Lemony Farro Orzo Pasta Salad with Goat Cheese and Mint

This pasta salad is by far the most delicious pasta salad I have ever made! From the NY Times. I love all of the different flavors and textures-especially the apricots and sliced almonds. It makes enough for a crowd or to share with neighbors.

Kosher salt
1 cup farro
2 bay leaves
1 pound orzo
¾ cup diced dried apricots
¾ cup thinly sliced red onion
¾ cup thinly sliced celery
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¾ cup sliced almonds
2 cups baby spinach leaves (2 ounces)
1 cup crumbled fresh goat cheese (4 ounces)
½ cup torn mint leaves
½ cup coarsely chopped parsley leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 large lemons
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more as needed
½ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add farro and bay leaves and let simmer for 15 minutes. Add orzo to the pot and continue to simmer until farro and pasta are cooked through but still al dente, about 8 to 10 minutes longer.
While farro is cooking, prepare the dressing: Finely grate zest from the lemons, and place zest in a large bowl. Squeeze juice from 1 1/2 lemons and add to zest along with salt, pepper and red-pepper flakes, whisking to combine. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice from the other lemon half, or both, if needed.
Drain farro-pasta mixture, discarding bay leaves. Add to bowl with dressing and toss well. Stir in apricots. Let farro and pasta cool, soaking up the dressing. This can be done up to 1 day in advance. Store in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before proceeding.
In a small bowl, combine onions, celery, 3 tablespoons lemon juice and a large pinch of salt. Let sit while the pasta cools, at least 20 minutes.
Just before serving, add onion mixture and almonds to the bowl with the farro and pasta and toss well. Gently fold in spinach, goat cheese, mint and parsley. Taste and add more lemon, red-pepper flakes or salt if needed.
Drizzle with olive oil and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

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Savory Leek, Corn, Swiss chard and Gruyere Clafouti

From the wonderful Melissa Clark of the NY Times-this is a wonderful brunch, lunch or light dinner recipe. It’s a cross between a pancake batter poured over sautéed vegetables and a crustless quiche. Very easy to make. Plan on eating it hot out of the oven or warm.

¾ cup whole milk
¾ cup crème fraîche
4 large eggs
2 ½ tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill leaves
¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more as needed
½ teaspoon ground black pepper, more as needed
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyère or Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large or 3 small leeks (white and light green parts), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 cups corn kernels (from 2 to 3 ears, or frozen and thawed)
1 large garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
1 large bunch Swiss chard, stems removed, leaves coarsely chopped (8 cups)
¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fresh lemon juice, for serving
Red pepper flakes, for serving
Flaky salt, for serving

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, whisk together milk, crème fraîche, eggs, flour, parsley, dill, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Whisk in 3/4 cup Gruyère.
Heat olive oil in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and sauté until they are soft and golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn, garlic and a pinch of salt; cook until garlic is fragrant and corn is tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add chard leaves a handful at a time, and cook until they are wilted and tender, about 4 minutes. Season the mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper.
Pour crème fraîche mixture over the corn and chard mixture, and then sprinkle the remaining Gruyère and the Parmigiano on top. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until custard is lightly set, about 40 minutes. Serve topped with a sprinkling of lemon juice and a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Citrusy Brisket with Spring Lettuces

From Melissa Clark of the NY Times. Very light and vibrant with citrus flavor.

1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) beef brisket
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 teaspoons finely grated garlic (from about 5 large cloves)
1 tablespoon chopped thyme leaves
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2 large white onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
Juice from 2 lemons
Juice from 2 oranges
1 cup dry white wine
FOR THE SALAD:
1 garlic clove, finely grated or minced
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
4 cups spring lettuces or baby spinach
2 cups sliced endive (from 2 to 3 endives)
1 small head radicchio, sliced (about 2 cups)
1 cup mixed soft herbs (leaves and tender stems), such as dill, basil or tarragon
Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper, then rub the meat with 2 teaspoons grated garlic, thyme and rosemary. Place brisket in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.
When you are ready to cook the brisket, heat the oven to 325 degrees.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 6 1/2-quart Dutch oven over medium-high. Sear the brisket in the oil until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer meat to a plate.
Add remaining 4 tablespoons oil and onions to pot, and sauté until lightly browned on the edges and very tender, about 8 minutes. Return brisket and any juices to the pot with the onions.
Place lemon and orange zests in a small bowl and reserve. Measure out 2 tablespoons lemon juice and reserve for the salad dressing. Pour remaining lemon juice, orange juice and wine over the brisket, then add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the meat (about 1 cup). Bring liquid to a simmer over high heat.
Cover pot, transfer to the oven, and cook for 1 1/2 hours. Turn the meat over in the pot and stir in remaining 2 teaspoons garlic. Cover pot and continue to cook until the meat shreds easily with a fork, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours longer.
Uncover pot, stir in the reserved lemon and orange zests, and continue to cook, uncovered, 15 minutes more.
Just before serving, prepare the salad: In a large bowl, whisk together reserved 2 tablespoons lemon juice, garlic and salt. Let it sit for 1 minute, then whisk in oil. Toss with greens, endive, radicchio and herbs. Taste and add more salt or olive oil, if needed.
Slice meat and serve, with pan juices spooned over and some of the salad piled on top. Serve the rest of the salad in a bowl on the side.

