Friday, July 31, 2020

RECIPE: Chickpea and Fresh Herb Fatteh

This recipe is perfect for when the farm store is full of fresh herbs!

It's a lot of work, but it doesn't take long (if you exclude the time it takes to soak the chickpeas) and it's irresistibly good!  I serve it with the pita chips on the side, and with Spicy Baked Chicken Tenders  using za'atar instead of BBQ spices. 

Original Recipe: How to turn bread into a great meal

Chickpea and Fresh Herb Fatteh 
with optional Spicy Chicken Tenders
Serves 4-6

For the Salad
  • 12oz dried chickpeas (or two 29oz cans, drained, and skip to step 3.)
  • 2.5 t. baking soda
  • 1 round pita (about 3.5oz), pocket opened, and roughly torn into 1-inch pieces (or 4 gluten free tortillas, whole).
  • 5 T. EVOO
  • 1 T. Za'atar
  • 3/4 c. packed roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3/4 c. packed roughly chopped fresh parsley leaves and tender stems
  • 2/3 c. roughly chopped fresh chives
  • 2.5 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed in a garlic press
  • 1 t. cumin seeds, toasted, then roughly crushed
For the Tahini Sauce
  • 1/3 c. tahini
  • 1.5 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed in a garlic press
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1/4 - 1/2c water
For the Chile Oil
  • 2.5 T. EVOO
  • 2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1 t. sweet paprika

Himalayan pink salt and pepper

1. Place the dried chickpeas and 1.5 t. baking soda in a large bowl.  Top with enough cold water to cover by about 3cm, and let soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.

2. Drain the chickpeas well and add them to a large saucepan along wit the remaining 1 t. baking soda.  Add 1.5 quarts (6 cups) water.  Brink to a simmer over medium-high heat, then lower the heat to medium and let cook until chickpeas are soft but retain a slight bite, 30-3 minutes.

3. Heat the oven to 375F.

4. (If you're using canned chickpeas, add them to a large saucepan with 4 cups water and bring to simmer over medium heat.) Add 1.25t. of the salt and continue cooking until the chickpeas are super tender, 5-10 minutes more.  Use a slotted spoon to set aside 1/2 c. strained cooked chickpeas.  Keep the rest warm on low heat until ready to serve.

5. While the chickpeas are cooking, prepare the toppings:  Spread 1 t. oil on a large baking sheet and then line it with parchment.  The oil will keep the parchment 'stuck' to the pan.  Toss the pita with 2 T. oil, za'atar, 1/4 t. salt, and a good grind of pepper, and spread out on the parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake until golden and crisp, tossing halfway through, about 12 minutes.  Set aside.

NOTE: If you're using gluten-free tortillas, lay 6 of them on the parchment, rub 1/4 t. oil on each one and sprinkle with za'atar, salt and pepper.  Bake for 8 minutes, rotate pan and bake an additional 2-4 minutes.  Break them over the dish when you're ready to serve it.

6. Make the tahini sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk the tahini, lemon juice and garlic with 1/4 - 1/2 c. water and 1/4 t. salt until smooth and pourable.  Depending on the brand of tahini you use you may need more or less water so add it 1-2 T at a time.  The tahini sauce will thicken as it sits.

7. Make the chili oil: Add the oil and red pepper flakes to a small frying pan.  Heat over medium until gently bubbling and fragrant, about 4 minutes., then add the paprika and remove from the heat.  Set aside.

8. When ready to serve, add the reserved chickpeas to a food processor along with the fresh herbs, 2.5T. lemon juice, the garlic, cumin, 1/4 t. salt, a good grind of pepper, and the remaining 3 T. EVOO.  Blitz until smooth, then transfer to a large mixing bowl.

9. Drain the warm chickpeas using a sieve set over a bowl.  Add the chickpeas and 3/4 c. of their liquid to the herb mixture , mixing well to combine.  You want the chickpeas to be well coated and the whole mixture to be saucy but not overly wet. Add a couple more tablespoons of chickpea liquid if necessary, and discard the remaining.

