Posts filed under Dinner

Pink Polenta

Pink Polenta

Pink Polenta with Crispy Pancetta

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

1 quart chicken broth
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 medium sized beets with their greens
1 cup Hayden Flour Mils Polenta
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, sliced lengthwise into thin slivers
4 oz cubed pancetta
Freshly cracked pepper

Instant Pot Directions*:

Start by separating the beets from their green tops. Set the greens aside for later. Chop the root and tops ends off the beets, then peel and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes. Press the sauté button on your instant pot and add the chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and beet pieces to the instant pot. Place a pot lid on the instant pot (not the one that comes with the instant pot) to help the broth come to a boil. When the broth is boiling, slowly add in the polenta while stirring it into the broth. This will help avoid clumps. When the polenta has been added place the instant pot lid on and lock. Check to make sure the pressure valve is set to 'sealing'. Then press the 'porridge' button and set the time to 12 minutes. 

When the polenta is done cooking it will beep to signal it is done, however allow it to stay in the 'Keep Warm' setting for 15 more minutes minutes. This will allow the polenta to absorb more liquid and become even creamier. During this time you can prepare the beet greens. Start by chopping the greens (stems and leaves) into small pieces about 1/4 inch size. 

Over medium heat, pan fry the pancetta add the garlic until the pancetta is crispy and the garlic is lightly browned. Remove the crispy pancetta and garlic from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the chopped beet greens. When the greens and stems have softened and become dark green, about 15 minutes, remove from heat. 

Carefully open turn the instant pot valve to release and allow the remaining steam to escape. Then open the lid and stir in the parmesan and stir it into the polenta with a wooden spoon. The beets should be soft and the polenta should be creamy. Pour the polenta out onto a platter and top with the beet greens and the crispy pancetta and garlic. Serve hot. 

Stove Top Directions:

Start by separating the beets from their green tops. Set the greens aside for later. Chop the root and tops ends off the beets, then peel and chop them into 1/2 inch cubes.  Add the chicken broth, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, salt and beet pieces to a pot and place over medium heat. Cover with a lid and allow the broth come to a boil. When the broth is boiling, slowly add in the polenta while stirring it into the broth. This will help avoid clumps. When the broth returns to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes stirring frequently. When it's done the beets should be soft and the polenta should be creamy.

While the polenta is cooking prepare the beet greens. Start by chopping the greens (stems and leaves) into small pieces about 1/4 inch size. Over medium heat, pan fry the pancetta add the garlic until the pancetta is crispy and the garlic is lightly browned. Remove the crispy pancetta and garlic from the pan and set aside. In the same pan add 2 tablespoons olive oil and sauté the chopped beet greens. When the greens and stems have softened and become dark green, about 15 minutes, remove from heat. 

To assemble, pour the polenta out onto a platter and top with the beet greens and the crispy pancetta and garlic. Serve hot. 

Posted on February 6, 2017 and filed under Recipe, Dinner.

Instant Pot White Sonora Berry Chili

White Sonora Chili

Have you every used an electric pressure cooker? I discovered the Instant Pot last year and was skeptical of adding another gadget to my kitchen because I like to keep things pretty minimal (except for pasta making gadgets!). BUT this thing is pretty amazing and I use it at least twice a week now. It's perfect for the lazy cook (that's me!) who wants to start from whole foods as often as possible. It's also great for the forgetful cook (also me!) who leaves things on the stove to burn half the time.  I love starting from dried beans and whole grains and I find that I'm much more likely to cook whole wheat berries when they take 30 minutes of completely unattended time and no presoaking. For instance, I took a nap while this chili was cooking. Something I would never do if I had something simmering on the stove. I thought I would start posting a few instant pot recipes as here as I learn hot to use it. 

White Sonora Berry Chili

makes 12 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, left whole
1 lb lean ground beef
2 dried pasillo negro chilis (or ancho chilis), chopped into small pieces with seeds removed
1 tablespoon cumin seeds, ground
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 jar crushed tomatillos (23 oz)
1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
1 cup White Sonora Berries
1 cup dry pinto beans (or similar size bean)
1 cup chicken broth

For Garnish:
Avocado
Cilantro, minced
Yogurt
Lime Wedges

*If it's your first time using the Instant Pot, please read the general instructions before beginning. 

