by Amy Chaplin
Martha's Circle

kohlrabi salad

If you’re looking for a refreshing salad to add brightness to your Thanksgiving meal, this one will work perfectly. It has a lively, bitter bite from the mustard and watercress, lots of crisp, juicy texture from shaved kohlrabi and a touch of sweet from the apple.

I usually don’t go for fruit in savory salads, but at a recent dinner at Ilbuco my sister ordered this salad for the table and I couldn’t believe how good it was—the combination of flavors and textures was simple and captured the season perfectly.

Kohlrabi is a member of the Brassica family, its name comes from the German words for cabbage “kohl” and turnip “rube.” It looks like a green turnip (although some varieties are red) with leaves that grow strait up. The texture and surprising juiciness of kohlrabi reminds some people of jicama, but with a sweet mild broccoli-like flavor.

Like other members of the Brassica family, kohlrabi is full of cancer fighting phytochemicals along with minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium and high amounts of vitamin C and E.

It is in season now and in abundance at the farmer’s market. Once you’ve had enough of eating it raw, try steaming it for a sweeter soft texture.

Wishing everyone a very happy and peaceful thanksgiving!

 

gorgeous greens

ps. The problems with my feed burner account have not yet been resolved and it seems that it cannot be… figuring out an alternative solution, so sorry!

I hate for you to miss out on new posts, please stay updated via the Coconut and Quinoa facebook page and instagram for now.  Thanks for your patients!

Thank you to Stephen Johnson for these lovely images.

 

Kohlrabi mustard green salad with aged sheep cheese.

This recipe is my version of Ibuco’s mustard and kohlrabi salad–on their menu this fall. Part of the reason the components work so well is because they are all at their peak right now. I chose a tart green apple and left the skin on, but use whatever apples taste the best.

Serves 2 large side salads.

Dressing

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Large pinch Maldon salt or other flakey sea salt

 

Salad

6 cups loosely packed bite-size mixture of red and green mustard and watercress

1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and shaved

1 medium apple, shaved

2oz aged sheep cheese, shaved

 

Make the dressing:

Place all the dressing ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.

 

Make the salad:

Add all the salad ingredients to a medium salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing, gently toss and serve.

Print recipe here.

 


Acorn squash

When I worked at Angelica Kitchen these middle weeks in November were always the busiest and most productive time. Although we began planning our annual 5-course Thanksgiving menu way back in August, as the days counted down, the reservations streamed in and the deliveries piled up—taking every bit of space available in the restaurant, it was around now that the various pieces began to come into focus.

Since the planning began in late summer, we’d be able to talk to farmers about what vegetables we wanted to use so they could plant for us accordingly. On any given year we might need enough radicchio for 300 salads or multiple cases of Japanese turnips to pickle for the famous pickle plate. The bottom line was that the menu had to be finalized by October 31st so that our customers could see it and book their tables.

Deciding on the two mains that would be offered on the menu was the first step and always the most involved. Being a farm to table vegan restaurant, we looked at all that was available from our vast number of purveyors: mushrooms, heirloom beans, herbs, dried chilies, wine and traditionally harvested corn products before deciding on a direction for each main course. Then the next challenge was to create one gluten-free, one mushroom free, one prepared without wine, one without nuts, one without corn and one without squash. We also wanted each Thanksgiving menu to be different, and hopefully better than the one the year before…all while keeping in mind we had to be able to produce enough of these meals to serve the hundreds of customers who came to celebrate Thanksgiving with us every year.

I would spend hours preparing an array of different dishes for the initial tastings, and then we’d narrow it down from there. Once the two mains were decided we could move on to deciding the soups, an appetizer, a salad and the three desserts, and lastly what would be served as guests were seated.