10. Transfer to a large platter with a lip.  Drizzle lightly with some of the tahini sauce, then all of the chili oil.  Sprinkle half of the pita and serve warm, with the extra tahini and toasted pita alongside.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

RECIPE: Toby's Chocolate Maple Syrup

As you may have noticed, I don't make many desserts.  I PLAN to - I save recipes for them all the time - but I never get around to actually making them.  When we entertain, I will SOMETIMES pull something together, usually chocolate mousse which is easy and can be made ahead; but, more often than not, when our guests ask whether they can contribute something to the meal I ask them to bring dessert.  Usually, they bring ice cream, which is my husband's FAVORITE dessert.

Last month, he bought an ice cream maker.  We made one batch of vanilla to test the machine and he liked it so I guess we're keeping it.  It's the kind where you store the bowl in the freezer.  I think it's a pain, partially because it takes up a LOT of room in our already filled-to-the-brim freezer, and partially because when you decide you want to make ice cream you have to chill the mixture 1-2 hours before churning it, so you really have to plan ahead, something I'm not very good at.

ANYWAY...a few weeks ago one of the farm apprentices gave us some homemade strawberry jam made with maple syrup (isn't that a great idea?!?).  I thought it would be delicious over ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce, and so did my husband, so tonight we made that happen.

While he made the ice cream, I whipped up this quick and easy chocolate syrup.  The recipe was given to me by my friend, Toby.

Toby's Chocolate Maple Syrup
Makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 T. cacao powder
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup, more or less

In a small bowl mix the cacao powder with 1-2 TEASPOONS of maple syrup until you have a lump-free paste.  I used a small spatula and pressed the lumps against the side of the bowl to break them up.

Gradually add in the remainder of the maple syrup.  TASTE as you go!  Depending on the bitterness of  your cacao and the sweetness of your maple syrup, you may need either more or less of the maple syrup.  The goal is just enough to cut the bitterness of the cacao but no so much that the chocolate flavor is obliterated.

You can eat it cold, but I prefer it warm.  Heat in a small saucepan over very low heat until just warm.

To make a sundae, fill a small bowl with ice cream, dollop fruit jam on top, and drizzle with the warm syrup.  Yum!!

If there are any leftovers, store them in the refrigerator.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

RECIPE: German Carrot Salad with Honey and Dill

I love cooked carrots, but my husband doesn't.  He loves raw carrots, so I look for unusual ways to prepare them.  This recipe is super easy and uses the dill that was in the farm store last week.  I really like the recipe, but my husband isn't crazy about it.  Go figure.

My recipe is a combination of several I've seen online.

German Carrot Salad with Honey and Dill

Serves 2 - 4

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 T. fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 4 cups grated carrots

I grated the carrots on a fine microplane grater, which made the pieces very small and thin.  I LOVED the texture but I suspect that's why my husband wasn't thrilled with it - it didn't have the substance a larger grate would have. 

If you grate the carrots finely, they will be 'fluffy,' and one cup will mush down to 2 cups when you add the dressing.  If you grate them coarsely, 4 cups will not mush down and will feed 4 people.

fluffy finely grated carrots!

In a medium bowl, whisk everything except the carrots.

Add the carrots and toss gently to combine.

If you grate the carrots finely, you can serve this right way, but it's better a few hours later when the flavors have had time to meld. 

RECIPE: Austrian Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill

There are a dozen versions of this recipe online, all of them similar to this one, and ALL of the comments include at least one person claiming that their grandmother salted the cucumbers before mixing them with the sour cream.  One person claimed that her mother placed the cucumbers in a colander, salted them and then covered them with ice cubes.  Once the ice cubes melted, the cucumbers were ready to use. 

Feel free to do that, if you prefer, but I never do.

Cucumber Salad with Sour Cream and Dill
(aka gurkensalat)
Serves 4

  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 t. Dijon mustard
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. milk or water
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 2 T. fresh dill, minced
  • 3 small cucumbers or 1 English cucumber washed
  • 1/2 c. red onion, sliced paper thin

In a medium bowl, whisk together everything except the cucumbers and onions.

Slice the cucumbers about 1/16" thick.  I've read that the Austrians slice the cucumbers thicker than the German's, who slice them paper thin.  As you can see in the photo below, mine are not paper thin.

