Archive for the ‘whole grains’ Category

Squash Farro Salad {#MeatlessMonday}

Monday, November 11th, 2013

Have you been to the farmers market lately? So many colors and varieties of winter squash are on display at ours right now. When I came home with the Kabocha squash I used for tacos a few weeks ago, the boy was disappointed it was not an acorn squash. So we’ve been getting acorn squash once a week, and I decided to use this week’s in a warm grain salad. I discovered quick cooking grains at Trader Joe’s recently and wanted to give the farro a try. I simmered it in water with a pinch of salt and splash of olive oil and it was ready in just 15 minutes — not bad! If you have regular farro, though, be sure to cook according to the package directions.

Squash Farro Salad | FoodieTots.com

Recipe: Squash Farro Salad

This warm grain salad can be made with barley or rice if you prefer. We used acorn squash, which is easier to peel after cooking. If you’d rather use butternut, peel and cube it before roasting. And cranberries add a nice color contrast, but golden raisins are equally tasty in a pinch!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked farro
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds

Dressing:

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon champagne or cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

1. Prepare farro according to package instructions. If using quick-cooking farro, place farro and two cups of water in a medium saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for another 5 minutes, then drain any excess water. Keep covered while preparing the remaining ingredients.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place cut side down on a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cook 25 to 30 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork. Remove and let cool slightly before cutting off peel and cutting into small pieces.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together salt, maple syrup and vinegar. Drizzle olive oil, whisking until smooth. Set aside.

4. Combine farro, squash, cranberries or raisins and dressing in a large bowl, stirring to evenly distribute dressing. Sprinkle with sunflower seeds and serve warm.

squash at Homestead Farm | FoodieTots.com

Looking for more squash inspiration? Savory Simple has a round-up of dozens of food blogger recipes using all types of squash. I can’t wait to try these three, in particular:

cheesy pumpkin quinoa stuffed peppers from What Jew Wanna Eat
Asian peanut spaghetti squash stir-fry
from Snappy Gourmet
winter squash pies
from Adventures in Cooking

This post has also been shared with Meatless Monday blog hops hosted by Recipe Renovator and The Midnight Baker.

Meatless Monday: Warm Red Quinoa Salad

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Okay, so quinoa may not be the first thing to come to mind for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, but what better day to think about heart health? This warm and hearty salad is loaded with super foods — broccoli for vitamins A & K (and lowering cholesterol), dried cranberries for antioxidants, walnuts for healthy omega-3s, and the aforementioned quinoa, a source of protein. And, it’s naturally red. To go totally vegan, substitute sauteed tofu for the feta. This would also make a nice side dish to some wild salmon. Happy *Heart* Day!

Recipe: Warm Red Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Cranberries & Walnuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup red quinoa (rinsed*)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed (optional)

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • squirt of lemon juice

Instructions: In saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add quinoa, stirring to coat with the oil and cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir. Add water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Heat dry skillet over medium low heat and toast walnuts, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Remove walnuts from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and shallot to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to brown. Add broccoli and water, cover and cook until broccoli is tender — about 5 minutes. Uncover, add cranberries and remove from heat.

Combine quinoa, broccoli, walnuts and vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add feta, if using, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

* Note: I used pre-rinsed quinoa in this recipe. If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it in a fine mesh colander and let drain for several minutes before cooking.

quinoa broccoli feta cranberries

Feeding Baby: Broccoli’s not recommended until baby is well established on solid foods as it is harder to digest. For babies 8+ months, pull out a few pieces of the cooked broccoli, a spoonful of quinoa and puree with a little water as needed to reach the desired consistency. (The boy is in a no-mingling-of-flavors phase, so the above is his salad, deconstructed. This is also ideal for serving finger-feeding toddlers.)

