Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ratatouille Barley Salad

(Recipe from 101 Cookbooks)

Serves 8.

1 cup pearled barley (can also use quinoa, farro, bulgar, rice, etc.)
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2" slices
about 3 zucchini, 1/2" coins
olive oil & lemon pepper for cooking
2 cups baby tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup finely chopped basil
1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
salt, as needed

Rinse the barley.  Put it in a pot with about 3 cups of water.  Bring it to a boil then down to a simmer, add a few pinches of salt and cook for about 25-30 minutes until tender.  Drain any excess water and transfer the grains to a big mixing bowl.  Add the minced garlic and a pinch of salt while the grains are still hot, and stir.  Add the oil, vinegar, and agave and stir to coat.  Set aside.

Heat a hearty drizzle of olive oil in a cast iron pan over medium heat (you can alternatively grill the eggplant and zucchini).  Add the zucchini and a generous sprinkle of lemon pepper and saute until well charred and cooked through, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to the barley bowl.  Rub lemon pepper or similar seasoning on all sides of the eggplant.  Sear the eggplant in the pan; this will have to be done in two batches.  Cook both sides with a bunch of seasonings until the eggplant starts to soften and then add a drizzle of oil.  (Turns out a bit less greasy this way.)  Let the eggplant cool slightly.  Chop it into 2" chunks and add it to the barley bowl.  Add the halved tomatoes, basil, parsley and toss everything to mix.  Taste for salt and pepper and maybe a bit more vinegar, if you prefer.  Serve at room temperature.

(I chopped the zucchini and eggplant into small, bite-size chunks, put on a baking sheet with drizzles of oil and sprinklings of lemon pepper and roasted them in the oven to cut down on frying in oil.  This salad is delicious!)

Tangy Bean Salad with Carrots and Green Onions

(Recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
1 tsp. mustard, preferably German
1 Tbsp. sesame tahini
3 Tbsp. water
2 1/2 cups cooked and drained garbanzo or cannellini beans (I used half of each)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup grated carrots
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

Whisk together vinegar, tamari, mustard, tahini and water in a medium bowl.  Add beans, green onions, carrots, and parsley, toss to combine, and set aside at room temperature to let marinate for at least 15 minutes before serving.

(This gets better and better the longer it sits.  I added some dill and lemon juice.  Delicious in a whole wheat wrap with Dijon mustard and watercress.  Also good over salad greens.  So easy to make.)

Collards with Lentils, Tomatoes, and Indian Spices

(recipe from Whole Foods Market)

Serves 4.

1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsp. garam masala (an Indian spice blend)
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 bunch collard greens, thick stems removed and leaves sliced into 1-inch-thick ribbons
1 cup red lentils

Bring 1/2 cup water to a simmer in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.  Stir in garam masala and cook 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and their juices with 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in collards.  Cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine lentils and 2 cups water in a medium pot.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook about 8 minutes, or until lentils are tender.  Stir lentils into skillet with collards and serve.

(Very easy and tasty, served alone or with some sort of grain.  I added more spice, as well as salt and pepper, to my taste.)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Lisa's Granola

(recipe from Eating Well magazine)

6 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raw, unsalted pepitas
1/2 cup maple syrup
6 Tbsp. canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a roasting pan or large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine oats, almonds, walnuts, and pepitas in a large bowl.  Whisk maple syrup, oil, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl until blended.  Pour over the oat mixture and toss to coat. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan.

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until lightly and evenly browned and starting to dry out, 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Let cool completely in the pan before serving or storing.

Store airtight in a cool, dry place for up to 2 weeks.

(Delicious!  I added a bit less oil.  Also, monitor the cooking - my oven is hotter, I think, so I didn't have to bake for as long as they say.  I ate this with blueberries, bananas, and coconut milk and it was yummy.)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Pasta With Lentils and Kale

(recipe from Gourmet - Italian Kitchen magazine)

Serves 4.

1/2 cup French (small) green lentils
2 cups water
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
3/4 lb. kale, preferably Tuscan (lacinato)
3/4 lb. dried short tubular pasta (I used radiatore)

Simmer lentils in 2 cups water with 1/8 tsp. salt in a small saucepan, uncovered, adding more water if necessary to keep lentils barely covered, until tender but not falling apart, 20 to 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and season with salt.