Add the sliced cucumbers and onions to the sour cream mixture, then toss gently to combine.

Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.  The cucumbers and onions will soften and release some of their juices into the dressing, which makes the cucumbers crisp and the dressing a little looser.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

RECIPE: Creamy Balsamic Dressing

There is so much beautiful lettuce in the farm store at this time of year that I've been looking for interesting dressing to serve it with.  This one is a little better than merely mixing balsamic and olive oil.  I changed the preparation slightly.

Creamy Balsamic Dressing
Makes 1 1/4 cup

2 T. honey
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, grated*
1 t. himalayan pink salt
1/4 t. cayenne
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
3/4 c. olive oil

*If you don't want to grate the garlic clove, you can puree it in a mortar and pestle with the salt.

Combine the honey, mustard, garlic, salt, cayenne and vinegar in a pint jar and mix well.

Pour the olive oil into the jar and let it rest 2-3 minutes to rise to the surface. 

Insert an immersion blender to the bottom of the jar and turn it on.  Allow the blender to gradually draw the oil in until it's emulsified.  It should take about 10 seconds.  Don't over-blend or you will damage the oil.

Cover and store n the refrigerator, but know that it will solidify and you will need to give it time to come to room temperature before you use it. 

The salad shown below was delicious!  Arugula, sun dried cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced scallions, and this dressing! 

RECIPE: "Sun" Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow and Red

The farm's cherry tomatoes are starting to ripen, so now is a good time to share this recipe.

I have been unable to find sun dried tomatoes using healthy ingredients (organic EVOO and sea salt),  so I decided to make my own.  I use the cherry tomatoes our farm grows because the paste tomatoes are usually too large.  Cherry tomatoes, on the other hand, don't need to be chopped before use because they're already bite size!

They can be made in an oven or a dehydrator.   

I have a friend who doesn't  like tomato seeds so I tried making these once without the pulp and they ended up being nothing but a crunchy shell.  You need the pulp to create bulk.

(This is the recipe I started with, but she uses roma/plum tomatoes: Oven Dried Tomatoes in Olive Oil)

"Sun" Oven Dried Cherry Tomatoes
Makes as much as you have tomatoes

  • Cherry tomatoes - red, yellow, or grape*
  • Salt


Cut each tomato in half and arrange on a baking sheet or dehydrator tray.  Sprinkle with salt.

If you're using an oven, roast at the lowest temperature your oven will allow, turning the pans occasionally, until the tomatoes are leathery.  If you take them beyond this point, all the way to crunchy, they will make a delicious snack (tomato chips!) but you will not be able to rehydrate them, ever.

Dehydrator trays - notice how green the orange tomatoes are

If you're using a dehydrator, they need 2-3 days at 135F to reach the leathery stage.  As above, if you take them beyond this point, all the way to crunchy, they will make a delicious snack (tomato chips!) but you will not be able to rehydrate them.

By 'leathery' I mean that the moisture has left but they are still pliable.  They will shrink a LOT!

Oven tray before and after

I have made them both ways (oven and dehydrator) and oven is definitely faster but you have to be vigilant because they go from leather to crisp very fast.  In the photo above, some of them are a bit too dark and crunchy!  I prefer the dehydrator.

At this point, they can be frozen or stored in EVOO (in your refrigerator).

When I use them, I don't rehydrate them, I just toss them into whatever I'm making.

* I pick the tomatoes when they're still a bit green inside as they survive the trip home much better.  I then let them ripen at room temperature.  For drying, I actually prefer them when they're green because I like the sour pop they provide when I add them to a dish. The fully ripe ones are sweeter, so I generally make both.

I used them in the salad shown below.  Arugula salad with sun dried cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced scallions with creamy balsamic dressing.

Monday, July 20, 2020

RECIPE: KFC Copycat Coleslaw using Chinese Cabbage

There was cabbage in the farm store today!! 

I have to admit that I've never had KFC coleslaw ( gave up fast food decades ago!).  However, when I researched recipes for coleslaw, this one seemed to be the flavor-profile I was after and it IS delicious, whether it's just like KFC's version or not.  It's good right after you mix it, but it's better the next day.

The cabbage in the farm store today was Chinese, which isn't typically used to make coleslaw, but it's what I had so I used it.

