2011 May

Parsley-Rice Salad

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This is quick and easy! Parsley is NOT just for garnish. Try this!
Ingredients:
2 cups cooked rice, chilled.
4 cloves of garlic, crushed.
Half bunch of parsley, chopped in cuisinart
2 Tablespoons California Olive Oil
Dash of salt to taste
Half teaspoon of crushed pepper
Dash of tabasco.

Serve chilled with the remainder of the parsley bunch cut into large pieces and used to circle the serving bowl.

Chilled Fennel Potato Salad

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This is an alternative to the ubiquitous mayonaise-based potato salad you see everywhere, and considerably less calorie-rich.
Ingredients:
3 cups Potatoes, boiled (don’t overcook–they should still be firm) cubed, doused in ice water, drained and set aside.

Half bunch of Fennel leaf, chopped in Cuisinart
Juice of 3 small juice limes
2 crushed cloves of garlic
dash of salt
Teaspoon of tabasco
dash of crushed pepper

Mix all ingredients, chill. Serve.

Grapefruit/Berry Sorbet

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This is a super simple deal. I did a book signing/cooking class at Sur La Table a year ago, and this cooking store has an amazing little ice cream maker that is worth taking a look at.
What I thought was cool about it, besides the cheap price, is that is doesn’t require salt and is so quiet you can have it going while you and your guests enjoy your main course. How many times have I had to haul my stupid Wal-Mart ice cream maker into the barn so I didn’t have to listen to it while I enjoyed my meal? Here’s the solution to that! This one is quite an improvement, for aruond $50. http://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-724435/Cuisinart-Classic-Frozen-Yogurt-Ice-Cream-and-Sorbet-Maker-Lemon
Ingredients:
* 3 cups strained grapefruit juice
* 3 tablespoons vodka
* 3/4 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar cooked with 1/3 cup water until clear)
* cup of frozen strawberries or blackberries, pureed with the grapefruit juice (I use a vitamix; but a Cuisinart will work, too)
Directions:
Mix the juice, vodka and simple syrup. Place the mixture into an ice cream mixer, and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Serve at once or transfer to a freezer container and freeze until ready to serve. To serve, hollow out grapefruit halves, fill with sorbet, garnish with a berry, and serve.

Baby Goats At Last!

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Well, I knew Gracie would be delivering her babies any minute last night, but at some point I had to give up and go to bed. My alarm rang this morning at 4:45 and I jumped up to check on her. As I poured myself a quick cup of coffee, the farmhouse’s kitchen window overlooks the llama corral, and I could see the llamas were upset about something because they were both “pointing” to the barn. Llamas will usually point if there’s a coyote or dog in the vicinity. They assume a sturdy stance and “stare down” the intruder as their first line of defense. I ran out the front door to count my goats and calm my llamas. One goat, two….missing number three. I found Gracie in the llama barn at the tail end of labor with three little fluffballs prancing at her feet. The photos here are of Gracie’s babies right after birth. I was expecting them to be kind of unattractive, like a new born puppy or kitten, but the Nigerian newborn is beautiful and cute, fluffy, wide eyed and playful. The lllamas aren’t endeared however; they’re actually afraid of the baby goats for some reason. Couscou hasn’t come into the barn to eat all day. He’s spent the day trolling the farm, eating weeds and nibbling trees. He tolerates the goats, treating them like baby llamas; but the shoebox sized beasts in his barn today are another thing entirely. There’s no such thing as a llama that small, and he’s decided they can’t be trusted.

Zuck Bread

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There’s plenty of zuchini bread recipes out there, this is just about as basic as you can get:

Ingredients

6 eggs

2 cups oil

4 cups grated zuchs

2 cups sugar

6 cups flour

4 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

Combine everything in a bowl, mix well. Pour into greased and floured loaf pans, or use muffin tins. Bake at 350 for 1 hour if you’re using pans, and less time if you are using muffin tins. (Probably 45 mins., just keep an eye on them)

Fennel Leaf

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There aren’t a lot of recipes floating around for fennel leaf. The flavor in the leaf isn’t as strong as in the seed (anise seed). But I love the leaf and am sharing a few uses below:

Fennel Leaf Tea:

2 tsp. fresh leaves

1 cup boiling water

1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. lime juice

Fennel Leaf Fruit Salad

Okay, this isn’t really a recipe, but more a suggestion: throw together whatever fruit you have available, then toss in some finely chopped fennel leaf and lime juice. The fennel is so sweet, it’s almost a sweetener. Not as sweet as stevia, but it has that candy/licorce taste that I love.

Barbequed Fennel Leaf

Again, not a recipe, but a cool use of the fennel leaf: place on barbeque coals when grilling either meat or veggies. The candy/licorce scent permeates the grilled food.

Other Ideas

Dice fennel leaf and toss in your salad, chop and use on top of baked fish or chicken. Place in Cuisinart with the sugar from a bread or cookie recipe, “puree”, then sift out the fennel leaf and use the flavor-infused sugar in your recipe.

Tabouli Parsley Recipe

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Okay, I admit it. The main reason that parsley exists for me on the planet is for tabouli. I always considered the parsley on the plate as decorative. So when I tried this at a friend’s house I have to say I was surprised. Then addicted. Besides the obvious and critical component of finely chopped parsley, the core of this dish is a processed form of wheat, called bulgur. There are numerous tabouli recipes, this is just one.

Bulgur wheat dates back several thousand years. Because the wheat was dried in the sun, it resisted mold and stored well for long periods of time; making it a survival food during famine. The ancient process is still used in some parts of the Mediterranean. The fresh wheat is boiled in pots until fully cooked (this can take more than a day on some cases), then it’s spread out on rooftops to dry in the baking sun. Finally, when the moisture content is near zero, the wheat kernels are cracked into pieces and sorted by sieving into different sizes for different uses.

Today, the bulgur you buy is processed using modern methods, but the nutritional value is still that of a whole cereal grain.

Ingredients

1 cup raw bulgur wheat…try to find medium or course grain; fine grain is too heavy and isn’t good for Tabouli.

20 to 25 sprigs parsley; finely minced; including stems

10 large radishes, diced

1/2 cup fresh lemon or lime juice

1/4 cup California Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon salt

1/2 Teaspoon pepper

2 tomatoes, diced

2 medium onions, diced

Rinse wheat. Pour enough boiling water over it to cover by 1 inch. Let stand for half an hour, or until wheat is light and fluffy. What you are doing is rehydrating your dehydrated wheat. Drain off excess water in a colander, then squeeze with your hands to remove whatever water you can.

Mix with your chopped veggies, add lime juice, oil and spices.

I serve with warmed pita bread.

Kale Chips

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I’ve posted this before, but it’s such an amazing snack, I’m posting again. I wasn’t much of a kale fan until discovering this at a restaurant in Costa Mesa. Chop up your kale in bite size pieces, massage in some olive oil, salt and garlic (breaking down the tough fibers of the kale leaf). spread out on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for a few minutes. Keep an eye on it so they don’t get cooked into oblivion. When crunchy, dump into a bowl and serve as you would popcorn, or as a cool crunchy garnish in a salad