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You’ve got to read Catherine Ryan Hyde’s book –Take Me With You. What a story.  From Amazon’s description: August Shroeder, a burned-out teacher, has been sober since his nineteen-year-old son died. Every year he’s spent the summer on the road, but making it to Yellowstone this year means everything. The plan had been to travel there with his son, but now August is making the trip with Philip’s ashes instead. An unexpected twist of fate lands August with two extra passengers for his journey, two half-orphans with nowhere else to go. What none of them could have known was how transformative both the trip—and the bonds that develop between them—would prove, driving each to create a new destiny together. Have a tissue handy at the end. It’s such a charming, sweet story. You’ll fall in love with the young boys, and fall in love with them again 10 years later.

One of my book clubs occasionally reads a kind of edgy book. This is one of them. By Mohsin Hamid, Exit West: A Novel is a book set in an age not dissimilar to our own and in current time, but something bad has happened in the world. Something never divulged, although symptoms of a civil war are mentioned. A unmarried couple, Nadia and Saeed, are given the opportunity (as others are, as well) to go through a door (this is the exit part of the title) and to another place in the world – it takes but a second – to go through the special door. They go to England (London), to a palatial mansion. Sometimes the power grid is sketchy. Another door. And yet another. And finally to Marin County (north of San Francisco). You follow along with the ups and downs of the chaste relationship of the two, this couple from a house to living on the streets. And the eventual dissolution of the relationship too. I wasn’t enamored with the book, but after listening to the review of it and hearing others talk about it, I suppose there’s more to this story than it might appear. Hope is the word that comes to mind. The book is strange, but it won the Los Angeles Times book award in 2017. It’s received lots of press. It made for some very interesting discussion at our book club meeting.

The Last Letter from Your Lover: A Novel by JoJo Moyes. Story: Jennifer Stirling wakes up in hospital, having had a traumatic car accident. She’s introduced to her husband, of whom she has no recollection, and is sent home with him eventually, to a life she neither remembers or embraces readily. But this is the life she was raised to have, so surely it must be worth living, underneath the strange, muted tones of her daily existence. Jennifer goes through the motions, accepts what she is told is her life and all seems to bob along well enough, except when she finds a letter that isn’t her husband’s handwriting, and is clearly a link to someone she has been involved with, but whom? London, France, Africa and America all come into play in this story of a woman piecing back together her life in effort to understand what she has lost, and what she threw away. There is a bit of a time-hop from 1964 to 2003. . . from a reviewer on amazon.  I loved this book from page one to the end. There’s some bit of mystery and you so get into the head of Jennifer Stirling. I could hardly put it down. Great read.

Francine Rivers, an author relatively new to me, but much admired, is most known for this: Mark of the Lion : A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, As Sure As the Dawn (Vol 1-3) It’s a trilogy. The first 2 books are about Hadassah, a young woman in the time of the Roman Empire. When Jerusalem was overrun and destroyed, the Christians still alive were sent off and away, separated and derided and abused. Hadassah was one of them. She’s a slave to a wealthy family and it takes 2 of the books to read before the son of the family finally realizes that he’s in love with Hadassah. If  you’re a Christian, you’ll learn a whole lot more about the time following Christ’s crucifixion, about the lot of the struggling Christian community. The 3rd book in the trilogy is about a gladiator who is part of book 1 and 2, but not a main character. You’ll learn about his life too, after he regains his freedom from the fighting ring and the battle of his soul. These books are a fabulous read. Can’t say enough good things about them all. I’ve never been a huge fan of old-world Roman Empire reading, but this one was altogether different. Very worth reading.

Amy Belding Brown wrote this book: Flight of the Sparrow: A Novel of Early America, a true accounting in 1676, of Mary Rowlandson, a woman who was captured by Native Americans.  Even before she was captured on a winter day of violence and terror, she sometimes found herself in conflict with her rigid Puritan community. Now, her home destroyed, her children lost to her, she has been sold into the service of a powerful woman tribal leader, made a pawn in the ongoing bloody struggle between English settlers and native people. Battling cold, hunger, and exhaustion, Mary witnesses harrowing brutality but also unexpected kindness. To her confused surprise, she is drawn to her captors’ open and straightforward way of life, a feeling further complicated by her attraction to a generous, protective English-speaking native known as James Printer. The story is riveting, and perplexing once she is traded back to her home. You’ll see a different side to the Indian problem back then and find yourself conflicted. An excellent read.

Taylor Caldwell was a prolific writer, and one I read when I was younger. She died in 1980, and this book, her last, Answer As a Man certainly delivers as her others did. All his life, Jason Garrity has had to battle intolerance and injustice in his quest for power, money, and love. His new hotel will give him financial security, the means to support a loving family and become an upstanding citizen. When family secrets and financial greed combine to destroy his dreams, his rigid moral convictions are suddenly brought into question. . . from Goodreads. Caldwell believed the banking industry was way too powerful, and often took aim at it, as she did in this book. It chronicles the life of a very poor, impoverished Irish immigrant to the U.S. He was an upstanding citizen, God-fearing, but maybe naive in some respects. Good book if you enjoy very deep character study.

Another book by Diney Costeloe, Miss Mary’s Daughter. When a young women is suddenly left with no family and no job or income, she’s astounded to learn that she’s actually a granddaughter of a “grand” family in Ye Olde England. She’s very independent (at least I thought so, for the time period), but is willing to investigate this new family of hers. There are many twists and turns – is she going to inherit the family home – or is the man who has been caring for the home and his daughter the logical inheritors. There’s a villain who nearly sweeps her off her feet, much intrigue from many characters. Well developed plot with a happy ending. A good read.

Celeste Ng is a hot new author. I read another of her books (see below) but this time I read Little Fires Everywhere. There are so many various characters and plots in this book, as in her others. This book focuses on a Chinese baby abandoned at a fire station and the subsequent court battle when the single mother surfaces six months later to try to reclaim her daughter from the family in the process of adopting her. Emotions well up, waxing and waning on both sides of the issue. You may even find yourself changing your own mind about the right or wrong of a child raised with a natural-born mother (albeit late to the raising) or the mother the child has known since near birth. Ng likes to write books with lots of grit and thorny issues. Although a good read, I liked Everything I Never Told You better than this one.

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright. Oh my. This book has so many layers: (1) the young, impoverished couple and their infant son who live, literally, in a dump in Cambodia and about the precarious structure, if you can even call it that, that comprises their “house” in the midst and perched on top of trash; (2) the woman who collects the rent (hence the title and yes, people have to PAY to live there); (3) the young son’s chronic illness; (4) how they make a living out of collecting and selling trash; and (4) the life saving grace and wisdom imparted by characters in the book as the young mother begins to learn to read. If you decide to read this book, please don’t stop at about page 15-20, thinking you just don’t know if you want to read about this. Please continue. It’s so worth it. Have a highlighter pen in your hand because you’ll find so many quotes you will want to remember. Believe it or not, there is also quite a bit in this about literature.

