Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon

Teff is a North African cereal grass. Being a grass, it’s gluten free. It is primarily ground into flour and, if you have ever eaten at an Ethiopian restaurant, you have probably enjoyed the spongy injera bread, which is made of teff flour. Teff can also be purchased it’s grain form – in fact, it’s the smallest grain in the world! – and can made into a polenta type dish, among other delicious uses.  Being such a fine grain, it has an almost silky texture and the taste is familiar like a mashed potato (almost uncanny) but with a little more earthiness and nuttiness.

Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions

Teff Polenta with Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon

Yield: 3 to 4

 

3 cups water or vegetable stock, divided

½ cup teff grain

¼ cup sour cream

3 tablespoons, unsalted butter

½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

3 slices applewood smoked bacon, halved lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices (3/4 cup)

1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced thinly

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

5 medium chard leaves, leaves stripped from stems and chopped roughly, 1 packed cup

¼ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese, not pre-grated

 

For the Teff:

In a medium saucepan, bring 2½ cups water to a simmer. Add the teff and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the teff has softened and absorbed all the water, 15 to 20 minutes. (Check in frequently. You may need to add a bit more liquid as the teff cooks or to loosen it before serving.)

Once, teff is cooked. Turn off heat and stir in sour cream and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover until ready to serve.

For the Sauteed Onions, Chard and Bacon:

Add the bacon to a large sauté pan then place over medium-low heat and cook for approximately 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until much of the fat has rendered off and the bacon is just beginning to get nice and crispy.

Remove bacon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all of the bacon fat from the pan except 1 tablespoon, reserve the rest for another use or discard. Add the onions, thyme and ¼ teaspoon salt to the sauté pan and cook for 8 to 10 minutes until the onions are lightly caramelized.

Add chard and ½ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the chard is cooked down, approximately 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Serve:

Spoon teff into bowls. Top with sautéed vegetables and bacon. Finish with some shavings of cheddar cheese and some cracked black pepper.

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Because sometimes you can’t wait until Thanksgiving to have turkey and stuffing.

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Turkey Stuffing Burger

Yields: 4 burgers

 

1 medium yellow onion, chopped roughly (2 cups)

5-ounces button mushrooms, quartered

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

½ cup fresh corn (kernels)

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped roughly

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary

¼ cup panko bread crumbs

¼ teaspoon red pepper (chile) flakes

1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

½ pound ground white turkey meat

 

Combine onion and mushrooms in a food processor and pulse 13 to 15 times until the mixture just begins to clump together.

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering, approximately 1 minute.

Add the onion mushroom mixture and cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is gone and the mixture is just beginning to caramelize, approximately 5 minutes.

Add the corn, garlic, and fresh herbs. Stir and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

Add the panko, chile flakes, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and remove from heat.

Add contents of the sauté pan to a food processor and pulse 15 to 20 times until the mixture just begins to clump together. It will look like wet stuffing.

In a large bowl fold together the “stuffing” ingredients with the turkey.

Form 4 equal sized patties and place on a parchment-lined tray or plate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Place an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Remove from refrigerator, transfer to a parchment lined sheet tray and bake, flipping the burgers once halfway through cooking, until the internal temperature of the burger reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit (use a digital thermometer) approximately 25 minutes.

Place a large non stick saute pan over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Let sit over medium-high heat for 1 minute, until the oil shimmers. Add the burgers and flip after 30 seconds, just enough to sear the bottom side. Sear the opposite side for 30 seconds and remove from heat.

 

Burger Fixings:

4 toasted hamburger buns

¼ cup whole grain Dijon mustard, plus more to taste

¼ cup mayonnaise, plus more to taste

4 slices of tomato

handful of mixed greens

12 slices avocado

 

Spread mustard on bottom side of buns. Top each bun with turkey burger, tomato, 3 slices of avocado and some lettuce. Spread mayonnaise on top of buns. Put together and dig in.

 

Sustainable Seafood Tacos for National Taco Day!

Mark your calendars and join me in celebrating ocean-friendly seafood during October – National Seafood Month – by enjoying a sustainable seafood taco on NATIONAL TACO DAY, this SATURDAY, October 4! (What a great day!) Chefs across the country are joining together to give this year’s celebration a sustainable twist and so can you. 

