Author Archives for twistedbasics

About twistedbasics

Welcome! Food is my focus, livelihood, art form and my passion. My wife and I run a 5.5 acre organic vegetable farm. Join me fellow foodie as we explore the changing seasons and the food it brings.

The Fungus Among Us!

In the winter there is nothing better than soup, and this soup is soul-filling! There are many approaches to mushroom soup, and they will all give you satisfying results. This approach however, has a secret ingredient that not only thickens it with added protein, but gives it a rich and wonderful rustic feel. That ingredient is chickpea flour. What? That’s right, chickpea flour. Your are free to omit it, but you will end up with a much brothyer soup.

There are several elements to this soup that are equally important; homemade stock, a variety of fresh mushrooms, and making sure that you brown the mushrooms deeply, not just saute them. Each of these elements build on the other, giving you a opulent result you will feel proud to serve your family or guests.

SAVORY MUSHROOM SOUP

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh mushrooms, (such as cremini, white mushrooms, shitake, oyster or portabellas), chopped
  • 3/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes, then finely chopped, straining steeping water through a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
  • 4 large shallots, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, grated on micro planer
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I can’t empathize how important this is)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley, for serving

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Pour 1 cup boiling water over porcini mushrooms and let sit for 30 minutes. Remove mushrooms and chop, set aside. Strain soaking water through a fine mesh strainer, set aside.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven. Stir in half of the shallots and mushrooms, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 10-12 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shallots and mushrooms to a large bowl. Repeat with the remaining butter, olive oil, shallots and mushrooms.
  3. Pour all the mushrooms back into the pot, including the porcini’s, stir in the garlic and tomato paste, and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Then stir in the thyme, rosemary, 1 teaspoon of salt, coriander, and paprika and cook for 1 minute more.
  4. Stir in the chickpea flour, and cook stirring for 1 minute. Stir in the stock of your choice, the reserved porcini water, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste and add additional salt if needed. Garnish with a sprinkling of paprika and chopped herbs.

Serves 4-6

“Nature alone is antique, and the oldest art is a mushroom.” –Thomas Carlyle.

Anything Moroccan!!

I am a big fan of ethnic food, particularly anything from the Mediterranean. French, Italian, Spanish, North African and especially Moroccan. Mediterranean cuisine is so darn full of fresh, savory ingredients! I just can’t get enough. Moroccan food is particularly known for their national food the tagine, it has the unique taste of popular spices such as saffron, cumin (my favorite), cinnamon, ginger, and cilantro. Most recipes are healthy and loaded with vegetables. The delicious combination of mouth-watering flavors is what makes it unique…Oh, and what flavors!

This recipe is a stew that is on regular rotation at our house. The combination of butternut squash, red potato, chickpeas and spices works beautifully together; but the green olives give it not only a punch of color, but a salty counterpoint to the sweetness of the squash. The color of this dish alone is one of the reasons to try it. You can serve this stew over, couscous, rice or cauliflower rice (which is what I use). I also love to use my homemade cilantro-chili sauce, rather than fresh cilantro. You can find it on this blog under Indian Roasted Potatoes, February 2, 2021.

MOROCCAN STEW

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, medium dice
  • 1 head garlic, cloves thinly sliced
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound butternut squash, large dice
  • 3/4 pound (about 3 medium) red potatoes, large dice
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (homemade will really add depth)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Pinch of saffron
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1 cup green olives, (I use Castelvetrano)
  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Toasted slivered almonds for garnish
  • Plain Greek yogurt for garnish
  • Your favorite hot sauce (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Cook stirring occasionally, until spices are aromatic and onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add squash and potatoes, stir to coat, and cook for about 3-5 minutes. Add stock, chickpeas, tomatoes with their juices, and saffron. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until squash and potatoes are fork tender.
  3. Remove from heat and add lemon zest and olives. Serve over grain of choice. Garnish with cilantro, almonds and yogurt.

Serves 4-6

“Ethnic diversity adds richness to a society.” –Gary Locke

Satisfying Soupa!

