It’s been a minute, dear readers. I hadn’t planned on waiting until February to post my first recipe of 2017, but despite my best intentions (and chocolatey experiments) (which will most definitely be revisited), here we are.
January was certainly eventful. On the 21st I rode the bus with my sister Xan and her fourteen year old daughter down to Washington D.C. for the Women’s March. Being surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people standing up to the new POTUS and his agenda of hate was amazing and empowering; I felt hopeful. Meanwhile, back in NY, my family had a good scare when my mom suffered a medical emergency. She’d become very ill due to complications from surgery, then even more ill when she went to the ER and was met with total incompetence. Thankfully she got the care she needed just in time (at another facility; shout out to the wonderful doctors and nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital) and is okay now.
Of course the now daily barrage of crazy news is enough to drive anyone mad. Still, it’s imperative that we stay informed, and never become desensitized or complacent. We need to stay strong and focused, figure out our next steps. And while I’m way too much of a realist to ever look at the world through rose tinted glasses, I’ll gladly fuel my fight with a rose tinted salad. This one is nourishing and bright, with textural variety, tons of flavor, and a pinkish hue thanks to roasted beets. Meyer lemon and hazelnuts make it feel like a treat, while lentils and sorghum help to sustain us through these exhausting times.
*Optional: Before cooking lentils, soak them in hot water with a bit of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. This makes them more easily digestible and also reduces their cooking time. I soaked mine overnight.
1 cup sorghum, rinsed
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
¾ cup black lentils, rinsed and sorted, soaked if desired (see note above)
2 tsp of vinegar (I used apple cider)
a few small beets, scrubbed
1/3 cup hazelnuts
1/3 cup meyer lemon juice (from ~2 meyer lemons)
2 tsp meyer lemon zest
1/3 cup olive oil (plus a tiny bit more for sorghum)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
optional: salad greens for serving
- Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes (mine took 60) or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain and let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the lentils. Place lentils in a pot and cover with about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until done (but not falling apart). Cooking time for the lentils will vary, depending on freshness and whether or not they’ve been soaked. My previously soaked lentils were done in 15 minutes; lentils that haven’t been soaked will take longer, closer to 25 minutes. So be sure to keep an eye on them and check regularly for doneness. Once cooked, drain, then toss with 2 tsp of vinegar and season with salt and pepper. Let cool.
- Meanwhile, make the beets. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Wrap beets in foil, place in an oven safe dish, and roast for about an hour, or until they can be easily pierced with a fork. Let cool, then peel and dice small.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, keeping a close watch, until browned and fragrant. Remove from pan and wrap in a dishtowel. Let sit for a minute (this will trap in the steam), then rub through the towel to remove the loose skins. Don’t worry about getting all the skins off– you only want get rid of the excess bits that would come off in your mouth (not pleasant). Roughly chop.
- To make the dressing, place the meyer lemon juice, olive oil, chopped thyme, and a dash of salt and pepper in a jar. Seal tightly and shake vigorously to combine.
- Mix together the lentils, sorghum, beets, and most of the dressing, setting aside some for leftovers (the sorghum will soak it up!). Season with salt and pepper, and top with hazelnuts and zest. Serve as is or with salad greens.
Yield: About 6 servings
It’s been a helluva week, to say the least. Salad might not exactly be the most obvious comfort food, but having a big batch in the fridge certainly helps make lunchtime easier (and healthier). This one is earthy, crunchy, full of spice and umami warmth, with bright herbal notes. Black-eyed peas are often eaten on New Year’s Day as a good luck food; I say we take all the good luck we can get.
Obviously we can’t rely on luck alone. I don’t care if I’m bringing politics into a place where it doesn’t belong because A) it’s my blog and I do what I want, and B) what’s happening goes way beyond liberal and conservative and into the realm of right and very, very, very wrong. None of this is normal or okay, and we must remain vigilant. We need to seek out reliable news sources and stay informed. We need to be active. We need to stand up to bigotry and hold our leaders accountable. We need to help out where we can and support organizations that do good work (Jezebel posted a pretty comprehensive list, to which I would add NRDC). Stay strong, friends.
3 cups cooked black-eyed peas, if canned then rinsed & drained
1-2 radishes, sliced into thin half-moons
1 cucumber, sliced into thin half-moons
1 scallion (white and light green parts), thinly sliced
3 tbsp mellow white miso
1 tbsp grated ginger
1½ tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp water
handful of parsley, chopped
salt (if needed; miso is salty) & black pepper, to taste
- To make the dressing, whisk together the miso, ginger, olive oil, and water.
- Toss the black-eyed peas, radish, cucumber, and scallion together with most of the dressing, setting some aside for left-overs (the black eyed peas really soak it up!), and stir to coat evenly. Gently mix in most of the parsley, saving a little bit for sprinkling on the top, and season to taste. Garnish with remaining parsley.
