Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sauteed Chickpeas with Garden Veggies - serves 4

I'm beginning to reap the benefits, once again, of my garden.  Although some vegetables aren't coming up quite yet and some that have fallen victim to this heat, I do have plenty to choose from.  Aside from the one carrot that made it, I have plenty of green lettuces to go around the block and a few tomatoes that are just beginning to ripen.  It has been a luxury to have this garden, which to me is an escape of everyday life and hassles.  And who doesn't need that kind of distraction?  Sometimes, if it weren't so damn hot, I wonder what it would be like to bask in the sun and just lie there.  Like my zucchini and squash, for example.  We get so caught up in business during the fall, that before you know it, the summer has become just as busy, slipping by and it's fall all over again.  If we just lie and soak up what the day has to offer, put aside our issues, our faults, our insecurities, we can be just lie that, zucchini and squash, and grow in the heat of the sun.


2 tbs olive oil
2 cans chickpeas
2 cups rinsed, chopped chard (peel leaves from stalk)
1 large carrot, sliced

2 green onions, chopped
1/2 tbs curry 
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (optional)


In a medium bowl, add peas and vegetables.  Drizzle with a little olive oil, curry and Kosher salt and pepper and mix well.  In a medium sauce pan, heat olive oil until shimmering.  Add peas and vegetables and saute for about 4 minutes.  Add broth, stir and cover.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for about 3 minutes more.  Remove from heat and spoon into 4 bowls.  Spoon Greek yogurt to the side and enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Oven Roasted Brussels Sprouts - serves 4

One of the great things about having your husband go out of town is getting to eat vegetables, of all kinds, without hearing them complain, moan, roll their eyes or look like they're about to vomit. There really isn't a vegetable out there that I won't eat, except collard greens, but we won't go into that.  However, I've grown to love, I mean love, brussels sprouts.  I know there are a LOT of people who do what my husband does when when you even mention the word brussels sprouts.  In fact, I used to when I was like, a kid, and that was a very, very, long time ago.  Now my palette is more refined and these little miniature cabbages can be prepared in a lot of ways and blow the brussels sprouts stereotype out of the water.  To me, throwing them on the grill or roasting them are best.  You can get them super fresh at the Farmers Market these days so grab them while you can.  And, if you're family goes through the motions of my husband, have a cocktail party, like I did, and serve them up to your girlfriends.  You can't go wrong and they'll be gone in a jiffy.


1 pound brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed and halved top to bottom
Really good olive oil for drizzling
1/2 tbs red pepper (or more if you like it spicier)
Sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
1 - 2 tbs grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese


Preheat oven to 400.  Prepare brussels sprouts by adding to large bowl.  Drizzle olive oil and add red pepper, salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Add sprouts to a foil lined baking sheet and roast for about 20 minutes or until leaves start to char.  Remove from oven and top with freshly grated Parmesan or Manchego cheese and serve.  (Can be put in bowl and brought to room temperature before serving... great for a cocktail appetizer!)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Berry Pancakes with Ricotta and Maple Syrup - serves 4

Pancakes aren't just for breakfast anymore.  At least that's what I decided after I came across this recipe in, ahem, Glamour magazine.  Yes, I admit, that I read this magazine and have since my mom gave it to me for Christmas in my late 20's.  I'm in my 40's now.  I know what you're thinking and just stop.  If I can't live vicariously through this magazine and wish to have a wardrobe that I could actually relate to, then what else do I have?  I have friends that dress this way and I read the magazine more than I see them.  One can wish and hope and since neither is going to happen to me in this decade I might as well relish in the daily moment of when I do get read it.  And besides, I actually came across something worth writing about; this recipe had me thinking that this indeed was something I could fix for dinner.  My kids were thrilled over the idea.  My husband, on the other hand, reacted as if I just told him I was serving liver and onions.  "You've never had breakfast for dinner before?", I inquired.  "No.", was all he said.  Am I the only one who has?  Surely not.  And despite his body language that suggested that he had already lost and knew he was getting it, I made these AMAZING pancakes for dinner.  And, to his chagrin, he was literally, no doubt about it, blown away.  He, and the kids, demolished 3/4th's of the entire stack  (I doubled the recipe) without uttering a word.  With syrup on the sides of his mouth, he pronounced these pancakes as the best ever, for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner.  See, Glamour can be worth your while, even in your 40's.  At least that's what I'm telling myself.


