Posts tagged ‘vegetarian’

Warm Winter Whole Grain Salad

Warm Winter Wheat Berry Salad

Winter, for me, is a season of cleansing and stark beauty.  The simplicity of the silhouettes of bare branches against a steely grey sky speaks softly to my heart, also in need of a restful moment or two.  Snow is a constant wonder to me, though not in the same way it was when I was a kid barreling down the long steep hill behind our farmhouse on a wooden sled that surely was dangerous with its rusty metal rails.  In fact, a new unblemished blanket of white has just fallen overnight and my current home’s window frames a comforting innocence, the usually busy city street out front muffled.  Soon a gaggle of neighborhood kids will be sliding down the gentle slopes of the school yard next door.   I suppose the wonderment I have for winter white is that it is a great equalizer.  An eyesore and a masterpiece look nearly the same under a mantle of snowflakes.   Neighbors who may do no more than nod hello in every other season gather together with shovels on shoulders to clear the alleyway connecting all their homes, shouting stories about their kids or the city’s sports teams over the scrape of shovels against asphalt.   For at least a few hours, everyone in the world seems a little more considerate.  A little more wholesome. 

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January 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm 29 comments

From the Archives: Homemade Ravioli with Sorrel Pesto Filling

It seems (as I scramble with so many outdoor chores and professional commitments right now) that every April must be a fairly stressful month for me.  So I went into the archives to see what I was cooking last year this time and re-discovered this recipe, which instantly flashed a message in my brain that said “oh my, that was really good!”   Since there have been so many new readers to SFTF the past month or two, I thought it might be good to bring this post back up to the forefront, giving you something tasty and me a short reprieve until I concoct a new recipe for you this weekend. 

Garlic

From the Archives

It’s funny the things we do when we’re under stress from an out-of-control to-do list.  Some people have a glass of wine.  Others go for a run.  Still others take a long soak in the tub.  And some just buckled down and get things done.  The latter is usually my course of action.  But I do have a procrastinating streak in me on occasion. I think I reached a new low…or high…depending on your perspective. 

Sorrel and dogwood blooms

You see, in the midst of a huge project deadline and studying for an intimidating final exam and putting plans in place for something exciting that I’ll tell you about soon, I decided that it was the perfect time to…make my very first batch of homemade pasta.  Not just plain old noodles either, but Homemade Ravioli with Sorrel Mint Pesto

Making the pesto

I’m not exactly sure why I never attempted homemade pasta before.  Or, for that matter, why I suddenly decided to make it this week.  Anyway, I guess I figured it wasn’t worth the time if I didn’t have one of those sleek silver stainless steel pasta makers to roll out the dough to perfection.  Boy, was I wrong! 

Assembly line

Inspired by the new sorrel and mint leaves glowing that alluring shade of fresh spring green in a containers on my deck and the last cloves of local garlic that have somehow made it through the winter, I knew I needed to revisit the sorrel pesto recipe I made ages ago and it seemed like a tasty filling for ravioli.  I’m so glad I got the kick in the pants I needed to make pasta dough – it’s the easiest and most wonderful dough to work with that I’ve ever made. 

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April 8, 2010 at 6:22 am 8 comments

Spring Greens Tortilla

Before and After

Dear me!  Forgive me for leaving you without a new recipe for so long.  I’m finding myself a bit overwhelmed with getting all my gardening done, managing business stuff, and tackling a few other major tasks.  I guess spring really does have a way of flinging you forward.  This year we’re having a particularly sunny and warm one here in Philadelphia.  Normally I wouldn’t have anything ready in the garden for harvesting yet, but the first glorious greens were ready for picking last week!   I have lemony sorrel and fresh earthy oregano a-plenty.   Aren’t they beautiful with their fresh green color after a long snowy winter? 

Oregano and egg shells

Speaking of green things, my onions in storage have started sprouting little green shoots out their papery skins.  I find this growth fascinating because somehow even though they have been kept in a dark basement where the temperature hasn’t changed at all, they somehow still know that it’s springtime and can still grow without any of the usual accoutrements of soil, sun, and water.   Now, if you have some sprouting onions that are still firm when you squeeze them, don’t toss them.  Just cut out the green shoots from the core and use the rest.

Eggs and herbs

The potatoes had not fared quite so well in storage, getting shriveled and wrinkly.  But these small fingerlings were the last of my stash, lasting more than six months since they were harvested, so I wanted to do justice by them, putting together a tasty dish that would use them up rather than tossing them in the compost bin.   A classic tortilla with the punch of the new sorrel and oregano seemed ideal since the potatoes needn’t be perfect when blanketed with farm fresh egg. 

