I don’t post many side dishes but I thought this one was interesting. I made salmon yesterday and was trying to come up with a different side that my whole family would eat and that was healthy. My teenage son will eat salad, but he always complains and I often serve salmon with a salad and rice, so I combined my vegetables with farro, a healthy whole grain. The result was pretty good. I think tomorrow I will eat the farro vegetable mix by itself with some added spinach and melted cheese for lunch!
Farro with Roasted Mushrooms, Corn and Cauliflower
About 2 cups of thinly sliced mixed mushrooms (today I used 8 shiitakes and 4 big white button mushrooms)
1 small shallot thinly sliced
2 ears of corn, cooked and sliced off the cob
1 cup cauliflower, cut into small pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1 teaspoon dry thyme
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
While oven is heating boil water in a medium pot. Add salt if desired.
When water boils add farro and boil for 20 minutes, or until farro is soft, but firm in the middle, al dente (like pasta).
While farro cooks, spread mushrooms and shallots on a large baking pan. Drizzle olive oil and toss the vegetables. Add salt, pepper, oregano and thyme to the vegetables. Roast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
Add the cauliflower with a little more olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast another 15 minutes or until vegetable are soft and slightly browned.
In a large bowl combine farro with all the cooked vegetables. Add salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!
Tonight my daughter and I made miso soup with homemade dashi. Usually when we make miso soup we cheat and just use some store-bought chicken or vegetable broth and add miso, figuring it was good enough, but wow, this was so much better! There is so much complexity to this soup now that it has the smell of the ocean from the kombu and bonito flakes and the salty/savory flavor from the miso. So Delicious! The added bonus is that we don’t feel like we just ate a salt bomb as we often do after eating miso soup at a restaurant. I think the sodium levels are pretty moderate in this version. Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures, so will have to add them next time I make this.
2 – 6 x 5 inch pieces dried Kombu (a type of seaweed)
1 1/2 ounces bonito flakes (about 3 cups)
8 cups of Dashi
1/2 cup dried wakame (a type of seaweed)
1/3 cup white miso
1/2 pound tofu (I like firm tofu), drained and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup thinly cut scallions
Pour water into a large saucepan. Add kombu and let sit until kombu softens, about 30 minutes.
Bring water and kombu mixture to a slight boil and immediately remove from the heat. Discard the kombu.
Add the bonito flakes and carefully stir once to submerge them. The broth will be clearer if you don’t vigorously stir it. Return to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently for five minutes, skimming off any foam that might form.
Strain the dashi (broth). You can let it cool and store it in the fridge for a couple of days or use it now to make the miso soup.
Miso Soup Instructions:
Pour the dashi into a medium pot and mix in the wakame.
Heat the dashi mixture over moderately high heat until hot. While the dashi is heating up remove about 1/2 cup of it and whisk it in a separate bowl with the miso until well combined.
Add the tofu and scallions to the broth (dashi). Cook one minute. Turn off the heat.
Mix the miso mixture into the soup and serve immediately. Enjoy!
Pretty warm day here in the Bay Area. I decided I would make crab cakes Crab Cakes and a tomato, corn and avocado salad. This was based on what looked fresh at the grocery store today. Just a quick salad that I threw together, no actual recipe, but I tried to capture it the best I could in the recipe below. Enjoy!
Tomato, Corn and Avocado Salad with Ricotta Salata
1 1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half or quarters depending on size
1 avocado, diced and soaked in lime juice
1 tablespoon lime juice (approx)
2 ears of fresh corn, cooked and sliced off the cobb
2 tablespoons ricotta salata cheese, very small dice
freshly ground pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Combine the tomatoes, avocado with lime juice, corn and ricotta in a medium bowl. Try to add the corn while it is still hot or warm, it warms up the rest of the salad and makes the flavor more intense. Mix well.
Sprinkle with the salt, pepper and olive oil and mix well.
So easy and so delicious! I got the recipe from Feed Me Phoebe and I have made it several times. The first couple of times I used Great Northern beans instead of Garbanzo beans and I have also used marinated artichokes instead of water-packed artichokes, but I think it is healthier with the water-packed artichokes. I have also added a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach in the past, which I would have done today, but I am out of spinach! The hummus is great any of these ways. Below is the basic recipe, pretty much unchanged from Phoebe Lapine’s recipe.