I think many of us would agree that in the winter, soups and stews are so comforting. There is something about their warmth and aroma that is deeply satisfying. When I’m not eating at the table, I have a particular bowl that fits nicely in the palm of my hand. I love to spoon soup from it while staring out on the landscape outside my writing window. It is then when I feel particularly satisfied on multiple levels.

Root vegetables in particular work well in soup. When you combine these with homemade stock you have something nourishing and healthy to offer your family. Maybe it just feeds our soul. One of my favorites soups that is on constant rotation is Minestrone. It can literally be any combination of vegetables you choose or have on hand. Add some beans and greens and you are all set.

BRICKYARD FARMS MINESTRONE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, cut in cubes
  • 2 cups carrots sliced on the bias
  • 2 cups zucchini, cubed
  • 2 quarts homemade chicken or vegetable stock; or 2 cartons organic stock
  • 1 (15 oz) can fire-roasted tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 4 cups baby spinach OR Swiss chard OR kale, stemmed and chopped
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add carrots, sweet potatoes and zucchini and saute for 4-5 minutes.
  2. Add stock, tomatoes with juice and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil, then turn down to medium-low and simmer until sweet potatoes and carrots are soft, about 25 minutes.
  3. Add cannellini beans and spinach (or whatever green you choose) simmer just until greens wilt.
  4. Ladle into bowls and top with Parmesan or pecorino.

Serves 6-8

“To feel safe and warm on a cold wet night, all you really need is soup” –Laurie Colwin

Winter Salads Rock

One of the pleasures of winter is creating salads using vegetables quite different than those found during the summer months. Root vegetables, beans, legumes and hearty greens all step up to be used in endless creations. Roasting vegetables deepens their flavor, while beans and legumes form layers of interest. Sweet and salty, acid and fats all do their part in making winter salads that are not only interesting, but healthy and delicious. Lettuce be damned!

This salad is full of roasted butternut squash, lentils simmered with a cinnamon stick and smashed garlic, scallions, feta and toasted pepitas. Add a dressing of orange and lemon juice, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper and grapeseed oil and you have something you can serve as the main event or as a side with a protein. You can even double or triple it for a crowd.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH LENTILS AND FETA

FOR THE SALAD:

  • 1/2 cup green lentils
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 (1-pound) butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or cilantro (optional)

FOR THE DRESSING:

  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Pick any debris from the lentils, then rinse the lentils under running water. Transfer them to a medium saucepan, then add the cinnamon stick, garlic and 1 teaspoon of salt. Add enough water to cover the lentils by an inch. Bring the water to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then reduce to low and let simmer until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain the lentils, discard the cinnamon and garlic; then transfer them to a large bowl.
  2. While the lentils cook, prepare the squash. Trim and discard the top and bottom ends of the squash. Peel the squash, halve it lengthwise, remove and discard the seeds. Slice and cube the squash into about 1 inch pieces, and place them on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with Kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Roast the squash until completely tender, slightly caramelized and golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes; then add to the lentils.
  4. While the squash cooks, prepare the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the orange and lemon juice, grapeseed oil, cumin, cayenne and salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle the scallions, feta and pumpkin seeds over lentils and squash. Pour 3 tablespoons of dressing over the lentils and squash. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Serves 2-4

“A well made salad should have a certain uniformity; it should make perfect sense for those ingredients to be in a bowl together.” –Yotam Ottolenghi

Umami Explosion

I love pasta. I can typically put together a pasta dish in under 30 minutes. This dish came together with ingredients I routinely have in my refrigerator and pantry, which makes it super convenient. But the real deal is how incredibly delicious it was with only 5 ingredients. All those taste sensations are covered, salty pancetta, acidic lemon, and the richness of pecorino. This can easily be doubled to feed a crowd. Add a salad and a crunchy baguette and you have yourself a deeply satisfying meal. You won’t believe how rich it is without using cream.

Don’t use marinated artichokes for this recipe, as their flavor is too sharp and tangy. After draining the artichokes, make sure to pat them dry so they caramelize when added to the pot. Don’t forget to reserve about 2 cups of the cooked pasta water before draining the noodles. You will need it for pureeing the artichokes and building the sauce.

