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Salute to the crispy, crunchy goodness of unexpected summer salads! After a few weekend trips to farmers’ markets, here are a few to try for your Fourth of July feast or family dinner. Toss, eat and enjoy!
The early season yield offered up lots of root vegetables – beets, kohlrabi, potato, carrots, turnips, and the aptly named celery root. While it’s easy to think ‘roast’ when you see that selection, my mind went to ‘salad’, and the old world inspiration of a cookbook my husband recently acquired, “From a Polish Country House Kitchen” by Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden. While traveling in Poland, we ate many delicious salads created from simple, abundant produce similar to what my Irish ancestors also may have had on hand, things that grew underground, even during unruly weather, at least during most seasons. Our kin got by with what they had, but became culinary creative in the process of putting food on the table. Here are two selections from the pages of Anne’s and Danielle’s beautiful book, symbolizing the red and the green of summer.
Preheat oven to 400-degrees. Wash and trim beets and wrap in foil. Place them in a shallow roasting pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until they are soft, but firm enough to be grated. Remove from oven and foil and cool. slip off the skins and grate the beets coarsely.
Put beets in a large bowl. Peel and coarsely grate apple and add to beets. Mix together horseradish, sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl and season with salt and ground pepper. Toss beets and apples with the dressing. Keep chilled and covered until serving.
Peel celery root and cut into thin matchsticks. Peel apples and cut into slightly thicker matchsticks. Toss together with lemon juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning. Keep chilled and covered until serving.
The next one is inspired by one of my favorite power packed fruits of summer, a Michigan staple and treat no matter how you serve it up, the blueberry. This is a take on the raisin loaded coleslaw standby recipe in my head. ‘ Hope you enjoy the season and nutritional liberties taken to create a revised version sure to please every patriot.
Blueberry Broccoli Slaw
1 c. shredded cabbage, green, purple or both
1/4 c. shredded carrots
1/2 c. broccoli florets
1 tsp. honey
1/4 c. raspberry or strawberry vinaigrette
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 c. plain Greet yogurt
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted, if you like
1 c. Michigan blueberries
Mix together cabbage, carrots, broccoli, honey, vinaigrette, lemon zest and Greek yogurt and stir until combined. Gently fold in toasted almonds and blueberries. Let stand an hour or as long as you can take it. Add to your picnic and enjoy.
Putting a healthy and delicious dish on the table doesn’t have to take all night or become a major construction project. This is a good, green go-to from my “Weeknights with Giada” cookbook, a Christmas gift that keeps on giving. (Thanks, fellow foodie Amanda Harper!) Tonight’s fare – Ricotta Cheese, Lentil and Brown Rice Rolls.
Here’s what they look like in progress. Me and my new baking bestie Giada love that dark green good-for-you color of the Swiss chard leaves that form the wraps for this easy to put together palette please-r. No need to keep you waiting. Here’s all you need to know:
5 large Swiss chard leaves
1 15-oz can cooked lentils, rinsed and drained. Another option. I cooked my own lentils, which took an entire 10 minutes. Sort, rinse, boil, done.
1 1/2 cups ready cooked brown rice Or – I am madly in love with my rice cooker and use it every weekend, so ready cooked brown rice? Done.
1/4 cup (4 ounces) whole-milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 packed cup (1 ounce) baby arugula leaves, chopped. This is when I miss my garden most.
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint. Again, the garden missing.
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon Kosher sale
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 jar (26 ounces) marinara or tomato-basil sauce I used about half this much and was happy with the results.
Place oven rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8 X 8 baking dish and set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Remove the thick stem from the center of each chard leaf. Trim the ends to make each leaf half about 7 incheds long and 4 inches wide. Here’s where I improvised a bit, having chard that didn’t seem to care how wide or long it was. Add the leaves to the boiling water and cook for 10 seconds. Seriously. This recipe says 10 seconds. Not sure what kind of an oven timer you have, but mine goes off by the time I set it for 10 seconds. I say, ‘boil quickly or until leaves become slightly limp’. So, after you boil them, rinse them with cold water and let them drain on paper towels.