1. Plug in instant pot and press the 'Sauté' button. When the Instant Pot reads 'HOT' add the oil, onions and garlic to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Be careful not to let the onions brown. Next, add the ground beef and spices and dried chilis to the pot. Break the beef apart with a wooden spoon as you allow it to brown for 5 minutes. Then add the diced tomatoes and tomatillos with their juices to the pot as well as the the beans and White Sonora Wheat berries. 

2. Close the Instant Pot lid and press the 'Bean/Chili' button and increase the time to 40 minutes. Make sure the steam valve is closed. Once the chili is finished the Instant Pot will automatically switch to the 'Keep Warm' mode. I like to allow the pressure cooker to release naturally on this setting (it takes about 30 minutes). However, you can also use the quick release option too. The beans should be soft and the wheat berries puffed into chewy balls. If you find that the chili is too thick, add 1 cup of chicken broth to get it to the right conisistency. 

3. Serve the chili warm with sliced avocado, minced cilantro, a dollop of greek yogurt and a squeeze of lime. Enjoy!

Posted on January 9, 2017 and filed under Recipe, Dinner.

Pickled Cranberry Farro Salad

This farro salad is all dressed up and ready to go to any holiday party! I love how the pickled cranberries look like Christmas tree bulbs and add a pleasant burst of tartness to compliment the sweet dressing. Note that the pickled cranberries take 2-3 days to brine but dried cranberries are a great substitute if you don't have the time or patience for pickling cranberries. Although it's well worth the wait!

Pickled Cranberry Farro Salad

Pickled Cranberry Farro Salad

1 cup farro berries
1 bunch of kale
8 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup pickled cranberries (I used this recipe but dried cranberries would make a good substitute)
3/4 cup pecans, crushed
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 Orange
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 table spoons maple syrup
Salt and Pepper

1. Cook the farro berries. In a pot, cover farro berries in 3 inches of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minuted or until farro berries are softened but still chewy. Alternatively, place farro in a rice cooker add 4 cups of water and turn on. Allow farro to cool. 

2. Chop kale into small pieces and then gently massage the kale with your hands-- the kale will wilt slightly and make a nicer salad. Add the kale, goat cheese, pecans and pickled cranberries to the cooled farro. 

3. Mix together the olive oil, orange juice, vinegar and maple syrup and pour over the salad. Mix well, salt ad pepper to taste and allow to sit for 15 minutes before serving. 

Enjoy! 

 

Posted on December 21, 2015 and filed under Recipe, Dinner.

heritage pizza crust

Last weekend we invited all our neighbors over for a pizza party. It was such a fun way to host a lot of people in our little house. We kept pizzas rolling out of the oven all afternoon; an all pepperoni for the kids, caramelized onion and mushroom,  sausage and cotija , mozzarella and tomato, and an attempt at Pizzeria Bianco's famous Rosa (red onion, pistachio and Parmesan). 

One of the things that I love about this recipe is that it forces you to prepare the day before. And once the dough is prepped,  forming the crust and topping it is simple. And only takes 12 minutes to cook. The way I see it, it's no harder than throwing a frozen pizza in the oven. So why not make your own?  

Heritage Pizza Crust

3 cups or 450 grams heritage pizza flour + 4 tablespoons for dusting**
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/3 cups cold water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Note: This crust is best when it proofs for an entire day. Make the crust the night before you plan on serving the pizza. This has the added benefit of making pizza night fast and easy!

1. Combine heritage pizza flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a food processor (use the metal blade and the “dough” setting if you have one). While the food processor is on, slowly feed the water through the top. When the flour is thoroughly wetted, add the olive oil.

2. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the food processor, turn the food processor off and turn the dough out onto a clean work-surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, working out any tough spots with the heal of your hand. Dust with extra flour if the dough sticks. Form the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for 24 hours.

3. When you are ready to form your crusts, take the dough out of the fridge, split it into two sections and form into tight balls. Cover them with plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature. Place a pizza stone in the middle of the oven and preheat to 500 degrees.  

4. Take one of the dough balls, dust with extra flour and stretch into a 12 inch circle. Place crust on a well floured pizza-peel, top with all your favorites, and then slide onto the pizza stone and cook for 12 minutes. 

