RECIPE: Quinoa, Plum, & Mint Tabouleh

Quinoa, Plum & mint Tabouleh

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 cups flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp olive oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2tsp brown sugar
5 ripe, sweet plums (if you’re buying from the farmer’s market, make sure they’re sweet and juicy, as unripe plums will be too bitter.)
Sea salt & pepper to taste.

Place the Quinoa in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cover the pan and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains are translucent.

Set the quinoa aside and allow it to cool

Place the chopped parsley, mint and scallions in a large salad bowl and pour over the dressing ingredients (oil, lemon, vinegar and sugar.). Toss well and then add seasoning to taste. Add the cucumbers.

Cut the plums in half and remove the stone. Chop each plum into small cubes and mix into the salad.

Serve chilled or at room temperature with warm whole wheat pitta bread. You can also serve it as a tasty side to grilled meat or fish.

QUINOA, PLUM & MINT TABOULLEH

 

I love Taboulleh in the Summer as it’s light and so easy to whip up for lunch. As I’m a huge quinoa fan, I decided to substitute it for the traditional bulgar wheat. Lola and I found some beautiful sweet plums at the farmer’s market, so I decided to use them in place of tomatoes. I served this initially for a light lunch and then as a side the next evening with garlicky grilled chicken.

Quinoa, Plum & Mint Tabouleh

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 cups flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
3 scallions, green parts only, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2tbsp olive oil
1tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2tsp brown sugar
5 ripe, sweet plums (if you’re buying from the farmer’s market, make sure they’re sweet and juicy, as unripe plums will be too bitter.)

Sea salt & pepper to taste.

Place the Quinoa in a small saucepan and cover with boiling water. Cover the pan and bring to a simmer for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa grains are translucent.

Set the quinoa aside and allow it to cool

Place the chopped parsley, mint and scallions in a large salad bowl and pour over the dressing ingredients (oil, lemon, vinegar and sugar.). Toss well and then add seasoning to taste. Add the cucumbers.

Cut the plums in half and remove the stone. Chop each plum into small cubes and mix into the salad.

Serve chilled or at room temperature with warm whole wheat pitta bread. You can also serve it as a tasty side to grilled meat or fish.

 

 

BLACKBERRY & SOUR CREAM SCONES

My second favorite berry in the world is the blackberry – raspberry takes 1st place for sure, but I’ve cooked so much with raspberries in the past 14 days, that I want to give the lowly blackberry a whirl.

Blackberries remind me of growing up in the bucolic English countryside. Late August, the “bramble “ bushes lining the country lanes are loaded with these little gems. As little kids, we’d take off “brambling,” which is basically blackberry picking, and we’d come back stained from head to toe with nothing for mom to cook with. Oh by the way, my mom makes and exquisite Bramble Jelly, which spread generously on an English muffin is heavenly – I’ll get the recipe from her and give it a go when I get back from the UK late August.

Anyway, I managed to find a large basket of organic blackberries at the grocery store and since I had a pot of sour cream that needed using up, I knew just the recipe.

You’re going to get to realize that I’m sort of obsessed with flours and love to combine all kinds of flours in just one recipe. I reined myself in with these scones as I want my daughter to love them, and too much whole wheat, or other fancy grains don’t do it for her.

She likes things to look white! She had a friend over for a sleepover last night and the friend asked if I could make pancakes this morning. Lola (my daughter,) almost have a fit – “NOT my mom’s pancakes peleeeeze..they’re all brown and heavy and sometimes she puts this yucky green stuff (that would be hemp powder,) in them!!” Well that was a bit humiliating in front of the friend, and so I marched into the kitchen determined to make the most brilliant white and processed –looking pancake I could. I used unbleached flour, lots of sugar (don’t own white sugar or that would have gone in,) a ton of baking soda to make them rise high, and finally I packed them with chocolate chips. My husband took one look in the pan and was appalled, “you’re not going to let them have maple syrup with that are you?”, he enquired.

“You bet,” I replied, stacking them high as I could. I wasn’t going to be the mom who makes “gross” pancakes! Needless to say, they went down very easily and Lola turned around on her way out of the kitchen, “wow mom, you can make a normal pancake, who would have known!” Grrrrgh – little madam.

Anyway, I digress – the flours I choose for these scones were Spouted wheat (nutty,) and unbleached – so they wouldn’t be too heavy for madam.

They turned out delicious – so delicious, especially served with a dab of unsalted butter while still warm. Unlike a coffee shop style of scone, which is heavy and way too large, I used my husband’s late grandma’s wonderful old cookie cutter to create dainty little scones.

Blackberry & Sour Cream Scones

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat or spouted whole wheat flour (if you want a really white scone, just use all unbleached flour.)
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
¾ cup of raw sugar
1cup blackberries
1cup sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 325 F

Place the flours, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and combine well.

