Tomato and Avocado Salad with Pearl Barley and Mustard Vinaigrette

Tomato and Avocado Salad with Pearl Barley and Mustard Vinaigrette

tomato and avo barley

Yield: 2 to 3 servings

 

For Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons red wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 small shallot, diced small, approximately 2 tablespoons

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

Whisk to combine the ingredients in a large bowl.

 

For Salad

2 cups cooked pearl barley

1/3 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

3 small Persian cucumbers, diced small

20 small cherry tomatoes, multi-colored if possible, halved

1 large avocado, pit removed and diced small

 

Add barley and parsley to the large bowl with vinaigrette. Mix.

Combine the rest of the salad ingredients and fold together gently. Divide into bowls and serve.

Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

There’s nothing like a cool dip on a hot summer day!

tzatziki

Tzatziki: Chilled Cucumber Yogurt Dip

Yield: 4 servings

 

1 cup plain Greek-style yogurt

2 small cucumbers (English, Japanese, or Persian), peeled, seeded and diced small

1 small garlic clove, peeled and grated on a Microplane

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish

1½ teaspoons finely chopped fresh mint

1½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

¾ teaspoon red wine vinegar

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl.  Garnish with dill.

Serve with grilled meat, pita crisps and/or freshly cut vegetables such as carrots, celery, bell peppers and cucumbers.

Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Keep things hot and spicy this Winter!

spaghetti-with-spicy-sausage-marinara

Spaghetti with Spicy Sausage Marinara

Yield: Serves 4

 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ pound spicy Italian pork sausage

2 large yellow onions, peeled and diced small (3 cups)

12 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (¼ cup)

3 tablespoons tomato paste

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained, preferably fire-roasted

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped finely

1 dried bay leaf

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning

⅛ teaspoon crushed red chile pepper (chile flakes), or to taste

½ teaspoon ground fennel seed

¾ pound spaghetti

¼ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated

¼ cup flat-leaf Italian parsley leaves

 

For the pasta, bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.

Add the olive oil, sausage, and onions to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, breaking up the sausage into small pieces with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks.

Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 3 minutes more.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue cooking, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, reducing the heat to low and stirring more often as the sauce thickens.

Once thick, remove the bay leaf and, season to taste with salt and pepper.

For the pasta, once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Stir the penne into the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”). Drain (do not rinse), reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Toss pasta with spicy marinara sauce, adding some of the reserved pasta water to loosen the sauce, if needed.

Divide onto plates and top with the freshly grated cheese and parsley.

Honey Vanilla Ricotta with Fresh Berries

It’s summer! Make use of your stash of berries with this simple and super quick dessert. Sure to be a crowd pleaser (for kids and adults)… Enjoy! Recipe is below (and in my cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh, page 110) AND you can also watch me make this on my youtube page. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quJvHnOrIlE

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Fresh Fruit with Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Fruit: (feel free to make your own berry combo!)

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, halved and pits removed

2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered

1 pint blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, or a combination

5 large fresh mint leaves, chopped finely (2 tablespoons) plus 4 large whole mint leaves for garnish

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

Vanilla Whipped Ricotta:

1 (16-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese, drained

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons honey, preferably orange blossom

 

In a medium bowl, toss to combine the fruit salad ingredients.

Put the ricotta, vanilla extract, confectioners’ sugar, and honey in the bowl of a food processor or mixer. Process or whip until smooth. Refrigerate until it’s time for dessert.

To serve, divide the fruit into bowls, top with a generous spoonful of the Honey Whipped Vanilla Ricotta and garnish with a mint leaf.

Easiest Scrambled Eggs

Super Sous started making her eggs this way because, in her words, she says, “I’m lazy!” Why pre-scramble your eggs (read: another dish to wash) when you can just do it all in the pan.

Watch and try it out next time you’re in the mood for perfectly scrambled eggs! P.S. Don’t forget to use a nonstick pan.

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Tis the Season: Coconut Pumpkin Pie – Drought Friendly

The holidays are upon us and with it comes delicious feasts and treats. Super Sous and I developed this easy, no-bake, drought friendly (aka -no dairy/vegan) Coconut Pumpkin Pie recipe to make your Thanksgiving and other special holiday meals a win. But, wait… why wait til the holidays?! You can prepare and enjoy this right now!