**If you like a lighter sweeter crust, this recipe also works with our White Sonora Type 00 flour. Use the same amount. 

Posted on March 5, 2014 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

hand rolled cavatelli

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One of the best things about having our mill in the back of Pane Bianco is learning from Chef Robbie. Robbie is a walking Larousse Gastronomique, but you wouldn't know it because he likes cooking more than talking about cooking. But if you ever need to identify the odd chili pepper or learn how to cook a strange bean or make pickles that taste like your grandma's-- you should ask Robbie. He cooks as if he's remembering a past life as an Italian Nonna; he knows how things are supposed to be.  And that's why the hand-pulled mozzarella sandwich at Pane Bianco is consistently the most delightful thing your'll ever eat. 

Robbie taught me how to make these cavatelli. How to transform a bit of semolina and '00' flour into beautiful spirals with a simple wooden board. How to keep them light and fluffy. And how to make sure the don't get too thick and chewy.  His advice for perfect cavatelli: "Use your whole thumb." 

And if you attempt to make your own hand rolled cavatelli, this will be the best piece of advice you've ever heard. 

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Since Robbie's not here to teach us all how to make the perfect cavatelli, here are detailed instructions and pictures of the process. 

  1.  Place your small square of dough at the middle-top of the cavatelli board, then use your thumb to press the dough into the board.
  2. Still pressing your thumb into the board, smear the dough away from the handle. The dough should start to curl up behind your thumb. 
  3. To finish, help the cavatelli roll over on itself, and knock it off the end of the board. 

It will take a few tries to get the hang of it. Mistakes can easily be re-incorporated back into the snake and formed again. 

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Hand Rolled Cavatelli

3 cups Heritage Pasta Flour
1 cup + 5 Tablespoons warm water

  1. Measure out the Pasta Flour into a big bowl. Make a indentation in the middle of the flour to hold the water. Pour the water into this indentation and use a fork to slowly incorporate the flour into the pool of water. It will begin to form a ball of dough. Put the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead vigorously for 5-10 minutes. It should be a smooth ball when you are finished. 
  2. Wrap the dough in plastic and set aside at room temperature to rest for 30 mins - 1 hour. 
  3. Unwrap the rested dough, cut it into 6 sections. Work with one section at a time keeping the rest under the plastic so it doesn't dry out. Shape the dough into a long skinny snake. Using a dough scraper or knife cut the dough-snake into 1 inch sections. 
  4. One-by-one shape the 1 inch sections into cavatelli using the detailed instructions and pictures above. Repeat the process with the remaining 5 sections of dough. 
  5. When you have a great big pile of cavatelli throw them into a well-salted pot of boiling water and cook for 3-5 minutes (divide into 2 or 3 batches if your pot is small).

Cavatelli are great with any red of white sauce. But I love eating them right out of the water, with a drizzle of good olive oil, cracked pepper and a hefty garnish of Parmesan cheese. 

Troubleshoot

+ My dough is too tough? Add another tablespoon water and knead for another 5 minutes. 
+ My cavatelli sticking to the board? Dust your cavatelli board with pasta flour. 
+ My cavatelli are dry in the middle after boiling them? They might be too thick. Try boiling them a few minutes longer. 

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Posted on February 5, 2014 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

hand-rolled fettuccine

Our family got a really neat Christmas present from the Grandparents: an Italian pasta roller! This is the first time we've made pasta by hand, and we were surprised at how easy it is.

Ingredients:

  • 400g pasta flour
  • 4 eggs
  • a bit of water
  • a bit of extra flour for dusting

It really helps to weigh the flour, but if you don't have a scale, use about 3 cups.

We started off in a bowl as to not make a huge mess, but if you are adventurous, mix everything on a clean countertop. Make a well in the flour for the eggs, then start mixing with a fork until the dough starts to come together.

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Now start kneading with your hands.  If it's too sticky, add a bit more flour. If the dough seems crumbly, dip your fingers in water and work that into the dough. When you can set the dough on a clean countertop without sticking, the dough is ready to be shaped into a ball.

 Tattoos not required.

Tattoos not required.

Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour. This lets the gluten relax so the dough doesn't shrink while you roll it.

Now for the fun part! Split your dough ball into manageable pieces, and roll in your pasta roller. If you don't have a fancy machine, grab a rolling pin and a pizza cutter (learn how here).

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rolling rolling rolling

We chose to use the fettuccine attachment.

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When your pasta is the shape you want, dust it with a bit of flour to keep from sticking together, and let them rest and dry for about a half hour before cooking.