LINGUINE WITH ARTICHOKES, LEMON & PANCETTA

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pound linguine or fettuccini
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more t serve
  • 4 ounces pancetta, chopped
  • 2 14-ounce cans artichoke hearts, drained, patted dry and quartered if whole
  • Zest from one lemon, plus 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely grated pecorino or Parmesan, plus more to serve
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, OR chives, OR basil

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. In a large pot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Stir in the pasta and 1 tablespoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve about 2 cups of cooking water, then drain.
  2. In the same pot over medium, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a small plate; set aside. Add the artichokes to the pot and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown at the edges, 3-4 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Transfer half the artichokes to a small bowl; add the remainder to a blender. Reserve the pot.
  3. To the artichokes in the blender, add 1/2 cup cooking water, the lemon juice and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper; puree until smooth. In the same pot over medium, bring 1 cup of the remaining cooking water to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Add the artichoke puree, the pasta, lemon zest, pancetta, cheese and parsley. Cook, tossing to combine, just until the noodles are heated through, 1-2 minutes; add more reserved water as needed to make a silky sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the reserved artichokes, along with additional oil and pecorino or Parmesan.

Serves: 4-6

“Silence more musical than any song.” –Christina Rossetti

Pecan Sandies On Steroids

The holiday’s are an excellent time to satisfy our sweet tooth, and these are one of the best ways to do it. They are hands down my favorite cookie! I call them Pecan Sandies On Steroids. There’s pecans in the dough, pecans in the frangipane, and they’re topped with a pecan. They are addicting and sooooo good! Any questions?

Dusting these tender pecan-and-butter-packed cookies in powdered sugar before baking them creates a crackly, glossy coating. The frangipane makes more than you will need and freezes well for your next batch; being ready when you are craving these decadent morsels.

PECAN SANDIES ON STEROIDS

INGREDIENTS:

Frangipane:

  • 2 cups pecan halves, toasted (divided) 3/4 cup for frangipane, 1 cup for dough and 1/4 cup for topping each cookie
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Dough and Assembly:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided; plus more for serving (optional)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS:

FRANGIPANE:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly toast pecans on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing halfway through, until slightly darkened in color and fragrant, 6-8 minutes. Let cool; set 1 1/4 cups aside for making the dough.
  2. Pulse granulated sugar and remaining 3/4 cups of pecans in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground. Be careful to stop before they become a paste, about 30-45 seconds. Add egg white and pulse just to blend, then add butter, espresso powder, salt, and almond extract. Pulse just until mixture is smooth and combined. Scrape frangipane into a small bowl and chill at least 30 minutes before using. You can make frangipane up to 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled. Take out of refrigerator at least 30 minutes before using.

DOUGH AND ASSEMBLY:

  1. Pulse flour, salt, baking powder, and 1 cup reserved pecans in clean food processor until nuts are very finely ground, about 1 minute.
  2. Beat butter, granulated sugar, and 1/4 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla and beat until combined and no streaks remain.
  3. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients. Beat just until incorporated, about 1 minute. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill dough until it’s firm enough that you can scoop it and it holds its shape, 30-45 minutes.
  4. Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 350 degrees F. Place 1/2 cup of powdered sugar in a shallow bowl. Working in batches, scoop out tablespoons of dough and roll in powdered sugar, knocking of any excess. Transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets as you work, placing 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake cookies until puffed but edges are still soft, 6-8 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and make an indent in the center of each cookie with the handle end of a wooden spoon, or a similar heatproof object. Spoon a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of frangipane into each and top with a pecan half from remaining reserved 1/4 cup. Return cookies to the oven and continue to bake until edges are set and very lightly browned, about 6-8 additional minutes. Let cool on baking sheets.
  6. Just before serving, dust cookies with more powdered sugar if desired.

Yields: 26-28 cookies

“May the light illuminate your hearts and shine in your life every day of the year.

May everlasting peace be yours and upon our Earth.” -― Eileen Anglin

Revisiting An Old Friend

So as promised, I am reporting back on the grand experiment of roasting a spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving. It may have been my first, but definitely won’t be my last. It was absolutely perfect. The most challenging part was cutting through the back bones, but with a little perseverance, I got through it. All our guests said it was the best turkey they ever had, which left me smiling from ear to ear!

