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Posts from the ‘Recipes’ Category

Mares Eat Oats and Teens Eat Oats

My friend Julia sounded worried.

“I just don’t know if we’ll have enough food to satisfy them…” she said.

You should know that Julia is married to a gorgeous six-foot-something Texan, has views on chilli, has written and edited cookbooks, has worked in test kitchens of food magazines, cooked in fabulous French restaurants, makes wedding cakes with her daughter and throws parties for 50 without batting an eyelash.  So I was surprised to hear her voice quaver at the thought of feeding my two teenage boys.

“Julia, it’s fine,”  I said.  ” Don’t worry.  Anyway, I always have a bag of oats for them.  They can each have a bowl of oats and milk if they get hungry. ”

Lady Bracknell’s “HANDBAG ?” was nothing compared to Julia’s “OATS? OATS? What, do you mean OATS?  Katy, they are boys not horses!”

“I dunno, Julia.  They’re tall and sort of massive, they don’t talk much, they look down their noses at me,  when I ask them a question they tend to snort, they stamp around a lot, occasionally they run really fast, but mostly they like to stand there eating — they kinda seem like horses to me.”

Watercolor by K. McElhiney

Watercolor by K. McElhiney

“But OATS?  RAW?”

“Well, think of it as really, really pared down muesli…besides, it fills them up.”

By now, Julia was laughing outright at my unorthodox teenage nutrition program.  She can laugh all she wants, because I know that any day now she’ll be buying a bag of oats for her handsome young ‘horse’.  Some days, you just don’t have time to whip up another pan of lasagne or roast a side of mastodon and a bowl of oats has to do.  Frankly, a bowl of oats provides an excellent amount of fiber and a smattering of vitamins and minerals.  As an added bonus, there is some research suggesting that oats lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar levels. Bring on the oats!

In the meantime, if plain raw oats and milk seems outlandish to you, you can ease your way into the idea by making some European-style Muesli; just toss some oats and nuts in a food processor and give it whirl.   After I have made a big batch, I portion out a single serving and soak it over night in some plain kefir or almond milk or whole cow’s milk as well as some grated apple (in the fall and winter) or berries (in the spring and summer). In the morning it’s smooth, yet a bit crunchy and infused with the flavor of the fruit.  It’s kind of like cold porridge.   Of course, if the weather is chilly, there is nothing to stop you from pouring some warm milk over your muesli for a bowl of nutty, fruity hot cereal.


The answer to the question keeping you up at night

I know what’s making you toss and turn at 3 A.M., and it’s not your daughter’s report card or your nutty client.  But fret no more!  The tossing and turning can stop, because I have the answer to the question keeping you up at night.  Are you ready?  Here it is: Read more

Head-to-Tail Cooking, Vegetarian Style

photo 2Head-to-tail eating has been all the rage for a few years now.  Chefs such as Fergus Henderson of St. John in London and his compatriot Hugh Fearnsley Whittingstall brought this concept — eating the entire animal, head to tail, so that nothing is wasted — back into style.  American chefs are also exploring this sustainable approach to cooking meat.  Preparing and enjoying food this way makes sense for many reasons: less waste, more nutrients, more mindful use of resources and a greater connection with our ingredients.  

I think we should be bringing this idea to the vegetable world. Why throw away the skins, or the green tops of the beautiful vegetables we find at the farmers’ market, not to mention the vegetables we have nurtured in the garden?  I’m not saying we should be eating banana peels, but I am offering up three ways to use more of the whole vegetable. Read more

Sexy Lentils


IMG_1693Beluga . . . Parisian nibble . . . Kashmir . . . Roman Holiday . . . unctuously delicious . . . moistest chocolate cake . . . I’m guessing these words and phrases don’t automatically conjure up lentils for you.  But that is all about to change.

We are going to banish the wet-wooley-hiking socks reputation that has dogged the lovely lentil and rehabilitate the image of this nutritious gift from the garden. Long the victims of sludgey brown casseroles, lentils have been relegated to the slag heap of cuisine for decades. Sure, the occasional chef has tossed them into his confit of duck, but for the home cook, lentils have suffered from the curse of miserly good-for-you-ness. But no more. Today’s post begins the renaissance of the perfect pulse.