For our fettuccine, we paired it with a white wine butter sauce, broccolini and salmon. The light sauce really let the flavor of the pasta shine through.

Whatever you serve your pasta with, be creative and enjoy!

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Posted on January 17, 2014 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

kabocha squash farratto with crispy kale

kabocha farratto and crispy kale

Farro + Risotto = Farratto. A slow cooked, rich side dish for cozy fall days.

The secret to this dish is the seeds. Squash seeds are packed with flavor. So instead of throwing the squash innards into the compost,  I use them to make a rich buttery broth that's soaked up by the farro. 

Risottos take more care, the constant attention, the stirring. I'll be honest, this certainly isn't a weeknight dish. It's a dish for special occasions. It's a dish for feeding the people you love. For when you're asked to bring a side to Thanksgiving dinner. And for when you wouldn't mind overhearing, "Mmm, who brought this squash dish!"

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Kabocha Squash Farratto with Crispy Kale

1 kabocha squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
2 cups farro, soaked overnight
1 cup dry white wine
1 head of kale

salt and pepper

 

1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Cut the kabocha squash in half, or substitute any other winter sqaush or pumpkin you have on hand. (I just love the buttery pumpkin flavor of the kabocha.) I've found that a good trick to cutting open a squash is to put it in the oven while it is preheating, about 15 minutes. That way the skin starts to soften up and it is much easier to cut in half.

Scoop out the seeds and set aside in a medium sized pot. Place the two sides of the squash face down on a baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes. Or until the squash is soft enough to put a fork in, but not squishy. 

While the squash is cooking, cover the squash seeds with 6 cups of water and set over medium heat and allow to simmer until needed. The longer you simmer the more flavor is pulled from the seeds. 

2. Now it's time to start the risotto. In a large pot or high walled skillet, melt the butter and saute the onions until they are translucent. Then add the farro and toast it in the remaining butter for about 2 minutes. Then add the white wine. Stir frequently until the farro absorbs the liquid.

Strain out a cup of the simmering squash seed broth and add it to the farro. Stir frequently until it's absorbed. Repeat 4 more times or until the farro is to your desired softness. (This will depend on how long you soaked the farro. A long soak, less broth. A short soak, more broth.)

3. While the farro is soaking up the liquid, prepare the kale chips. Wash and dry the leaves, cut off the woody stems and spread them out on a baking tray. Brush each leaf with olive oil on both sides, dust with salt and pepper and bake for 10 minutes in the oven alongside the squash. Keep an eye on the kale, they are easy to burn! They are done, when you the leaves are stiff sheets, that easily crumble.

4. When the farro is saturated with broth, turn the burner to low heat. The squash should be cooked, out of the oven and slightly cool by now. Peel off the skin and chop it into 1 inch cubes. Add two cups to the farratto. (Depending on the size of your squash you might have some leftoever squash, it will keep in the fridge for a few days and you can puree it and add it to yout pancakes in the morning!). Stir in the squash, salt to taste and crumble in the kale chips right before it's served. 

Posted on November 4, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

mediterranean whole-grain veggie burgers

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Mediterranean Whole-grain Veggie Burgers

makes 12 burgers

1 cup tepary beans, soaked overnight
1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
1 cup cracked farro
1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup fresh mint
1 teaspoon sumac
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon aleppo pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon cumin
 1 tablespoon salt
2 eggs
 

Dressing

1 large avocado
1/4 cup tahini
1 lemon
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon salt
Optional: 1/4 cup cilantro

 

 

 

 

1. Prepare the grains. Cook chickpeas and tepary beans together in a large stock pot, simmer for 60-70 minutes or until beans are soft.  In a separate pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add the cracked farro and simmer for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and cover. It should be the consistency of oatmeal, it will act as the glue to hold the burgers all together.

2. Coarsely chop the red onion, sun dried tomatoes and mint. In a food processor combine the chickpeas, tepary beans, chopped vegetables and spices. Pulse until everything is chopped into tiny pieces but not smooth (think tabouleh, not hummus). In a separate large bowl combine the cracked farro and eggs. Add in the vegetable-bean mixture and thoroughly incorporate. This is where is works best to use your hands to really fuse everything together.

When it's all mixed, it should form into 3 inch x 1 inch patties easily. Set the formed patties on a cooking tray and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. This will allow them to set and stay together better when they are cooked.  