Recently finished C.J. Box’s book The Disappeared (A Joe Pickett Novel). I just love Box’s novels. They take place in present day semi-wild west, and chronicle the fish and game warden, Joe Pickett, as he unravels another crime in his territory. A woman has disappeared, and the governor has asked him to figure it out. He does, but the tale meanders through multiple layers of intriguing story. His books are riveting. Men and women enjoy his books – so if you have a fellow in your life or family that would enjoy an intriguing book (this is not espionage) then gift him one of Box’s books.

Also finished Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. About a dysfunctional family, through and through. I picked this up from amazon from someone who read the book, named “McReader,” and she says: “Set in the 70s, the story follows a Chinese American blended family in Ohio. When Lydia [the daughter] is found floating in the lake, her family is forced to analyze what put her there. Was it pressure from her family to succeed? Was it pressure to fit in? Was it a crime of passion or convenience? I was spellbound reading the last half of this book. I loved each flawed family member, especially Hannah,. While the story went where I hoped it would go, I was not disappointed at all with the progression. It was also quite insightful on the prejudices that society had about Chinese Americans still during that timeframe and how careful parents have to be to put their dreams onto their children.” Such a good book and definitely worth reading. Would be a good book club read. You’ll be hearing more from this author. Am currently reading her next novel, Little Fires Everywhere.

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant. A very, very intriguing book. The book is written from the voice of a Jewish grandmother as she tells her granddaughter the saga of her life starting about 1910, who struggles with her own individuality, with her domineering mother who never says a kind word to her. It’s certainly a coming-of-age story as she grows up, finds a job, makes friends, joins a literary girls club, moves out, but still suffers under her mother’s thumb and tongue. She becomes a reporter on a local newspaper, which opens her eyes to more of the world than she ever knew. She finally meets the right man (of course!) and she shares the stories about her life, and her friends and family members as she grows up, giving some sage advice along the way. Part of the time she’s talking to herself – to her young self  (really wanting to tell young Addie to keep on, forgive herself for her perceived transgressions, to live life, and experience the world).

One of the best books I’ve read in a long time – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Rivers is a prodigious writer of Christian fiction, and I’d never read anything by her until now. As I write this, I’ve already read this, another one (below) and just purchased the Kindle trilogy called Mark of the Lion (Vol 1-3) that I haven’t yet started. (Two of my friends have said the trilogy is her best.) Redeeming Love details the fictional story of a godly man, Michael Hosea, forging his way in the era of the Gold Rush. He’s “driven” to rescue a beautiful prostitute who lives and works her trade in a nearby town. The entire book is about the story, the rescue, and it parallels a bit of scripture about Hosea who rescues a prostitute names Gomer. You get into the heads of both Hosea and the prostitute, named Angel. We read this for one of my book groups. A great read.

As soon as I finished the above book I promptly visited my church library and found a whole shelf of Rivers’ books, and grabbed one called The Atonement Child. This book takes place in the 1980s or 90s, about a young college student who is raped. She was engaged to be married, was a stellar student. The book chronicles what happens to her when she discovers she is pregnant from the rape. Every possible thing goes wrong in her life. I don’t want to spoil the story if you’re interested in reading it, but I couldn’t put it down. I ended up spending a good part of a day plowing through it. You hear her inner voice (I’m guessing this is a common thread in Rivers’ books) from a Christian perspective. Lots of meaty issues to discuss in a book club if your group would be interested and willing to talk about rape, abortion, adoption and the thorny issues surrounding all of those things, but with a Christian bent, for sure.

The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen. It’s kind of amazing how many and varied plot lines can be created from events of WWII. This is another one, about a current day woman who finds papers in the attic, after her father’s death, with references to “the child.” She never knew her father could have had another child – could she have a step-sibling somewhere? Her father she knew, had been shot down over Italy, but he never talked much about it. But of course, she must go to Italy to find out about this “child.” The book flips back and forth from this daughter on the search, to her father during the war, all of it taking place in a very small town in Tuscany. It’s about the varied people she meets who want her to go away and not dredge up anything about the war years (are they hiding something, you question), about how much she loves the landscape, and some of the people. And about the intense love affair between the injured pilot and a caring woman of the village. Very charming story. I could almost smell the flowers, taste the olives, hear the bees flitting, and loved the prose about the simple meals that were described. I really enjoyed the book. Perhaps not enough meat for a book club read, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy reading it nonetheless.

Leaving Blythe River: A Novel by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Almost a page turner. When one uses the phrase “coming of age,” it usually means (I think) love and loss/boyfriend/girlfriend, and in this case it’s somewhat that way. When Ethan, a 17-year old boy and his mother come home unexpectedly to find dad and his young secretary in a compromising position, all hell breaks loose. Separation happens instantly and just as his father moves out, his mother has to go take care of her aging mother. Ethan’s too young to be left in the NYC apartment alone, so Mom sends son to the father who is escaping from the world in Wyoming, living in a primitive A-frame house, and continuing his daily 20+ mile running journeys. Ethan and his father are barely speaking. They live in the middle of nowhere. Ethan feels betrayed by his father in every possible way, and somewhat by his mother for forcing him to live with his father for a temporary period. Then his father doesn’t return one day from his run. The authorities do a cursory search, but they are under the impression the dad wants to “get lost” on purpose. Ethan, although he thinks he doesn’t care, really does. What happens next is best left to you reading this book. Very interesting people (kind of loners) enter the picture and off they go to search. So worth reading.

The Girl With No Name by Diney Costelhoe. What a good book. Perhaps you’ve read before about the huge numbers of German refugee children who were sent to England before Hitler closed down any exits. This is a novel about one particular young girl, who is devastated when her mother puts her on one of the boats. She ends up in London, in an orphanage kind of place, and is eventually placed with a childless couple. She speaks no English. They speak no German, but they manage soon enough. Lisa (who eventually becomes Charlotte) is so homesick. She’s bullied at school, because most people and children don’t want any Germans there. A boy steps up to protect her, and as she grows up, she’s attracted to him. She shouldn’t be – he’s also German and from her own home town. He’s not a good match for her. You live with her through the blitz during all those war years and during one attack, she’s badly injured and loses her memory (and no ID on her). Through a series of mishaps she ends up in a village far from London, with a spinster woman who does eventually come to love her very much – they name her Charlotte and Charlotte she becomes. She goes to school there, still longing, though, for her mother and brother and her London foster family too. Then when she’s 16 she returns to London to help at the orphanage where she was originally placed and tries to find her foster parents. The story goes on from there, with the boy/man who “wants” her, the bad boy, and a good boy/man she befriends in the village in the country. Eventually she regains her memory. SUCH a good read.