Although certain components of some courses like pickles and infused oils needed to be made well in advance, in order to prepare the actual meal, a team of us would work from 6 am up until 10 or 11 pm at night for 3 days before the Thursday of Thanksgiving. We’d then begin well before dawn on the day, after the overnight prep chefs had left our long lists completed. Along with all the prep for the Thanksgiving meal, we also continued to cook the 2 daily specials, soups and desserts plus the regular menu right up until Thanksgiving.

roasted squash

It was an intense week (to say the least!) and a steady build up to the 11 am staff tasting where we presented the 5-course meal. The tasting was the first time we’d see all the dishes together. And, it was a big hurdle to get over, as it was many weeks since we’d seen some dishes plated. It’s near impossible to taste anything after so many days sampling dozens of flavors, hours standing over 20 gallon pots of rich bubbling stocks and checking the balance of pie spices in 200 pounds of roasted pureed squash for the 30 plus pumpkin pies we needed to bake and cool in time for service, but you try!

After the tasting we’d get strait back to the kitchen with many more things added to our lists and only moments to tweak any of the menu items. As the first seating approached, wait staff got busy in the dining room organizing reservations and setting tables with linen napkins and fresh flowers.  In the kitchen, we got ready for the first rush of orders beginning precisely at noon—the telephone ringing off the hook with take out orders, requests for last minute reservations and questions about the menu.

On one particular Thanksgiving, I recall someone calling in the midst of the morning rush to ask about a recipe in The Angelica Home Kitchen cookbook that they were preparing for their own Thanksgiving dinner.  I could feel my mind go numb as I scrambled to find space in it to process what the distraught person was explaining. Somehow I managed to clear my thoughts enough to answer their questions before returning to the task at hand, fretting about the amount of each main we’d made and whether or not they would last the day. Predicting what people would be in the mood for eating was always a test on our physic abilities.  In the end, it was just safer to make extra….our worst fear was running out of one choice and disappointing customers who had planned a month (some even a year) in advance to share Thanksgiving with us.

Ultimately, once things got going it felt like a dance, with everyone moving in time and any potential stumbles miraculously prevented. I would stand back periodically and although exhausted, enjoy the flow of activity and all those months of planning and preparation paying off.

I worked Thanksgiving for 5 years in a row at Angelica and will never forget the mood in the kitchen these weeks building up to and of course the crazy-busy morning of Thanksgiving. Even now, I love to stop in a couple of days before the big day to see the kitchen alive and full of the enticing and unmistakable aromas of the delectable meal to come.

I hope this gets you in the mood to cook!

The meal

Beautiful photography is courtesy of Stephen Johnson.

Roasted acorn squash with beluga lentil, mushrooms and chestnut filling.

This dish is inspired by a combination of my favorite main courses that we prepared when I worked at Angelica Kitchen. If you are still looking for a rich and tasty plant inspired (vegan) Thanksgiving dish, I thoroughly recommend this. The filling can be made up to two days in advance and heated on the stovetop while the squash roasts. It can also be served as a side by cutting the squash into quarters and ladling the filling over them. Either way it’s a lovely celebration of warming fall flavors.

Here I roasted enough squash to serve 6 people but the filling will be enough for up 8 to 10 squash. I used scarlet runner heirloom beans in the filling; if you can’t find them you can replace them with any creamy large bean. Also feel free to replace the beluga lentils with French lentils—for some reason mine looked the same brown color after being cooked.

 

Filling

1 cup beluga lentils, soaked overnight for 12 to 24 hours

2 inch piece kombu

8 bay leaves

Extra virgin olive oil

1 rounded cup peeled pearl onions or small shallots

Sea salt

8 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon chopped thyme, plus more sprigs to garnish

1 tablespoon chopped sage, plus more whole leaves to garnish

1 tablespoon chopped oregano

1 tablespoon chopped rosemary

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons red wine

3 tablespoons mirin

2 teaspoons tamari

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 ½ cups cooked heirloom beans, I used scarlet runner

1 cup cooked chestnuts, halved

1 pound crimini mushrooms, quartered

½ pound shitake mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon kuzu

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Squash

3 small acorn squash

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

 

Make the filling:

Drain and rinse lentils. Place in a medium pot and cover with 1 inch of filtered water. Add kombu and bay leaves and bring to a boil, cover pot lower heat and simmer 30 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.

Warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add pearl onions and a pinch of salt and sauté for a couple of minutes. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once onions are cooked through and browning, add garlic and all the herbs; sauté for a few minutes or until garlic is golden.

Strain lentils, reserving cooking liquid and add to the pot along with 1 ½ cups of the reserved lentil cooking liquid. Add wine, mirin, tamari and balsamic vinegar. Bring up to a simmer, add cooked beans and chestnuts and allow to cook while you sauté the mushrooms.

 

Warm a wide skillet over medium heat, add enough olive oil to generously cover the pan and add half of the crimini mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Allow the mushrooms to brown before stirring; this takes a minute or two. Remove from heat and add to lentil mixture. Repeat with remaining crimini, before removing from heat. Add some thyme leaves and sage leaves. Stir until herbs are wilted, then remove from heat and set aside. Cook shitakes in two batches the same way; adding half to the lentil mixture and cooking the other half with herbs and adding to the reserved criminis.

Taste the lentils and season with salt and pepper. Cover pot and continue simmering for 20 to 30 minutes or until ready to serve.

 

Roast the squash:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Cut each squash in half lengthways. Scoop out seeds and some flesh if the cavity is small. Slice a little off the side of each squash so that they can sit flat when serving. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Rub squash with oil and turn over to face cavity down. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until cooked through and squash is browning. Remove from oven and place on a platter. Fill with lentil mixture and scatter reserved sautéed mushrooms over the top, sprinkle with black pepper and serve warm.

Print recipe here.


soup

When my friend and part-time neighbor Mary mentioned to me that she wanted to learn a quick soup to make on the rare occasions she’s home, I knew immediately I had to show her how to make an easy red lentil soup. Being the in-demand and talented make up artist that she is, Mary travels for work constantly and needed a recipe that didn’t require any pre-soaking or advance planning—also one that uses ingredients that keep well in the fridge. Red lentils are perfect for creating a satisfying and warming soup as they cook into creamy goodness by the time you’ve prepped the veg and sautéed the onions.

I happened to have lemongrass and fresh turmeric on hand but these ingredients are not required to achieve a warming and satisfying dish. This soup can also be made with the lots of chopped fresh herbs in place of ginger, turmeric, coconut and lemongrass. Or, add a tablespoon of curry powder (instead of the turmeric) after sautéing the ginger and garlic –with or without the coconut, lemongrass and chili.

It’s worth buying and storing ginger, carrots, onions and garlic and if you happen to find lemongrass and fresh turmeric root they too keep well in the fridge for weeks.

Red lentils don’t need to be soaked ahead of time because they don’t have a skin and therefore don’t contain phytic acid—the nutrient blocker that prevents whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds from sprouting in our pantries. On the other hand, French and green lentils do need to soaked overnight because, though they cook up relatively quickly, they contain phytic acid which needs to be removed before being cooked.

fresh grated turmeric, fresh Kaffir limes, ginger, red chili, cilantro and lemongrass

Easy Thai red lentil soup

For added greens try stirring a handful of spinach, chard or finely chopped kale into the simmering soup before serving. If you happen to see Kaffir lime leaves, they taste great added to the lentils while they cook.

Serves 4 to 6

2 cups red lentil, washed

5 cups filtered water, divided

2 inch piece kombu

1 stalk lemongrass, split and cut in half, optional

2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil

1 large onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced

1 to 2 teaspoon minced fresh red chili or pinch dried red chili flakes

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons dry turmeric or 1 tablespoon grated fresh turmeric

2 tablespoons minced cilantro stems, leaves chopped and reserved

2 medium carrots, diced

3 cups cubed butternut squash (  ¾ inch cube)

1 13.5oz can coconut milk, divided

Place lentils in a medium pot and add 3 cups of water, kombu and lemongrass. Bring to a boil over high heat, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes or until you’re ready to add them to the vegetables. They’ll get creamier the longer they cook.