While lentils simmer, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers, then saute onion with 1/4 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. salt, stirring, 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and golden (stir more frequently toward end of cooking), about 20 minutes.  Remove lid and increase heat to medium, then cook, stirring frequently, until onion is golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes more.  Sitr in lentils, including their liquid, and simmer, scraping up any brown bits, 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper.

While onion cooks, cut out and discard stems and center ribs from kale and coarsely chop leaves.  Start cooking pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of well-salted boiling water, according to package instructions.

Seven minutes before pasta is finished cooking, stir in kale and boil uncovered, until pasta is al dente. Reserve about 1 cup pasta-cooking liquid, then drain pasta and kale in a colander.  Add pasta mixture to lentils along with about 1/3 cup of pasta-cooking liquid (or enough to keep pasta moist) and cook over medium-high heat, tossing, 1 minute.  Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with remaining 2 Tbsp. oil.

(Ate for my lunches at work.  Found that it got better after a few days, once the flavors combined.  The step of cooking the kale along with the pasta was so easy!  I cut down on the oil and salt a bit.  Also, my onions didn't really brown, but the slow, long cooking time made them sweet and tender nonetheless.)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not-Tuna Salad

(recipe from

1 15oz. can (or equivalent cooked dried) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2 Tbsp. dill relish
2 Tbsp. finely chopped red onion
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. kelp granules (I just used some herby salt)
ground pepper to taste

Pulse the garbanzo beans in bowl of a food processor until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to a medium bowl and add apple, celery, pecans, relish, red onion, dill, lemon juice, and kelp granules.  Stir until well combined.  Season with pepper and chill until ready to use.

Perfect for sandwiches, wraps, or spread on crackers.

(I ate this within whole wheat wraps, spread with a little Dijon mustard, along with a few small kale leaves.  I love dill, so I thought this had marvelous flavor.  Oddly tuna salad like in texture and taste...  So easy, and so delicious.)

Wild Rice and Mushrooms

(recipe from

1 cup dried porcini or shitake mushrooms (I used fresh shitake and skipped the soaking step)
2 1/2 cups water, approximately
1 cup wild rice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup sliced carrots
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
salt or soy sauce to taste
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Soak the dried mushrooms in water to cover until they are soft.  Squeeze them out, reserving liquid, and slice.

Wash the wild rice in cold water:  set in a bowl, cover with water and let the debris float to the surface; pour off, rinse and drain.  Place washed rice in a pot with the mushroom-soaking liquid (minus any sediment) and add enough additional cold water to total 2 cups.  Add the orange juice, sherry and carrots. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add mushrooms and continue cooking until rice is tender and all (or most) of the liquid is absorbed.  (Don't cook too long or you'll get starchy, wimpy grains that have lost much of their flavor.)

Add the chopped parsley and salt or soy sauce to taste.  Stir in the nuts.

(I found that, with using fresh mushrooms, I maybe could have used a little less water to cook the rice.  I simmered uncovered for a little while after adding the mushrooms because I had a lot of liquid still.  I worried about over cooking my rice, but it turned out ok.  This dish has the most incredible flavor!  So good!  The orange is not too overpowering, just right.  The nuts add great texture and flavor, chopped very fine.  I actually ate this at room temperature like a rice salad for lunch.  Good both hot and cold.)

Vietnamese Salad

(recipe from Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, GOOP)

1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 tsp. soy sauce
1/4 cup fish sauce (I left this out)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. minced ginger
2 Tbsp. finely diced red onion or shallot

Mix everything together.

4 large bok choy leaves, rough bottoms discarded, stems cut into 1/4" bias and leaves shredded
4 big Napa cabbage leaves, shredded
1 bunch watercress, thick stems discarded, roughly chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
the leaves from about 8 stems each basil, mint, cilantro, roughly chopped
1/2 small cucumber, thinly sliced on the bias
1 red Thai chili (or more... or less), thinly sliced
1/2 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped (I also used walnuts to good success)
grilled fish, shrimp, tuna, chicken, or tofu for serving (optional) (I used tempeh)

Toss the bok choy, cabbage, watercress, carrot, herbs, cucumber, chili, and 1/4 cup of the peanuts together with enough dressing to coat.  Serve sprinkled with the remaining peanuts and whatever protein you like.

(This is my new favorite salad.  So good!  Amazing flavor.)