In a medium bowl, mix the lentils, brown rice, ricotta cheese, 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup olive oil, arugula, mint, garlic, salt and pepper. Spoon 1 cup of the marinara sauce on the bottom of the prepared pan. Spoon a heaping 1/3 cup of the filling onto the end of each leap and roll up like a burrito, tucking in the sides as you go. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, in a single layer on top of the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil.
Slide the baking dish into the oven an bake for 25 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown and the rolls are heated through. Cool for five minutes are serve.
Soup’s not all that’s on in January. This is a great time of year to seek out sensational salad ideas to help you keep your resolutions while warming your heart. I found a recipe in the Soup’s On For All Cookbook that satisfies an appetite for both. It was contributed to this book by Deb Bailey of Steelcase, Inc, a long time community volunteer. She’s just one of many who shared their love of the kitchen and their compassion for their neighbors in need in a book as beautiful as it is delicious. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to support the food programs of Catholic Charities West Michigan. It’s named after the dual Soup’s On For All events happening in Grand Rapids on January 23 and Along the Lakeshore on February 23, both evenings of hot soups, fresh baked breads and delightful desserts accompanied by local music and beautiful bowls created by caring artists. The bowls can be painted and the cookbooks can be purchased at the newly opened Gallery 303 next to God’s Kitchen on Division in Grand Rapids. Soup’s On cookbooks are also available at Art of the Table on Wealthy in Grand Rapids, and here’s a little taste of what’s inside. Enjoy!
2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Tablespoon Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper
2/3 cup Pecans, chopped
Fresh ground pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon Orange zest
2 teaspoons Red wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons Orange juice
1/4 cup Hazelnut oil (can substitute Walnut oil)
1/4 cup Light olive oil
7 cups Mixed lettuce (romaine, red leaf, spring mix), rinsed and spun or drained well (I love my salad spinner!)
6 ounces Goronzola cheese, crumbled
Pecan Crunch Prep:
In a small saute’ pan, heat butter sugar, salt, cayenne pepper and pepper over medium heat. Add pecans and continue to saute’ stirring constantly until sugar begins to carmelize,
about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to burn the pecans. Place the mixture in a paper bag, shaking occasionally as it cools. Nuts can be stored up to one month in a
cool, dry place.
Hazelnut Vinaigrette Prep:
Place all ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake vigorously to blend. Store usused vinaigrette, covered, in the refrigerator. Makes about 3/4 cup.
Place mixed lettuce into a large bowl. Toss with enough vinaigrette to coat. Toss in the Pecan Crunch and Gorgonzola cheese. Serve immediately. Don’t expect leftovers.
The calendar says January and for most of us who know West Michigan well, it sure doesn’t feel like it. Chances are pretty good that it’s going to get a whole lot colder, so the ultimate comfort food may be in order and that means soup. It’s the perfect food to warm you up on the inside to help you stay warm when you’re outside. Many in our community are seeking that kind of warmth every day and there is something all of us can do to help them out. We can support God’s Kitchen and the food programs of Catholic Charities West Michigan, an organization that feeds thousands of people daily at several locations throughout West Michigan. One way to step up is to attend a 2012 Soup’s On For All benefit in Grand Rapids on January 23 and on the lake shore on February 23. Another is to buy the Soup’s On cookbook and bring home some warmth. Here are a couple of recipes from it to wet your appetite. Enjoy!
Carrot Ginger Soup
by Dan Harris & Charles Forrester
Serves 8 – 10
1 large Spanish onion, diced
1 pound carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
2-inch piece fresh gingeroot, peeled and minced
3 quarts chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 teaspoon roasted fresh garlic or garlic powder
coarse salt and white pepper, to taste
In a large soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat; add onions and saute’ until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the carrots, fresh ginger and chicken stock; simmer over medium heat until the carrots are tender, about 12-15 minutes. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return the pureed soup back to the soup pot. Add the ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, sage and roasted garlic or powder; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the heavy cram and continue to simmer until warmed through. Add salt and pepper to taste and adjust seasoning.
