Orzo Salad with Asparagus, Feta Cheese, Spinach and Lemon

½ lb. orzo, cooked

1 lb. asparagus

1 (6-ounce) bag fresh baby spinach

2 T extra virgin olive oil

½ cup red onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Zest of 1 small lemon

½ cup toasted nuts – chopped pistachios, pine nuts, slivered almonds or pumpkin seeds

1 cup feta, crumbled

Pinch of nutmeg

Pinch of cinnamon

Salt to taste

Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box, drain and transfer to a large bowl. Prep the asparagus: trim each one by snapping them at the end of their stem, which will separate the tough part from the tender. Bring a pot of water to a boil, drop in the asparagus and cook for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain them under cold running water. Cut them into 1½ inch pieces and set add them to the orzo.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes, just until aromatic. Add the spinach and a pinch of salt and cook until wilted and tender, about 1 minute. Add mixture to the orzo; add the feta, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt to taste.

Heat a small-medium sauté pan over medium heat. Add the nuts and toast until they begin to brown, about 3 minutes. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Sprinkle on top of the orzo and serve. Serves 5.


Leeks Mimosa with Toasted Hazelnuts

Dorie Greenspan Leeks Vinaigrette with Mimosa on eatlivetravelwrite.com

 

 

Begin this simple, distinctive side dish by roasting leeks, which mellows them and brings out their sweet side. Give them a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette, and sprinkle on toasted hazelnuts for a pleasant crunch. As a garnish, grated egg yolks are called mimosa (named for the yellow mimosa flower); we use the whites as well, to finish the dish. This recipe is a hearty side dish for four. Store extra vinaigrette in the refrigerator up to three weeks. Adrienne demoed this as part of allium month, May 2016. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.

4 large leeks (2 pounds), white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise and rinsed well
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
2 eggs, hardboiled and cooled
1 t Dijon mustard
2 t finely grated orange zest, plus more for garnish
3 T fresh orange juice
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T minced shallot
3 T extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 ounce (¼ cup) skinless hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Arrange leeks on a rimmed baking sheet, and brush generously with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, flipping once, until tender and gold, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly on sheet. Halve eggs and remove yolks. Finely grate whites on the medium holes of a box grater; place in a small bowl. Grate or crumble yolks; place in another small bowl. Whisk together mustard, orange zest and juice, lemon juice, and shallot. Slowly add oil, whisking until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange leeks on a platter. Scatter whites and yolks on top. Drizzle with vinaigrette. Sprinkle with hazelnuts, and garnish with orange zest. Serve immediately.


Warm Potato Salad with Lemon-Herb Dressing

potatoes

 

 

Baby new potatoes are great in this. The golf-ball sized tubers start hitting farmers markets around April. Use a variety of colors –purple, yellow, red-skinned – if you can find them for maximum nutrition, or stick with red-skinned or yellow Yukons. We love the sweet flavor of the new potatoes in this recipe, but any type of boiling potato works for year-round goodness. If you have a culinary mandolin, use that to slice the potatoes, or better yet, the slicing bade on a food processor. The sauce comes out thick, almost like a chimichurri sauce. Mix and match herbs – tarragon, chives, parsley; or dill, parsley and chives; or basil, cilantro and chives. Mix your sauce in while the potatoes are still warm for maximum flavor, and also to “cook” the raw garlic, making it less harsh. You can serve it any temperature, though it is best either warm or room-temperature. One last thing – if you don’t have a steamer (and lots of us don’t), just boil these gently in about an inch or so of water, covered.  Demoed at USBG in March 2016. Recipe adapted from Fine Cooking.

1¾ lb. baby potatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
Kosher salt
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 C lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley
½ C lightly packed fresh basil
½ C thinly sliced chives
1/3 C extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

In a large, wide pot fitted with a steamer basket, bring about ½-inch of water to a boil over medium high heat. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer in the steamer and sprinkle with ½ tsp. salt. Cover and steam, carefully stirring every now and again, until the potatoes are just tender, five to six minutes. Drain and put them back into the hot pan, cover.