The Girl with Seven Names by Hyanseo Lee. If you, like me, know little about North Korea and how it came to be what it is today, you’ve got to read this book. It’s a memoir written by a young woman who escaped from North Korea about 9 years ago. Her journey – and I mean JOURNEY – is harrowing, frightening, amazing, heart-rendering all at the same time. She chronicles the lives of the Kims (Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il to current Kim Jong Un), shares the strict propaganda that surrounds every North Korean citizen, the poverty and hunger, as well as the underground black market for food and goods. It took her awhile to get from North Korea, to China and eventually to South Korea, where she currently lives. She’s well educated and speaks English quite well. She was invited to be a speaker at a TED talk – you know about those, right? TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a media organization which posts talks online for free distribution, under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” I listen to them as  podcasts now and then. Always very educational, if sometimes over my head when it gets very technical. She works diligently for human rights now, doing her best to help other North Koreans escape. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

Also just finished reading The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian. Another WOW book. I’ve always liked the author – many years ago I read his book, Midwives and really liked it. Don’t confuse this book with the one I recently read, The Last Midwife: A Novel by Sandra Dallas that I reviewed recently. I think we read it in one of my book groups. He’s a brilliant writer, and this one has a lot of characters and twists. It’s a novel, but based on a lot of truth regarding the Armenian genocide. Most of the book takes place in Aleppo, Syria with some good Samaritan folk trying to help rescue people (mostly children) following the forced long marches the Turks made prodding the Turkish Armenians to exit their country. But it also jumps to near present day as a family member is trying to piece together obscure parts of her grandparents’ former lives there. She uncovers some hidden truths (many survivors of the genocide never-ever-ever wanted to talk about it) and a bit more about her Armenian heritage. A riveting book – I could hardly put it down. Lots to discuss for a book club read. I simply must read more of Bohjalian’s books (he’s written many).

The Good Widow: A Novel by Lisa Steinke. All I can say is “wow.” In a general sense, this book is based on the premise of The Pilot’s Wife. But this one has some totally different twists and turns. A young wife is met at the door by police, informing her that her husband has died in an auto accident. Then she finds out he died in Hawaii – not Kansas, where she thought he was, on business. Then she finds out there was a woman in the car. Then she meets the fiance of the woman passenger and the two of them embark on a fact-finding mission in Hawaii to discover the truth. Well, I’m just sayin’ . . . the plot thickens. And thickens. And thickens clear up to the last few pages. Hang onto your seat. A really, really good, suspenseful read.

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes. What a WONDERFUL book. It opens up a shameful part of America’s past, but one you might not have heard about before this. In the late 1800s thousands of Chinese workers were brought to the West Coast to help with a variety of construction projects and a myriad of other things where laborers were needed. Many settled, married and made a new life for themselves. But suddenly the white population didn’t want them here anymore and they summarily ordered them ALL out of our country. This book chronicles a young Chinese girl, who was on a ship that was supposed to take her family to China, but the ship’s captain decided en route to dump them all overboard, to drown. The girl’s father knew it was going to happen and in order to save her, he threw his daughter off the ship as they were passing Orcas Island (in the San Juan Islands west of Seattle). She was saved. The book switches from that time to current time as a woman is rebuilding her family’s home on Orcas and finds a beautifully embroidered silk Chinese robe sleeve hidden under a stair step. The book is about that sordid past and the young girl’s descendents, and about the woman who is rebuilding. Stunner of a novel. Good for a book club read, I think. It has a reader’s guide at the back with good questions for book groups.

How It All Began: A Novel by Penelope Lively. I find it hard to describe this book – it’s wonderful. I loved it. But describing it is perplexing. The title relates to one of the characters, a woman of a certain age, who is mugged, and has to go live with her daughter and son in law for awhile since she’s stuck with crutches and has mobility problems. That starts the cavalcade of events that spread around her, with the characters. And she knows nothing whatsoever about them, hardly. They’re all somewhat inter-related (not much family, but mostly by circumstance) and they all get into some rather logical and some peculiar relationships. You engage  with each and every one of them; at least I sure did; and was trying to tell some of them to back away from what they were about to do. Or “be careful;” or “don’t go there.” That kind of thing. There is nothing insidious, no mystery involved – it’s all about these people and what happens to them. I was sad when the book was finished. The author, Lively, does add a chapter at the end – I wonder if it wasn’t part of the master plan – that kind of tidies up everything, and you get to see all of the characters move on with their lives, happy or not, but mostly happy. Really enjoyed the book. Am not sure it would be a good book club read, as the only thing to discuss are the characters themselves. Lively paints these characters well; you can just picture them as they get themselves in and out of relationship mischief.

 

Tasting Spoons

My blog's namesake - small, old and some very dented engraved silver plated tea spoons that belonged to my mother-in-law, and I use them to taste my food as I'm cooking.

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Posted in Veggies/sides, on September 20th, 2018.

curried_basmati_apple_pilaf

Sorry about the kind of blah looking photo. Brown food just doesn’t look all that appetizing. But the rice is delicious nevertheless.

A couple of weeks ago I offered to make dinner for 2 sets of friends who are going through some health rough patches. I decided to make meatloaf (a new recipe, up soon) and one couple asked for rice. I wasn’t about to make just plain rice – how boring – so I hunted around and found this ancient recipe that was quite easy to do.

Onion and carrot (not a lot) are cooked in oil, then you add garlic, a chopped up apple, cinnamon, fresh ginger and curry powder. The original recipe (from an old Sunset magazine, so my recipe says) called for dried apricots – I didn’t have any, so I used dates instead (see the dark brown flecks in the pilaf). Water is added, salt and pepper, and you cook it covered for 18 minutes. Done. I added a few more chopped dates at the very end, and I forgot to add the toasted almonds! On the diet I’m on, I can’t eat rice, but I did taste one bite, and liked it a LOT. If you’re looking for some different way to do rice, this doesn’t take much longer than usual (except for cooking the onion and carrot at the beginning).

What’s GOOD: the apple adds a delightful taste to this rice dish – and there’s a hint of cinnamon, and ginger, and curry. It’s not heavy with curry – if you don’t like curry, you could leave it out. I loved that aspect of it, but then, I like curry. Altogether delicious dish. I made a double recipe and gave both groups of friends some leftovers to have with another meal.

What’s NOT: not a thing.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Curried Basmati Rice and Apple Pilaf

Recipe By: Adapted slightly from an old Sunset Magazine clipping
Serving Size: 4

2 teaspoons vegetable oil — or avocado oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 small carrot — finely diced
1 garlic clove — minced
1 cup basmati rice
1 whole Granny Smith apple — peeled, cored, diced
3 tablespoons dates — minced (or minced dried apricots)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh ginger — chopped peeled
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups water
2 tablespoons sliced almonds — toasted (garnish)

1. Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot, then sauté until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds.
2. Stir in rice, apple, HALF the dates, cinnamon, ginger, curry powder and salt. Add 2 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook until rice is tender and water is absorbed, about 18 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in additional dates. Season to taste with pepper and additional salt, if desired. Transfer pilaf to bowl. Sprinkle with almonds and serve.
Per Serving: 257 Calories; 6g Fat (20.3% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 47g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 573mg Sodium. 