Rancho Gordo Marcella Beans

I discovered Rancho Gordo beans in San Francisco at the Ferry Building and have loved them for years. I had not tried the Marcella bean (named after Marcella Hazen) as it was her favorite bean in Italy. They are now grown in Napa and could not be better. You can order them online at Rancho Gordo or sometimes I find them in Whole Foods.The variety of beans that they sell is amazing!

This is a non recipe-ad libbed with what I had on hand and it could not have been better.
Soak Marcella beans overnight after rinsing.
Sauté onion, carrot, celery in olive oil in pot until soft, add a beautiful ham hock and cook a few more minutes. Add beans and their soaking water and cover by two inches of liquid. Add a bay leaf or two. Slowly simmer until soft-they will practically melt in your mouth. I cooked mine for over an hour and kept them in the bean broth. Season with salt and pepper when soft. Serve with any greens, shaved parmesan and extra virgin olive oil.

Asian Meal

This is a fairly easy menu to put together as long as you have prepped your ingredients. The fried rice recipe and the spicy cabbage recipe both come from the NY Times.

The Asian roast pork tenderloin is from a previous blog of mine I think I would cut the pork tenderloin into larger pieces than in this picture-more like the ones on my original recipe.
Fried Rice
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely minced
1 tablespoon minced garlic, or to taste
1 cup peas (defrost if frozen)
1 tablespoon minced ginger, or to taste
3 to 4 cups cooked white rice, cooled
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup Shaoxing wine, or water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup minced cilantro or scallions

Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a wok or a large skillet, and turn heat to high. When it begins to shimmer, add onion, pepper and carrots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 5 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove vegetables to a bowl.
Drain peas if necessary, and add them to skillet; cook, shaking pan, for about a minute, or until hot. Remove them to the bowl.
Put remaining oil in the skillet, followed by garlic and ginger. When the mixture is fragrant, about 15 seconds later, add the rice, breaking up clumps with a spoon as you go along and tossing it with oil. When the rice is well coated, make a well in the center and break the eggs into it. Scramble these, then stir into the rice.
Return vegetables to the skillet and stir to integrate. Add wine or water and cook, stirring, for approximately 1 minute. Add soy sauce and sesame oil, then taste and add salt and pepper if necessary. Turn off heat, stir in the cilantro and serve.

Spicy Cabbage
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 star anise, broken in half
2 teaspoons soy sauce (more to taste)
2 tablespoons Shao Hsing rice wine or dry sherry
2 tablespoons peanut or canola oil
1 small cabbage, 1 to 1 1/2 pounds, quartered, cored and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch shreds
1 medium carrot, cut into julienne
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons minced chives, Chinese chives or cilantro

Combine the garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and star anise in a small bowl. Combine the soy sauce and wine or sherry in another small bowl.
Heat a 14-inch flat-bottomed wok or a 12-inch skillet over high heat until a drop of water evaporates within a second or two when added to the pan. Swirl in the oil by adding it to the sides of the pan and tilting it back and forth. Add the garlic, ginger, pepper flakes and star anise. Stir-fry for a few seconds, just until fragrant, then add the cabbage and carrots. Stir-fry for one to two minutes until the cabbage begins to wilt, then add the salt and wine/soy sauce mixture. Cover and cook over high heat for one minute until just wilted. Uncover and stir-fry for another 30 seconds, then stir in the chives or cilantro and remove from the heat. The cabbage should be crisp-tender. Serve with rice or noodles.
Tip
Advance preparation: This is a last minute stir-fry, but you can have all the ingredients prepped and ready to go several hours ahead of cooking.