Add the butter and use your fingers to “rub” it into the flour until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

Mix in the sugar. Roughly chop the blackberries and use a potato masher to smoosh them into the mixture. Add the sour cream

This is where it can get messy. You need to use your hands to squish the mixture into a sticky ball of dough and sticky it will be! Do add a little more flour if it’s too sticky.

Roll it out on a floured surface and use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut out your scones.

Place the scones on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

The best time to eat them is when they are still warm. Split in half and dab with a little butter. They are also great at room temperature. They will keep in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

 

 

RECIPE: Blackberry & Sour Cream Scones

1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 ½ cups whole wheat or spouted whole wheat flour (if you want a really white scone, just use all unbleached flour.)
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
8 tbsp cold, unsalted butter
¾ cup of raw sugar
1cup blackberries
1cup sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 325 F

Place the flours, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and combine well.

Add the butter and use your fingers to “rub” it into the flour until the mixture resembles large crumbs.

Mix in the sugar. Roughly chop the blackberries and use a potato masher to smoosh them into the mixture. Add the sour cream

This is where it can get messy. You need to use your hands to squish the mixture into a sticky ball of dough and sticky it will be! Do add a little more flour if it’s too sticky.

Roll it out on a floured surface and use a glass or a cookie cutter to cut out your scones.

Place the scones on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and place in the oven for 15 minutes or until lightly browned on top.

The best time to eat them is when they are still warm. Split in half and dab with a little butter. They are also great at room temperature. They will keep in a sealed container for up to 4 days.

 

 

RECIPE: Portobello & Eggplant Stack

PORTOBELLO & EGGPLANT STACKS WITH PESTO GRITS

1 large eggplant, cut into ¼”slices
4 large Portobello mushrooms, skins removed
4tsp olive oil
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices
1 ball buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced
1cup yellow grits
21/2 cups water
2 tsp pesto, (jar or homemade is fine)
Sea Salt & cracked pepper to taste
A small bunch of fresh basil.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F or set your grill to “high”

Place your slices of eggplant in a colander in the sink and cover each slice with salt. Leave them for 1/2 an hour, then rinse of the salt and pat each slice dry.

 

Grease a grill pan with olive oil and set it over a high heat or on your grill.  Grill the eggplant slices until they soften and have lovely grill stripes over them (about 3-4 minutes each side). Remove and set them aside.

Cut out a 10×10” square of foil per mushroom.

Place a mushroom on each square and top with 1tsp olive oil and 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

Top with an eggplant slice and a tomato slice. Make a bundle/packet with the foil.

Place the packets in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and open packet. Top each stack with a thick slice of Mozzarella and place back in the oven for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the grits in a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, while stirring continuously. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil, the pesto and season with the salt and pepper.

Pour a small lake of the pesto grits into the center of a large plate and using a spatula, carefully place a Portobello stack on top of the grits.

Finally, top with 3 or 4 basil leaves.

 

 

PORTOBELLO & EGGPLANT STACKS WITH PESTO GRITS

I love a “stack’” -especially in the Summer when I can use heirloom tomatoes and tons of basil. This is one of my hubby’s favorites – coming from Southern Georgia, he loves his grits, especially when they are “adulterated” with pesto!

I love this for a weeknight family meal because it’s not at all fiddly to make. It’s all about creating little parcels and then throwing them on the grill. Even my ten year-old daughter loves this dish because it’s kind of meaty like a burger, but bursting with incredible Summery flavors.

PORTOBELLO & EGGPLANT STACKS WITH PESTO GRITS

1 large eggplant, cut into ¼”slices
4 large Portobello mushrooms, skins removed
4tsp olive oil
4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut into ¼” slices
1 ball buffalo mozzarella cheese, sliced
1cup yellow grits
21/2 cups water
2 tsp pesto, (jar or homemade is fine)
Sea Salt & cracked pepper to taste
A small bunch of fresh basil.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F or set your grill to “high”

Place your slices of eggplant in a colander in the sink and cover each slice with salt. Leave them for 1/2 an hour, then rinse of the salt and pat each slice dry.

Grease a grill pan with olive oil and set it over a high heat or on your grill.  Grill the eggplant slices until they soften and have lovely grill stripes over them (about 3-4 minutes each side). Remove and set them aside.

Cut out a 10×10” square of foil per mushroom.

Place a mushroom on each square and top with 1tsp olive oil and 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce.

Top with an eggplant slice and a tomato slice. Make a bundle/packet with the foil.

Place the packets in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and open packet. Top each stack with a thick slice of Mozzarella and place back in the oven for a further five minutes.

Meanwhile, place the grits in a small saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes, while stirring continuously. Remove from heat, stir in 1 tbsp of olive oil, the pesto and season with the salt and pepper.

