Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cold Lentil and Black Cherry Salad

This is the perfect summer side dish, cool and delicious. Consider using a specialty pepper blend in place of black peppercorns. I recently tried a variety from Trader Joes called "Flower Pepper" with Calendula, Rose and Lavender petals, which you grind right along with the peppercorns. It was flowery, of course, with a delicate complexity.

1 1/2 cups dried green lentils
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 scallions, white and pale green parts, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups fresh black cherries, pitted and halved
1 cup fresh basil

Rinse lentils and pick through for any foreign material. Cover with 5 cups water in medium size pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until just tender. Be careful not to overcook. Drain and place in a serving bowl. Add scallions and cherries and toss gently to combine.

Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper then drizzle over the salad. Hand tear the basil and toss just before serving.

(adapted from a recipe on )

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby Meals #2 Vegan Hummus, Falafel and Greek Salad

Thanks to my beautiful friend Elizabeth for bringing this delicious vegan, gluten-free dinner to us after Cole was born. We made it again a few nights ago. Absolutely delicious!

Blend together:
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (or 2 cans)
2 garlic cloves (adjust according to taste desired)
1 tsp ground cumin
up to 1/2 cup water to thin the hummus, if necessary

Season with sea salt, to taste.

The quality of the oil and the freshness of the lemon juice make a big difference in this hummus, but it's delicious any way it's prepared.

This recipe calls for soaked but uncooked beans. They will be cooked in the final step. First, soak 2 1/2 cups of dried garbanzo beans in cool water in a covered container for 24 hours. After the beans are soaked and rinsed, finely chop them in the food processor with:

1 onion
4 cloves garlic, or to taste
1/2 to 1 cup cilantro leaves
2 tsps ground coriander
2 tsps ground cumin
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsps lemon juice
2 tbsps olive oil
1 tbsp cornmeal

Let this mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least two hours before cooking. Form into small balls and fry in olive oil until crisp all around. This recipe makes a lot, but I only fry what we want to eat right away. The next day, we can fry the rest to have "leftovers" that are hot, fresh, and delicious.

Greek salad dressing
Mix together:
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
3 tbsps fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby Meals #1 Vegetarian Quiche & Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

I'm pretending that the previous 12 weeks in which I haven't posted are my maternity leave and not simply my neglect. I had a baby in May and have had my hands full ever since. During the first few weeks several wonderful people brought us some delicious dinners so I could stay out of the kitchen and simply bask in the sweetness of my new little one. It was a precious time.

And let me tell you, some of the food was really, really good! Not that I'm surprised; I keep company with others who love food as much as I do. So I had to share their culinary genious with you. The first is a vegetarian, crustless quiche that Rich and I polished off in 9 minutes. Yes, it is that good! Dessert is a gluten-free chocolate cake. Enjoy!

Crustless Vegetarian Quiche

1/2 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mild cheddar, shredded
1 cup fresh spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 cup evaporated milk
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
pinch cayenne
handfull fresh basil, roughly chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a glass pie pan with butter. Spead the cheese over the bottom of the pan and top with the vegetables and basil. Whisk together the milk, eggs, salt and cayenne and pour over the dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes.

Serves 2-4

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake

1/4 cup boiling water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup white sugar
18 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
6 eggs
kettle full of boiling water

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees fahrenheit. Grease a 10 inch cake pan.  Dissolve the salt and sugar in the hot water. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or a heavy-bottom skillet over low heat. Pour into a mixing bowl and beat in the butter one tablespoon at a time. Follow with the sugar water mixture then whisk in the eggs one at a time.

Pour the batter into the pan and set this into a large baking dish to create a water bath. Put both pans in the oven and then pour boiling water into the larger dish. Bake for 45 minutes.

Chill overnight. To remove from the pan, dip into a larger pan of hot water, then invert onto a plate.

Makes 16 slices.