Original Recipe: KFC Coleslaw Recipe

KFC Copycat Coleslaw
Makes 1/2 gallon

8 cups finely diced cabbage (about 1 head)
1/4 c diced carrot (about 1 carrot)
2 T. minced yellow onions (I used scallions)
1/4 c. sugar (do not use sucanat)
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk
1 1/2 T. apple cider vinegar
2 1/2 T. lemon juice

Combine cabbage, carrots and onions in a large bowl and mix well.

Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and mix well.  Pour over vegetables and mix thoroughly.

Cover and refrigerate several hours, or overnight. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

RECIPE: Pressure Cooker Lamb Curry

I found this recipe online and was surprised at how good it was!  The lamb I used was from a local farm and, although it was labeled "stew meat," it had BONES!  After 20 minutes in the pressure cooker, the meat was so tender it was falling off them. 

I don't have an Instant Pot so I adjusted the recipe to use a pressure cooker.  Ours is a Fissler Vitaquick, and I LOVE it!  Mine came with a 4-quart pot and an 8-quart pot, one pressure cooker lid, and one glass lid.  The pots nest so I'm able to store all 4 pieces in the space of one pot. 

For this recipe I used the 4-quart pot and it was perfect. 

Pressure Cooker Lamb Curry
Serves 4

  • 1 pound lamb leg steak, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 T. ghee
  • 1 medium onions, chopped
  • 1" ginger, grated
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 T. tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. coconut milk    
  • 3/4 cup water, divided
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 t. garam masala
  • 1/2 t. turmeric powder
  • 1/4 t. cayenne powder
  • 1 t. paprika
  • 1/2 t. ground cardamom
  • Garnish:
  • 2 T. cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 t lime juice

In the bottom of your pressure cooker, over medium heat, melt the ghee and saute onion, garlic and ginger for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste and 1/4 c water.  Stir to deglaze pan.  Add spices and stir well.

Add coconut milk, the rest of the water, and the lamb.  Stir.

Following the instruction on your unit, seal the lid on the pressure cooker, bring up to pressure, and cook for 20 minutes. 

Turn off the heat and let the pressure release naturally.  Remove the lid.

Add the chopped cilantro and the lime juice, and serve. 

We had it with basmati with scallions, and senposai paneer

I won't be buying that lamb again, but I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

RECIPE: Grilled Pork Kebabs with Fennel, Cumin and Coriander

If you don't already, you should subscribe to the NY Times Recipe Feed .  Many of their recipes are subscription-only, but a few are accessible to everyone, and they have unlocked more of them during this COVID-19 pandemic.  The recipe that inspired this one came through on that feed.

I made it as written and wasn't happy with the method (my food processor did NOT want to puree such a small amount) so I made a few changes.

Grilled Pork Kebabs with Fennel, Cumin and Coriander
Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 T. fennel seeds
  • 1 T. cumin seeds
  • 1 T. coriander seedsJuice and zest from 1/2 lime
  • 1/14 cup cilantro leaves and tender stems plus more for serving
  • 2 T. soy sauce, wheat-free Tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 jalapeno chile, frozen and grated
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1 pork tenderloin, about 1.5 pounds, cleaned
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced, for serving.

In a dry frying pan on medium heat, toast the seeds until they're fragrant and slightly browned.  Cool.  Crush lightly in a mortar and pestle.  Transfer to a small bowl.

Mince the cilantro leaves until they're almost pureed, then combine them with the soy sauce, garlic, chile and honey.  Stir in the crushed spices. 

Add everything except the pork and red onion and stir to combine.

Cut the pork into 1" pieces and mix with the marinade, tossing to coat each chunk.  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Heat a grill or broiler with a rack positioned 4" from the heat source.  Thread the pork onto skewers leaving a little space between each cube. Grill over the highest heat possible, or broil on high, for 2-5 minutes, then flip the skewers and continue cooking until the meat is browned and charred in spots. it should be just cooked through, slightly pink in the center.

I didn't bother with skewers - I just spread the cubes out on a rimmed sheet and turned them with tongs.