Pour a small lake of the pesto grits into the center of a large plate and using a spatula, carefully place a Portobello stack on top of the grits.

Finally, top with 3 or 4 basil leaves.

 

 

RECIPE: Peach & Rhubarb Fool

Peach & Rhubarb Fool

2 large peaches
3 large sticks rhubarb
1/4 cup sugar (white is fine)
2tbsp water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3tbsp agave nectar
1 16oz pot of Greek Yogurt (low-fat if you’re being good.)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the peaches in a large measuring jug and cover them with boiling water. Leave them for one minute and then drain off the water. Run them under cold water until you can handle them and then peel off the skins. I use a knife to peel off the little bits of skin than don’t come off easily. Slice and core the peaches and place them in the bowl of your food processor.

 

Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb and place in a heavy saucepan with the sugar and 2tbsp water. Bring them to a boil and then turn down heat to a low simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and mushy. Drain the rhubarb in a colander and set aside until cool.

 

When cool, add the rhubarb mush to the peaches in the food processor. Add the sugar and yogurt and process until smooth.

Whip up the cream until really thick and add this into the mix. Process for another 10 seconds, then pour the “fool” into a large pretty bowl, or individual sherbet glasses to be chilled. Chill for at least 2 hours and then eat the same day. I served mine with Triple Ginger Thins (from Trader Joe’s,) as ginger is a perfect accompaniment for rhubarb.

 

PEACH & RHUBARB FOOL

 

A dessert “fool” is to-die-for. Growing up, my mom would make it entirely with rich whipped cream – health & vanity wise, I couldn’t go there, so I came up with a healthier version. I actually think it’s tastier than the original fat-laden delicacy, and can almost be construed as a “healthful” desert..almost!

What prompted me to have a go at a dessert that I haven’t eaten in 30 odd years, was the fact that my farm box arrived with about fifteen enormous peaches. I love a peach, but 15!!!! So it was either, give them to the neighbors or keep them greedily to myself – I choose the latter, but had to get creative. I saw some wonderful sticks of rhubarb in Wholefoods market and grabbed them quickly, as they’re quite hard to find in LA.

Ah ha – Peaches and Rhubarb – the perfect marriage, and what better a vehicle than a creamy fool.

Peach & Rhubarb Fool

2 large peaches
3 large sticks rhubarb
1/2 cup sugar (white is fine)
2tbsp water
1/2 cup of brown sugar
3tbsp runny honey
1 16oz pot of Greek Yogurt (low-fat if you’re being good.)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Place the peaches in a large measuring jug and cover them with boiling water. Leave them for one minute and then drain off the water. Run them under cold water until you can handle them and then peel off the skins. I use a knife to peel off the little bits of skin than don’t come off easily. Slice and core the peaches and place them in the bowl of your food processor.

Meanwhile, chop the rhubarb and place in a heavy saucepan with the sugar and 2tbsp water. Bring them to a boil and then turn down heat to a low simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rhubarb is soft and mushy. Drain the rhubarb in a colander and set aside until cool.

When cool, add the rhubarb mush to the peaches in the food processor. Add the sugar and yogurt and process until smooth.

Whip up the cream until really thick and add this into the mix. Process for another 10 seconds, then pour the “fool” into a large pretty bowl, or individual sherbet glasses to be chilled. Chill for at least 2 hours and then eat the same day. I served mine with Triple Ginger Thins (from Trader Joe’s,) as ginger is a perfect accompaniment for rhubarb. As you can see, Phoebe, is partial to a triple ginger cookie too!

RECIPE: Peach, Proscuitto & Mint Salad

Peach, Prosciutto & Mint Salad

Serves 2

2 slices of Sourdough bread, cut into mini cubes

1 large peach

4 slices of prosciutto (very thinly slices)

1/2 cup goat cheese or goat cheese crumbles

A couple of sprigs of fresh mint

A handful of micro-greens (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees (says she trying to save energy!!)

 

Coat the Sourdough cubes in some olive oil and spread on a baking sheet. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes or until crispy and brown. Transfer them to a paper towel and set aside.

Place your peach in a large measuring jug and cover with boiling water. Leave for 1 minute and then remove and run under cold water. Peel the peach as best you can and if some bits of skin just won’t peel off easily, slice it off with a sharp knife. Cut the peach into 8 segments.

The Dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

2tsp balsamic vinegar

1tsp raw honey

1 peach segment

3 mint leaves

Sea salt & pepper to taste.

Simply whizz up the above ingredients in a blender. This is where I could not live without my Magic Bullet Blender. It sits on my counter and gets used gazillions of times a day.

 

Spread out the arugula leaves on a large plate and add arrange the peaches and cheese. Gently roll the prosciutto slices and place one roll by each peach segment. Add the croutons, and micro-greens. Drizzle the salad with the dressing and top each salad with a sprig of fresh mint.