While the potatoes are cooking, finely grate the zest from the lemon and then juice the lemon. Put the zest in a food processor and set the juice aside. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse a few times. Add the herbs and pulse to coarsely chop. Add the olive oil, 1t salt, and ½ t pepper and pulse until the mixture is fairly homogenous, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. (Avoid overprocessing or the herbs will heat up and discolor; 10 to 12 pulses should do.) Add 3 T of the lemon juice and pulse once to mix.

Drizzle the herb mixture over the potatoes and toss gently to combine. Season to taste with more salt or lemon juice. Serve warm.


Turmeric and Ginger Tea

ginger-and-turmeric-tea-health-boosting_7

 

 

Great for what ails you! Turmeric and ginger both have anti-inflammatory properties, making this an ideal tea if you have a cold. It’s very comforting on a cold winter’s day, served piping hot. But it’s also refreshing as a summer pick-me-up, so keep it in mind when those seasonal allergies strike. It’s also a very good digestive. Fresh turmeric is available at Harris Teeter, Whole Foods, Wegman’s and Asian supermarkets. Fresh ginger is widely available at supermarkets. Adrienne demoed this at Brookside and USBG in January 2016.

Two 2½-inch pieces fresh turmeric root, finely grated
2-inch piece fresh ginger root, finely grated
Few grinds of black pepper
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 C honey
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ a lemon

Combine ingredients in a small jar or bowl. Stir until well blended. Cover with a lid, and store in the fridge. To make the tea, heat 8 ounces of water in a cup and add one teaspoon of the ginger-turmeric mixture. Garnish with a grinding of black pepper.


Tahini Sauce with Nut Pesto and Pomegranate Seeds

 

tahini

 

 

This combination has it all – tart lemon, crunchy nuts, sweet pomegranate seeds. It’s also chock full of nutrition and it’s versatile. Great over grilled or sauteed fish, grilled chicken or roasted or grilled lamb and even vegetables.  You could serve it as a dip or toss a salad with it.  Pomegranate molasses is a staple of Middle Eastern cuisine and can be found in specialty food stores or on line.  There’s nothing quite like it, but you can substitute balsamic syrup, made by boiling down balsamic vinegar until it becomes slightly syrupy.  We adapted this from Fine Cooking and demoed it last January. We’re rolling it out again for our September 2015 Mediterranean demos at the US Botanic Garden in honor of its new exhibit from the region. This time, Danielle had the pleasure of making this dish, served on pita bread.

Tahini sauce

6 T tahini (sesame seed paste, available in supermarket health food section)
4 t fresh lemon juice
1 small clove garlic, crushed
½ t ground cumin
Kosher salt

For the nut-herb topping

¼ C toasted, finely chopped almonds
¼ C toasted, finely chopped walnuts
¼ C finely chopped fresh cilantro
3 T. finely chopped red onion
2½  T extra-virgin olive oil
2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 T finely chopped fresh mint
1/8 t crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Garnish

¼ C pomegranate arils (see note, above)
2 t pomegranate molasses

Make the tahini sauce

Process the tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, ¼ t salt, and 5 T water in a food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Make the nut-herb topping

In a medium bowl, gently toss the almonds, walnuts, cilantro, onion, olive oil, parsley, mint, and pepper flakes with ¼t salt and 1/8 t pepper until well combined. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Serve the tahini sauce sprinkled with the nut-herb mixture and topped with pomegranate seeds. Drizzle pomegranate molasses.


Pan-Fried Halloumi with Fennel, Olive & Mint

halloumi

 

 

Halloumi is the cheese you can cook. It doesn’t melt, it just gets a nice crust on the outside when you pan-fry or grill it. Salty, chewy and intense, the cheese is a favorite in Cyprus, its country of origin, where in the summer it is commonly served grilled with tomatoes or watermelon. Halloumi is becoming increasingly popular around the globe and when you try this recipe you’ll understand its following. High in protein — the cheese is typically made from goat or sheep’s milk — it’s a great substitute for meat in vegetarian diets. This treatment makes it a good choice as a first course. Served as a side with a rice pilaf or lentil stew, you have a lovely filling meal you won’t soon forget.  The remaining half of the fennel bulb can be added to a roast vegetable to accompany this or your next meal. This recipe was adapted by Adrienne, who demoed it at USBG September 16 2015.

