Archive | September, 2013

Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds

22 Sep

I got the dreaded “you need to bring a side dish” assignment again for our summer Sunday dinner a couple weeks ago. I searched through my files for something that sounded good, knowing I wanted to stay healthy.

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I found this recipe in my email. It was from my co-worker, Brian! It utilizes farro – a grain made up from different wheat species. Oddly enough, the exact definition is not too clear. It is a dried grain that you cook in water until soft, but it still has a crunch!

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This dish is interesting because you cook the farro with allspice added to the water. So it has a semi-sweet taste. And that’s before you add the rest of the ingredients! This dish is also perfect for the fall – the flavors are so exotic.

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The health factor in this salad is amazing – healthy grain, kale, raisins, almonds, and pomegranates! I believe there are some superfoods in there for sure!!

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Pomegranates aren’t in season during the summer unfortunately, so I substituted some craisins. It worked out well!

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It tastes exotic and delicious. There is a satisfying crunch as well. And it is truly an intensely healthy side dish to accompany any meal! We paired ours with salmon/shrimp and grilled romaine.

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Moroccan Farro with Kale, Pomegranate, and Almonds

Ingredients:
1 1/2 C Farro ( or wheat or rye berries)
3 C water
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt

4-5 Cups chopped Lacinato Kale ( one bunch)
6 cloves sliced garlic
1 T fine chopped ginger
1/3 C golden raisins.
3 T olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
apple cider vinegar
1 T honey
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C chopped parsley
1/2 C sliced almonds
1/2 C fresh pomegranate seeds

Directions:
In a small pot bring farro, water, salt and allspice to a boil. Cover and turn heat down to low and simmer for 45 min’s or until farro is tender and water is mostly gone.

In the mean time, saute ginger and garlic on med low heat in 3 T Olive oil. When lightly browned add chopped kale. Cook slowly on low heat, stirring often for about 5 min. Add 1/3 C golden raisins. Let simmer on lowest setting until kale is tender …about 15min.

Seed your pomegranate.

When farro is tender, pour it all into the sauté pan with the kale. Its ok if there is a little water still in the farro. Pour it all in. Add the salt, spices, honey, vinegar and sliced almonds. Let flavors meld for a few minutes on low heat. Just before serving toss in the fresh parsley and pomegranate.

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Israeli Couscous Salad

18 Sep

So I’ve been in Maine for the past few days with my mom eating TONS and tons of lobster……..13 to be exact 🙂 More on that later. Here – look at this:

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My mom’s been making this summery side dish for years and years. I have always liked it, but didn’t pay much attention to it until last year.

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And then I started making it myself this year. It is not only a cinch to throw together, but it’s soooooooo delicious. I don’t even know what it’s officially called – we just call it “Israeli Couscous” which is so generic.

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The main ingredient is Israeli couscous. Israeli couscous is a toasted pasta shaped like little balls. It is made from wheat flour and then roasted in the oven. It was meant to be a rice substitute for a select population in Israel back in the 1940’s and 1950’s. It cooks a little longer than couscous, but a little less than pasta.

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When you add everything together, it tastes so fresh and has a bit of a crunch from the pepper. It is addictive.

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Oh, and I always toss in more ingredients than the recipe calls for – I usually put in 3 chopped peppers, double the cilantro and green onion, and definitely add more fruits and almonds! And you cant double the ingredients without increasing the amount of dressing. You get the point….more is better with this recipe.

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This stuff is so darned good. As Robbb says when I make this salad –  “I could eat this everyday”!

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Israeli Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked Israeli couscous
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
  • ½ cup snipped dried apricots, craisins, or raisins
  • 2 Tblsp cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 cup poppy seed dressing
  • ½ tsp shredded lime peel
  • Dash hot pepper
  • ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions:

Combine all ingredients for the salad.

Then combine the dressing – lime peel, hot pepper, and poppy seed dressing.

Pour dressing mixture on top of salad and mix. Sprinkle almonds on top.

(See how simple that was??)

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

8 Sep

Blueberries are in season!!!! There are so many blueberries everywhere and I love it.

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What to do with so many blueberries……make a casual cake!

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This cake is absolutely simple and yummy. It uses lemon zest and buttermilk to set it apart from other blueberry cakes.

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This cake would be great to serve for a casual get-together in the evening, or a brunch in the morning!

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Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon
  • 7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.

Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness.

If necessary, return pan to oven for a couple of more minutes. (Note: Baking for as long as 10 minutes more might be necessary.) Let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

4 Sep

I love grilled lettuce. I absolutely love it. It is such a wacky idea, but yet tastes so amazing!

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There isn’t much to it either…..you put a lil olive oil on your lettuce, grill it on low heat, and then fix however you like! It can be casual or very refined, depending on how you dress it up and top it.

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And this dressing is amazing. Like, amazing. It is bright and fresh and enhances the grilled romaine.

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Never mind the shrimp there 🙂 That was for another part of the meal. But thinking it through more, you could easily put grilled shrimp on top of this grilled lettuce with the dressing and it would taste amazing. Hmmmmm, another meal idea!!

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There is the grilled romaine to the right in the pic. I had an accidental drunk-pour of the dressing and put a bit too much on there……ooops! It tasted delicious – and I saved the extra dressing to put on some garden-grown tomatoes later in the week. Yum!

Grilled Romaine Hearts with Avocado Lime Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 2 romaine hearts, washed, trimmed, and sliced in half
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped up all small
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • a pinch of salt and pepper

Avocado Lime Dressing

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped all small
  • ½ teaspoon agave or honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 cup water
  • salt to taste

Directions:

For the dressing, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and combine until creamy. Add the pinch of sea salt and mix it in. If it looks way too thick, add more water until it looks like salad dressing. Pour it all into a small container and refrigerate until the lettuce is ready. Can be made a day ahead.

To grill the romaine hearts, heat the grill to a medium-low heat. As long as the grill isn’t crazy hot, you are good.

While the grill heats up, mix the garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper in a little cup. Brush or spoon the oil mixture to the cut side of the lettuce. This isn’t the real dressing so go easy.

Place the lettuce face down on the grill for 60 seconds or until there are clear grill marks and the leaves are beginning to wilt. Flip the hearts over and grill the other side for another 60 seconds. You want the leaves to look charred but not all limp so pay attention.

When they look good, put them on a plate and put some dressing over the hearts. Top with sliced green onions, chopped cilantro, and plenty of black pepper.

Makes enough for 4 people with some extra dressing

 

 

 

 

 

 

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