Crust Pumpkin Pie

Making the Crust for the Pie

Crust in Pie Pan Pumpkin Pie

Pie Crust Ready for Chilling

Half Pumpkin Pie

Up Close and Personal with the Pie

Overhead Pumpkin Pie

Overhead Shot of Pie

Slice Pumpkin Pie

Cut Yourself A Slice

 

Coconut Pumpkin Pie with Ginger Snap Crust and Candied Spiced Pumpkin Seeds

Yields: 1 9½-inch deep dish pumpkin pie

 

Pie Crust:

1 (10-ounce) bag ginger snap cookies (preferably Mi-Del brand)

¼ cup coconut oil

4½ ounces pitted Medjool dates (7 large medjool dates)

Add the ginger snaps, coconut oil and pitted dates to a food processor. Process until very well combined, approximately 1 minute.

Empty the contents into a 9½-inch deep dish pie pan.

Using a flat instrument (I use the top of a non-stick spray can) press the ginger snap mixture firmly and evenly across the bottom and also up the sides of the pie pan, using your thumb as a guide at the top of the pie pan as you press the mixture up the side of the dish.

Transfer into the refrigerator and chill for at least 45 minutes.

 

Pie Filling:

¼ cup water

1½ teaspoons agar agar powder

1 (13.5-ounce) can coconut milk (not low-fat)

1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree

1 (5.4-ounce) can coconut cream

½ cup dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

 

Stir to combine the water and agar agar powder in a medium (3½ quart) saucepan. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Add the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, coconut cream, dark brown sugar, salt and pepper and stir well to combine.

Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a rolling boil, stirring often with a spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom of the sauce pan to prevent burning.

Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, immediately remove from heat and set aside to cool for one hour, stirring occasionally. After one hour stir in the vanilla extract.

Pour the cooled pumpkin mixture into the prepared pie shell and return to the refrigerator.

Chill for at least three hours until firm.

Slice, and serve with a few candied pumpkin seeds.

 

Candied Spiced Pumpkin Seeds:

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

1/16 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ tablespoon grapeseed oil

¾ cup toasted and salted pumpkin seeds

1½ tablespoons pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B

 

Mix together the cinnamon, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat for 1 minute, then add the oil and swirl the pan to evenly distribute.

Add the pumpkin seeds and stir to fully coat.

Cook for approximately 2 minutes, stirring every 20 seconds to heat evenly.

Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over the pumpkin seeds and stir to coat. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring every 5 seconds.

Pour in the pure maple syrup and stir to coat. Continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Keep an eye on the seeds, and if they begin to smoke, turn down the heat a touch and stir more often.

Remove from the heat and transfer the seeds to a parchment-lined sheet pan.

Spread out the seeds, using 2 forks and allow to cool completely. They will candy (harden) as they cool.

Melon Mint Sorbet

It’s a sweltering summer, so here’s a drought friendly recipe that will cool you off and make your summer fruit last. I recently got a delicious green melon at the Hollywood farmer’s market (from T&D Farms) called an Ogen Melon, originally from Israel. This is part of what makes shopping at the farmers market so fun – being able to try new varieties of fruits and vegetables. If you can’t find an Ogen Melon, you can use Honeydew. Either way, you can go wrong with this sweet, refreshing treat.

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Melon Mint Sorbet

Yield: approximately 2 pints

 

1 3-pound ogen melon or honeydew, cut in half and seeded

½ cup granulated sugar

¼ cup organic corn syrup

40 medium mint leaves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (approximately 3 to 4 limes)

 

Scoop out melon and put in a blender. Puree and measure out 3 cups. (Drink any excess for a delicious cooling beverage!) Save the melon shell for optional service.

Add the 3 cups melon puree, sugar, organic corn syrup, mint leaves, salt and lime juice to the blender and blend on high for 30 seconds.

Transfer the blended mixture into an ice cream machine and process until firm. Alternatively, transfer to a container, cover with plastic film (pressing the film directly against the surface of the sorbet) and place into the freezer until firm.