Serve with cilantro sprigs and onion slices.  I skipped the red onion and served it with mayonnaise and cilantro-jalapeno sauce.   On the side, I served sauteed celeriac.  My husband complains that celeriac always looks better than it tastes, but I love it!

NOTE: Cutting the pork into cubes meant it cooked very fast, and evenly, which is a good thing.  Next time I may try cooking the tenderloin whole. 


RECIPE: Kielbasa, Senposai, and Aduki Bean Soup

I needed a quick dinner tonight, and wanted to use senposai, but there are precious few recipes for it on the internet so I decided to co-opt a recipe I'd made last year but substitute senposai for the kale.  I also subbed in aduki beans for the white beans because we've been eating so many white beans lately that I wanted a change!

Original recipe:  Kale, Kielbasa and White Bean Soup

Kielbasa, Senposai and Aduki Bean Soup
Serves 8

30 small leaves of senposai, stems removed and discarded
1 pound kielbasa sausage, sliced thin
1 bunch green onions, sliced
6 cups broth (I used a combination of veal and chicken)
2 cans (15.5 oz) aduki beans, with their liquid
2 t. himalayan pink salt
1 t. minced fresh rosemary leaves
OPT: 1/4 t. cayenne or to taste

Roll senposai leaves into tight tubes and cut crosswise into 1/4" strips.  Slice each roll in half or you will have strings of senposai that could be eaten like spaghetti!

Heat oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Cook kielbasa in hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes.  Stir in green onion and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add senposai and cook until it wilts, about 3 minutes.

Pour chicken broth over, add beans and stir.  Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer until senposai is completely tender, about 15 minutes.

Adjust seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

RECIPE: Cold Cauliflower Soup with Roasted Pepper Puree

This soup is so pretty - creamy white with a red swirl - that I've served it as an appetizer at Christmastime.  Because it's served cold, it's also a great make-ahead starter for any 'company' meal, and it's wonderful when the weather is really hot because it's RAW, so all you need to prepare it is a blender.

This recipe can NOT be doubled because it won't fit in the blender, but I will often make two batches (to use up the whole cauliflower) and then combine them..

I normally serve it with roasted red pepper puree, but tonight I had mine with leftover lovage oil (it's also good with pesto or pistou), and my husband had his with chili orange oil

In the photo below, I served it with carrot salad with harissa and mint haloumi, and cucumber salad, for a cool meal on a hot day.

Cold Cauliflower Soup with Red Pepper Puree
Makes about 4 cups

  • 1/2 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup water
  • 2/3 cups cashews
  • 2 t. onion powder, or 2 T. onion flakes
  • 1 clove garlic, grated, or 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 T. honey
  • pinch white pepper
  • Himalayan pink salt to taste
For serving: Roasted Pepper Puree (see recipe below)

Put the cashews into your blender jar and add the water.  Let them soak a few minutes to soften, while you break up the cauliflower. 

Remove the stem and all the leaves from the cauliflower, then remove any brown or discolored spots.  Chop it up and measure out 2 cups.  Add to the blender jar along with all the other ingredients (except the red pepper puree which you will use when you serve it).

Blend until smooth.  I used to make this in a regular (Waring) blender and it seemed like it took FOREVER to get creamy.  I had to stop it periodically to scrape down the sides.  It did eventually get there, though, so if you don't have a high power blender, just hang in there.

In a high powered blender, like a Vitamix or Blendtec, it shouldn't take more than 2 minutes.  If you press the "soup" button, it will heat the soup, and I prefer to eat this cold, so I just use the 'puree' button.  Stop once and scrape down the sides.

Pour into soup cups or bowls, drizzle with red pepper puree (or lovage oil, or pesto, or pistou, or chili orange oil, and serve.  (For Valentines day, pour a dot of red pepper puree in the center and then use a toothpick to drag out a heart shape.)

Roasted Pepper Puree
Makes 1/2 cup

  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers with their liquor*
  • 1/4 cup safflower oil or light cream (I've used both, but the photo shows oil)
  • 1 t. lemon juice
  • pinch cayenne powder
  • pinch himalayan pink salt

This is much easier to make if you have a small jar that your immersion blender head JUST fits into.  I use a Weck terrine jar. 