Posted in Veggies/sides, on August 23rd, 2018.

roasted_jerusalem_artichokes

Have you ever prepared Jerusalem artichokes? I had not, but decided to give them a try. They’re really good!

Truly, the only reason I decided to try these little knobby guys was because Jerusalem artichokes (also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple, or topinambour), are a starch, not quite a true carbohydrate. And not that I understand the metabolic chemistry behind this, but this starch turns into inulin (no, that’s not misspelled) instead of sugar (as would a potato). Here’s what Wikipedia says about it:

Inulins are a group of naturally occurring polysaccharides produced by many types of plants, industrially most often extracted from chicory. The inulins belong to a class of dietary fibers known as fructans. Inulin is used by some plants as a means of storing energy and is typically found in roots or rhizomes.

jerusalem_artichokesJerusalem artichokes are a tuber, closely related to the sunflower plant. Imagine that? And what I’d read was that prepared certain ways they can give you the illusion of a potato. I kind of miss having a potato now and then. So I bought a one-pound package of them, peeled them with my Meissermeister peeler, then cut the larger ones in half. I poured a little bit of avocado oil on top, tossed them around a bit on the baking sheet to coat them, sprinkled them with salt and pepper and roasted them in a 425°F oven for 33 minutes. Larger ones would take a tiny bit longer.

I’m still following the diet I’ve mentioned here and there, the Stephen Gundry, M.D. one which restricts all carbs. And trust me, if this diet wasn’t working, I wouldn’t be doing it at all. The enemy is lectins, a bad bug that we ingest in foods – a bug that then wreaks havoc in our intestines. I’ve never had intestinal issues, but after reading The Plant Paradox, I’m a convert. So – — Jerusalem artichokes don’t contain any lectins, hence they’re a safe food. And they’re not a true carb, either, so they mostly slip through your system.

So how were they? I thought they were delicious. I read a recipe for making baked Jerusalem artichoke chips, so I may try that recipe soon also. Because I’d never bought them before, or prepped them before, or ever eaten them before, I wanted to taste them without a lot of seasonings, hence just salt and pepper. The texture is not fluffy like a potato, but yet it has some toothsome feel to it – somebody else compared it to the texture of a cooked turnip. I’m not a turnip fan, so that wasn’t appealing to me, but perhaps the texture description is true. Coming straight off the baking sheet the outside edges were semi-crispy, which I liked. The leftovers weren’t crispy since they sat in the refrigerator container for a day or two and got soft, so next time I might stick them in my toaster oven for 10 minutes to crisp them up a little. I was also having asparagus, so during the 33 minute roasting time, I plopped the narrow asparagus on top (also coated with a bit of avocado oil) for about 9 minutes and they were perfectly done at the 33 minute mark. I’d made salmon, so had the Jerusalem artichokes alongside, and with the asparagus. Very satisfying.

If  you’re interested, I’m losing about a pound every week. Some weeks it’s more than that. And I’m not hungry. That’s the 2nd best part – the first being that I’m losing weight consistently, albeit not every day, but almost. I have a scales that measures half pounds, and it’s SO fun to stand there and see, every 2-3 days that I’m down another half pound. Yea!

This diet isn’t for everybody. There are a lot of tasty foods out there that I can’t eat – I haven’t had a piece of bread, rice, a potato, or pasta, corn or peas, any bean, a speck of sugar or flour/grains at all in several months. Do I miss them? Yes. But the motivation is there to stick to this diet because it’s working. I miss having dessert (except fruit [berries mostly], which I can have, but a very small amount I might add). I miss baking. But once I lose the weight I need to, there are some things I can add back in (beans that are pressure cooked, since that removes the lectins) maybe oatmeal on occasion (I wasn’t much of an oatmeal fan to begin with so I don’t miss that). And baking without grains, which will be a bit more challenging. If you’re asking, what does she eat, then? Protein and vegetables mostly. And salads by the bucket load. Nearly every day I have for lunch or dinner a big veggie-centric salad with protein on it. BTW, Gundry recommends stevia as a sweetener (I like Truvia and also Sweet Leaf) and I also use a lemon flavored monkfruit sweetener too. I don’t use much sweetener – sometimes a speck in a salad dressing, or iced tea or iced coffee. Honey is a safe sweetener, but not during the lose-weight phase of this diet.

What’s GOOD: I thought these were really, really good. Do they compare comparably with a potato? No exactly. But it’s not too far off the mark. The texture is a bit different (soft in the cooked form). Does it taste like an artichoke? No, not at all. I suppose you could say the texture is similar to an artichoke heart, but not in taste. Anyway, I liked them, and definitely will be trying them again.

What’s NOT: only that the little knobby tubers are bit of a nuisance to peel. You can prepare them unpeeled, however. I chose not to.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes

Serving Size: 4

1 pound Jerusalem artichokes
1 tablespoon avocado oil — or EVOO
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel the Jerusalem artichokes. If you have one, use a swivel potato peeler to remove the skins. Cut larger ones in half – you want them all in a uniform size as best you can.
2. Place them on a parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet and toss with the oil, then season with salt and pepper.
3. Bake for 33-38 minutes, approximately, until the outsides begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and serve immediately. If serving leftovers, reheat them in a 400°F oven for about 6-8 minutes to re-crisp the outside edges. A pound of these will barely serve 4 in small portions.
Per Serving: 116 Calories; 3g Fat (25.8% calories from fat); 2g Protein; 20g Carbohydrate; 2g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 5mg Sodium.

Posted in Salads, Veggies/sides, on August 18th, 2018.

cauliflower_slaw

Do read this post, my friends – this salad is fabulous. Wish I had some in my refrigerator right now! Alas, this was gone the day after I made it.

It was nearly 2 months ago now that I was entertaining my SoCal kids, spouses and grandkids, in preparation for the trip to Europe we were planning for the last 2 weeks of July. It was our last hurrah-meeting before flying off. There were packing decisions to make (dress up clothing for going out to dinner or not [NOT]), suitcase sizes (small, but going in checked bags); use of wi-fi and settings to adjust on our cell phones; downloading the Google Trips app (I entered all the info mostly, shared it with everyone going, then they could access it all) and if you download the trip to your phone,  you don’t have to use wi-fi to access all the info (places to visit, hours of opening, hotel/airbnb locations where we were staying, car rental data, restaurant reservations, flight times LA to London, London to Florence, Florence to Paris, Paris home, etc.).