I originally made this in the fall after going to the Farmer’s Market where I saw this very fresh and beautiful Fennel bulb that I had to buy as well as some super fresh assorted baby lettuces. These are still available and looking pretty good at Whole Foods, so I thought I would make it tonight. My recipe is inspired by Food and Wine’s Spinach and Fennel Salad with Candied Bacon . The F&W recipe uses A LOT of bacon and sugar, so I lightened the recipe by adding more vegetables, cutting out the “candied” part of the bacon and using 75% less bacon. I feel that just a little bacon adds a lot of punch, no need to go overboard. Yum! I really like the combination of the slightly sweet dressing with the very savory bacon and feta. Try it out and let me know what you think.
1 medium sized fennel bulb. Halved, cored and sliced very thinly
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for the dressing plus some extra for drizzling on the fennel)
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 ½ tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons white balsamic vinegar (this is very different from regular balsamic vinegar — I like it in this dressing because it is slightly sweet to contrast with the savory bacon and feta –if you don’t have any use a white wine vinegar and add a little more honey)
½–1 teaspoon of honey
~8 oz. mixed baby lettuce
1 large heirloom tomato (or whatever is available), cubed
4 radishes, thinly sliced
Fresh feta cheese to sprinkle over the top
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, lightly toasted
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees
Cook 2 pieces of bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes or until desired doneness (I often cook more pieces and put some of it into my son’s lunch box that week). Lay cooked bacon on a plate with several paper towels to absorb as much grease as possible. Let the bacon cool and then chop into small pieces.
At the same time, lightly spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Add sliced fennel and lightly drizzle a little olive oil onto the fennel and season with a little salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes or until soft and starting to brown a bit. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a small container whisk the Dijon mustard, fresh lemon juice, white balsamic vinegar, honey, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a sprinkle of kosher salt and a several grinds of fresh black pepper. Set aside.
Combine the tomato, radishes, lettuce, fennel, bacon, feta and pine nuts. Toss with the reserved dressing and serve.
Pairs nicely with an unoaked Chardonnay or Chablis
What a wonderfully warming and hearty Winter dish, that truly exceeded my expectations (and I think my husband’s as well)! I haven’t attempted risotto in years, but I came across a roasted butternut squash risotto recipe and decided that it would be a fun project to make today. Be warned, this takes time, but not the traditional standing over the pot and stirring for hours kind of time. For much of the time the dish was minding itself in the oven baking, which is not too bad for risotto! I based this off of a recipe by Cookie and Kate, but I made a few changes: I added a little more water, I added shiitake and cremini mushrooms in the risotto, added crispy mushrooms as a garnish and I skipped the butter. I also roasted the squash whole before cutting it because I really dislike cutting into hard squash – so worried about cutting off a limb! Risotto with only a cup of cheese and no butter, as well as brown rice for added nutrition! Pretty healthy and still so creamy and comforting.
Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushroom Brown Rice Risotto
5 large cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced (plus 2 more below for the garnish)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups of vegetable broth, divided
2 cups water, divided
1 ½ cups brown arborio or short-grain brown rice
1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
1 cup of freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
1 tablespoon thyme
Crispy Mushrooms and Crispy Sage
2 cremini mushrooms, paper thin slices (if you are short on time skip this, it will still be delicious)
20 sage leaves
freshly ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place washed whole butternut squash on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until skin starts to brown and shrivel. Turn once or twice while baking. Let cool until you can touch it long enough to peel it.
While squash is baking, heat a large dutch oven or pot on medium heat with some olive oil. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 5 more minutes or until mushrooms begin to shrink and soften. Add some salt and pepper while cooking. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes or until garlic is fragrant.
Add 3 cups of broth and 1 cup of water to the onion mix, cover, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in the rice. Cover the pot and bake in the 375 degree oven for 60 minutes. It may seem pretty dry when you remove the lid but don’t worry you will add more liquid soon!
While the risotto is baking peel the cooked squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into a small dice. Place the diced squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for another 20 or 30 minutes or until the squash begins to brown around the sides. Remove the squash from the oven and set aside.