Lentil Soup with Sausage
by Sarah H. Jackoboice
Serves 6 – 8
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, coarsely chopped
4 stalks celery, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1/2 inch slices
46 ounces low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
1 pound lentils, rinsed and picked over
one 3-inch strip fresh orange peel
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried savory, crumbled
5 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
28 ounce canned diced tomatoes
In a heavy, medium saucepan or soup pot, heat oil over medium-low heat; add the onion and cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the celery and saute’ five minutes; add the sausage and cook another five minutes, stirring occassionally. Add the chicken broth, water, lentils, orange peel and herbs to the pan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to low, cover partially and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the carrots and tomatoes to the soup; partially cover the pan and continue to simmer until the carrots and lentils are very tender, about 50 minutes. Discard the orange peel and serve.
What a great way to start a brand new year! Of course, fine traditions like this one can begin on day two, too…or day three, four or five. And why wait until morning to enjoy a good breakfast dish? Here’s a little something that can be whipped up anytime.
I put this together in one of my favorite ways – by cleaning out the fridge. First, I found I had just two eggs left. At least they were the extra large brown variety and from a dozen brought home very recently for lots of holiday baking. Next, I noticed three nice baby bella mushrooms and half a container of cherry tomatoes, some of which were just stating to wrinkle. I sorted out the good ones and went to work. Placing a little extra virgin olive oil in my saute pan, I waited until that got nice and hot then added the portabellas. Back inside the fridge I found a handful of baby spinach leaves, just the green and iron needed to rev up this dish. On another shelf, a jar with just a few pitted Kalamata olives left – perfect for the single serving I was whipping up. When the bellas began to soften, I threw in the spinach and stirred just until it stated to wilt. About that time, I tossed in the toms and olives that I had sliced lengthwise in halves and sauteed this mix over low heat, just until the tomatoes were warmed through. At that point I cracked the eggs right into the pan where I gently scrambled this all together. You can mix the eggs up separately in a separate dish if you want, but I’m a big fan of one dish dinners. This whole mix takes just a few minutes to blend and cook with near constant stirring. I use a stiff rubber spatula that helps remove all the egg from the pan which eases cleaning. At the very end, I stirred in some leftover farmer’s cheese from our appetizer plate the night before. Feta is a great low-fat, high-flavor option, too. Just minutes after I started, I slid the 2012 Scramble onto a plate, garnished it with a slice of orange and some blueberries and served it to my husband with his mom’s recipe homemade Polish Platzek on the side, a gift of bread and memories from his cousin Laurie’s kitchen. And 2012 is off to a good start.
‘Tis the season when my favorite Apps aren’t found in the iStore. Instead, they’re found at just about any seasonal celebration where my friends, family and food come together. I’m sure mine is not the only calendar marked with multiple gatherings between now and 2012, so I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite go-to appetizer recipes for ringing in any holiday get-together that calls for a delicious dish to pass. Cheers!
Merry Molly’s Tomato-Basil-Goat Cheese Dip
Roma Tomatoes, diced and seeded
Fresh Basil, torn into small pieces
Red Wine Vinegar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 log herbed goat cheese (garlic and chive is my favorite), softened.
1 loaf crusty French bread or baguette, sliced, or toasted bread rounds
Part One – The Prep:
Mix the first four ingredients and refrigerate overnight or for at least a couple of hours. I’m not good with exact measurements here. I love the red/green combo and tend to cut my Roma’s a little larger than a typical dice. I just eye the vinegar and EVO amounts to bathe the basil and toms, but not so much that they float in it. When I’m bringing this to someone else’s home, I usually keep this combo together separately and build the app on site. It’s a lot less messy that way and the cheese holds up better. It’s much prettier fresh, too!
Part Two – Party Time!
Put the cheese in a shallow but ample microwavable dish and mic it for just a few seconds or until it’s soft enough to dip easily. Pour the prepped tomato-basil mix over the goat cheese and place this dish in the center of a platter. Surround the center dish with the sliced French bread, baguette or toasted bread rounds. Dig in and enjoy! Miss Molly Kelly brought this to my house for a party once and I have shared it many times since. Always a big party hit, just like Miss Molly.
Okay, this one is super easy and never fails. Here’s all you do: Take the outer rind off of the top of the Brie. Place it on an oven safe baking dish cut side up. This is where my Kouchy Brie Baker that my daughter Keri gave me for Christmas one year comes in very handy. It’s a pretty little dish that bakes Brie perfectly and is pretty to serve it on, too. Corningware works great, too. Top your Brie with a handful of dried cranberries and walnuts and sprinkle with thyme. Bake it at 350-degrees for 20 minutes or until the cheese is soft and warm. Serve immediately with crackers of your choice. A little sweet, a little tart, a little nutty, and a lot festive – bring on the holiday fun!