Broccoli Pizza

From one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen. I love the garlic white sauce with the broccoli! I used different cheeses as that is what I had and it was delicious! I often buy Whole Foods pizza dough which is delicious!

Garlic White Sauce
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large or 2 medium garlic cloves, minced
Freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil for pan and fingertips
1 recipe pizza dough
3/4 pound broccoli or baby broccoli
Zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 ounces coarsely grated provolone
4 ounces mozzarella, torn into small clumps
1/2 cup finely grated pecorino romano (or parmesan)
Salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center.
Make sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir in flour, whisking until smooth. Add milk a splash at a time, mixing each addition until it is completely smooth before adding more milk. Add garlic, salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring, while mixture comes to a simmer and becomes thick enough to coat a spoon, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.

Prepare broccoli: Peel the stems of your broccoli with a vegetable peeler first so that they cook evenly, and cut the rest into large chunks. Pour about 1-inch puddle of salted water into a large sauté pan and bring to a boil. Add broccoli and cover with a lid and boil/steam for 2 minutes. Rinse under cold water to stop cooking, drain well and pat dry on a towel, wringing out as much extra liquid as possible. Chop into small (roughly 1/2- to 1-inch) bits and toss broccoli with lemon zest, lemon juice and pecorino, then salt and red pepper flakes to taste.

Assemble pizza: Brush either 1 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 9×13-inch quarter-sheet pans  with olive oil. Divide your dough as needed (I made 3 oblong pizzas in my 13×18-inch) and use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even and if holes form, just pinch them together. No matter how bad it looks, it’s going to bake up just fine, thin and crisp.

Give the white sauce a little stir and spread it evenly over the pizzas, almost completely to the edge. Sprinkle pizzas with provolone and mozzarella. Scatter broccoli mixture on top.

Bake for 13 to 16 minutes, until the pizzas are brown at the edges. For better browning on top, you can run the finished pizzas under the broiler for 1 minute. Cut into wedges, squares or strips and dig in.

Ina’s Beef Bourguignon

I think this is as good as Eric Ripert’s Beef Bourguignon that I have posted previously and less work. It is best to make it a day or two ahead as it really benefits from resting. I don’t add the onions, mushrooms or flour until I reheat it to serve. It is time consuming to brown all of the meat and vegetables but worth the effort.

1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced

For serving: I like either tiny potatoes or egg noodles or mashed potatoes but Ina likes Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.

Buttermilk Roasted Chicken

Have you heard of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat? It is a wonderful new cookbook with excellent instructions and information about food by Samin Nosrat. There is also a Netflix four part series on this that is fabulous! The buttermilk and salt marinade act like a brine and the chicken is very tender and golden brown. This is a very easy recipe to prep ahead and have ready to go-a no brainer!

3 1/2 to 4 pound whole chicken
salt
2 c. buttermilk (you can substitute yogurt or creme fraiche)

The day before you want to serve the chicken, remove the wing tips and season with salt. Let sit for 30 minutes. Stir either 2T. kosher salt or 4t. sea salt into the buttermilk to dissolve. Place chicken in gallon(or 2 gallon size) zip loc plastic bag and pour in the buttermilk. Seal it and squish the buttermilk about the chicken. Place on a plate and refrigerate overnight. Over the next 24 hours, turn the bag so every part of the chicken gets well marinated.
Remove the chicken from the refrigerator one hour before cooking. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with oven rack in the center position.
Remove chicken from bag and scrape off as much buttermilk as you can without being obsessive. Tie the legs with a piece of butcher’s twine. Place chicken in a 10″ skillet or shallow roasting pan.
Slide the pan to the back of the oven so that the legs are pointing to the back left corner of oven. After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 400 degrees and cook for 10 minutes. Turn legs to the right corner of the oven and cook for 30 minutes or so. Cook until the juices run clear between the leg and thigh. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Beef Stroganoff

This is a very adaptable recipe I found when I goggled Julia’s beef stroganoff. I found gorgeous shiitakes at my local grocery and cut them in quarters as my husband does not like mushrooms! The shallots and Madeira give the sauce a great flavor. We served over egg noodles and it was delicious! Note-I did not find the need to add the softened butter at the end of the recipe. I also cooked my shiitake mushrooms for double the time so they browned. I also only cooked my tenderloin 1 minute per side as I still wanted it rare-ish.