3. Heat a skillet with a generous amount of your preferred frying oil. Fry the patties, about 4 minutes on each side, or until the edges are crispy. (Frying in a 1/2 inch oil really does make these taste good!)

4. Dressing. With an immersion blender, blend avocado, tahini, squeezed lemon and garlic.  Top the warm veggie burgers with a dollop of this dressing and serve.

Optional: thin slices of swiss cheese, lettuce, sliced tomatoes and toasted whole grain buns. 

Posted on October 22, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

beetroot pasta & pistachio pesto

Sometimes the colors of nature are so incredibly vibrant. Just look at this beet pasta. It's pink. Really really pink. The beet certainly gives this pasta a earthy aroma, but mostly it makes for a very cheerful pasta. Perfect for a special occasion or just the end of a long day.

You don't even need one of those fancy pasta machines, you can do it all with a rolling pin and a pizza wheel and three ingredients.  

Our pasta flour is great for hand rolled pastas, it's the perfect ratio of Golden Durum and White Sonora flour. The durum gives the pasta some bite and the White Sonora gives it a light silkiness. 

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Beetroot Pasta

1 large beet
2 eggs
2 cups  pasta flour, plus more for dusting

1. Wash and chop the ends of the beet off.  Boil it for 30-40 minutes or until soft (test it with a fork, if the fork pierces the skin easily, the beet is done). After it is cooked, drain and peel away the beet skin and coarsely chop.

In a food processor, combine eggs with the chopped beet and pulse until creamy and smooth. Remove any big chunks of beets, as those will tear the pasta dough.

2. Next, pile the pasta flour on a good work surface and shape it into a volcano. Pour the beet mixture into the crater that you just formed in your flour volcano. Use a fork or your hands to slowly combine the flour with the beet mixture. As the dough starts to come together, knead it into a ball, adding more flour if you find that the dough is sticking to your work surface (the beet adds a lot of moisture to this dough, so depending on the size of your particular beet you may find that you have to add in up to 1/4 cup flour to stop the dough from sticking). Cover the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.

3. After the dough has rested, cut it into 4 sections. Prepare a large work surface by dusting it with pasta flour. Using a rolling pin, roll one section of the dough out flat. But not too thin. It will take a few repetitions of rolling out, dusting with flour and folding, to get the dough prepped. When the dough feels firm, but not too dry, roll it out to the thinness of a dime. Use a sharp knife of pizza wheel to cut thick noodles (don't worry about getting them all the same size, just eyeball it). Separate the noodles and dust with pasta flour to keep from sticking together. 

You can stop here and freeze the pasta for cooking later. Otherwise, boil a stockpot of salted water, add the fresh pasta and boil for 4 minutes.  

Serve with Pistachio Pesto (see recipe below) or any sauce of your choosing.  

 

 

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Pistachio Pesto

 3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 cup pistachios
Salt and pepper

1. Wash the basil and soak the leaves in cold water for 20 minutes, this removes any bitterness. In a food processor blend the basil while slowly adding in the olive oil. Next add the garlic and pistachios and pulse until smooth but still grainy. Salt and pepper to taste. 

To store for later, refrigerate with a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto.  

Posted on October 10, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

tangy miso & avocado farro salad

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Tangy Miso and Avocado Farro Salad

Makes 6 Servings 

Dressing
2 tablespoons red miso
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons sesame oil
Squeeze of half a lemon
A few generous grates of ginger

 Salad
1 cup farro, soaked overnight
1 bunch green onions, chopped
10 oz extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 carrots, grated
1 avocado, cubed

1. Put the farro in a sauce pan with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 40 minutes, or until the farro is soft and chewy. Meanwhile, blend all of the dressing ingredients together and set aside. 

2. Heat an iron skillet with coconut oil. Fry the tofu cubes on both sides until golden.  Approximately 2 minutes on each side. 

3. Lastly, toss chopped vegetables, cooked farro, fried tofu squares and dressing in a large bowl. Enjoy!

Posted on September 26, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

farro flatbread

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Cooking with whole grain farro is easy. They are in so many recipes out there right now. But what to do with farro flour? 

On a tip from Maria Speck, I learned that farro flour is very similar to spelt flour in its baking properties; it's very low in gluten and it's an ancient grain. The only difference is farro flour's ruddy color and sweeter taste.