(And just so you don’t think I’m a total Valentine’s scrooge — here’s our dessert: black and pink cookies …

black and pinks

Fresh from the Pumpkin Patch (and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread)

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Fall is my favorite time of year, especially here in Virginia where we are blessed with beautiful weather and picturesque colors this time of year. After growing up in the Pacific Northwest, with those infernal evergreen trees, the brilliant shades of fall leaves here never fail to impress me. And of course it’s not truly fall ’till we’ve ventured to the pumpkin patch. This year, with two kids in tow — and unlike her big brother’s first trip, the Foodie Bebe didn’t sleep through the whole experience. Of course, that may be because we spent the entire day at the farm… But when your farm is part working farm, part Disneyland (right down to the crazy insane lines for the hayrides and food), what else can you expect?

the great pumpkin hunt at Butlers Orchard

the great pumpkin hunt at Butler's Orchard

The past two years we’ve gone to Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, Maryland. It’s large, but activities are spaced out so it doesn’t feel quite as crazy as some of the other local pumpkin extravaganzas. It’s a 60-year-old, family-owned farm, and they actually grow things there. I have nothing against farms who turn into amusement parks if that’s what they need to do to lure people in and turn a profit, I just ask that they actually still grow something. When so many places just plop pumpkins from who knows where into a field, it’s nice to see some honest-to-goodness pumpkin vines. I don’t know if all the pumpkins were grown there (there was a remarkably high percentage of “ginormous” pumpkins, as the boy would say), but close enough for me. There’s a farm store where you can get all sorts of apples, baked goods, canning supplies and other harvest accoutrement as well. On weekends in October, there’s live music, bouncy houses, giant slides, caramel apples, barbecue, apple cider, pony rides, a corn maze …. even pedal tractors and a pumpkin coach pulled by mice (with a little help from a tractor).

A long day of play on the farm demands a hearty breakfast first, and this pumpkin loaf is a perfect start. (Made with our homemade pumpkin puree, not the carving pumpkins we got on the farm.)  I used whole wheat pastry flour to add just a smidge of healthfulness, but you can use white if you prefer.

Recipe: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Maple Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ~ 1 teaspoon water

Instructions:  In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In the mixing bowl, beat the eggs on low speed until combined. Add pumpkin, sour cream, butter, vanilla and sugar and mix on medium low until smooth. Add dry ingredients, mixing on low until just combined. Pour batter into a lightly greased bread pan (9x5x3), level off the top, and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes to 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

To make the glaze: Whisk together powdered sugar and maple syrup, then add water until a thin consistency is achieved. (If you have maple extract, add 1/4 teaspoon.) Drizzle over the cooled loaf and let stand a few more minutes before slicing.

Makes 1 9-inch loaf. Enjoy!

whole grain pumpkin bread

At Market: Squash Blossom Succotash (and get ready for Farmers Market Week!)

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

July at the Markets: Summer harvest is in full stride now at the Alexandria/DC markets, with sweet corn, summer squash, and the first heirloom tomatoes making their debut. Blueberries and raspberries will soon be gone, and early varieties of apples are already turning up.

I intended to make Oyamel’s squash blossom soup with my recent market bounty, but instead decided to make a succotash to fill some buckwheat crepes. Sort of a repeat of last summer’s Chesapeake Crepes, with the addition of okra and the blossoms. I picked up okra and multicolored jalapeños at Sunday’s West End Alexandria Market, and the squash blossoms I scored two-for-one from Westmoreland Berry Farm as it was getting close to closing time. The bicolor sweet corn came from Long Meadow Farm at last Wednesday’s King Street Market.

Cooking with squash blossoms: Sure squash blossoms look pretty and have a heady sweet fragrance that screams summer, but are you wondering what to actually do with them? They have a mild flavor that benefits from a simple preparation – stuffed with goat cheese or ricotta and quickly fried is a classic Italian dish, but you can also use them in soups or other dishes more like an herb. The blossoms are very delicate and are best used the day of purchase. If you don’t get to them that day, be sure to put them in the fridge. When you’re ready to cook them, pull the flower open gently to avoid ripping and be on the lookout for little, uh, critters (the downside of buying organic) while you pinch and gently remove the stamen. Then carefully fill and fry or bake for stuffed blossoms, or slice them up for this recipe.

Recipe: Squash Blossom Succotash

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ears corn, kernels removed
  • 1 or 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 pint okra, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 4 squash blossoms, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves basil, torn
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Instructions: Heat oil in sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until translucent. Add corn and jalapeño and cook several minutes. Increase heat to medium high and add okra. Cook 3-4 minutes until corn is beginning to brown and okra is just tender. Stir in tomato, squash blossoms and basil and cook 1 additional minute, then remove from heat. Sprinkle with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste. Makes 4 servings.

