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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

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.

Chilled coconut corn soup

From Epicurious-a very interesting and simple recipe that is full of flavor. I love the turmeric in this soup and the texture is pure velvet-you can thin it out to the texture you like with either water or make corn stock from cobs.

2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 (1/2″) piece ginger, peeled, finely chopped (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
6 ears of corn, kernels cut off (about 5 1/2 cups), cobs reserved
1 Yukon Gold potato (about 5 ounces) peeled, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
2 (2″) strips lime zest
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
Diced avocado, cilantro leaves with tender stems, and lime wedges (for serving)

Melt coconut oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onion, ginger, tumeric, and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent, 8–10 minutes.
Break corn cobs in half and add to pot along with corn kernels, potato, coconut milk, lime zest, and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook until potato is tender, 20–25 minutes.
Discard corn cobs and lime zest, then transfer soup to a blender. Add 1/2 tsp. salt and purée until smooth. Let cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large bowl and chill, covered, at least 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread coconut flakes on a small rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate.
Stir lime juice into soup and adjust seasonings, thinning with water, if needed. Divide soup among bowls, then top with toasted coconut, avocado, and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges alongside.

Soup can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Grilled Fairy Tale Eggplant

A new eggplant to me that is so pretty and this is a very easy and delicious recipe from thekitchn blog. Any small eggplant will work or you could used diced eggplant. I love the combination of the garlic and mint.

Cara’s Grilled Fairytale Eggplant with Garlic & Mint
Cut 3/4 to 1 pound of baby eggplants in half lengthwise. If you are using larger heirloom varieties or more standard ones, dice them into large bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the eggplant with about 2 tablespoons olive oil (enough to generously coat the eggplant), 2 minced garlic cloves, salt, pepper, (red pepper flakes also if you wish), and 4 to 6 large mint leaves, coarsely chopped; let stand to marinate for about 30 minutes.

Grill the eggplant in a grill basket over medium-high heat, covered. Turn occasionally until the skins are slightly charred and the flesh is tender, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant pieces back to the bowl you used to marinate them. Immediately toss them with a splash of red wine or balsamic vinegar, a sprinkle of flaked sea salt, and a small handful of freshly chopped mint.

Serve as a hearty side or over couscous with a dollop of yogurt combined with lemon or lime juice, and a shaving of raw garlic.

Ham and Cheese Brioche Pudding

From the wonderful David Tanis in the NY Times. I added the blanched asparagus and roasted red pepper.
This is a good occasion to use up any odds and ends of cheeses. This is perfect for lunch or dinner or even breakfast! I needed to cook this at least another 20+ minutes as I added the other ingredients that contain moisture. The flavor is great.

1 tablespoon butter, for greasing the pan
1 (12-ounce) brioche loaf or smaller brioches, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 8 cups)
6 eggs
4 cups half-and-half or whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cayenne
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
6 ounces thinly sliced ham, cut crosswise into matchsticks (about 1 1/2 cups)
8 ounces grated Gouda or Gruyère cheese (about 4 cups)

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter an 11-by-11-inch baking dish. Fill dish with brioche cubes and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat eggs well. Whisk in half-and-half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, cayenne and scallions. Pour mixture over cubes in baking dish.
Sprinkle ham and cheese on top of mixture, and press down to make sure everything is submerged. Set baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet.
Transfer baking dish and baking sheet to the middle shelf of the oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the dish emerges dry. Let rest for 10 minutes or so before serving.
Tip
If desired, let pudding cool completely and cut into squares or wedges. Then reheat for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.

Elizabeth Minchilli’s Puttanesca

From one of my favorite bloggers, this pasta comes together in the time it takes the pasta to cook. It is so simple and delicious! If you don’t like spice, you can make it without the red pepper paste but I am crazy about it! I am so excited to have a new favorite condiment!

Penne or pasta of choice
2 sliced cloves of garlic
4 fantastic anchovies (see photo)
1 t. red pepper sauce (preserved red peppers in olive oil-see photo-I ordered from Amazon)
sliced olives, pits removed
reserve 1 c of pasta water
extra virgin olive oil
parsley, chopped

Cook the pasta according to the directions and reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. In a hot pan, add olive oil and saute garlic, add the red pepper paste and then add anchovies and they will melt. Turn off heat-the sauce is done. Add olives and stir in. Add drained pasta and stir well, add pasta water and cook until the water boils off. Add a little extra virgin olive oil (you can use new oil for flavor) and a handful of chopped parsley.

Creamed Turkey and Sausage with Sweet Potato Biscuits

From the NY Times wonderful chef, David Tanis.I made this with leftover frozen turkey from Thanksgiving and I am not sure that I liked the turkey in there again unless it was fresh. Chicken would be delicious too. I think I would add an extra 1/4# of sausage too. The sweet potato biscuits were wonderful! I bake my sweet potatoes in a cold oven, turn up to 425 degrees (after pricking each with a fork a few times) right on the oven shelf for 45 minutes-1 hour, depending on size. Turn off the oven and leave for 30 minutes-perfect every time!

FOR THE CREAMED TURKEY:
4 ounces sausage meat, preferably breakfast sausage or sweet Italian sausage
2 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups whole milk, more as needed
1 cup leftover gravy or 3/4 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2 cups diced cooked turkey meat
FOR THE SWEET POTATO BISCUITS:
2 cups/260 grams all-purpose flour, more as needed
2 teaspoons/6 grams baking powder
½ teaspoon /1 1/2 grams baking soda
1 teaspoon/3 grams kosher salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ cup mashed sweet potato
½ cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat, cook sausage meat, breaking it into small crumbly pieces as it browns. Pour off any rendered fat. Add butter and diced onion and cook, stirring, until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle mixture with flour and stir to combine.
Add milk 1/2 cup at a time, stirring vigilantly as the sauce thickens. Reduce heat if sauce is bubbling too rapidly. Whisk in gravy or broth and season with salt, pepper and cayenne. Fold in turkey meat and heat through. Keep warm.
Make the biscuit dough: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add butter and work it into the dry mixture with fingers until mixture resembles wet sand. Beat sweet potato and buttermilk together and stir into flour mixture. Mix briefly just enough to incorporate to make a soft dough.
Transfer dough to a work surface and dust lightly with flour. Knead for 1 minute, then pat or roll dough to a 1 1/2-inch thickness. Use a floured biscuit cutter or water glass to cut 10 to 12 rounds from the dough. (Or simply use a sharp knife to cut dough into 2-inch squares or diamonds.) Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden.
To serve, split a warm biscuit and spoon saucy turkey over it.