We are currently living through the wettest summer in a good number of years. The upside is that we have not needed to water our crops in almost two months and we are seeing a bumper crop of all types of green beans, pinto beans and kale. The downside is our tomatoes are splitting, cabbage is starting to rot, and the pumpkins and butternut squash are slow to produce, and slugs are starting to become a real problem. In an effort to reduces some of the water related issues we have let the ducks loose in the fields to help with bugs, have been canning and running the dehydrators at least twice a week, covered every flat surface in the house with tomatoes that need to finish ripening, and cooking all types of kale and Swiss chard dishes. For dinner today I made a Pistachio, Farro and Kale Salad with hot water cornbread. The dish was very easy to make, used several items from our gardens and was very tasty. If you would like to try the salad recipe it can be found at https://dailyburn.com/life/recipes/farro-kale-salad-recipe/
How are your gardens doing?
We brought the following fiesta quinoa salad to a gathering this weekend and it was a great hit so I thought that I would share it with you.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 – 14 oz can garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained and rinsed
- 1 – 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 brightly colored bell pepper, diced or julienned
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 jalapeño or other hot pepper, finely diced (remove ribs and seeds to keep heat down)
- zest of one lime
- juice 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- few grinds black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon local honey
- 1 minced garlic clove
- cook quinoa in water and cool.
- Add quinoa and rest of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl, fold gently, and let marinate for at least an hour before eating.
The unusually cool and wet summer that we received this year has encourage our herb gardens to flourish. This bounty has encouraged me to seek out new recipes and storage methods for the different herbs and spices from the garden. Today I made a cherry chutney from some of the fruit from our trees. I will be using this dish to complement an afternoon snack of cheese and crackers.
While the chutney was cooking down I used a number of fresh herbs to make a yummy three grain Mediterranean tabbouleh and braided pesto bread for dinner tonight. The hardy salad is bursting with flavor and the bread is soft yet stable with wonderful pesto flavors.
All of the flavorful items in this post are vegetarian and can be be made vegan if the Parmesan cheese in the bread is replaced with cashew cheese or nutritional yeast.
Click on the names of the dishes if you would like to try any of the recipes.
I was looking for something quick and light to make for dinner tonight and remembered an “oldie but goody” — mock tuna salad. I checked the fridge and cabinets quickly, and as luck would have it everything that I needed was on hand.
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup light, eggless mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- Mash the chickpeas in a medium size bowl (you will want to keep some texture in the beans).
- Add remaining ingredients and mix well.
- Chill for at least an hour prior to serving.
With the heat wave that we have had over the past week I have been resurfacing meal items that do not require me to turn on the oven and have limited interaction with the range, both of which heat up the kitchen and since our home has an open floor plan and no air conditioning — the entire first floor. Compounding my little kitchen strike was the need to prepare a meal for a friend and her family this past Sunday (a day in the high 80’s — a bit high for a northern New England state.)
The menu that I settled on was:
- cheese, olives, unsalted roasted nuts and flat-bread for appetizers
- wheatberry salad, pasta salad (with quinoa pasta), green salad and hummus with pitas for the dinner offering
- fresh fruits and fig and date bars for desert
All of the items appeared to be a hit, but the most popular offering appeared to be the rosemary hummus, so I thought I would share the easy to make recipe with you.
- 2 cups cooked garbanzo beans drained (I prefer freshly cooked dried bean, but canned ones will work)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup of bean cooking water (reserved)
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 6 tsp rosemary infused extra virgin olive oil (see the bottom of this post for how to infuse the oil)
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- pinch of salt (if using canned beans omit this item)
- Add cooked garbanzo beans to a food processor together with the lemon, juice, crushed garlic, salt and 4 tablespoons of oil.
- Blend until smooth, adding the reserved cooking water, a little at a time until the desired consistency is achieved.
- Leave the mixture to stand for an hour or so to let the flavors develop.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of the oil on top of the hummus just prior to serving.
- Serve with pita wedges and fresh vegetables and/or fruit.
Rosemary infused olive oil: 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon chopped garlic. Mix all ingredients into an airtight jar and store in a cool dark place for 2-3 weeks prior to use.
With the warm weather that we have been blessed with over the past couple of weeks my family has started to ask for salads and cold soups for meals. Last night I made a wheat berry salad that is a big hit with family and guests around my house (yes — we fell off our gluten-free diet with this meal, but it is so rich in nutrients that I just couldn’t pass this salad by).
If you are not familiar with wheat berries here is a bit of background.
- Wheat berries are whole wheat kernels. They look like thick, short grains — similar to brown rice.
- When boiled, cooked wheat berries have a chewy bite and subtle nutty, earthy flavor. They’re sturdy enough to handle bold salad dressings and still delicate enough to taste delicious with some milk, honey and cinnamon.
- If you like sprouts on salads and sandwiches, add a little water to wheat berries and you can grow your own wheat sprouts.
- Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away. A cup of cooked wheat berries has about 300 calories and is packed with fiber, protein and iron. Tasty sprouts are loaded with vitamin E, a cell-protecting antioxidant, and magnesium.
- 2 cups uncooked wheat berries
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 large carrot, grated
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, mashed
- 1/4 cup finally chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
- 1/2 medium red pepper, diced
- 1/2 to 2/3 cups crumbled goat cheese
- Cover wheat berries by 1 inch with water in a medium saucepan set over high heat. Add in a generous pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until chewy, about 45-50 minutes (taste and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes if you’d like). Drain and transfer to a medium bowl.
- While wheat berries are cooking, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, water, olive oil, garlic, red onion, and parsley in a small bowl (or shake together in a small jar). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- While the drained cooked wheat berries are still warm, toss with the vinaigrette.
- Allow the salad mixture to cool to room temperature and then stir in the cranberries, grated carrots, red pepper and goat cheese.
- Chill the salad for at least on hour prior to serving.