3 T olive oil
½ medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1-1/4 cups)
½ medium yellow onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
12 pitted Kalamata olives, slivered (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1 t finely grated lemon zest
1/3 C minced fresh mint
1 8-oz. package halloumi cheese, cut into 1/4- to 3/8-inch-thick slices

Heat 2 T olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the fennel and onions, cover and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables begin to soften (but don’t let them brown), 2-3 min. Reduce the heat to medium low, add 1/4 t salt and 1/4 t pepper and continue to cook until the vegetables soften completely, another 2-3 min. Turn the heat to low and stir in the olives, lemon zest, mint. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.

Wipe out skillet and add remaining olive oil; heat on medium high until hot, about 1 minute. Working in batches if necessary to avoid crowding the pan, cook the halloumi until golden in spots, about 2 min. Flip and cook until the second side of each slice is golden, about 2 min. more. Reduce the heat as needed if the halloumi is browning too fast.

Shingle the halloumi on a serving platter. Stir the vegetables and spoon over the halloumi, drizzle with hot olive oil from skillet. Serve immediately.


Winter Salad of Root Vegebables with Lemon-Tahini Dressing

If yroastedou’re sick of roasted vegetables you can take a pass on the veggie ingredients in this salad but you shouldn’t skip the lemon tahini dressing which is delicious on nearly everything it touches, though I confess I have not tried it on chocolate icecream. I bet it would be fantastic on orange or lime sorbet. Just a thought, in the middle of winter when I’m longing for the beach. Meantime, as they say, slather the vinaigrette on a nice piece of fish – say halibut or striped bass or mahi – and pan fry or do what hubby is doing these days, madly using the Cuisinart electric panini grill, a great modern invention; he puts everything on it including the dish towels. One of those fish fillets would be awesome cooked on that baby and you’ll want to drizzle more of the lemon tahini sauce on the fish when you serve. Nuff said about that. I do not tire of anything that includes oven-roasted potatoes so here you’ll have those plus matchstick carrots and parsnips, which we always overlook when we roast vegetables, why I can’t say but there’s no explaining a lack of imagination. And if you’re up to here with cauliflower and you already have divined the dirty little secret about roasted broccoli – don’t ask me, you’ll need to discover it for yourself – then just leave it at that and toss your roots with some fresh greenery and have at it. Or just make a big jar of the tahini dressing and drink a cup for breakfast – you think I’m kidding. I, Adrienne, demoed this in January at Brookside and at US Botanic Garden. Adapted from Fine Cooking. 

16 small potatoes
3/4 C olive oil, divided (more as needed)
1 t salt, divided
fresh ground pepper
½ head cauliflower, curt into ½-inch florets
3 carrots, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 parsnip, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1 clove garlic
1 1/4 C fresh parsley leaves, divided
1/4 C lemon juice
2 T tahini (International foods)
1 t honey (optional)
1/4 t ground cumin
1/4 t ground coriander
4 C sturdy lettuce greens, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces as necessary
½ C chopped fresh dill
4 oz crumbled goat cheese

Preheat oven to 400. Quarter potatoes, place in plastic bag or bowl; toss with 1-2 T olive oil, scant 1/4 t salt, several pepper grinds. Spread potatoes on rimmed baking sheet and roast in oven until golden, about 30 minutes, turning them halfway through. Place cauliflower plastic bag or bowl, add 1 T olive oil, 1/4 t salt, several pepper grinds; toss until well coated. Spread on one side of rimmed baking sheet. To plastic bag or bowl, add carrots and parsnips, 1 T olive oil, 1/4 t salt, several grinds pepper. Toss and spread root vegetables on baking sheet next to cauliflower. Place baking sheet in the oven and roast until golden, about 20 minutes. Remove potatoes and vegetables when done and cover to keep warm.

Place garlic and 1/4 C parsley in a food processor and process until minced; add remaining ½ C olive oil, 1/4 t salt, lemon juice, tahini, honey if using, cumin, coriander; process, adding more olive oil as needed, until smooth and creamy.

In a large bowl, toss together the remaining parsley, lettuce and dill with 1/4 C salad dressing. Place on a serving platter, top with warm vegetables, drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with goat cheese. Serve immediately, or hold at room temperature for up to two hours.