Mixing

Now  I didn’t try this myself because I was too lazy to go to the grocery store the other day when I was making it, but I am pretty sure a few crumbles of blue cheese or gouda would really elevate this dish from “very good” to “OMG”.   While the recipe below makes a fairly modest sized tortilla, you could serve a lovely brunch {perhaps for Easter tomorrow?} for several diners by doubling it.  Makes tasty leftovers too!

Spring Greens Tortilla

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April 3, 2010 at 2:25 pm 8 comments

Parsnip Leek Potato Bread Pudding

Ingredients

It almost seems silly to slide this dish, as delicious as it is, across the table to you right now when it would seem spring has officially come to visit my neck of the woods (as I write, there’s a thunderstorm rolling through!).  You see, this rustic savory bread pudding is full of winter delights – parsnips, sweet potato, farm fresh eggs, and leeks – when you might very well be able to snag some fresh greens already from your progressive local farmer who’s been putting his or her hoop house to good use.  But let’s face it, crisp tender green things are still few and far between and with the cool rainy days sure to come yet, a hearty helping of this bread pudding will do you a world of good. 

Eggs and Cream

When you sit and contemplate the ingredients in this recipe, it’s hard to think of a dish that would provide a more balanced meal.  I say this to possibly justify the fact that I ate the entire casserole dish of it myself over the course of last week; it was such a wonderful microwaved lunch!  In any case, it has loads of protein from the eggs, lots and lots of vitamins from the vegetables (including much needed vitamin C with the wave of sniffles going around), and ample carbs to rev you up.  And, if you can be a real optimist, there’s a good bit calcium from the heavy cream. 

Bread and Pudding

Individual ingredients and their notable merits aside, it’s the entirety of this dish that makes it worthy of your dinner table of lunchtime Tupperware.  The flavor is rich and the texture comfortingly soft and filling.  And the aroma while it’s in the oven is sure to draw a hungry crowd, eager to dig in.  It’s worth noting though that I actually enjoyed this bread pudding more after it had spent a night ruminating in the fridge, its flavors playing leapfrog and tumbling together.

Parsnip Leek Potato Bread Pudding

Oh, before I let you scurry off to gather ingredients or go back to your busy work day,  just remember that now is the time to sign up for a CSA share for the coming season so you can get a box of delicious produce every week without fail.  Don’t put it off as the CSAs around here at least fill up fast.  Here’s a link to a national directory of farms that provide a CSA option.  You can also check for others at www.localharvest.org.  And if you live in Philadelphia, last I heard, Henry Got Crops (a part of the Weavers Way Farm sites) still had shares available.   Soon there’ll be asparagus and rhubarb and tender greens aplenty.  Yum!

Ripple Pottery Bowl and Ready to Eat

P.S. – The amazing pottery pieces in the photos today are handmade by the talented guys at Ripple Pottery out of New Hampshire.  Aren’t they beautifully organic in their colors and shapes? 

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March 22, 2010 at 5:34 pm 17 comments

Homemade Onion Rings

Onion skins

Oh the humble onion.  How often I have overlooked thee in my winter local food stores.  You might ramp up the flavor in a soup or an omelet, nevertheless I just wasn’t thinking about what you might do as the star of the show.  But as we enter the “leanest month” – March – for locavores, I gave you a piercing stare as you hung there in your little mesh bags from a peg in my dry cool dark basement where you hold up indefinitely without a peep of complaint.   What can I do with you? 

Onions when I pulled them from my garden

Caramelized onions or French onion soup would perhaps be more predictable fates for a large stash of onions like that leftover from my plentiful onion harvest in the garden last summer.  And you may yet see both of those manifestations of onion goodness here this winter.  But I had a craving and a curiosity to satisfy first. 

Onions whole and peeled

I love onion rings with that crispy salty outside and that soft sweet onion on the inside.  They seemed to show up a lot at lunch during the summers when I was a kid; mom needed a quick side for my dad when he came rushing in at unpredictable times from working in the field.   My dad loves fried food.  Can you blame him?  

Uncooked Onion Rings

Unfortunately I don’t have the physique to get away with eating fried foods in any great quantity.  It stood to reason that my love of onion rings would be well served if I took some of those winter-stored onions and experimented with a healthier and homemade take on this fast food favorite. 

Uncooked and cooked rings

Besides burning the first batch, I declare these a solid success!  By putting a cookie sheet coated with a little oil in the preheating oven, you get the same crispy coating of fried onion rings without the saturated oily side effect.  I can’t take credit for that technique though: I saw Jamie Oliver (on the “telly”) use it once to cook up roasted potatoes faster.   Works like a charm, just be sure to let the cookie sheet get good and hot first, and then flip the onion rings once during baking to get the other side golden as well.

Homemade Onion Rings

So, if you had a good dozen or so large juicy onions still in storage, what would you do with them?  Or, perhaps more importantly, what would you like to see ME do with them? 

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February 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm 40 comments

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