To make crepes: prepare buckwheat crepe batter and cook crepes on one side. Flip and sprinkle cooked side with grated cheddar cheese and a large spoonful of succotash. Cook about a minute and fold, then remove from heat. I folded the toddler’s in half like a quesadilla. He doesn’t usually eat tomatoes and had never eaten okra, but he devoured this and asked for more. I have to give credit to Mr. Tom’s cheese, it makes everything go down easier. Enjoy!

More squash blossom recipes:

Farmers Market Week is coming! National Farmers Market Week begins Sunday, August 2. Visit a farmers market near you and let me know what’s new! See something unusual? Ask here and I’ll tell you what to do with it.

Chesapeake Corn and Peach Crepes

Monday, August 4th, 2008

Last weekend, the toddler and I wrapped up the Maryland/WaPo Eat Local Challenge week with a tour of the farmstands and markets of the Chesapeake shores. The husband was away for work, so I thought the boy and I would fake a beach trip with day-trips to the Bay.

On Friday nights, the town of North Beach in Southern Maryland hosts a farmers market and cruise in. The market was fairly small, but there were Harris peaches (so good we stopped at their farmstand off Rte. 4 again this weekend), pesticide-free corn, lots of tomatoes, melons and peppers, cheap blue crabs, and kettle corn. The toddler enjoyed the cars on display at the “Cruise In,” and we topped off our Tastee Freez dinner with kettle corn and dancing to live music as the sun set.

Saturday morning we hit the road for St. Michael’s on the Eastern Shore. Traffic got us into town just in time to catch the tail end of the market, undoubtedly the most scenic of FreshFarm’s eight area sites. There were peaches, Chapel’s Country Creamery raw milk cheese, local lamb and more. A 2-week old calf provided entertainment before the toddler selected his peach and took off to see the boats. We headed over to the Chesapeake Folk Life Festival for seafood, watermelon, Smith Island cake and more dancing.

We stopped at historic Wye Mill for local! organic! cornmeal and buckwheat flour (more on that soon), and the Councell Farms farmstand with grown-on-site sweet corn and melons of every shape, size and color. (I highly recommend this stop if you’re taking Rte. 50 to the shore — they have a farm playland for kids that includes a tractor, combine reconfigured into a slide/swing, John Deere tricycle racetrack and adorable pygmy goats.) Came home with a Blue Bonnet watermelon that is so sweet and flavorful.

I wanted to use the local grains in my meal with all this Chesapeake bounty, so I made buckwheat crepes filled with corn, tomatoes, peaches, onion and Chapel’s crab spice (Old Bay) cheddar cheese.

Recipe: Chesapeake Crepes

Corn & Peach Filling
Ingredients
:

  • 2 ears sweet corn, cut from ears
  • 2 peaches, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 t olive oil
  • 2 T fresh parsley or other herb(s)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 c grated cheddar cheese

Instructions: Stir all ingredients except cheese together and let stand.

Crepes
Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 c milk
  • 3/4 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 unbleached flour
  • 1/4 t salt

Instructions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Whisk eggs, add remaining ingredients and whisk quickly until lumps are gone. Cook in oiled crepe or frying pan over medium heat. Takes about 2-3 minutes per side, depending on the size of your pan. Remove and place on warm cookie sheet. Top each with generous scoop of filling, then cover with shredded cheese. Roll. Cook in oven 5 minutes, until cheese is just melted. Makes 6-8 crepes. Enjoy!

Notes: I made a toddler version by making mini crepes (about 2 inches in diameter), then topped with cheese and corn/peach filling for a mini pizza. This would have been improved immensely with some fresh crab meat (the Old Bay in the cheese was such a tease!), but I wasn’t able to bring back crabs since it would be a few days before I got to cook this. Next time!

This weekend, the toddler and I hit three Northern Virginia markets in honor of Virginia’s Eat Local week (Aug. 3-9) – stay tuned for a report on those. It’s also National Farmers Market Week, so visit LocalHarvest to find your closest market and check it out!