Combine all ingredients in a 1/2-pint jar and use an immersion blender to create a puree.  Do not over-blend or the EVOO will become bitter.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve to remove any large pieces.

If you don't have an immersion blender, use a coil whisk to puree the peppers, and then gradually blend in the oil/cream until you have an emulsion.  The quantity is too small for either a blender or a food processor.

* If you roast your own peppers, you can make this with any color.  I have made it with yellow peppers, orange peppers, and red peppers, and then layered them on top of the soup.  The photo below is from a party we hosted many years ago where this was offered as a serve-yourself appetizer.

Monday, July 13, 2020

RECIPE: White Bean Salad that Tastes Like Tuna?

Hmmm.  The original recipe sounded good - chickpeas made into a salad that tastes like tuna.  Unfortunately, it doesn't taste anything like tuna salad!  But, it tastes good, and I make it often because it's a quick meal, wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

Original Recipe: Chickpea of the Sea

Lemony White Bean Salad
Serves 4-6

  • 1 28oz can of white beans, drained
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 large onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 t. Dijon mustard
  • Zest and juice from 1 small lemon
  • 1 t. chopped fresh dill
  • 1/8 t. ground bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, mash the beans slightly.  Add the celery and onion.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Fold the dressing into the beans and taste for seasoning. 

Sunday, July 12, 2020

RECIPE: Carrot Salad with Harissa and Mint Haloumi

The original recipe for this salad called for feta; but, our farm is now selling mint haloumi, so I decided to use that instead and it was delicious!  If you can't get haloumi, use feta instead.

Carrot Salad with Harissa and Mint Haloumi
Serves 4 as a side dish.
  • 3/4 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed, and coarsely grated
  • 4 T. olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 t. ground caraway seeds
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin seeds
  • 1/2 t. paprika
  • 3/4 t. harissa (I used 1.5 teaspoons*)
  • 1/2 t. sugar
  • 3 T. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. Himalayan pink salt
  • 2 T. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 T. fresh mint, finely chopped, or 1 t. dried

I used a box grater to grate my carrots, and they're much smaller pieces than the ones in the original recipe, which were grated in a food processor.  I prefer carrot salads made with a finer grate (juicer pulp is best!) even though the larger grate looks better in pictures.

Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium heat and add the garlic, caraway, cumin, paprika, harissa, and sugar.  If you're using dried mint, add that, too.  Saute until fragrant, just to take the raw edge off the garlic, 1-2 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and salt.

Pour over the carrots and mix.  Add the herbs and mix.  Leave to infuse for one hour.

Add the feta, mix and serve.

* I make our harissa with cayenne pepper, which is fairly mild, and I use many other spices, so ours may not be as hot as a purchased harissa (I can't say for sure, because I've never bought one, but the ones I've had in North African restaurants were SEARINGLY hot!)  Adjust the quantity in this recipe based on your heat tolerance, and the amount of heat in your harissa.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

RECIPE: Risotto with Red Chard, Leeks, Garlic Scapes, Tarragon, Cream and Walnuts

I have made this with pasta many times, it's one of my favorite way to use swiss chard (the other is this recipe, with white beans).  Last night, to change things up, I made it as risotto.

Risotto with Red Chard, Leeks, Garlic Scapes, Tarragon, Cream and Walnuts
Serves 6-8

  • 4 T. ghee or EVOO, divided
  • 10 garlic scapes sliced into 1" pieces
  • 1 c. minced leek, white and light green part only (I use onions when I'm out of leeks)
  • 1 pound swiss chard, preferably red, stems cut from leaves and both chopped into thin slices
  • 1/4 t. pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 c. broth (I use veal broth, vegetarians can use water)
  • 1.5 cups short grain rice (sushi, arborio, carnaroli, or vialone nano)6-8 cups liquid (water, broth, or a mixture)
  • 1-2 t. himalayan pink salt (more or less depending on whether you use salted broth)

  • 2 T. minced fresh tarragon (you can use parsley if you don't have tarragon)
  • 2/3 - 1 c. heavy cream
  • 3 T. toasted walnut halves, broken into small pieces (I use soaked and dehydrated)
  • Parmesan  or Asiago cheese (optional)

In a skillet set over medium heat, melt 1 T. ghee and saute garlic scapes until softened and slightly charred.