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms (I much prefer Crimini or shiitake mushrooms)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon good cooking oil
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of pepper
2 1/2 pounds filet of beef
2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon cooking oil, more if needed
1/2 cup Madeira or dry white vermouth
1 cup beef stock
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch blended with 1 tablespoon of the cream
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons softened butter
parsley chopped

Trim off the surrounding fat and filament from the beef and cut into 2-ounce pieces, about 2 inches across and 1/2-inch thick. Dry thoroughly on paper towels.

Sauté the mushrooms in the first amount given of butter and oil for about five minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in the shallots and cook for a minute longer. Season the mushrooms and scrape them into a side dish.

Place butter and oil in the skillet and set over moderately high heat. When the butter foam begins to subside, sauté the beef, a few pieces at a time, for 2-3 minutes on each side to brown the exterior but keep the interior rosy red. Set the beef on a side dish and discard the fat.

Pour the wine and stock into the skillet and boil it down rapidly, scraping up the coagulated cooking juices, until liquid is reduced to about 1/3 cup. Beat in the cream, then the cornstarch mixture. Simmer a minute. Add the mushrooms and simmer a minute more. The sauce should be lightly thickened. Correct seasonings.

Season the beef lightly with salt and pepper and return it to the skillet along with any juices which may have escaped. Baste the beef with the sauce and mushrooms, or transfer everything to a serving casserole.

When you are ready to serve, cover the skillet or casserole and heat to below the simmer for 3-4 minutes, being very careful not to overdo it or the pieces of filet will be well done rather than rare. Off heat and just before serving, tilt casserole, add butter to sauce a bit at a time while basting the meat until the butter has absorbed. Decorate with parsley and serve over egg noodles at once.

Beans and Greens

This recipe is from Repertoire, a wonderful newish cookbook that I have been loving. I buy the most amazing beans from Rancho Gordo and for this recipe I used their corona beans but you could substitute cannellini beans. I used kale and chard from my garden for greens but you can use any green. The toasted breadcrumbs add the most delightful crunch to the dish. My husband flipped and loved this lunch. Since we are only two people, I made a half recipe and it turned out fine. Be sure to add some good olive oil to each serving at the end and some parmesan!
Serves 6-8 (This is the full recipe)
1 # dried cannellini or corona beans
1-2 T. kosher salt
4# greens-a mix of escarole, broccoli rabe, Swiss chard, Spinach, Kale and/or Dandelion greens
8 cloves of garlic, peeled-4 cloves thinly sliced and 4 whole cloves
3 oil packed anchovy fillets
1 t. red pepper flakes
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 c. fresh bread crumbs (or panko)
optional-freshly grated Parmesan

Soak the dried beans overnight in plenty of cold water. Add more water the next day and bring them to a boil in a dutch oven of heavy bottomed pot. Reduce heat and simmer 1-3 hours, until tender, checking periodically the water level as they should be covered by several inches of water. Add more boiling water as needed.
When the beans are tender, do not drain but season with salt. Cool in cooking liquid, cover and refrigerate.
For the greens, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and have an ice bath nearby. Blanch the greens until they wilt and are tender-about 2 minutes each (longer from broccoli rabe). Remove from water and cool in ice bath. Squeeze the greens dry and chop them and transfer to a bowl.
In a small frying pan, heat 1/2 cup of the olive oil with the sliced garlic, anchovy fillets and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium low heat until garlic begins to sizzle but does not brown. Smash the anchovy fillets to a paste and remove from heat. Add lemon zest and lemon juice.
Return the frying pan to medium heat, add 2 T. olive oil and cook the bread crumbs, stirring, until dark golden brown and crunchy-about 5-6 minutes. Season with salt and set aside
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil over medium high heat and add the whole garlic cloves, and remaining teaspoon of red Chile flakes. When the garlic begins to sizzle add half of the beans, drained and fry for 2-4 minutes until the skins begin to split slightly. Add a ladleful of bean cooking liquid and increase the heat to high. Cook until liquid begins to boil and a creamy emulsified sauce forms.
Add the remaining beans and some more cooking liquid. The beans should be quite saucy. Add the greens and more liquid, if needed. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon zest and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with bread crumbs and serve warm. Add parmesan if desired.