Spatchcocking turkey cooks more evenly and more quickly than non-butterflied versions. The skin ends up perfectly crisp, and both the white and dark meat finish roasting at the correct temperatures to guarantee that nothing drys out! I didn’t even need to drown it in gravy.

Last but certainly not least, is to make sure you save your turkey carcass and bones. It makes for a much better and more delicious stock than you could ever purchase.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 12-14 pound spatchcocked (butterflied) fresh turkey
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 cups turkey or chicken stock (preferably homemade)
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Spatchcock your turkey. Place turkey on cutting board breast side down. Dry your turkey by patting it with paper towels. Cut out the turkey’s back with a pair of solid poultry shears. Holding it firmly with one hand, make a cut along one side of the backbone, starting down near where the thighs meat the tail. Continue cutting, working your way around the thigh joint until you’ve snipped through every rib bone and completely split the turkey up to the neck. Use your hands to spread the turkey open slightly. Then make an identical cut along the other side of the backbone. This cut is a little trickier, so make sure not to get your fingers in the way of the blade. Using a clean dish towel or rag to hold on to the bird will make it easier to keep control. Once you’ve removed the backbone entirely, you should remove a large hood of fat up near the neck, if it’s there. And if you wish to make carving even easier, the wish bone can also be removed by making a thin incision with the tip of a paring knife or boning knife along both sides of it, and pulling it out with your fingers. Turn the turkey over onto what once was its back, splaying its legs out in a manner that can only be described as inappropriate. Press down hard on the ridge of the breast bone. You should hear a couple of cracks, and the turkey should now rest flatter. Flatter is better for even cooking and crispier skin.
  2. Next dry-brine your turkey. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of Kosher salt in a small dish. With your thumb, index and middle finger grab a pinch of salt and from about 6 inches above your turkey sprinkle salt over all surfaces, both front and back. Salt liberally. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 12-24 hours.
  3. Remove your turkey at least 1 hour before putting in your preheated oven. Place your oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 450 degrees F. Line your sheet pan with foil. Dry your turkey with paper towels. Do not rinse! Blush your bird with olive oil, both front and back. Salt and pepper both sides again. Finally, tuck the wing tips behind the breast. This step is not strictly necessary, but it’ll prevent your turkey from looking like it wants to give you a high five as it roasts. Before you move your turkey, place your sprigs of thyme and rosemary on your baking sheet, and pour 2 cups of chicken or turkey stock on your sheet pan. Cover this with your wire rack and place your spatchcocked turkey on the rack.
  4. Transfer turkey to oven and roast, rotating occasionally, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the deepest part of the breast registers 150 degree F, and the thighs registers at least 165 degrees F, about 80 minutes.
  5. When turkey is finished, move it to a clean baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 20-30 minutes. Carve turkey and serve.

Great turkey stock is a important component for future soup, using your left over meat. This recipe should render 4-5 quarts of liquid gold.

HOMEMADE TURKEY STOCK

INGREDIENTS:

  • Turkey carcass and any leftover bones from legs and wings
  • 6 quarts of water
  • 4 celery stalks, cut in 3 inch pieces
  • 2 large onions, quartered, leaving skin on
  • 4 large carrots, cut in 3 inch pieces
  • Bouquet garni of rosemary, thyme and parsley, tied with kitchen twine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 1 head garlic cloves, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Amino Acids
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Place all ingredients in a large stock pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 4 hours.
  3. Let cool enough to handle vegetables. Remove large pieces of bones, and vegetables. Taste for salt, adding more if needed. I also squeeze the juice of 1/2 lemon into the stock as well.
  4. Using a large bowl, place a wire mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth over bowl. Pour or ladle stock through cheesecloth. Place in 1 quart containers and let cool to room temperature. Freeze or use immediately for soup.

Yields: 4-5 quarts

“Gratitude turns what we have, into enough.”

Getting Sauced

Ok. I have a confession to make. I really don’t like turkey. This is because my mother’s turkeys were, well, dry and tasteless. The upside was she made excellent gravy, so if you covered the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing with gravy you could enjoy your meal. I haven’t made a turkey for over 20 years, so I decided why not try to master this damn bird! They can’t all be tasteless, can they?