Reduce heat to moderately low and melt remaining 1 T. ghee, add leek, chard stems, and salt and pepper to taste. Cut a round piece of waxed paper to fit the size of your skillet and place it over the vegetables. Cover the skillet with a lid and cook for 5 minutes.

Remove the cover and waxed paper. Now add the chard leaves, red pepper flakes, and broth,  Replace the parchment and cover and simmer the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes more.  Transfer to a small bowl.   

Increase heat to medium, add 2 T. EVOO to the pan and saute the rice until it's opaque. 

Add 1/2 cup* of broth/water and increase heat to high.  Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until you can see the pan bottom as you stir.  Add another 1/2 cup water/broth and continue in this manner for 10 minute, adding 1/2 cup liquid whenever you can see the pan bottom.  After 10 minutes, the rice should be half cooked: the outside of each kernel should be translucent, and the center should be opaque.

Add the salt (if using) and the reserved chard mixture to the rice.

Add 1/2 cup of broth/water and continue as before for another 8 minutes.  You may need more or less water depending on how old your rice is and how hot your burner is. 

The rice should be almost done now.  Only a very small dot of opacity should remain in the center of each kernel.

Reduce the heat to medium and add the cream and the tarragon.  Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes until the rice is cooked and the cream has been incorporated. 

Serve sprinkled with chopped walnuts and grated cheese.  (I served it with carrot salad).

* If your burner doesn't get very hot, you will need to add the water 1/4 cup at a time so that the temperature of the liquid doesn't drop too drastically with each addition.  Your burner should be able to maintain a good simmer after each addition of liquid.  If your burner is very weak, you will need to heat the liquid before adding it.

At this point, I would like to tell you that the leek I used for this dish had been in our fridge for 10 months.  Yes, almost a year!  Because it was sown and harvested according to the biodynamic calendar, it was still good almost a year later!!!  I have 5 more of these to tide me over until they appear in the farm store.

cleaned leek on cutting board with lemon and knife
10-month old biodynamic leek!

Friday, July 10, 2020

RECIPE: Zucchini with Olive Oil, Brown Garlic, Basil and Mint

I've made this recipe for years, and still love the combination of olive oil, garlic, basil and mint.  

Zucchini with Olive Oil, Brown Garlic, Basil and Mint
zucchini ribbons with olive oil, brown garlic, basil, mint, and lemon zest in stainless pan
Serves 4-6
  • 8 small-medium zucchini, green and yellow*
  • 2 T. EVOO
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced paper thin (I used a truffle slicer)
  • 1/4 t. chili flakes
  • 2 T. himalayan pink salt
  • 1 T. basil chiffonade
  • 1 T. mint chiffonade, or 1/2 t. dried mint
  • Zest from 2 lemons

Bring a large pot of water to boil.

While you wait, cut the ends off the zucchini and slice lengthwise into 1/16" slices.  I used a mandoline.  If your squash are too big, and the core is wet and seedy, remove it and dice it.**

In a large pan over low heat, saute the garlic and chili flakes in the olive oil until the garlic is light brown.  Add the diced core if you have any and cook until all moisture has evaporated.  Turn off the heat until the zucchini ribbons are cooked.

Brown garlic and the center of one zucchini

When the pot of water reaches a boil, add the salt and the zucchini ribbons.  Cook for 3 minutes, then drain and add to the pan with the brown garlic.  Don't over cook the zucchini or it will fall apart when you combine it with the other ingredients.

Top with the basil, mint, and lemon zest and stir gently to combine.  The flavored oil should coat each ribbon.  Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve warm as a side dish, or cold as a salad.

* I prefer the taste of yellow zucchini but it seems to be more fragile than the green variety and it's harder to find.

** I have also made this by slicing the zucchini and sauteing it after I brown the garlic, but it's harder to cook all the slices uniformly, and it's not as impressive visually.  It's much less work, though,and uses one less pot.