Choose a seafood from Seafood Watch’s best choice list to make your own sustainable seafood tacos at home OR you can use my recipe for Spiced Mahi Mahi tacos with Salsa Fresca and Chipotle Crema. Either way, be sure to share your dish on social media using the hashtags: #MakeItSustainable #taco 

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Tuna and White Bean Salad

This is the perfect salad to make when you don’t have much time and just want to grab a few things from the pantry to make a delicious dish. Good for lunch or dinner and perfect for a hot day, like the one we are having here in Southern California! (Bonus: this is a sustainable seafood dish!)

Tuna and White bean Salad

Tuna and White Bean Salad

Yield: 4 servings

 

Vinaigrette:

1 large garlic clove, peeled and minced (1 teaspoon)

1 medium shallot, peeled and diced finely (3 tablespoons)

¼ teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano

1½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of half a lemon)

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

Salad:

2 (5-ounce) cans of sustainable skipjack or albacore tuna in extra-virgin olive oil, undrained (I like Ocean Naturals, American Tuna & Wild Planet brands)

1 (15-ounce) can of white beans (Great Northern beans), rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

1 (12-ounce) jar artichoke hearts, drained

1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, plus some whole leaves for garnish

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried

Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, not pre-grated, for serving

 

In a medium container with a tight fitting lid, combine the garlic, shallot, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar and olive oil, close the lid tightly, and shake well to combine. Or, whisk to combine the ingredients in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Open the cans of tuna and put them into a small bowl. Use a fork to break up the tuna, then season to taste with salt and pepper. It will need some seasoning—trust me.

Mix the white beans, capers, artichoke hearts, and chopped parsley with half the vinaigrette; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Serve one cup of arugula on a plate with a scoop of the bean salad and one quarter of the tuna. Use a vegetable peeler to top the with some shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano, then sprinkle with the whole parsley leaves. Drizzle any remaining vinaigrette over the salad, if desired.

 

 

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

For all you peanut sauce lovers – this one is for you. Plus, this recipe is vegan, vegetarian, raw and gluten free!

sweet and spicy peanut sauce

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce

peanut sauce noodles

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

 

Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce with Zucchini Noodles

Yields: 2 servings

 

Sauce: (yields ¾ cup)

1 large garlic clove, peeled and chopped roughly

2 tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

¼ cup creamy peanut butter

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger (on a microplane)

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon sriracha sauce

 

Place all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend to combine thoroughly.

 

Noodles:

1 large zucchini (2 medium zucchinis), peeled into long strips with a vegetable peeler or made into noodles

1 red bell pepper, seeded and julienned

¼ cup toasted unsalted peanuts, chopped roughly

¼ cup cilantro leaves

 

Gently toss some of the peanut sauce (to your liking) with zucchini and red bell pepper.

Divide onto serving plates or in bowls and top with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.

Burgers, Gazpacho and Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta

Three bonus recipes for the week. Two on the Piedmont Healthcare website and one on the Livestrong website. They can also be found in my seasonal cookbook, Great Food Starts Fresh!

First, my Honey Vanilla Whipped Ricotta with Fresh Fruit:

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Second, my Spicy Watermelon Gazpacho:

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Finally, my Grilled Hamburger with Tomato Mostarda:

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Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

It’s just not summer without fresh homemade pesto. Here’s my recipe paired with pasta and sun dried tomatoes. Grazie.

Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Fusili with Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes

Yield: 4 servings

 

For the Pesto

2 ¼ packed cups fresh basil leaves

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, peeled and chopped roughly (2 teaspoons)

½ cup pine nuts

½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, not pre-grated

Kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

In a food processor, process to combine, the basil, ¼ cup oil, garlic, and pine nuts. Scrape down the sides, then add the remaining ¼ cup oil, and the cheese. Process until the desired texture is achieved, seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. For the record, I add about ½ teaspoon salt and a few good cranks of pepper. No need to rush; taste as you go. Take your time and enjoy.

 

For the pasta

¾ pound fusili pasta

2 tablespoons kosher salt

¼ cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped roughly

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade (stacked, rolled and sliced thinly)

 

Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil.

Once the water has come to a rolling boil, add 2 tablespoons kosher salt. Stir the fusili into the boiling salted water and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente (almost done, or “to the tooth”).

Drain (do not rinse) the fusili, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.

Toss with 1/2 cup of pesto, sundried tomatoes and some of the reserved pasta water if needed (to loosen the pesto). Add additional pesto if needed.

Divide onto plates and top with pine nuts and fresh basil.