Celebrate All Hallows Eve with Spooky, Creepy Treats from Kitchen!
Your little ghosts and goblins with gobble up these goodies with freaky fast! The recipes below are easy to create for home, school or your office gathering. The only thing to fear is a few extra calories. Enjoy!
Pecan-Caramel Spiders (a terrifying take on tempting turtles)
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, in pieces
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 ounces thin black licorice strands, cut into 2-inch pieces
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
Chocolate curls, optional
Line 2 baking sheets with waxed paper and lightly spray with nonstick spray. Mound 30 small clusters of pecans, about 3 or 4 pecans each, spaced a couple inches apart on the pan. To make caramel, warm the cream over low heat and keep warm while you cook the sugar. Put the sugar and corn syrup and in a deep, heavy-bottomed large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Stop stirring, raise heat to medium-high, and simmer until the sugar reaches the hard crack stage, or 305 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes. Whisk the butter and salt into the sugar mixture. Gradually pour in the cream and vanilla taking care since the mixture will bubble up. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar reaches soft ball stage, 240 degrees F on the thermometer, about 5 minutes more. Immediately remove from the heat and cool for a minute. Ladle a couple tablespoons of warm caramel over some of the nut clusters, to make the spider bodies. Then press 6 pieces of licorice into the warm caramel to make the legs. Repeat with the remaining caramel and licorice. This is where your little helpers can share in the spider building fun! If caramel hardens, warm over very low heat. Let spiders cool 15 minutes. Meanwhile, put the chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl or double broiler. Bring a saucepan filled with 1-inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching, the water. Stir the chocolate occasionally until melted and smooth. You can put the chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl instead and melt it at 50 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 1 minute. Stir, and continue to heat until completely melted, 2 to 3 minutes more. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate on top of each spider. Sprinkle with chocolate curls, if desired. Let cool until firm.
Screaming Spice Cookies – you’ll be screaming for more!
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling out dough
1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Hard candies, try yellow, red, black, (Jolly Ranchers preferred)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons egg white powder
3/4 teaspoon orange extract
1 1/2 to 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 empty metal tuna fish can, (about 6 ounces) for cutting cookies
Lollipop sticks, available in craft or bakers’ supply stores
For the cookies, whisk the flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together in a medium bowl. Beat the butter in a large bowl with a handheld mixer until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the sugars, and continue beating until light, about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla extract, beating until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients while mixing slowly to make a smooth dough. Divide dough in half and press each half into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Transfer 1 disk of dough to a floured work surface and roll about 1/4-inch thick. Cut into cookies with a pinched tuna can. To make the spooky scream-cookie shape, remove the top and bottom of the clean and dried tuna can. Pinch the sides of the can together to make a skull-like shape.Transfer cookies to a nonstick or silicon lined baking sheet. Cut out eyes and a mouth with a pastry tip, fat straw, or a knife. Press the lollipop sticks into the narrow end of each cookie, if using. Repeat with remaining dough. Press excess dough together, roll and cut into cookies. Refrigerate cookies for at least 30 minutes. Evenly space the racks in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Put the candies in a small plastic bag and hit with a rolling pin to break into little pieces. Bake the cookies just until they are set, about 20 minutes. Remove baking sheets from the oven and carefully sprinkle the broken candies into the eyes and mouth of the cookies. Continue to cook until the candy liquefies, about 3 minutes more. Cool cookies on pan for 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Cool cookies on a rack.
For the icing, whisk the water, egg white powder and orange extract in a medium bowl until foamy but smooth. Gradually whisk in the confectioners’ sugar to make a smooth icing. Spread a layer of icing over the entire surface of the cookies with the back of a teaspoon. Let rest until the icing sets, about 30 minutes. Serve or store in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Crazy Creepy Carrot Fingers with Dip (for the health-minded haunters)
Place a bit of cream cheese on the end of a baby carrot and place an almond slice face down on top. The almond should look like a fingernail on the carrot “finger”. Repeat until all carrots are finished. Pour dressing in a bowl and stand a few carrot fingers upright in the bowl. Place the bowl on a platter and lay the remaining carrot fingers around the bowl.