So now you can substitute spelt flour with a local alternative--farro flour. And their are loads of great spelt recipes out there.  

This basic crust recipe is a slight modification from Maria Speck's Spelt Crust Pizza with Fennel, Prosciutto, and Apples. I replaced spelt flour with farro flour. You can find the original recipe in her book Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. Or an online version here. 

Farro Flatbread

Makes two 6-slice pizzas.

2 cups farro flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1 cup  ricotta cheese
1/4 cup whole milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large egg (or 2, if your chickens lay tiny eggs like mine do)
Cornmeal, for the the pizza stone

1. Put all the dry ingredients in the food processor and pulse. In a separate bowl mix the cheese, milk, olive oil and egg together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture in thirds, stopping between additions to pulse everything together. The dough will form into a rough ball. 

2. Take the dough ball out of the food processor and knead by hand until it forms a smooth cohesive ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes to rest at room temperature. 

3. While you are waiting, preheat the oven with the pizza stone inside to 425 degrees. After the dough has rested, unwrap and split into two even pieces. Dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out until it is as thick as two stacked dimes. Top with whatever you like. (I used what I had on hand, but the original recipe looks amazing).  Dust the pizza stone with cornmeal and bake the flatbread directly ontop for 15-20 minutes. Repeat with the second piece of dough for a second pizza.

Enjoy! 

Posted on May 20, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

white sonora pepper crackers

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White Sonora Pepper Crackers

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat White Sonora Flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup olive oil
fresh cracked black pepper

1. Mix flour and salt together. Then add the olive oil and warm water. 

2. Knead the dough together with your hands for 5 minutes, or until the dough comes together in a ball. 

3. Lightly oil the ball of dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temperature. 

4. While you are resting your dough, pre-heat the oven to 450 F. 

5. After the dough has rested, unwrap and divide in to two pieces. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a thin sheet. Cut into whatever shape you like. Then place onto a cookie sheet lines with parchment paper. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Until they are a rich golden color. 

Posted on April 11, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

farro fricos

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These are the easiest fake-it-till-you-make-it appetizers. Best when served with a glass of wine on a Friday afternoon.

Farro Fricos

Makes 5 Fricos

  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, coarsely grated (use largest hole size of grater)
  • 1 tablespoon Farro flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 sliced green pimento stuffed olives

Preheat the oven to 375° F. Stir together, cheese, flour, pepper and olives. Place mounds of mix on Silpat liner. Flatten each mound. Bake in middle of over until golden brown--approximately 10 minutes. Cool for a few minutes. Use a spatula to transfer as Fricos are fragile.

Posted on March 15, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

toasted walnut and fig wheat berry salad

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Did you know that White Sonora was the first wheat to come to North America? It was brought over by Jesuit missionaries that were sent to the new world.  That's why it is sometimes called Father Kino's wheat.  So not only are these wheat berries nutty and chewy and versatile, they are part of our history. We like to call it edible history.

Here's an easy way to use White Sonora Berries into a cold salad. 

Toasted Walnut and Fig Wheat Berry Salad

Ingredients:

3 cups White Sonora Wheat Berries, Cooked
½ cup Walnuts, coarsely chopped
¼ cup Parsley, finely chopped
1 Sprig green onion, finely chopped
¼ Dried figs, finely chopped
¼ cup dried cherries, chopped
¼ cup Goat cheese

Dressing:

2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tbsp Honey
3 Tbsp Olive oil
Squeeze of Half a lemon

1. Cooking the wheat berries: Soak the berries overnight. When you are ready to cook them, pour off the water. Place the berries in a pot and cover with water and simmer for 60-90 minutes. They will open up into fragrant pearls. When the berries are soft, but still chewy remove them from the heat, drain off any remaining water and set aside to cool. You can do this ahead of time and they will keep in the fridge for a week.

2. Add the chopped walnuts, green onion, cherries, and figs to the cooled berries. In a separate bowl mix the dressing ingredients together until the honey has dissolved. Next,  pour the dressing over salad and mix.

3. Crumble in the goat cheese just before serving. 

Voila!

Posted on February 8, 2013 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

simple pasta dough

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550 g pasta flour
4 eggs, room temperature (it's no fun to work with your hands if the eggs are too cold)
2 egg yolks
4-6 tbsp tepid water

1. Create a clean workspace on the kitchen counter. Meaure out the flour and dump it out on the counter and form a flour volcano. Just like you do for the gravy at Thanksgiving. This is where the eggs will go. Crack four eggs and two egg yolks into the top of your flour-volcano. The trick is not to let the volcano errupt with egg juice all over the counter. 