Anyway, one family brought dessert (fresh berries and whipped cream) and the other family brought a green salad. I had pork chops to grill (recipe up soon) and it was served with a cauliflower slaw to go with it. The recipe came from Suzanne Goin, the famous chef from Lucques restaurant in L.A. I am guessing this recipe came from the Los Angeles Times, but truly I don’t remember.

But, I’m telling you true, this recipe is a real winner. I sent most of the leftovers home with daughter Sara and kept but one small portion. I was sorry I didn’t have more, it was SOOO good.

First off, you need to cut and slice into tiny pieces an entire head of cauliflower. This took awhile. No chunks at all, but I pried off little florets and cut them in half or quarters, then sliced those, so no bite was very big. It also had a couple of heads of Belgian endive (chopped) in it, a hunk of fresh jalapeno chile (minced), some pecans and shredded coconut (very little). I didn’t strictly follow the recipe as I chose not to use coconut oil (I used avocado), I used less Belgian endive than called for, and I didn’t have any unsweetened coconut, so I used a lot less sweetened. Red onion is called for, and I soaked it in acidulated water for about 15 minutes before draining and adding that. The soaking takes away a bit of the sharp bite of raw onion. Goin called for cashews (I used pecans). And because I wanted to add a tetch of sweetness to it, I added about 6-8 dates, finely (every so finely) minced. You never tasted dates, but they added to the sweetness of the salad. And I wanted to add some green, so used some baby arugula. And there was cilantro in it too. The dressing included oil, vinegar, garlic, orange and lime zests plus some fresh OJ (and salt and pepper of course). The arugula and cilantro were tossed in at the last minute – otherwise the salad was ready about an hour before we ate. If you’re not a fan of cilantro, the salad will be just fine without it. If you want more pronounced date flavors, chop them rather than mincing. This salad is very flexible.

What’s GOOD: the overall flavor is marvelous. I can’t tell you if it was the orange juice? the dates? the pecans? or the coconut? that made it so good. Probably some of all of those things. This is a keeper, and one I’ll make again even for myself, it was that good.

What’s NOT: only the cutting up of the cauliflower. That was a bit tedious. The rest of it was easy, though.

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Cauliflower Slaw

Recipe By: Adapted from Suzanne Goin, Lucques Restaurant, L.A.
Serving Size: 8

6 tablespoons avocado oil — or coconut, or EVOO
6 tablespoons vinegar
2 garlic cloves — minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
Juice of 1 lime
3 Belgian endive — halved lengthwise, cored and thinly sliced
1 jalapeño — medium-sized, minced
1 head cauliflower — florets, then very thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Kosher salt to taste
Pepper to taste
2/3 cup pecans — chopped
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes — (if using sweetened, use about 2 tablespoons)
6 whole dates — seeded and very finely minced
3 cups baby arugula

1. Prepare cauliflower and add to a large bowl.
2. Prepare dressing: orange juice, lime zest, lime juice, vinegar, garlic and avocado oil. Set aside and whisk just before adding to the salad.
3. Add to the cauliflower the Belgian endives, chopped, the minced jalapeno, cilantro, pecans, coconut flakes and dates. Pour dressing on top and toss gently. Just before serving add the arugula and toss again. Salad will keep for a couple of days though the cilantro and arugula won’t be quite so fresh.
Per Serving: 251 Calories; 26g Fat (76.4% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 14g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 9mg Sodium.

Posted in Salads, Veggies/sides, on August 3rd, 2018.

warm_barley_salad_pears

One might not think you could make a succulent salad with barley. You’ll need to try it to be a convert. Delicious flavors from prosciutto, hazelnuts and the best part, roasted pears.

Haven’t we been learning that nearly every food on the planet (well, probably not leafy greens) are enhanced with oven roasting. And pears are no exception. They turn super-sweet after a 25-minute roast in the oven, and then you let them cool.

The salad itself contains barley, which needs to be cooked, and either wheat berries or farro, which also need to be cooked. You could do that the day before, even. You may have to seek out pear vinegar – it’s a little bit hard to find, but you could probably use raspberry instead – there is some in it already – just use more. The pears are tossed with olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper and roasted on a foil-lined pan, turning them a couple of times. The prosciutto slices also get roasted – you sprinkle them with sugar (imagine!) and bake until they’re crispy, caramelized and glossy-looking. The onion is sautéed in olive oil and then cooked down in white wine until they’re roasted and caramelized also. Then you mix up the salad with your choice of greens (kale was used here) and then you add in hazelnuts, the onion, the barley and wheat berries or farro, and finally toss it with the dressing. Really, really delicious.

What’s GOOD: the flavors will just blow you away – the chewiness of the grains, the pears are the STAR, though, as they’re SO sweet and delicious. The dressing is light and lovely. Very satisfying dish. Serve with a grilled protein of some kind and that’s dinner.

What’s NOT: a bit fussier than some since you have to cook the grains, toast the prosciutto, long caramelize the onion, and make a dressing. But worth it. Trust me on that!

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Warm Barley Salad with Roasted Pears

Recipe By: From a cooking class with Tarla Fallgatter, 2018
Serving Size: 8

3 red bartlett pears — firm, cored, cut in wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil — divided use
1 tablespoon fresh thyme — chopped kosher
salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 pound prosciutto — thinly sliced
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup pearl barley — cooked
1/2 cup wheat berries, raw — cooked (or farro)
1 whole red onion — thinly sliced
2/3 cup dry white wine
4 cups mixed greens — use winter greens if available
1/2 cup hazelnuts — toasted and peeled
VINAIGRETTE:
3 tablespoons pear vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons honey mustard
salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F degrees. In a large bowl, gently toss the pears, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon thyme, one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Spread out the pears in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast, turning occasionally, until golden brown and fragrant, about 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
2. On a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange the prosciutto slices, making sure they do not touch. Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the slices. Bake the prosciutto until the slices are caramelized and glossy, 8 to 10 minutes. Rotate the tray while baking for even coloring, and watch toward the end of baking that the sugar does not burn (it burns quickly). Remove and allow to crisp and cool completely.
3. Cook the barley and wheat berries, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 30 minutes; drain well.
4. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the wine, then return the pan to medium-high heat. Cook until most of the wine is absorbed, about 2 minutes, stirring often and removing any bits of flavoring from the bottom of the pan.
5. In a large bowl, combine the barley and wheat berries with the vinaigrette. Stir in the mixed greens. Gently stir in the pears and hazelnuts if using and check seasoning. Spoon salad onto a serving platter; crumble the candied prosciutto over the top before serving.
Per Serving: 439 Calories; 24g Fat (49.2% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 46g Carbohydrate; 8g Dietary Fiber; 14mg Cholesterol; 511mg Sodium.

Posted in Salads, Veggies/sides, on July 24th, 2018.

roasted_eggplant_salad_feta_pinenuts

Really, you might want to call this a roasted red bell pepper and roasted eggplant salad with feta, kalamata olives and pine nuts. Lots going on in this salad. All delicious.