Happy Halloween, everyone!
It’s Honey Crisp season and I can’t think of a better time to share a family recipe for Dad’s favorite cake. Apples are one of my favorite fruits to create desserts out of, from easy baked apples to Dutch apple pie, homemade apple butter and crunchy apple crisp. Traditionally my favorite apples to bake with are Northern Spys, Ida Reds and Honey Crisps and this is the perfect time of year to find all three at your favorite farmer’s market or orchard, like Crane Orchard in Fennville where this photo was taken. Wherever you get them, enjoy them while the apples last. And here’s a warning – putting them into this next recipe will make your apples disappear fast! It’s been passed down for generations and no one really knows how it came to be in the first place or why it’s called Jewish Apple Cake. We just know that when Aunt Mary made it, the whole family devoured it and they are still enjoying it today. It’s the perfect combination of not-too-sweet and melt-in-your mouth dessert goodness for any occasion. Bake one up today and enjoy!
Grease and flour a 10 inch tube or Bundt pan
4 or 5 large apples, peeled and sliced
2 Tbsp cinnamon
1/4 c sugar
Mix together and set aside
1 c vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
2 1/2 c sugar, or a little less
7 Tbls orange juice (about two oranges, fresh squeezed)
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
Cream oil, sugar, orange juice, vanilla and eggs well
1/2 tsp salt (I eliminated the salt)
3 c all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour)
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
Sift salt, flour and baking powder.
Mixed flour mixture with creamed mixture. Alternate dough and apples in the prepared pan, starting with the dough and ending with a ring of overlapping apple slices. Bake at 250 degrees for 1 1/2 hours. Cool on rack completely. Gently loosen side, then invert onto a round plate. This cake is excellent served with vanilla ice cream or on it’s own. Enjoy!
When the going gets hot, those in the kitchen get creative. So, how do you satisfy a hungry crowd with a protein packed entree without turning up the heat another degree? How about a salad packed with fresh, local ingredients and a carb-friendly, high-protein three-bean punch. If that sounds like a light, easy plan to you, give this crisp, crunchy and delicious recipe a try. It goes by the title ” Garden Three-Bean Salad with Fresh French Dressing” but I like to just call it Hot Cool Salad. Here goes…
Start to Finish – approx 40 min
2 cups garden fresh green beans, trimmed if desired
8 cups mixed greens
2 cups edamame – shelled sweet soybeans
2 cups white beans, cooked or canned, such as cannellini, thoroughly rinsed and drained
1 cup radishes, quartered or sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Fresh French Dressing (below)
1. In microwave-safe bowl combine green beans with 1/4 cup water and 1 tsp salt, mixed. Cook uncovered about 2 to 5 minutes until just tender. Set aside and cool.
2. I love my salad spinner. Seriously. I use it every time I break out the greens. Simply trim, toss into the inner bowl, wash thoroughly, then spin until dry. I always use very cold water to perk up the greens, then spin away and discard all extra moisture captured in the bowl.
3. Place thorougly spun greens in a beautiful bowl along with the cooled green beans, radishes, edamame, and cannellini beans, plus your version of a dash of salt (sea salt for me) and always freshly ground pepper
4. Add about half of the dressing from the recipe below and gently toss. Pass the rest of the dressing with the salad.
Make about 8 servings
Fresh French Dressing:
Place a couple of medium tomatoes, halved and seeded in a blender. Add 1/c cup olive oil, a couple of tablesppons red wine vineagar plus some fresh snipped tarragon and about two teaspoons Dijon mustard to toms. Cover and blend until all mixed up. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. If the dressing is too thin, blend in a little tomato paste. Refrigerate until serving time.
Dress the salad and enjoy summer dining indoors or out.
Sometimes the subjects of the stories we read end up on the menu for our monthly book club meetings and our July title was ripe for the opportunity. Luckily for the SSW, member Kate was also up for the culinary challenge. It wasn’t really much of a stretch for a food loving group like ours. While we discussed ‘Traveling With Pomegranates”, a mother-daughter dialogue written by Sue Monk Kidd and Anne Kidd Taylor, we sipped on sweet and sparkly Pomegranate Punch and delighted in Turkish Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad. I won’t give away the book ending, but am happy to share the recipes we enjoyed along with it. I’m taking a stab at the drink on my own and have Kate to thank for the tasty salad. Here goes!
