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Fall Sheet Tray Salad ~*Cranberry Bog Blog*~

16 Nov

IMG_2106Every few months I get a package with a Cranberry Bog Blogger Recipe Challenge. I usually receive a few ingredients and a recipe, but for this month the challenge was turned around and I had to come up with my own recipe using the ingredients in my mailer.

Fall Cranberry Bog Blogger Challenge: We’ve provided a few ingredients you may not typically think of when serving cranberries – and we challenge you to use them all in one cranberry-inspired holiday dish! Show us your chops by making a main course, side dish or dessert that includes the surprise ingredients you’ll find in your package arriving in the mail this week.

The ingredients: cannellini beans; whole berry cranberry sauce; quinoa; sage

I worked with what I know best, the warm grain salad. This time, I made a sheet tray style salad. Continue reading

Chickpea Vegetable Pancakes with Yogurt and Urfa ~*Recipe ReDux*~

22 Apr

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This month’s Recipe ReDux theme is ‘Spring Cleaning:’

“Go through your pantry, cupboards, freezer, or fridge; what ‘treasures’ have you found? Pick an ingredient/spice/condiment that’s been hanging out for a while and give it the attention it needs. Share a healthy recipe made using your new-found pantry prize.” 

Some hidden ‘treasures’ that I found in my kitchen include: pine nuts, canned pineapple, chocolate balsamic vinegar, amarena cherries, anchovies and anchovy paste, and capers. If anyone has suggestions for what to do with some of these ingredients please let me know in the comments. These ingredients have been patiently waiting to be used for a long time now.

Ultimately, I decided to focus my attention on the chickpea flour that has been hanging out in my pantry. Continue reading

I made hummus and you should, too

10 Feb

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I made hummus this weekend. Classic chickpea-tahini-lemon-garlic hummus. I even went so far as to soak dried chickpeas the night before and I took the outer skins off the chickpeas before blending. All of those extra little steps lead me to the most sublime, or as Deb Perelman says, ethereally smooth, hummus. Continue reading

Bon Appetit’s Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad

17 Jul

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My pantry is filled with grains. Grains in various packages–bags, quart containers, boxes, tupperware, and random bulk-bin bags. Grains in various amounts–a nearly full container, half empty, one or two servings left, and a serving that requires more math to calculate liquid-to-grain ratios than I would like to think about.

In my pantry I have: amaranth (I’ve been checking this post out for how to use my amaranth. I want to try popping it), bulgur (that one is in the fridge for some reason), three different kinds of oats, about two servings-worth of farina, polenta, grits, barley, a cupful of arborio rice, couscous, short grain brown rice, jasmine rice, farro, roasted buckwheat grouts (aka kasha), a handful of egg noodles, angel hair, and spaghetti. I recently polished off the quinoa and the millet, and I am exercising serious restraint not to buy more before I finish off some of my other grain odds and ends. Those darn odds and ends. At least grains have a long shelf life.

Looks like Amanda Hesser and I are on the same wavelength, though. She recently prepared lunch for her kids by using up the “various inconvenient amounts” of grains lying around. She boiled them one at a time in the same pot and, like magic, lunch was packed and pantry space was created and only one pot was dirty.

The upshot of all of this pantry overload is that overtime I built myself a arsenal of healthy, quick (and not-so-quick) pantry grains for that perfect throw-together meal. I just need a better system for storing, organizing, and keeping track of all the grains.

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One of the many grains in my pantry is barley. I bought the barley in the winter when I made this creamy chicken soup, and it’s about time that I use it again. Let’s take barley’s “heft and chew” from winter stew to summer salad.

I enjoyed a big bowl of Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad for dinner with a little sautéed pesto zucchini and a cold cherry balsamic shrub with a squeeze of lemon juice. Hit. The. Spot.

Leftover grain salads make a great lunch the next day, too.

Barley tip: I soaked the pearled barley in water overnight to speed up the cooking time. Soaking is also thought to enhance the nutrient absorption of the grain by decreasing phytic acid. Nutrition Stripped has a handy guide on soaking and sprouting as a quick reference.

Soaking changes the color of the barley to a slightly gray-color vs. a toasty beige, but the taste is essentially the same. Check out this Serious Eats post about soaking. Up to you if you want to soak, but I recommend it, if anything to save you some time.

Don’t have barely on hand? Feel free to use brown rice, quinoa, farro, wheatberries, pasta, or really any other grain you have in your pantry!

Chickpea, Barley, and Feta Salad

adapted from Bon Appetit

makes about 4 servings

NOTE: I didn’t use all of the barley that I cooked. That was my personal preference. Using all of the barley for this recipe seemed like A LOT of barley, and I liked having more even amounts of grains, beans, and veggies in my salad. I saved some of my leftover barley in the fridge and ate it later in the week with different accoutrement. You can also eat leftover barley as a sweet or savory breakfast. 

8 oz. green beans, halved crosswise

1 cup pearled barley, soaked overnight and drained

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)

1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

4 oz. feta cheese, cubed or crumbled

handful of fresh spinach, leaves torn

juice of half a lemon

optional: fresh ground pepper, pinch of salt, a few sprigs of fresh herbs (thyme, oregano…), a pinch of your favorite spices 

  • Cook green beans in a large pot of boiling water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using a sieve or a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  • Return water to a boil, add barley, and simmer until tender (refer to packaging for timing, mine only took about 10 minutes since I soaked it overnight); drain. Let cool slightly.
  • Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook pumpkin seeds, tossing occasionally, until golden brown, about 5 minutes; let cool.
  • Toss green beans, barley, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, feta, spinach, lemon juice, and optional herbs and spices in a large bowl. Enjoy!

Summer Salad Round-Up!

24 May

Summer is about to hit us in full force, and I want us to be prepared for the potlucks, barbecues, picnics, and shenanigans to come. Pretty soon I will transition from roasting all of my veggies to shaving them into ribbons and enjoying them raw, preparing grain-based salads, bouncy pastas, light sautés, and brothy soups. It will simply be too dang hot turn on the oven.

Here are some ideas for no-cook (or very-little cook…) hearty salads to ring in the sunshine and keep us lookin’ nice and cool. Variations and substitutions are encouraged. Have fun and experiment.

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Potato Salad with Pickled Red Onion. Can you say 4th of July party?! This salad is salty, crunchy, acidic, herby, and creamy all-in-one. Heck yes.

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Get your fix of beans with this 3 Bean Summer Salad with Corn, Tomato, Avocado & Lime. Colorful and bright, this salad is great on its own or even used as a taco filling or chip dip.

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Radishes are taking over the farmer’s marktes in NY right now. Snag a bunch, slice them thin, and add them to this Israeli Couscous Salad. You could also try making a variation of this salad with a Miso Dressing.

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This Sweet and Savory Quinoa Salad is an old-time favorite. If it’s too hot to roast cauliflower, feel free to use whatever vegetable is easy to prepare and catches your eye. The dried fruit and Mediterranean spices remind me of summer fun.

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You better get your hands on asparagus NOW, before it goes out of season! Enjoy it in a Farro Salad. I recently made a variation of the potato salad above and added asparagus to it.

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No Cook Summer Fruit Salad. I like to use a mix of fresh fruit and dried fruit, with some fresh herbs and cinnamon to pack a punch. It is hard not to eat the whole bowl in one sitting.