1 lemon
1 pint fresh raspberries
1/2 cup plus 1 tbs sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1 1/4 cup milk
4 large eggs, separated
1 tbs olive oil
Maple syrup for serving


Working over a medium bowl, use a grater to zest the lemon.  Cut the lemon into wedges and set aside.  Add the raspberries to the bowl containing the lemon zest.  Stir in 1/3 sugar, gently crushing the raspberries with a wooden spoon.  Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, 1 tbs sugar and baking powder.  In another bowl, beat the ricotta cheese with milk and egg yolks.  Add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture and stir until just combined.  Let the batter sit for 10 minutes.
Beat the egg whites with a handheld mixer until they hold soft peaks.  Add the raspberries and gently fold, with their juices, into the batter.  Add the egg whites and fold gently.  Be careful not to overmix.
Heat a large, nonstick, skillet over moderately low heat.  Melt 1 tbs olive oil and coat the pan.  Spoon batter, about 1/4 cup, to the skillet and cook until pancakes begins to bubble and bottom is brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook other side for about a minute more.
Serve pancakes with maple syrup and lemon wedges.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sauteed Green Peas with Lemon - serves 4

So far, in one week, I've made 3 trips to the Dallas farmers market.  I'm not a big fan of this heat, but going to the market this time of year is what summer is all about.  I urge you to make a trip, a few times a month, just to see what it has to offer.  Shed #1 is my favorite.  In fact, I don't wonder past there if I don't have to because it's all local farmers.  I've gotten to know them well, particularly Anna, who've I've mentioned before, who runs the third stand on the left with her husband.  If you get to know her, and go often, she'll give you free veggies.  Wednesday, she gave me fresh green peas, straight from her garden.  Have you ever had a fresh green pea?  It's nothing like you've ever tasted. It's like popping sugar candy, only healthier. 
Make a trip down there and see all the dozens upon dozens of varieties of peas and whip up something of you own while their still in season.  The heat may be here awhile, but peas will be gone before you know it.


1 pound fresh hulled green peas, sorted and rinsed (see below recipe for pre-cooking instructions)
1/2 cup purple onion or Texas 1015 onion, sliced
Zest of one large lemon, juice reserved
Olive oil
Sea salt

Heat a skillet to medium high.  Add olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes. Add peas.  Toss to coat, cooking until slightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add zest and juice of lemon, stirring to incorporate.  Season with sea salt and serve.

Note:  Green peas need to be "par-boiled" prior to cooking.  Heat up a pot of salted water (1/4 cup table salt to one gallon water) until boiling.  Add peas and cook for 3 minutes.  Drain in ice bath, over cold water, to stop cooking.  Now you're ready....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quinoa and Brown Rice Salad - serves 4

I am back from the deep, emotional, depths of May.  Thank goodness. I never thought one month could literally kill me.  It almost did.  I won't bore you with the plethora of events, but it was by far the busiest month of my entire existence.  This week I actually told a friend that I once we got through May, I felt like I did when I extracted my first child; being able to finally take that long, deep breath once the baby came out was the most exhilarating feeling I'd ever had until June 1.  It wasn't just me, it was a whole mess of mom's within our school that went through the same thing.  I'm just now hearing from them as if they've locked themselves in a bomb shelter until the coast is clear.  It's clear.... the smoke has settled and I'm blogging again.

I fixed this salad not too long ago and it was wonderful.  Mixing the brown rice with the quinoa gives it a tremendous nutty flavor, and paired with sweet potatoes, raisins and pistachios, it will go with just about anything.  It's packed with protein, a big plus for anyone out there who needs a recharge after a crazy day.  Or two.


1 cup quinoa, cooked to package directions
1 cup brown rice, cooked to package directions
1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped into 1/4 dice, tossed with olive oil and baked at 400 for 20 minutes
1/2 cup golden raisins, chopped
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
Olive oil for drizzling
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and toss well to combine.  Bring to room temperature before serving.