To start with we are going to ignore the lentil’s goody-goody two shoes rep, so I want you to pay no attention to the fact that lentils are Read more

Local and Seasonal: Peaches


I live a bike-ride away from Terhune Orchards, and this week their farm store has been fragrant with the smell of their own, tree-ripened peaches. Presented with all those peaches glowing in the afternoon sunlight, I was prompted to throw together a crumble. It was more than pretty good, so I wanted to share the peach-love. Read more

The Secret about Kale


Increasingly, I hear conversations that go something like this:

Fred:  I don’t eat carbs any more — they make me feel so bloated.  

Ginger:  I know!  I have a kale smoothie every morning; it’s so much better than all those carbs.

Fred:  Oh, that sounds good.  I had this great kale salad for lunch yesterday — I feel so much better when I don’t have carbs at lunch. 

Just so we’re all clear on this . . . KALE  IS  A  CARBOHYDRATE!  There are three categories of macronutrients that we humans consume: protein, fats and carbohydrates. Most food has a complement of these nutrients, as well as water, fiber and splatterings of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals and such). Kale is no exception — there are small amounts of protein and some trace fatty acids in kale, plus vitamins and minerals, but it is primarily a carbohydrate. In fact, most fruits and vegetables are primarily carbohydrates. If you are eating lettuce and radishes, you are eating carbs. If you are eating blueberries and Brussels sprouts (not together, I hope), you are eating carbohydrates. Swiss chard, collards and spinach?  All carbs. Have I made my point? I hope so, and I hope that you will continue to eat a range of these wonderfully healthy plant-based foods. Read more

Garnish Away!

I was shocked, shocked recently to hear a friend say that she never buys parsley — “Why bother,it’s just for garnish.” Quel blasphème! She might as well have told me that you don’t need a little black dress in your closet. Without parsley, my fridge feels positively naked. Parsley is much, much more than a garnish. It is rich in Vitamins A, K*and C, as well as a good source of iron and folic acid. In fact, a cup of parsley has more iron than a cup of Read more

Lemony Olive Oil Almond Cake

Lemony Olive Oil Cake

This is my go-to cake when I need to whip up something in a hurry…no pfaffing about with creaming the butter. It is dense and moist; lovely with a warm fruit compote, summer berries or a cup of tea. It works with either white whole wheat flour (a newish product from King Arthur’s brand) or whole wheat Read more

Taking Stock From Thanksgiving

Anytime stock pot

After the excesses of Thanksgiving, I like to have a few days of brothy soups to clear the body of all that stuffing. I am always surprised by how easy it is to make a nourishing bowl of aromatic broth from modest beginnings. Think of it — an old carcass, some water and a paltry handful of vegetables, add some heat, skim a bit and soon you have a steaming bowl of flavorful stock — really, turning dust into gold is nothing compared with this type of alchemy.

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Farro and Cherry Tomato Salad with Pecorino

Books For Cooks, a wonderful bookstore in London, publishes a small anthology of favorite recipes every year.  The following is adapted from Jennifer Joyce’s Small Bites and excerpted in Book for Cooks Vol. 7.  I usually soak farro in advance for several hours or overnight to reduce the cooking time.

1 cup whole grain farro (not pearled)
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Juice of  1 lemon
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and black pepper
3 stalks, celery, finely chopped
2 ounces Pecorino cheese, grated, coursely
1/4 cup currants, soaked in hot water
Chopped mint, basil, parsley
6 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tsp runny honey

Soak the farro for several hours or overnight.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the faro, return the water to a boil, reduce and simmer, covered, for 30-40 minutes (depending on how long you’ve soaked the grain).

In the meantime, marinate the chopped red onion in the lemon juice — this will help to reduce the harshness of the onion.  Preheat the oven to 350F.  Place the cherry tomatoes in a shallow roasting pan with a drizzle of olive oil.   Roast for 20 minutes or until some tomatoes are softened and some are burst.   For the vinaigrette, combine the olive oil, red wine vinegar, and honey in a bowl.

Toss the cooked farro with the red onion and lemon juice and then add in the roasted cherry tomatoes, chopped celery, grated Pecorino cheese, soaked currents and herbs  Toss with the vinaigrette and serve.

Serves 4