Every so often in the course of running a blog you have to clean house. The digital house, that is. I store files on backup CDs and over the years I’ve collected about 4 dozen of so with the photos I’ve used. Not the stories, the write-ups. Those are saved by the blog server once a week. But the original photos and the finished ones. That’s when I ran across these files for a bunch of recipes I’d forgotten to post. So here I’m doing it now.

This salad was so refreshing – good for a summer evening. If you had a grilled chicken breast along side or a lovely piece of grilled salmon, this could be a complete meal. There are a lot of layers of flavor in this salad – the peppers and eggplant for sure, the spice rub you’ll sprinkle on the eggplant and onions, the feta, then the crisp arugula. And the light crunch of toasted pine nuts too. Or you could compliment the salad dressing too. Or maybe the subtle garlic (roasted also) thrown into the mix. A lot of them, really, but they’re so mellow once roasted. If you don’t want to roast the red peppers, buy jarred ones – they’ll be just fine. That’s save one roasting step.

Do try to find fig balsamic – it adds a lovely light sweetness to the dressing, along with the honey mustard in it. Use good olive oil too. And don’t forget those toasted pine nuts, either.

What’s GOOD: all the flavors you’ll find rolling around your taste buds. Great for a summer outdoor evening, I think.

What’s NOT: nothing other than waiting for the eggplant to roast (40 minutes or so) and taking the time to roast the garlic (30 minutes, but at a different oven temp, so you can’t do them together). Have 2 ovens? Perfect! If not, make the garlic ahead.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Feta and Pine Nuts

Recipe By: From a cooking class with Tarla Fallgatter, 2018
Serving Size: 8

2 large red bell peppers — roasted, peeled, seeded, sliced lengthwise
2 pounds japanese eggplants — trimmed, quarter lengthwise
1 whole red onion — peeled, cut in 1/2″ slices
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons Mediterranean spice rub
16 whole garlic cloves
16 whole kalamata olives — pitted, chopped
2 small frisee lettuce — torn
2 cups arugula
1/3 cup pine nuts — toasted
6 ounces Feta cheese — cut in small cubes
VINAIGRETTE:
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Toss eggplant and onion slices with olive oil, spice rub, salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast until tender, stirring occasionally, about 40 minutes.
2. Wrap garlic cloves in foil and place in a 300°F oven for 30 minutes, until cloves are very soft. Chop. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together. Add the roasted garlic.
3. Toss eggplant, onions, pepper and olives with vinaigrette to coat. Toss in frisee and arugula and add to the eggplant mixture. Divide among plates. Sprinkle with feta cheese and pine nuts. Serve.
Per Serving: 312 Calories; 27g Fat (73.9% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 15g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 19mg Cholesterol; 381mg Sodium.

Posted in Pork, Veggies/sides, on June 16th, 2018.

roast_pork_tenderl_carrot_romesco

Simple spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, but served with luscious cooked carrots. Who knew they could taste so good when roasted? You may want to make these again and again. Then there’s the grits, creamy with smoked Gouda. And then there’s the salad too, with a sherry and honey mustard vinaigrette.

Pork tenderloin is something I cook for myself now and then. I probably should buy one, cut it in half and freeze the other half because one pork tenderloin (at least the Costco ones) are big – usually enough for 4 meals for me. Maybe even 5 if I don’t dole out too much on any one serving. And by day three, I’m tired of pork tenderloin! But this meal, this pork tenderloin is merely a way to eat the scrumptious carrots on top, the creamy grits with Gouda and the lovely green salad on the side. I’m telling you true, your fork is going to want all of those carrots to the exclusion of everything else on the plate.

The carrots, scrubbed and halved, are roasted for 15-20 minutes in a hot-hot oven, sprinkled with some kind of various spice rub (your choice). Once cooled, you whiz some of them up with pine nuts and olive oil to make the Romesco part. The remaining carrots are served in the salad. The pork is seasoned with the same spice rub, browned on the stove, then finished off in the oven.

Meanwhile, you make the grits – using a combination of broth and milk to make them creamy, then at the last, add in the Gouda (did you know it’s pronounced gow-da? not goo-da, as we do?) and serve it right away while it’s still piping hot. When I make this, I use regular Gouda, not smoked. I’m not a big fan of smoked cheeses for some reason – I like the pure stuff, but suit your own palate. Place the pork tenderloin slices napped over the edge of the grits and top with the Romesco carrots.

carrot_watercress_salad_alongside_pork_tenderloinYou will have tossed up a lovely green salad too (adding arugula for sure, maybe even watercress or some other unusual greens if you can find them), toss with the sherry wine vinegar vinaigrette and the remaining carrots, and that’s dinner. The recipes came from a cooking class a couple of months ago with Tarla Fallgatter. I was still eating some carbs then, so I can attest to the deliciousness of those carrots. Now I’m only eating raw carrots.

What’s GOOD: well, the carrots Romesco are the best part of this dish in my opinion, but the grits are good, as is the pork AND the lovely greens on the side. Altogether great meal – would definitely be suitable for a company dinner.

What’s NOT: maybe a bit more prep than some meals.

Pork Tenderloin: printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

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Roast Pork Tenderloin with Carrot Romesco

Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter cooking class, 2018
Serving Size: 6

CARROTS:
1 1/2 pounds carrots — small, halved lengthwise
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon spice rub — (your choice)
Salt and pepper to taste
ROMESCO:
1/4 cup pine nuts — toasted
1 clove garlic
1 pinch red chili flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
PORK:
2 pork tenderloins — silverskin removed, trimmed
2 teaspoons spice rub — (use same as in carrots)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 cups greens — watercress, arugula, dark hearty lettuces
VINAIGRETTE:
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon honey mustard
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss carrots with oil, spice rub and salt and pepper to taste. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet and roast, tossing occasionally, until carrots are softened, browned, about 15-20 minutes. Carrots should be very tender. Let cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, season pork with salt, pepper and spice rub. Heat a saute pan to high, add oil and sear tenderloin on all sides. Transfer to oven and roast until a thermometer inserted into the center registers 145°F, about 10 minutes. Remove, tent with foil and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.
3. Pulse the pine nuts, garlic and red chili flakes in a food processor with oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add about a cup of the cooked carrots, vinegar and process until it reaches a coarse texture, adding more oil if necessary. Taste for seasonings.
4. SALAD: Toss the greens and the remaining carrots with vinaigrette. Slice pork and serve with romesco alongside the salad.
Per Serving: 373 Calories; 28g Fat (66.8% calories from fat); 19g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 49mg Cholesterol; 90mg Sodium.