2. With a fork or your fingers, very slowly mix the flour into the eggs. Now add the water, it will help the dought come together in a ball. 

3. Knead the dough with the heel of your hand. Push the dough away from you and fold it over. Rotate it 90 degress and repeat.  After about 10 minutes the dough should start to feel silky. 

4. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes. This is when you can scrap the sticky dough bits off the counter and pour yourself a glass of wine. 

5. Give the dogh a poke. Is it firm and springy? Perfect. Now you can turn it into noodles, cavatelli, bowties, or ravoili. 

The best book to get you started is Making Artisan Pasta by Aliza Green 

This is what we use to shape the cavatelli: Beechwood Garganelli Pasta Board. Fantes has so many beautiful pasta making tools. You will want them all. 

Posted on October 25, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

chickpea flour + water

That's the basic recipe for farinatas--equal parts chickpea flour and water, plus a bit of salt and a generous amount of pepper. If you get really fancy you can add rosemary and thinly sliced onions. It's so simple.

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Farinata

Adapted from this NYtimes recipe

1 cup chickpea flour

1 cup warm water 

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tsp sea salt

Pepper, be generous

3 sprigs of rosemary finely chopped

½ large onion, sliced thinly

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Put a cast-iron skillet in the oven while it’s pre-heating to warm it up.

2. In a medium sized bowl, mix the chickpea flour and water together. Use a whisk, and stir until smoothly integrated. Mix in 2 tablespoons olive oil.  Add the onions and rosemary right before you put the batter in the skillet.

3. When the oven is heated, carefully take the cast-iron skillet out of the oven and coat bottom with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Pour batter evenly over the bottom of the skillet and cook for 12 minutes. Slice it up like pizza and serve with some olive tapenade as an appetizer. You might have to make a second one!

Posted on April 30, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

warm farro salad

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The ham was good. The swisschard tart from the garden was brilliant. But when I went back for seconds, I dished my plate full of this farro salad. 

Recipe from the Arizona Republic.

Warm Farro Salad with Grilled Italian Sausage

Serves 4

1 cup farro berries
4 sweet Italian sausages
Juice of 1 lemon
¼  cup olive oil  
Ground black pepper
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
6 plum tomatoes, diced
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
2 scallions, diced (whites and greens)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
2 tablespoons toasted sliced almonds

  1. Bring 1 quart (4 cups) of salted water to a boil. Add the farro and cook for 15 minutes, or until the grains are plumped and chewy. Drain and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high. Add the sausages and cook until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil and pepper to taste. Mix in the feta cheese. When the farro has cooked and been drained, add it to the bowl and mix well. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Mix in the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions and oregano. Cut the sausages into 1-inch rounds, then add those to the salad. Sprinkle the salad with the almonds.
Posted on April 10, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

mushroom and herb polenta

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You know that cookbook Plenty that everyone has been talking about? Well this is why it's worthy of all the attention: recipes that make you forget you are eating vegetarian.  

Since getting the book, we've probably made this recipe ten times. Once on New Years as a crowd-pleasing appetizer. The polenta takes about 40 minutes to cook, but otherwise it's a quick prep, and you can improvise with what ever cheeses and herbs you have on hand. 

Adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi 

Mushroom and Herb Polenta

Serves 4

Mushroom and Herb Polenta

Serves 4

8 tbsp olive oil
6 cups mixed mushrooms, pick out 3-4 different types, be adventurous!
4 garlic cloves crushed
2 tbsp chopped tarragon
2 tbsp chopped thyme
2 tbsp
Salt and pepper
4 ½  cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
1 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp chopped rosemary
8 oz Taleggio cheese (rind removed) 

1. Polenta.  Bring stock to a boil in a saucepan. Add the polenta and stir with a wooden spoon, reduce the heat and continue to stir. It will

take about 40 minutes for the corn to soften and become a creamy porridge. You can tell the polenta is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan but isn’t dry (add a bit more stock if this is the case). At the end, stir in the parmesan and rosemary.