In another large pot warm the coconut oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and ginger and continue cooking for another 3 minutes. Stir in chili, turmeric and cilantro stems and cook another minute. Add carrot, butternut and remaining cup of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. Add lentils and half of the coconut milk and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to allow flavors to marry. Stir in a large handful of chopped cilantro leaves. Serve soup and drizzle each bowl with a little of the remaining coconut milk and garnish with cilantro and sliced red chilies if desired.

soup


Just tossed salad

Firstly, I’m sorry for the lack of posting going on around here!  It’s been a busy last few months including a 4-week trip to Australia, shooting the cover for my book and a big round of book edits.  Please know that I’ve really missed sharing recipes with all of you and the feeling of connectedness I get through cooking and photographing the food that I love.

Having been so absorbed in the process of writing the book and testing the recipes for it, I couldn’t seem to find room in my mind (or fridge!) for any new ideas to share here. My hat goes off to my fellow bloggers who seem to be able to keep posting while writing a book, working and being moms!

Anyway it’s good to be back, especially in the midst of peak fall with the abundance of my favorite vegetables—winter squash, shelling beans, cauliflower, sweet corn and the last of the tomatoes, eggplant and peppers. Most of all, I really hope you enjoy this salad.  Roasting is such a great way to use up odd amounts of vegetables you have on hand (and warm up the kitchen!); and the mustard dressing enlivens them and plays off their sweet flavor perfectly. A very happy autumn to you all!

fall salad

Autumn roast vegetable salad with mustard dressing

You can use any combination of vegetables here; just make sure they are roasting in a single layer, as the veggies need to be able to brown to achieve the best flavor. If you spread them over two smaller trays, be sure to rotate them half way. This salad could also be tossed with some baby greens like arugula, watercress or spinach for a lighter meal or if you need to serve more than 4 people.

Serves 4

Roasted vegetables

½ medium cauliflower, cut into medium florets

3 small red onions, quartered lengthways

4 small red peppers, cut into 1-inch strips

¼ medium red kuri squash, peeled and seeded and cut into ¾ inch by 3 inch slices

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Dressing

1 teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon naturally fermented mirin

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

 

Salad

1 ½ cups cooked and drained chickpeas

1 cup finely sliced Lacinato kale

 

Roast the vegetables:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add all the vegetables. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss well to combine. Spread vegetables evenly over tray in a snug single layer. Roast for 30 minutes or until most of the vegetables have a brown bottom, turn each vegetable over and roast another 20 minutes or until browning.

Remove from oven and set aside to cool on the tray.

ready to roast

cooling

add chickpeas and dressing

Make the dressing:

Warm a skillet over medium heat and add mustard seeds. Toast for a couple of minutes or until you hear the first one pop. Transfer to a bowl and add Dijon mustard, garlic, vinegars and mirin; whisk to combine. Add olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk again. Stir in chickpeas and pour over cooled vegetables. Add kale and gently toss to combine. Serve at room temperature.

ready

Print recipe here.

 

marinated beet salad with feta, mint and pistachios

The really good organic heirloom tomatoes have just hit the farmer’s market: plump, juicy, tangy and sweet. I know it’s hard at the moment to think of eating a dish that doesn’t revolve around a tomato of some sort, but this tasty beet salad is so good and deliciously refreshing that I had to share it. The colorful, freshly dug baby beets at the market right now are so tender that they need little more than a splash of vinegar and olive oil to bring out their sweet earthy flavor. The addition of mint and salty feta give the salad a bright, fresh flavor with a little buttery crunch from the toasted pistachios.