RECIPE: Shaved Carrot Salad with Curry Dressing and Roasted Pistachios

The photo of this salad, made with beets, was so gorgeous, I've wanted to make it for YEARS!  But, my husband doesn't love beets, and I don't like to cook things he doesn't love.  He does love carrots, though, so I made the original recipe for the farmers and apprentices, and used the extra dressing on just carrots.  My husband went back for seconds!

Shaved Carrot Salad with Curry Dressing and Roasted Pistachios
Serves 4
  • 1/2 c. pistachios
  • 1 t. plus 1/2 c. EVOO
  • 1 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 1 T. curry powder (I used Frontier brand)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 T. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 8 medium carrots, peeled, shaved lengthwise into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
  • lemon juice for serving

Preheat oven to 350.  On a rimmed baking sheet, toss pistachios with 1 t. oil  and season with salt.  Roast, tossing once, until pistachios are light brown, about 6 minutes.  Cool, then chop coarsely.

Meanwhile, bring curry powder and remaining 1/2 c. oil to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling occasionally.  PAY ATTENTION - do not let this burn!  Let cool.

In a pint jar, combine garlic, vinegar, salt and mustard.  Add curry oil and wait 2-3 minutes for the oil to rise to the top.  Using an immersion blender, submerge to the bottom of the jar and turn on.  Allow the blender to draw the oil in until it's all emulsified.  This should take a few seconds!  Don't overblend or you'll damage the oil. 

The recipe makes about 1 cup of dressing, which is more than you'll need for this salad.

Toss carrots with enough dressing to coat and set aside until you're ready to serve it.

Toss again, adjust salt, and season to taste with lemon juice.  Serve topped with pistachios. 

I served it with risotto, and it was a nice counterpoint to the rich creaminess of the rice.

The dressing can be made 2 days ahead and stored in the fridge, but it will solidify, so remember to take it out a few hours before you'll need it.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

RECIPE: Roasted Fennel, Lemon and Garlic Salad Dressing

I really hate raw fennel.  But ROASTED fennel is one of my favorite vegetables EVER!  I roast it, and then freeze it, so that I have it available year-round, and this is one of my favorite ways to serve it.

Roasted Fennel, Garlic, and Lemon Salad Dressing/Dip
Makes 2 cups

  • 2 cups roasted fennel*
  • 1 head roasted garlic**
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1/2 c. EVOO

Puree the roasted fennel, garlic, lemon juice and salt in a food processor until smooth.

Add the EVOO and pulse to combine.

We use this as a dip (it's GREAT with carrots), and as a salad dressing over arugula.  In the photo above, I added some roasted fennel and thinly sliced radishes to the salad.

*To roast fennel, slice it 1/2" thick, including the core but not the stalks or fronds, drizzle with a little EVOO, and roast at 350F for 20-30 minutes.  Stir halfway through and reverse the pan to insure even cooking.

**To roast garlic, cut the top 1/2" off the head and drizzle with EVOO.  Wrap the head in parchment, and then wrap in foil (the parchment prevents the foil from touching the food), and roast at 350F until soft.  This may take 20-60 minutes depending on the size of the head.  check it periodically and when you can squeeze it and it gives easily, it's done.  Cool, then remove wrapping.

Friday, July 3, 2020

RECIPE: How to Freeze Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes keep FOREVER!  I've left them for months - MONTHS - in the fridge, and they were still good!  I've also left them in a bag in the kitchen counter for almost a month, and they were OK to use!  We have air conditioning, though, so the house never gets really hot or humid. 

Unfortunately, they take up a LOT of room, so I freeze them to use later, because I love them in pork chili, beef chili, bolognese, pasta, risotto, dressing, and mayonnaise

Here are the instructions I followed: How to Freeze Garlic Scapes

How I Freeze Garlic Scapes

Here's a photo of how our scapes look after almost a month at room temperature:

As you can see, the flower buds have dried out and some of the cut ends are also dry.  I remove the flower buds and the cut ends.  I drop the middle pieces into a bowl of warm water and run my fingers along each one to dislodge any dirt or debris.  I transfer them to another bowl with cool water.

Here's how they look after they've been cleaned:

I remove 5-6 pieces at a time and slice them. Some I cut 3/4" thick, others 1/4" thick.  

I seal them in 1-cup portions in vacuum bags, label them, and into the freezer they go for use until next spring.