To make the crispy mushrooms and sage place the paper thin slices of mushroom and the sage leaves on a baking sheet sprinkled with olive oil and a little salt. Bake the sage for 5 minutes or less, you just want them a little crumbly. Bake the paper thin mushrooms for around 30 minutes, turning once, until they become crispy but not burned. Check them often. When crispy remove from oven and set aside.
Remove the risotto from the oven after one hour and place on the stovetop over medium heat. Pour in the wine and stir for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1 cup of broth, thyme and parmesan and stir vigorously for 3 minutes. Add more water if needed. You can keep it on low heat at this point if not ready to serve, adding water periodically to keep it from drying out and to keep the consistency creamy.
Serve in shallow bowls with a pinch of cheese, crispy mushrooms and sage. Tastes great with a dry chablis.
Note: This is actually an older post from my original Medium Blog site.
My daughter has gone back to boarding school and my husband has a work dinner, so tonight I am cooking for just my son and myself. I wandered up and down the aisles of Whole Foods for a while drawing a blank. I almost never go to the store without a list or at least a plan in my head for what I need. Today was different for some reason, I was just completely drawing a blank! After running into a friend who suggested I grab something in the meat department that is half-way prepared since there are only two of us (great idea!) I settled on a lemon-herb marinated piece of salmon (the hubby is not really a fish fan so this is a good thing to eat without him) and some really big and beautiful looking organic Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dinosaur or Tuscan Kale). I decided I will also make some plain jasmine rice in my rice maker, to make things easy.
Below is the recipe for kale chips that I made out of the kale. They are a really yummy way to eat kale and my kids love them (but another thing my husband doesn’t care for). They are crunchy, a bit salty (depending on how salty you like them) and tangy from the vinegar. Yum, flavor explosion! Sometimes they are almost gone before the rest of dinner is made (but I have no idea where they go?).
Such an incredible crunchy way to eat kale. Delicious and healthy alternative to a potato chip when you are craving some crunch and savory flavors.
1 large bunch of Lacianto Kale (aka Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 lemon, juiced (Recently I have been leaving this out)
Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees.
Wash kale thoroughly and pat dry. Remove the center ribs so you just have the dark green leafy part. Slice the kale leaves in half.
Place sliced kale leaves in a large bowl. Add enough olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice to coat the leaves. Add the salt and using your hands massage the ingredients into the leaves so they are all covered.
Spread the coated kale leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 7 minutes to start. I often use a silicon baking mat (Silpat) to bake these on.
After 7 minutes check to see if any leaves have become crispy (but still GREEN), if so remove them from the baking sheet and put in a serving bowl. Turn over the leaves that are still wet (most will still be wet) and return them to the oven and cook for a few more minutes.
Every 3 minutes (or so) re-check for crispy pieces, removing them from the baking sheet and putting the rest back into the oven. This may seem tedious, but the kale can burn quickly and then it is ruined (even slightly brown kale tastes burnt), it took me a few tries before I understood I needed to keep the heat LOW and check on the kale constantly so I don’t burn any of it. When it is all crispy you are finished!
May be served warm from the oven or at room temperature, but don’t make it too far ahead of time as it may lose its crispiness over time.
I have been eying this recipe for a while and I finally made it as a side dish to go with salmon as I wasn’t sure I could sell it to my family as an entree (my husband is not really a fan of eggplant, but I think it is because he hasn’t had really well-prepared eggplant, so I keep trying!). The recipe was a little time-consuming, but really very tasty and worth the work. I think if I made it again I might add either a portabello mushroom or some chicken to make it an entree.
1 large eggplant (1 1/2 pounds), peeled and sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
4 large plum tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ thick rounds
Extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper and salt
1/3 cup chopped green olives
1 to 2 tablespoons red chili flakes
1/4 cup finely shredded basil, plus whole leaves for garnish
6 ounces Fontina Cheese (or mozzarella), shredded or thinly sliced
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Spread the eggplant and tomato slices on two large baking sheets lightly greased with cooking spray. Lightly brush each slice of eggplant and tomato with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly charred. Turn once and check on them often as cooking times vary with ovens.