baby beet bunches

In this intense summer heat my meals have become increasingly simple—l frequently return to variations of old favorites like tomatoes on toast or quinoa with various toppings (which you see plenty of on instagram). I still cook something every couple of days that can last for a few meals—simple grains, chickpeas or the beets from this salad. Marinated beets combine well with grains or beans and can become a quick lunch with the addition of lots of chopped parsley and scallions, some kraut and avocado or feta. They also make a great snack on rice cakes smeared with fresh goat cheese.

beet salad

I was lucky enough to have Stephen Johnson capture these images. You can see more of his work at stephendotcom.com

Marinated beet salad with feta, pistachios and mint

When the baby beets are fresh they hardly need any time marinating, but they can also be made up to 3 or even 4 days in advance. If you toast the nuts ahead too then it all comes together in minutes. If you don’t mind the feta absorbing some of the pink juices, it sits well after assembly as well.

If it’s too hot to turn the oven on, you can toast the pistachios in a skillet over low to medium heat. Stir every few seconds so they cook evenly, it will take about 5 minutes or so.

 

3 bunches baby beets, about 12 red or golden or a mix

1 tablespoon unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt

¼ cup raw shelled pistachios

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh mint leaves, roughly torn

3 oz goat milk feta, drained

Beet micro greens to garnish, optional (it’s called Bull’s blood at Windfall Farms)

 

Trim greens off beets, leaving about an inch of the stem. Place in a pot and cover with an inch of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer until cooked through, about 15 to 20 minutes, or longer if they’re bigger. Drain and rinse beets. Slip off their skins and slice them into ¼ inch rounds. Place in a bowl and add vinegars, olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Toss to combine and set aside to marinate. While the beets marinate toast the pistachios.

marinating beets

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread pistachios over a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and toast for 6 to 8 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Remove from oven, allow to cool then roughly chop and set aside.

Toss beets and add pepper and more salt to taste. Spread beets over a large plate or platter along with any extra marinade. Scatter with mint leaves, pistachios and crumbled feta. Garnish with micro greens.

Print recipe here. 

goji-strawberry smoothie

It’s only on these rather hot and humid summer mornings that I entertain the idea of making a smoothie. Although delicious, blended berries rarely make their way into my breakfast routine – I usually eat them whole out of hand or scattered over my staple summer breakfast bowl.

If you’re a smoothie fan then you’ll love this velvety, omega-packed and antioxidant rich blend. It’s tangy and earthy flavor comes from the goji berries, which besides their abundant immune boosting and antioxidant properties also provide loads of vitamin C, amino acids and trace minerals. If you let the smoothie sit for a few minutes (or leave it in the fridge overnight, yes it lasts very well) the flax thickens it up to a shake-like consistency. In order to absorb the full benefit of the omega 3’s that flax contains, the seeds must be ground; soaking them overnight makes it easy to grind them in a blender and also releases their gelatinous quality which sooths digestion.

Photos by Stephen Johnson

flax seeds, goji and strawberries

Goji-strawberry breakfast smoothie

If your strawberries are lacking sweetness, add the optional honey or sweetener of your choice. I use unstrained, homemade almond milk, as that’s what I keep on hand; it also adds more body to the smoothie if you’re drinking it as a meal. You will need to soak the flax and goji overnight; this not only softens them but also allows the flax to thicken to a gelatinous consistency. I soaked the flax and goji on the counter but if you want a cold smoothie, place it in the fridge.

2 tablespoons flax seeds

3 tablespoons goji berries

¾ cup filtered water

 

2 cups hulled strawberries

1 cup homemade almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon raw honey or sweetener of choice, optional

 

Add flax seeds and goji berries to a cup or jar,  pour in water and soak overnight or until thick and gelatinous.

Place everything in a blender and blend until completely smooth, drink immediately or allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken.

