It's Time for Summer Salads

Half Moon Bay chef Amy Fothergill shares her best recipes for quick and easy dishes with an emphasis on gluten-free.

Summer is coming and fresh vegetables — in the stores, at the farmer's markets and in your garden — will be plentiful. It's time for summer salads.

Try this delicious salad as a side dish or even as a main. It's light and satisfying.

Use the ingredients list as a guide. If you don't have peppers, use what is on hand. If you don't like cilantro, it's fine not to use it at all; many people don't like it. Use any lettuce, even finely sliced cabbage. See the tip below for how to make your red onion a little mellower. Or see what's in your fridge, open a can of black beans, defrost some corn, and you have a delicious salad great for lunch or a party. Enjoy!

Black Bean, Corn and Arugula Salad

1/4 medium red onion, diced or sliced
1/2 cup pepidas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
2-3 cups arugula, washed
1 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen (and thawed)
1/2 - 1 ripe avocado, sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1 tomato, quartered
1-2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta, cojita or 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Juice from 1/2 lime
Optional: 1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar*

Soak onion in ice water in a small bowl for 5 minutes. Drain.

Toast pumpkin seeds in a small sauté pan without any oil. Cool.

Add salad ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Pour dressing ingredients into bowl and toss. Serve immediately.

*My kids aren't big fans of arugula — yet. For them, I would make this salad with spinach or romaine, put in their favorite veggies and add the little bit of sweet (honey or agave) to round out the acid from the vinegar and the lime. I have found that most kids like a little this in their salad, which is OK by me!


I have been in the kitchen since I was a little girl. After attending the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, I knew food and cooking was in my blood. I have worked in many different kitchens, big and small, with an emphasis on quality and customer service. During a hiatus from the culinary world, I spent 7 years working for a software company as an instructor, curriculum developer and sales consultant (but of course, I still cooked for family and friends).

After having two children of my own, my style changed to what I describe as family cooking; cooking healthy food which is easy to prepare and always tasty. I remember seeing friends struggle with cooking and wanted to help them. That was about the time I decided to merge my past two careers and become a culinary instructor.

Since the inception of The Family Chef, I was also faced with the challenge of managing a special diet for my children (and even myself). Never wanting them to feel deprived, I became an expert in creating gluten-free dishes as well as understanding how to make substitutions for dairy and eggs.
I teach cooking classes, provide consultations and presentations, write a blog and gluten-free column, and, in my spare time, am writing a gluten-free cookbook.

If you feel a little frazzled in the kitchen, want to have some fun cooking with friends, or need some new ideas, especially for special diets, contact me today for more information about my services. Or call 415-609-4206.


Upcoming Cooking Classes

Real Food Company, 3060 Fillmore Street, San Francisco
For more information and to sign up, call 415-567-6900 or visit their website.

Gluten-Free Brunch
Tues, May 29, 6 p.m.
Brunch is a meal that is usually full of foods off-limits to those on a gluten-free diet. This class will show you how to prepare good, gluten-free recipes that are perfect for a weekend get together. Learn a few tricks from Chef Amy Fothergill and impress your friends and family.

  • Whole grain waffles with caramelized bananas
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Smoked salmon, goat cheese and spinach omelets
  • Mini strawberry short cakes with vanilla whipped cream
  • Non-alcoholic Bloody Mary's

 Mediterranean Dinner Party
Wed, June 27, 6 p.m.

Long considered one of the most healthful diets on the planet, Mediterranean food also happens to be some of the tastiest! Learn some tips from Chef Amy Fothergill and party in style.

  • Crostini with tapanedes: kalamata olive and chick pea
  • Zucchini and arugula salad with shaved parmesan
  • Baked fish with rosemary, cherry tomatoes and potato
  • Almond cake

Whole Foods, Los Altos
To sign up, click here or call 650-559-0300.

Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California 5% donation day

Gluten-free Cooking

Wed, May 30, 6 p.m.

Come and help support the Celiac Community Foundation of Northern California. 5% of all purchases will be donated to the foundation so come in and shop! Chef Amy will be teaching a gluten-free cooking class, sharing her secrets to how she leads a gluten-free lifestyle.

  • Caesar salad with gluten-free croutons
  • Margherita pizza
  • Chicken teriyaki over rice noodles
  • Lemon shortbread

New Leaf Community Market, Half Moon Bay, Everyday Gourmet Classes

To register, call 831.466.9060 x 126 or register on-line here.

Gluten-Free Baking Basics

Tues, June 26, 6 p.m.

When it comes to eating gluten-free, baked items are one of the biggest challenges. Chef Amy Fothergill will teach you her secrets to successful gluten-free baking with more flavor and less fuss.

  • Whole grain bread
  • Banana muffins
  • Chocolate cupcakes

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