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Smoked Gouda Grits

Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter cooking class, 2018
Serving Size: 6

1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup grits — coarse ground (NOT instant)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter — cut into pieces
3 ounces gouda cheese — smoked or regular
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Italian parsley — chopped

1. Bring milk, salt and water to a boil in a large pan over medium high heat. Gradually whisk in grits until smooth.
2. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, whisking frequently, until creamy but still with some bite, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter and cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with Italian parsley.
Per Serving: 164 Calories; 10g Fat (52.5% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 13g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 33mg Cholesterol; 457mg Sodium.

Posted in Salads, Veggies/sides, on June 9th, 2018.

olive_bread_salad_chickpeas

A lovely salad with arugula (or kale), olives, shaved fennel, Manchego cheese, radicchio, spiced garbanzo beans, with some toasted olive bread croutons and tossed with a succulent fig balsamic dressing.

It was a month or more ago that this salad was made at a class with Tarla Fallgatter. I was trying to not eat carbs, so I didn’t have any of the olive bread croutons, or any of the chickpeas, but I lapped up everything else and really liked the salad dressing with a hint of sweetness to it. Others in the class were ooohing and aaahing, so I know both the croutons and chickpeas tasted good.

The garbanzo beans (chickpeas) are added to a pan full of garlic and red chili flakes with oil, and you cook them for 6-8 minutes until they blister. Once cooked, you remove all the loose skins. You might think that’s too much work, but it won’t take but a minute of time. The skins come off easily enough.

The vinaigrette is made with fig balsamic (if you don’t have some, you need it in your pantry arsenal), a tetch of raspberry vinegar, some balsamic mustard (another item you need in your refrigerator arsenal) and olive oil. So delicious.

Meanwhile you need some radicchio (or red endive), some thinly sliced fennel, some roasted red and yellow peppers (jarred works here), some tasty Mediterranean olives (pitted and sliced), some shaved Manchego (mmm, me likes Manchego), and the arugula. If you favor kale, use that instead. For whatever reason, sometimes kale doesn’t agree with me. I know it’s good for me, and nearly every market these days has about 4 varieties of kale to choose from. I’ll use arugula instead.Toss it all together and you have a very lovely looking and tasty salad for a summer’s eve.

What’s GOOD: the combo of all the veggies is so perfect – the shreds of Manchego, the olives, the crunch of the toasted croutons, the chickpeas, some fennel and peppers. All delicious, then when you toss it with the figgy vinaigrette, oh, what a combination – serve it with a lovely grilled chicken breast and that’s dinner. I promise you’ll hear raves.

What’s NOT: It takes a little bit of time to put together, more than some salad preparations. Worth it, though.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 (click link to open recipe)

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Olive Bread Salad with Spicy Chickpeas

Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter cooking class, 2018
Serving Size: 6

VINAIGRETTE:
3 tablespoons fig balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar
2 teaspoons balsamic mustard salt and pepper to taste
6 tablespoons olive oil
SPICY CHICKPEAS:
15 ounces garbanzo beans, canned — rinsed, rubbed to remove outer skin
4 garlic cloves
1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
1/3 cup olive oil salt and pepper to taste
SALAD:
3 cups olive bread — torn into bite-sized pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon spice rub — your choice
2 tablespoons fresh oregano — coarsely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley — chopped
1 head radicchio — torn into bite-sized pieces (or use red endive)
1 whole fennel bulb — thinly sliced
2 whole red bell peppers — or yellow, or one of each
1/3 cup olives — Mediterranean type, pitted, sliced
3 ounces Manchego cheese — shaved
2 cups arugula — or baby kale

1. CHICKPEAS: Cook chickpeas (drained, rinsed and blotted with paper towels) with garlic and pepper flakes in oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until garlic is golden brown and chickpeas begin to blister, 6-8 minutes; season with salt and pepper.
2. VINAIGRETTE: Combine ingredients in a lidded jar and shake. Set aside. Shake well before using.
3. SALAD: Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss bread with spice rub of your choice, salt, pepper and oil. Spread out on a large baking sheet and bake/toast, tossing once or twice, until crisp on the outside edges, but still chewy in the center, about 8-10 minutes. Let cool.
4. Place all the salad ingredients in a large serving bowl and toss with vinaigrette to coat. Add chickpeas, then divide among plates to serve.
Per Serving: 468 Calories; 39g Fat (75.4% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 24g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 384mg Sodium.

Posted in Appetizers, Vegetarian, Veggies/sides, on April 1st, 2018.

zucchini_patties_feta_dill

Tender little pancake-shaped fritters of shredded zucchini, onion, Feta and topped with a dollop of yogurt. Make sure you add the dill!

Some years ago I made a version of this, Turkish Zucchini Pancakes, and liked them. Those, that I made in 2008 contained tons of green onions instead of white onion, and had 4 eggs in the batch and included chopped walnuts too. I don’t know why I don’t make some version of these more often, because I love them. They could easily (for me anyway) be dinner. I’d have about 4 of them, I suppose. These are quite thin, and they’re fragile-tender. They’re full of flavor (from the onions, dill, the spice rub and Italian parsley), and once cooked, they have a lovely (but tender) texture. There is a bit of flour added to help hold them together (plus an egg and egg yolk).

Do start an hour or so ahead as you need to salt the grated zucchini and let it sit a bit, to give off some of their water before you start to mix up the batter. The onions (chopped) need to be squeezed of their extra fluid also. Then you can mix up everything, including about 1/2 cup of Feta. Speaking of Feta, Tarla Fallgatter, the cooking instructor who made these recently, recommended Bulgarian Feta. She buys it at a local ethnic market, and prefers it because it’s lower in sodium and she likes the flavor of Bulgarian over others. So, the batter is formed into thin patties, and you can work as you go – do some for the first batch and while they’re frying, form more rounds of them.

Into a big frying pan they go with some olive oil (you’ll likely need to add more olive oil with each subsequent batch you fry). This recipe makes 16-18 of the pancakes, but they’re thin, so surely you’d have 2 per person, or more. For an entrée you’d have 4-5 per person, I’d guess. Maybe more if your crowd is really hungry. Anyway, they take about 5 minutes per side to get golden brown. Transfer them to paper towels to drain. If you make as you go, you’d be serving them immediately. Otherwise, put them on a paper-lined rack on a tray and keep them in a 250°F oven while you finish preparing them all. Because they are thin pancakes, they’ll cool off way too fast.

Meanwhile you chop up some fresh dill for the pretty-factor. DILL is essential in these – there are just food combinations that are made in heaven – zucchini-yogurt-dill is one. To serve, make them pretty with a dollop of the yogurt and garnish with a little sprig of dill on top. My mouth is watering . . . . .

What’s GOOD: the pancakes are delicate and tender. Full of flavor and satisfying. I would think these could be prepared and frozen too, then reheated in a toaster oven easily enough. If you have a bumper crop of zucchini this could be a great make-ahead dish. This would go nicely with a roast (lamb or pork I’m thinking), or all by itself.