Any left over smoothie keeps for up to 2 days in the fridge, where it will thicken further.

smoothie!

print recipe here

Rye, raddish and goat cheese tartine

I recently had the pleasure of a kitchen visit from Myriam Babin, a photographer and creator of the lovely blog New York Kitchen – you can check out her post here, (she also snapped these pictures during our afternoon together). I took a much-needed break from editing to make us lunch and get to know her gorgeous 6-month old son, Cassius. I actually (almost completely) neglected lunch, as it was much more fun to play with him! Luckily, the beans are impossible to mess up: they just get more meltingly yummy the longer they cook and the tartines are quick to throw together, even with a cute baby on your hip!

For the tartines, I used organic rye bread rounds from Nordic Breads—a traditional Finish rye bread bakery that sells at the Union Square Farmer’s Market. Their breads are excellent—moist and tangy with a delicious, deep rye flavor.

garlic scapes

 

beans and greens

Beans and greens

The wet, rainy trips to the greenmarket have me craving cooked greens lately rather than fresh salads. Cooking greens and adding mellow, creamy beans is a great way to temper any bitterness that you may find in the variety of spring greens available at this time of year. Here, I used rainbow chard and red Russian kale, but any green will work. Adding a splash of white balsamic brings out their sweet flavor and lifts the earthy flavor of the beans nicely.

Here, I used cranberry beans, an heirloom bean variety that looks like a pinto bean but has a pinker color. You could use cannellini, pinto, kidney or other heirloom beans in their place. I pressure-cooked the beans for 25 minutes with kombu and bay leaves. If you boil the beans, make sure that they are completely soft; it’s fine if they fall apart a little.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

5 shallots, cut in ¼ inch slices

Sea salt

3 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced

5 garlic scapes, thinly sliced

2 cups sliced kale

4 cups sliced rainbow chard

2 cups soft-cooked cranberry beans

½ cup bean cooking liquid

1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

Black pepper

shallots

Warm olive oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté 10 minutes or until beginning to brown. If shallots are sticking to pan, lower heat slightly, add a pinch of salt and continue cooking until caramelized, about 5 minutes longer.  Add garlic and garlic scapes and cook for 3 minutes more. Stir in kale and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add chard and cook for another 2 minutes or until wilted. Add beans and bean cooking liquid and bring up to a simmer, stirring to prevent sticking. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve warm or room temperature with a drizzle of olive oil.

lunch

Rye, radish and goat cheese tartines

You can use any good thinly sliced sourdough rye here—or your favorite bread.

Serves 4

8 slices 100% rye bread, lightly toasted

Extra virgin olive oil

6oz fresh goat cheese

Thinly sliced radishes, I used a mandolin

Coarse sea salt

Fresh dill sprigs

Freshly ground black pepper

making tartines

Drizzle rye toast with olive oil and spread with goat cheese. Top with thinly sliced radishes, coarse sea salt, dill and pepper.

Percy and Cassius

Percy and Cassius

 

Cassius!

Click here for printable version.

spring salad

Millet is a quirky grain: with a sunny yellow color and perfect round shape, it fluffs up perfectly when cooked, but quickly becomes dry as it cools. Raw, it smells slightly sweet, milky and almost musky.  It’s the kind of smell that makes me want to bake breakfast-y things like my mother’s milk pudding.  To provide depth and a bit more body to the pudding, she used to fold in ground raw millet before baking it. We ate the milk pudding warm for breakfast in winter. I posted the recipe and some photos here awhile back and in case you’re curious, I have tried to make an almond milk version but it just isn’t the same.

Anyway, today I decided to try something different (for me) and make a salad; served slightly warm it was the perfect dish for a rainy day.

As I tossed the ingredients together I really wished I was sharing it with my mother and that the distance between us wasn’t so great.

Happy Mother’s Day Pamela xoxo

 

For other recipes and info about ramps (wild leeks) go here and here

Oh, and thanks so much to everyone at vogue.com for featuring my Pantry stocking/cooking classes as one of the 10 best Mother’s day gifts!

Check out the link here.