1 quart pomegranate juice
2 cups fresh orange juice, strained
2 cups fresh lime juice or lime-aid
One 750-milliliter bottle *Famega or other crisp, clear, sparkling wine
Lime and orange slices, for garnish
1 cup pomegranate seeds
In a punch bowl, combine the pomegranate juice, orange juice and limeade. Pour in the
Famega; float lime and orange slices on top. Ladle into 12 ice-filled glasses, sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and serve.
Turkish Bulgur, Pomegranate and Almond Salad
1 cup coarse bulgur prepared according to package directions. Quinoa works well for this, too
1 cup cooked chickpeas
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup almonds, slivered
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (about 1/2 of a large pomegranate)
1/2 cup chopped mint
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo chili pepper flakes (optional)
Prepare bulgur or quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile, turn on your broiler. Place halved cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. Place tomatoes under the broiler for 8-10 minutes, until softened. Transfer tomatoes to a bowl, but leave the broiler on. Scatter almonds on the same baking sheet and slip under the broiler just for a minute or two, until toasted but not burned – watch them carefully! Combines cooked bulger or quinoa, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, almonds, pomegranate seeds, mint, lemon zest and salt in a large bowl. Toss to combine.
Combine the pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, olive oil and chili flakes. Add the dressing just prior to serving
Serves 4 to 6
The farmer’s markets are open for business and I’m buying! I know I’m not alone. It’s a ritual that’s hard to resist, a leisurely Saturday strolling through the nearest area selling all kinds of produce fresh from local lots. I was at the Fulton Street Market in Grand Rapids on this trip. Right now, the pickings are a little slim as we would expect, but stall after stall is filled with a grower from your own backyard putting his or her best of the week out there for your approval. For me, this is the toughest part. The root veggies know this Irish girl can’t just walk by, all onions sense I’m an easy target, and when all that asparagus winks at me, I know I’m taking it home. So the question is, how to enjoy it? I found an easy – my favorite cooking term – solution and here it is, a dish easy enough for everyday and pretty enough for company. Turn this out on the grill when the weather is great while the rice steams inside. Whole wheat pasta, couscous, polenta or your grain of choice also works well if rice isn’t right for you. Enjoy!
Baked Eggplant and Asparagus Dinner
Makes 6 servings
1 Medium eggplant, sliced
2 Cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp ground black pepper, to taste
12 Asparagus spears, steamed
3 Small tomatoes, chopped
6 Cups brown rice, steamed
1. Wash eggplant and slice in 1/4 inch sections and place in large bowl. Toss eggplant in olive oil, minced garlic, and ground pepper to taste. Allow to marinate 10-30minutes. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray and place eggplant on it, in a single layer. Brush balsamic vinegar on one side of each slice. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes
2. In the meantime, steam asparagus. When finished, brush with small amount of balsamic vinegar and ground pepper.
3. Remove eggplant from oven. Place asparagus on plate first, then diced tomatoes, then top with eggplant. Serve with 1 cup steamed brown rice.
That’s right. May means more than beautiful blossoms on trees like this one showing its splendor outside of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum on May Day, or triumphant tulips popping up in neighborhoods all over West Michigan, like these. It also means fewer soups and stews and heavy winter meals and more light, colorful, flavor bursting salads. Here’s a recipe that brings broccoli a little out of the box. It’s an excellent source of the cancer-fighting antioxidant sulforaphane, according to the authors of the Cancer Survivor’s Guide – Foods that help you fight back. That’s where I found this tasty, sweet and sour Broccoli Salad recipe. Enjoy it in good health! Broccoli Salad
2 medium broccoli crowns with stalks
1/2 c. grated carrots
1/2 c. raisins
2 to 3 green onions, or 1/4 c. chopped red onion
1/4 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
3 Tbs fat-free or low-fat vegan mayonnaise
1 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 to 1 cup broccoli sprouts – optional
1. Cut broccoli crowns into bite-sized florets. Peel broccoli stems and cut them into bite-size pieces. Transfer to a salad bowl and add carrots, raisins, onion and cranberries. Toss gently.