Enter the Crisp-Skinned Spatchcocked (Butterflied) Roast Turkey! Woah! I’ve spatchcocked chickens for grilling, but never a turkey. Although I appreciate tradition, I am hardly a traditionalist, so why not step immediately out of the box here. So rather than my 13.5 pound turkey taking 3.5 hours to roast, this one will be done at 450 degrees F for (get this) 80 minutes!! I will report back on this grand experiment on the next post.

I was raised with wiggly, canned cranberry sauce. This will simply not do. There are two non-negotiables at our Thanksgiving table, and one of these is Jezebel Sauce. Fresh cranberries, cooked with both brown and granulated sugar. When cooled, you add horseradish and Dijon mustard. It is absolutely fabulous! Great with virtually any poultry, beef or pork. But my favorite way to use it is with a turkey sandwich on ciabatta, with arugula. You can thank me later.

CRANBERRY JEZEBEL SAUCE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan; stir well to dissolve. Bring to a boil over medium heat; add cranberries.
  2. Return to a boil, and cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon into a bowl; let cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir in horseradish and mustard; cover and chill.
  4. Garnish with fresh mint.

Yields: 2.5 cups

“A moment of gratitude makes a difference in your attitude.”Bruce Wilkinson

Simplicity Is Elegance

I am not much of a dessert eater, but I do enjoy fruit desserts. I prefer tarts and galettes. Most times I am too full after eating to even think about something sweet. However, this cake totally changed everything. It’s moist, full of fruit, not too sweet, light, and incredibly delicious. I remember the first time I made it, I was alarmed when I started folding in the cubed apples. “This can’t be right,” I thought to myself. There seemed to be more fruit than cake. Exactly!

This cake can be baked in a regular cake pan, however I prefer a 9-inch springform pan lined with parchment paper. This makes it very easy to slide onto a plate after it cools.

FRENCH APPLE CAKE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling over cake
  • 2 farm fresh organic eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons dark rum
  • 3 baking apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes (I like Pink Ladies, Granny Smith or Cortland)
  • Confectioner’s sugar (optional) for decorating cake
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Grease a 9-inch springform or regular cake pan with butter or cooking spray. If using a springform pan, line the bottom and sides with parchment paper, and grease again. If using a regular cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and grease again.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking power and salt.
  3. Using a handheld mixer with beaters or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Beat in the vanilla and rum. The batter will look slightly grainy.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chopped apples.
  5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and even the top. Sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool on a rack in the pan. Once cool, run a blunt knife around the edges of the cake. If using a springform pan, remove the sides. If using a regular cake pan, carefully invert the cake onto the rack, remove the parchment paper, then gently flip the cake over and place right-side-up on a platter. If using a springform pan, remove parchment paper on the sides, slip two spatulas under the cake, and carefully slide it onto a platter.
  7. Using a fine sieve, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6-8

“Life’s too short to say no to cake!”

Old Is New Again

I love grain salads. They are visually appealing, nutritious, and satisfying. We eat a lot of tabbouleh, and salads made of wild rice, and quinoa. I discovered a new grain recently called Einkorn. It is the oldest known grain on earth. Einkorn is easier to digest and contains more protein and antioxidants than modern wheat. It can also be used by individuals that are gluten free. I say it’s a win, win. Personally, I love the chew and texture of this ancient grain. Although I enjoy this particular salad with Einkorn grain, you can also use spelt, kamut, regular wheat berries or quinoa. The choice is completely up to you, but you owe yourself the chance to enjoy this delicious ancient grain.

GREEK EINKORN SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups raw einkorn or wheat berries
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Kalamata olives, halved
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese

FOR THE GREEK VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dark balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons local honey
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. To make the vinaigrette, place all the ingredients in a pint jar and shake vigorously. You can also place all the ingredients except your oil in a bowl, and slowly whisk in oil until emulsified.
  2. Place all your salad ingredients in a large bowl, except for the feta cheese. Pour vinaigrette over ingredients and stir to combine. Refrigerate a couple of hours.
  3. Place grain salad in attractive bowl and top with feta cheese.

Serves 6-8

“In the end, the world returns to a grain.”
― Dejan Stojanovic
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