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lunch

 

Spring millet salad with tangy seeded flax dressing

If you prepare the full amount of millet you will be left with about 2 cups cooked. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days and stirred into pancakes, bread or baked goods. Millet gets dry once it cools, so reheat it before eating plain. Alternately, you could halve the millet and not have anything left over.

In this salad, I stopped the millet from becoming dry by tossing it with the salad dressing while still warm. Allow any left over salad to come to room temperature…but it is best the day it’s made.

A medium leek will work in place of ramps (wild leeks). It could also be topped with a crumble of goat cheese instead of avocado, or both.

Serves 2 to 4

 

Millet

1 cup millet, washed and soaked over night in 2 cups water

2 cups filtered water

Sea salt

 

Dressing

4 tablespoons flax oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons unpasteurized apple cider vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons tamari

1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds, chopped

1 tablespoon toasted pumpkin seeds, chopped

1 tablespoons hempseeds

 

For the salad

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 bunch ramps, bulbs and leaves thinly sliced and kept separate

1 cup frozen peas

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and shaved lengthways with a vegetable peeler

Sea salt

 

To serve

1 avocado, diced

Chopped chives

Radish sprouts

 

Cook the millet: drain and rinse millet and place it in a small pot, add filtered water and a pinch of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside for 5 to 10 minutes.

salad dressing

Make the dressing: whisk together all the salad ingredients and set aside. Remove half of the cooked millet (about 2 cups), place in a bowl and fluff with a fork. Pour ¾ of the dressing over cooked millet and mix well, breaking up any lumps. Set aside while you cook the vegetables.

 

shaving asparagus

raw shaved asparagus

Make the salad: warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add ramp bulbs and sauté for a couple of minutes or until softened, stir in ramp leaves and sauté until wilted, about a minute. Add peas and cook until heated through and bright green. Stir in shaved asparagus and sauté until softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately, add to dressed millet and toss to combine.

To serve: spoon salad into bowls and top each portion with avocado and drizzle with remaining dressing. Garnish with chives and radish sprouts.

 

topped with avocado

 

my mother and sister in Victoria, Australia 1977

Me in wheel barrow

Print recipe here.

roasted cauliflower tart

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to contribute a cauliflower recipe for the Guardian‘s Life and Style section.

This is what I made. It was part of the 10 best cauliflower recipes, you can see more recipes here.

I love roasting large trays of cauliflower florets until deeply golden and crisp. They make a great snack eaten on their own and add lovely texture and taste when served alongside salads and whole grains. This tart turns my favorite simple roasted cauliflower into a complete meal; the addition of lemon in the filling gives it a nice lift and compliments the buttery flavor of toasted walnuts too. Serve it slightly warm or room temperature with a salad for a perfect light meal.

tart

Roasted cauliflower tart with walnut crust and creamy lemon filling

Roasted cauliflower;

1 medium-large (2 pounds; 907 g)) cauliflower

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

Crust:

½ cup (1 ¾ oz; 50 g) toasted walnuts

½ cup (1 ½ oz; 42 g) regular rolled oats

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon sea salt

Large pinch black pepper

1 cup (4 ¼ oz; 120 g) whole spelt flour

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to oil the pan

2 tablespoons plain soymilk or unsweetened almond milk

 

Filling:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 medium onion, quartered and cut in ¼ inch slices

5 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ teaspoon sea salt

1/8th teaspoon turmeric powder

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

¼ cup plain soymilk or plain almond milk

Freshly ground black pepper

To garnish;

Lemon zest

Chopped parsley

 

To roast the cauliflower:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Add cauliflower, olive oil, and salt, and toss to combine. Arrange cauliflower florets evenly over tray and roast for 30 minutes. Turn each floret over and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or until florets are browning. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while you make the crust.

To make the crust:

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly oil a 9-inch tart pan with removable bottom and set aside.