In a small bowl combine the olives, chilis, and shredded basil.
On a large rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper arrange half of the eggplant in a square, overlapping the slices slightly. Top with half of the tomatoes, olive mixture and Fontina. Repeat with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese.
Reduce heat in oven to 425 degrees. Bake in the center of the oven for about 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbling and golden. Let stand for 10 minutes. Garnish with basil leaves and serve as a side dish or as an entree with crusty bread. Enjoy!
Notes: Some options/updates – 3/5/19. I added two small thin chicken breast cutlets and roasted mushrooms. I seared the chicken for a few minutes on each side to brown it a little and roasted the eggplant, mushrooms and tomatoes as a first step. Then I layered all the vegetables and the chicken, used capers instead of the green olives, added some homemade tomato sauce and cheese and then baked it for 20 minutes. Delicious!
We are a family that celebrates both Christmas and Chanukah, so since they overlapped this year we decided at the last minute to add potato latkes to our dinner on Christmas Day. As this was not planned we used what we had on hand, which was two potatoes and a head of cauliflower, but only a small amount of onion. Since the latkes surprisingly tasted really good I decided to jot down the recipe and post it. I didn’t carefully measure this, just worked ad hoc, so the measurements are approximate. Give it a try and post comments if you like on how it can improve. Definitely a work-in-progress.
2 large baking potatoes, washed thoroughly and eyes removed. I leave the peel on.
1/4 head cauliflower, finely chopped
1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup matzoh meal
1 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
mix of olive oil and canola oil
Shred the potato, chop the vegetables.
Mix the shredded potato, cauliflower, onion, and matzoh meal in a large bowl.
Mix the eggs, dill, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Pour the egg mixture into the potato mixture and stir well.
Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat and add a small amount of the oils to the pan. Heat the oil and form the pancakes with your hands into balls the size of your palm and gently flatten in the pan with a spatula.
Cook several minutes in the pan until crispy and slightly browned on each side. Put cooked latkes on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb extra oil. You can also keep them warm in an oven turned very low if desired.
Serve with applesauce or your favorite topping and enjoy!
I went to the Farmer’s Market yesterday and I found some baby eggplants. So cute! I have never seen baby eggplants before so I decided I would buy some. My son was shopping with me (this is a rarity! He was really only there because he is a boy scout and had to sell wreaths at the market). Anyway, he suggested we stuff them. Wow, what a good idea, but with what??? Later I decided why not make it like eggplant parmesan, but stuffed. I think they came out pretty tasty on the inside, but I am not sure how to improve on the skin, it was sort-of chewy. I guess eating the skin can be optional.
NOTE: Use a very chunky tomato sauce with onions and garlic, since the recipe is relying on these being in the sauce and I didn’t include adding extra onions and garlic into the vegetable mixture. If you don’t have them in the sauce then add a 1/4 cup of chopped onions and 1 minced garlic clove to the vegetable mixture.
1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded, divided
1/4 cup of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, shredded
1 tablespoon of fresh basil, chiffonade cut (thin strips)
1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, roughly chopped (optional garnish)
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Slice the eggplants in half lengthwise. Scoop out the inside flesh with a knife, leaving approximately 1/4 inch of flesh in the eggplant so it can serve as a cup for the vegetables. Chop the removed flesh into a small dice and put into a medium bowl.
Roast the eggplant shells in the oven for 15 minutes, or until softened.
Note:Some people say salt the eggplant for an hour before roasting to make it less bitter but I think that the baby eggplants are not bitter and I have also read that salting is a waste of time, eggplants have been bred to not have that bitterness, so I skip that.
Add the chopped mushrooms and spinach to the bowl. Add some salt and pepper the the vegetables. Microwave the vegetables for one to two minutes, until softened.
NOTE: You could also sauté them with some olive oil for a few minutes on the cooktop, I just wanted to save time and calories today.
Add the tomato sauce and half of the mozzarella and parmesan. Mix thoroughly.
Fill the eggplants with the vegetable mixture, top with remaining cheese and bake for 12 minutes or until cheese is slightly browned.
Remove from oven and sprinkle with the basil and parsley. Enjoy!