What’s NOT: really nothing except that you do need to drain the zucchini and onion so start a bit ahead of when you’re going to prepare them.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

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Zucchini Patties with Feta

Recipe By: Tarla Fallgatter, cooking instructor
Serving Size: 8

2 1/2 cups zucchini — coarsely grated (about 3 medium)
1 teaspoon salt — divided use
1 teaspoon spice rub — or use a combo of Mediterranean spices/herbs
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cup all purpose flour — (or more)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup olive oil — (about)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt, full-fat — with dill to garnish

1. Toss zucchini and 1/2 teaspoon salt in large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to sieve. Press out excess liquid; place zucchini in dry bowl. Chop the onion finely and gather it into a couple of paper towels and allow to drain for a couple of minutes, then squeeze to extract some of the liquid from the onions. Add onion in with zucchini. Mix in egg, yolk, 1/2 cup flour, cheese, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix in parsley and dill. If batter is very wet, add more flour by spoonfuls.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, drop batter by rounded tablespoonfuls into skillet. Fry patties until golden, 5 minutes per side, adding more olive oil oil as needed. Transfer to paper towels. Serve immediately or keep warm by placing patties on paper towels on a rack, on a baking sheet in a 225°F oven. Serve with yogurt and garnish with dill.
DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Place on baking sheet, cover, and chill. Rewarm uncovered in 350°F oven 12 minutes.
Per Serving: 218 Calories; 18g Fat (73.9% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 10g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 67mg Cholesterol; 396mg Sodium.

Posted in Veggies/sides, on January 31st, 2018.

yukon_gold_parsnip_mash

 This recipe should have been posted before the holidays – in case you wanted to serve such a side dish when you had guests. The combo of parsnips and potatoes is really a good match.

It’s been some months ago I went to a cooking class where these were served, and I loved them. But then, I like parsnips in any way, shape or form. I forget about them, however, as they’re not a common produce item at my markets. Are they at yours? Over the holidays I saw them, but didn’t buy any – should have, because I’d like to make these now.

These aren’t anything unusual in the making of them – other than the addition of mascarpone and crème fraiche to them. A lot, actually, but the recipe makes a lot. Fresh sage adds just a lovely, subtle hint of the herb, and the freshly grated nutmeg is just perfect in them – some in the potatoes and a bit sprinkled on top when it’s served. IF you like these ingredients, save this recipe for next winter, perhaps, or for Easter dinner maybe?

What’s GOOD: the parsnip flavor is just so yummy-good. The cream products add a lovely lushness to the mixture. Altogether delicious and a keeper of a recipe.

What’s NOT: maybe only finding parsnips?

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Yukon Gold and Parsnip Mash

Recipe By: from a cooking class with Susan V, 2017
Serving Size: 9

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes — or Russett
1 pound parsnips — peeled, quartered lengthwise and cut in 2″ pieces
4 tablespoons butter
8 ounces creme fraiche
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg — divided use

1. Place potatoes and parsnips in a large pot. Cover with water. Add a tablespoon of salt and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes and parsnips are tender. Drain. Put them back in the pot with butter and coarsely mash. Add creme fraiche, mascarpone, HALF the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
2. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle remaining nutmeg on top. Serve immediately.
Per Serving: 372 Calories; 18g Fat (44.6% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 45g Carbohydrate; 5g Dietary Fiber; 54mg Cholesterol; 87mg Sodium.

Posted in Salads, Vegetarian, Veggies/sides, on November 3rd, 2017.

nutted_wild_rice_salad

That photo just doesn’t do justice to this rice salad. Even though I use Photoshop to crop and work with my photos, sometimes you just can’t make brown food look wonderful. 

Behind the scenes of any blog, or maybe I should say a food blog with recipes, is a whole lot of file administration. You might not think so, but there are many, many steps to getting a story written, photos worked on, sized correctly, inserted in the right places, recipe itself prepared, stripped of formatting, uploaded and then put into a finished format on the blog. It’s not seamless. And all that is to say that this recipe that I made months ago somehow got lost in the mix. At least it didn’t get deleted. I can’t even remember when I made this (photo properties says I took the photo on August 5th), or for what family occasion (it was probably our group family birthday we do about that time of year). I wouldn’t have made it just for myself; that I know. But as soon as I glanced at the photo, I remembered eating it, and my mouth was watering.

The recipe came from cooks.com and has no attribution. But I used some white rice in it too, so am not sure where I found the recipe, or if I adapted it myself. In years past, I’ve made the Silver Palate’s wild rice salad numerous times (but never written up here), and I have another one here on my blog from a museum restaurant in D.C. The Mitsitam. And yet another one that’s a copycat one from a local restaurant here in my neck of the woods that contained fresh corn. But this one is just a simple-enough wild rice and white rice salad enhanced with pecans, golden raisins, green onions, orange juice and zest. And it’s downright delicious.

I won’t tell you that this salad is cinchy quick – it has several steps, and you have to watch the rice carefully that it doesn’t overcook. That would be a crime, since you want the wild rice to still have some tooth. But once the rice is made, the other ingredients are straight forward and easy. A lovely honey vinaigrette is added and it can sit for awhile. You can eat it warm or cold, and leftovers are still good, although the pecans sometimes get a bit soft. But worth making? Yes.

What’s GOOD: a great salad for a crowd. Can be made ahead. Delicious warm or cold, or room temp. Leftovers still taste good, too. Of all my wild rice salads I’ve made, this probably wasn’t my favorite, but I liked the orange zest and juice in it. And the green onions.

What’s NOT: a few steps to make, but not hard at all.

printer-friendly PDF and MasterCook 15/16 file (click link to open recipe)

* Exported from MasterCook *

Nutted Wild Rice Salad

Recipe By: adapted from cooks.com
Serving Size: 8

1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 cup wild rice — raw
5 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 cup pecans — toasted
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 whole orange — ZESTED & juiced
1/4 cup honey
4 whole green onions — thinly sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter — melted
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar — or more to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. Strain wild rice in strainer and run cold water over it. Rinse the rice thoroughly.
2. Place wild rice in heavy saucepan. Add stock (or water) and bring to to a rapid boil. Adjust heat to simmer and cook uncovered for 30+ minutes until rice is just barely cooked through. Do not overcook.
3. In another pot, cook white rice in water until it’s barely done – do not overcook. Drain, transfer both rices to a bowl and stir in butter and oil.
4. Combine the orange juice and honey; stir to combine. Add all remaining ingredients, adjusting for seasonings, or more vinegar, or orange juice. Let mixture stand for about 2 hours to allow flavors to develop. Taste rice for seasonings. Serve at room temp.
Per Serving: 404 Calories; 19g Fat (41.0% calories from fat); 12g Protein; 49g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 8mg Cholesterol; 361mg Sodium.

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