Place walnuts, oats, baking powder, salt and pepper in a food processor and blend until coarsely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add spelt flour and mix well. Drizzle in olive oil and mix until evenly distributed. Add soymilk and mix again. Mixture should hold together when squeezed but not stick to your hands. Add a little more soy milk if it’s too dry. Press evenly into prepared tart pan, trimming excess pastry from the edges. Prick with a fork and bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

 

To make the filling:

Warm olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browning. Add garlic and cook for another 5 minutes. Lower heat to low, add salt and continue cooking for 10 minutes more or until caramelized. Stir in turmeric, remove from heat and transfer into a food processor. Add ¼ of the roasted cauliflower, lemon juice, soymilk and a large pinch of black pepper. Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides as necessary. Spread into pre-baked tart shell and arrange remaining cauliflower over the top.

assembling tart

Bake tart for 30 minutes, remove from oven and allow to cool 15 to 20 minutes. Sprinkle with lemon zest and parsley and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Print recipe here.

 

stew with olives and parsley

On the days when I either don’t know what I want to cook, have no idea what is left or needs to be used in the vegetable drawer in the fridge, or have no desire to venture to the shop, I plan on cooking a bean soup or a stew like this one. It’s the perfect way to use up any fresh herbs that are on their last legs and also any vegetables you have on hand. Since I also had Brussels sprouts, I decided to roast them and serve them alongside the stew. At the last minute I stirred in some wilting arugula that was beyond a salad. I also sprinkled chopped olives on top to give it a lift. This recipe makes a big pot and has been a blessing to come home to on these chilly, early spring nights.

roasted Brussels Sprouts

White bean vegetable stew

I like to cook the beans for this stew with lots of bay leaves and sage, and then use the cooking liquid as the base of the stew. Using a pressure cooker means that this dish can come together in under an hour (see note). You will need more time if you’re simmering the beans. In a pinch you could use 4 cups canned white beans, replace the bean cooking liquid with water and add the bay leaves to the stew as it cooks. Feel free to stir greens in at the end, spinach, kale. chard or arugula all work well.

Serves 6

For the beans:

2 cups dry cannellini or navy beans, soaked overnight in 8 cups filtered water

5 bay leaves

2 inch piece kombu

3 large sprigs fresh sage

 

For the stew:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion

½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped

2 medium carrots, cut in medium dice

2 stalks celery, cut in medium dice

2 medium red potatoes, skin left on and cut in medium dice

1 28oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, plus more to taste

Freshly ground black pepper

 

To serve:

Chopped Kalamata or black olives

Chopped parsley

Good grassy extra virgin olive oil

Roasted Brussels sprouts, optional, recipe below

Warm crusty bread, optional

vegetables for stew

 

Cook the beans:

Drain and rinse beans, place in a large pot and cover with 3 inches of filtered water. Add bay leaves, kombu and sage. Bring to a boil over high heat, skim off any foam that rises to the top, cover pot and lower heat. Simmer for 50 to 60 minutes or until beans are soft and creamy inside. Remove and compost bay leaves, kombu and sage. Drain beans, reserving cooking liquid.

Make the stew:

Warm olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 6 to 8 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, thyme and oregano and continue cooking for another couple of minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and potatoes. Add 3 cups bean cooking liquid and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover pot, lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are cooked.

Add the tomatoes and cooked beans, raise heat again and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes, or longer. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Serve topped with olives, parsley, a drizzle of olive oil, a few roasted Brussels sprouts and crusty bread.

Note; if you are using a pressure cooker only fill water to the highest capacity mark (about 2/3 full). Bring up to full pressure, lower heat and cook for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow pressure to come down naturally and continue as above.

 

Roasted Brussels sprouts

This recipe is approximate amounts, as I prepped enough to fit comfortably on the tray.

Serves 4 as a side

About ¾ pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground back pepper

ready for the oven

roasted!

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add Brussels sprouts, olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss well, turn each sprout cut side down and roast for 25 minutes or until brown.

Remove from oven and serve warm or room temperature (with or without the stew!)

Print recipe here.

 

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