2. Herby Mushrooms. Heat the olive oil in a large fry pan and add half the mushrooms (remember what Julia said: Don’t crowd the mushrooms!). Fry for a few minutes until browned, not too long or the mushrooms become rubbery.  Remove from pan and repeat with the other half of the mushrooms. At the end, add the garlic, tarragon, and thyme to all the cooked mushrooms.

3. Assemble. When the polenta is ready pour out on polenta board and spread (I used a wooden cutting board). Top the hot polenta with slices of taleggio and pour the herby mushrooms over the top. It should all melt together nicely.

You can slice it up and serve it like pizza. But I think its fun to just give your guests forks and tell everyone to dig in!

Posted on March 19, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

chickpea frites

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I judge a city by its street food.  

If I can walk from one end of the city to the other and never have to sit down to eat: it's a good place. 

Montreal failed on this account. There was the $2 Chow Mein window, but you had to be a poor and inebriated McGill student. Istanbul wins by miles. The temptations on the sidewalk encourage gluttony. The South of France in the summer takes second place. In Nice you can walk around in your bathing suit (something that doesn't work as well in Istanbul) with hot chickpea fritters called panisse (or panelle in other parts of the world). 

They are so easy to make so you don't have to go to France to indulge. And if you live in Phoenix, where every weekend from now until May is a good one for a backyard cookout, consider these frites with hamburgers on the grill and some homemade ketchup. 

Chickpea Frites (Panisses or Panelles)

4 cups water
2 cups chickpea flour
2 teaspoons olive oil
Coarse salt
White pepper
4 sprigs of parsley, finely chopped
Oil for frying

1. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on a cookie sheet. Then lightly grease the parchment. 

2. Heat the water and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a saucepan. Just before it boils, slowly add the chickpea flour. Use a whisk to stir in the flour as the batter should be smooth.  Add white pepper and salt to taste. Cook for 10 more minutes, switch to a wooden spoon and stir constantly. The batter should thicken and pull away from the sides of the saucepan. 

3. Spread the batter onto the greased parchment, 1/2 inch thick. Work quickly. When the batter has set, cut it into sticks or whatever fun shape you like. 

4. In an cast iron skillet, heat the oil. (No more than 1/2 an inch is needed, and vegetable or olive oil will do). Dip in one end of a chickpea stick to test if the oil is ready. If it sizzles it's hot enough. Then add the chickpea sticks, but don't overcrowd the pan.  

5. Use tongs to turn the sticks as needed and when they are golden set them on a paper towel to drain off excess oil.  Toss them in parsley and salt. 

6. Eat them HOT: crispy on the outside and custardy on the inside!  

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Posted on February 24, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.

eating whole grains whole

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Whole grains are for pulverizing into flour. I guess that's the mind of a miller. But I forget that you can eat them whole too!

I was reminded of this reading through Maria Speck's Ancient Grains for Modern Meals. She has some gorgeous recipes using whole rye, oat and farro berries. This recipe originally called for for Kamut berries. I didn't have any on hand so I thought I'd try it with White Sonora Wheat. 

White Sonora Wheat is a soft wheat variety with small round berries. It's what's growing out a Sossaman's farm at the moment. Since I've never cooked wheat berries, I kept a close eye on the pot as it simmered and was amazed at how fragrent they were, like toasted walnuts. I got to know a whole new side of this grain's personality. Here's the recipe so you can see for yourself.

Whole Berry Sonora Salad with Carrots and Pomegranate

Recipe adapted from Ancient Grains for Modern Meals

Ingredients:

½ Cup Kamut Berries (or White Sonora berries)
2 Cup Water
2 ½ Cups shredded carrots (about 3 medium)
¼ Cup plus 2 Tablespoons golden raisins
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ Cup toasted, chopped walnuts
¼ Cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Preparation:

To prepare the wheat berries, bring the water and the berries to a boil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the berries are tender but still slightly chewy, 50-60 minutes. Remove from the heat and, if you have time, let it sit, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Drain any remaining liquid and transfer to a large servicing bowl to cool.

Once the berries have cooled, make the salad. Add the carrots and the orange and lemon juices, honey, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Gradually whisk in the olive oil in a thin stream.

To finish, pour the dressing over the salad and toss to combine. Taste and adjust for salt. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to come together. Toss again before serving; sprinkle with the walnuts and garnish with the pomegranate seeds.

Posted on February 3, 2012 and filed under Dinner, Recipe.