafood is really so fast to prepare!
Any words of wisdom for parents who have picky eaters? How did you get your kids to eat seafood?
Darker, oily fish may be a flavor that your children will grow into, while many mild whitefish have a lighter taste and can be easily used in soups, tacos, sandwiches and pastas. I’ve found that if the fish is just a part of the whole dish (like in a soup or a pasta), as opposed to being a fillet on a plate, my kids won’t think much about it. The kids are big fans of tartar sauce, too, which makes the darker fish, like salmon, a tastier bite for them.