2. combine vinegar, mayonnaise, sugar and pepper in a small bowl. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss until evenly distributed. Let stand for 30 minutes before serving to allow flavors to blend.
3. Top each serving with one-quarter of the broccoli sprouts if desired.
4. Refrigerate in covered container for up to three days.
Per serving: 172 calories; 3.1 g fat; 0.4 g saturated fat; 16.4% calories from fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.5 g protein; 36.1 g carbohydrate; 26.5 g sugar; 3.7 g fiber; 261 mg sodium; 62 mg calcium; 1.3 mg iron; 70 mg vitamin C; 1457 mcg beta-carotene; 2 mg vitamin E
What a weekend assignment! Bring home this award winning recipe and give it a try. I am so game and this one proved to be worth it’s recognition as a top prize recipient in the Tender Ridge Angus Beef Share and Tell Recipe contest at Spartan Stores. It’s called Braised Beef in Red Wine sauce, although beef lovers may want to shorten that to simply ‘heaven’. Ann Elkina of Farmington Hills is the brainchild behind it and I sure hope I did it justice in my humble West Side GR kitchen. Try it for yourself and post your reviews.
Braised Beef in Red Wine
1 2lb top blade steak – chuck beef cut
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbls olive oil
1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. Spanish onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 c. chopped mixed vegetables – carrots, green pepper, cabbage, jicama, etc)
2 Tbls. Spartan brand tomato paste
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbls. fresh oregano, chopped
1/3 to 1/2 bottle of Spanish red wine
1 tsp. whole grain mustard
1. Cut beef into large chunks. Season with salt and peppers, dredge in flour, shaking off excess, and brown in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Turn to brown all sides. Remove from Dutch oven and reserve on a plate.
3. Add the wine, stir well, scraping the bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the reserved beef. Stir. Let simmer, covered, over low heat for at least two to three hours. Time to pour a glass for yourself!
4. Taste for seasoning – beef should be falling apart. Stir in a tablespoon or a little more of whole grain mustard. Let cook for a few minutes more. Serve with herbed mashed potatoes. Enjoy! Terri and Rachael gave it a try on eightWest and gave it a big thumbs up!
The calendar says Spring and the temperature says not quite yet. That makes this another perfect weekend for the ol’ crock pot. Try heating up your Saturday with this favorite recipe from my best friend Cathy. She introduced me to it one Summer day when her daughters had several friends over and she needed to feed a pretty big crowd. This meal has satisfied many from her house to mine since, so I thought it would be a great one to share today. Put it in the crock pot, put out the invitations and enjoy!
Moroccan Chicken Tangine
Place in your slow cooker:
3lbs chicken pieces, skin removed
Combine the following and pour over chicken:
2 c. chicken broth
1 – 14oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
6 sprigs fresh cilantro
Cook on low from four to five hours, or until chicken has no pink.
Remove chicken from the slow cooker.
Combine the following and mix until smooth
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 Tbs water
Pour cornstarch mixture and 1 – 15oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained into the slow cooker and cook on high for 15 minutes or until sause is thickened. To serve, pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with fresh, chopped cilantro and toasted slivered almonds. To toast almonds, spread a single layer on a baking sheet and place in 350-degree oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown, stirring frequently. Moroccan Chicken Tangine is wonderful paired with rice or cous cous!
My brother is spoiled rotten. He spends nearly every Sunday morning enjoying freshly made pancakes, lovingly prepared by his wife. It’s a ritual they share to usher a sweet and simple treat into a lazy morning loaded with coffee. Pancakes, of course, are delicious anytime of day, especially this Tuesday which is National Pancake Day at IHOP restaurants. This annual ritual raises funds for 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, the only CMN hospital this side of the state. Your donations at local IHOP restaurants stay in our community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Bring your family and your appetite to IHOP on Tuesday, March 1 from 7 am to 10 pm. IHOP will be offering a free short stack of its famous buttermilk pancakes to each guest and, in return, diners will be asked to make a voluntary donation to support Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities. Even my spoiled brother may double his pancake intake this week to help a great cause.