Yield: About 6 servings
Savor summer’s last hurrahs with this colorful salad, featuring nutty and slightly sweet black rice, crunchy edamame, a tangy sesame-tamari-lime dressing, and peaches, the season’s fuzzy stone fruit darlings. If you live in the New York tristate area, you might have noticed a peach shortage this year. Still, they’ve been showing up at the markets, and while they might be a bit pricier than usual, they are as wonderful as ever right now, if not even more precious.
*The drop of olive oil in the rice is totally optional but very helpful if you’re like me and tend to have rice stick to the pan. Skip it if you use a rice cooker.
*If you’d like a spicier dish, leave more of the jalapeño’s seeds and pith intact. If you prefer a milder dish, remove all the seeds and pith.
1 cup black rice
drop of olive oil, optional
1 cup frozen shelled edamame
2 ripe, sweet peaches, pitted and sliced
2 scallions, light green and white part only, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, removed of most (but not all) of its pith and seeds, finely chopped
3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
juice from 1 lime
1-2 small squirts of agave
generous handful of basil, chopped
- To cook the black rice, place in a small pot with 2 cups of water, a pinch of salt, and a drop of olive oil (if using). Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 40 minutes. Turn off heat, let sit for 10 minutes (covered), then fluff with a fork. Let cool.
- To cook the edamame, place in a small pot and cover with water by a few inches. Bring to a boil, then cook over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Drain and rinse with cold water. Dry and season with a bit of salt.
- To make the dressing, combine tamari, sesame oil, lime juice, and agave in a jar. Secure lid, then shake vigorously to mix.
- Toss cooled rice with edamame, peaches, scallions, jalapeño, and dressing. Taste for seasoning– you may wish to add more tamari and/or agave– and top with basil. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the flavors to mingle, then serve.
Yield: About 4-5 servings
From bread to butter to fritters (um heck yes), zoodles, and more, zucchini is pretty much everywhere these days. Right now, however, my favorite way to enjoy this ubiquitous summer squash is grilled. Tossed with olive oil, lemon, chickpeas, fresh dill, and toasted pine nuts, it makes for an easy and refreshing, thoroughly summery dish. Enjoy as a side, or make it a full meal by adding some grains and/or crusty bread. We had it over sorghum, topped with tomatoes, Cholula, and more extra-virgin olive oil– a combination I highly recommend!
*If grilling on a regular grill, simply toss the zucchini slices with a little high heat friendly oil instead of spraying on the grill itself.
*To toast the pine nuts, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat for a couple of minutes, watching closely, just until lightly browned and fragrant.
1½ cups cooked /15 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb zucchini, ends trimmed, halved if long, cut into thin strips (~1/8-1/4” thick)
½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (from ~½ lemon)
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup dill, chopped, plus a few bigger pieces for garnish
sea salt and black pepper
- In a bowl, toss chickpeas with the red wine vinegar, minced garlic, and some salt and pepper. Set aside to marinate.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. When hot, spray with some cooking spray. Cook zucchini slices , about 3-4 minutes per side, adding more cooking spray as necessary.
- Toss grilled zucchini with chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, chopped dill, and toasted pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with extra dill fronds.
Yield: About 4 servings
There’s a comfort in ritual. For me, Sunday means farmers’ market. While I’m fortunate enough to have access to multiple greenmarkets throughout the week (hello, Union Square), it’s the smaller, slightly quirky one that I can breezily walk to without making a day of it that is dearest to me and the one I get most excited about. Phil teases me for this (and we laugh about this Superbad scene often), but even he has to admit that the fresh, local produce this time of year is pretty wonderful. He also loved this dish– which is pretty damn seasonal.
*If you can’t find garlic scapes just use 2-3 regular garlic cloves, thinly sliced, and watch very closely while cooking.
*You can also substitute farro, wheat berries, or pearl couscous for the sorghum (though note that the recipe will no longer be gluten-free).
1 cup sorghum, rinsed and drained
3 cups water or vegetable stock (I used water + ½ bouillon cube)
extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of red pepper flakes
10-12 garlic scapes, trimmed of stringy and dried ends, chopped
2 cups snap peas, trimmed and de-stringed
1 cup chopped tomatoes (I used heirloom grape)
generous handful of dill, chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- Place sorghum, water/stock, and a drop of olive oil in a saucepan and cook over high heat until boiling. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for about 50-60 minutes (mine took 60) or until tender but still a little chewy. Drain.
- Meanwhile, drizzle some olive oil into a large pan and cook garlic scapes and red pepper flakes over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then.
- Add snap peas, turn up heat a bit, and cook, stirring as needed, for 3-5 minute, or until snap peas are just cooked through.
- Add snap peas and scapes to sorghum, and toss in the tomatoes and dill. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or cool.
Yield: About 4-5 servings