Our Montana Winter temperatures usually stay with us long past spring’s official March starting date. So, I offer a new recipe to you for a hearty salad to help brighten the days until spring actually arrives.
Colorful, satisfying and deeply flavored Roasted Beet & Carrot Lentil Salad plays the natural sweetness of roasted beets and carrots against a backdrop of robust and firm-textured French green (le Puy) lentils. The roasted carrots add brightness. Fresh parsley, mint and scallions bring freshness. Crumbled goat cheese or feta give a touch of creaminess. And to top it off, the refreshingly tart and Tangy Orange Mustard Vinaigrette makes this salad especially delicious.
TThe idea came to me a couple of weeks ago while enjoying a bowl of vegetable soup. Hmm, I thought, this soup would be perfect over a scoop of quinoa. Maybe even toasted quinoa. Interesting thought considering that I’d never before tasted toasted quinoa.
I made a small batch, toasting the quinoa in the same pan I would cook it in. The smell was incredible, the color change promising, and adding the boiling water exciting. The depth of flavor was rich, earthy, nutty, and fabulous, the texture amazingly light and fluffy.
I have never before used such words and adjectives to describe quinoa—and I love quinoa and have since before the turn of the century (something else I doubt I’ve ever said before). Toasted Quinoa may be my new best friend. I’m guessing it will become yours, too.
It often takes a number of tries to get a recipe “right,” meaning I like it a lot and it’s ready to share. Definitely the case with this recipe for Honey-Roasted Apples. I experimented with different ways of cutting the apples, different varieties of apples, different flavorings, and different cooking temperatures. The night I photographed and ate an entire batch of Honey-Roasted Apples for dinner, I knew I had a winner. They were fragrant, complex, flavorful, tender, easy, and oh so delicious. A word of warning—only make Honey-Roasted Apples when there are other people around so you can share them!
Beginning in September, a few friends brought me bags of just-picked apples from their trees. These crisp, fragrant, juicy apples, in unknown varieties, came in colors from yellow to pale green to deep red. When I experimented with roasting them, some split open while others, looking great on the outside, had turned mushy on their inside.
Perhaps you’ve begun noticing a strange rather alien looking vegetable appearing at your local supermarkets and farmers’ market. Some of you may even have received a few of them in your CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box. If that alien vegetable looks anything like this photo, what you have, dear friends, is a celeriac, also known as celery root. Two popular ways of preparing celeriac include peeled, grated and eaten raw or peeled, diced and cooked with potatoes and mashed.
Today I offer you a third way inspired by Israeli-British celebrity chef, Yotam Ottolenghi. And now I, too, both suggest serving the celeriac unpeeled and roasted whole with coriander and olive oil. Try roasted celeriac as a meal in itself, serving it straight from the oven for dinner or from the fridge the next day for lunch. Whether hot or cold the flavors are perfect together. The celeriac richly flavored and luxuriously tender, the oil flavorful and the burst of flaky salt addictive.
Perhaps you’ve seen photos of the beautiful, deep purple lavender fields in the South of France. Each field a quilt of perfectly rounded mounds of flowering lavender as far as the eye can see. For years my bucket list included walking a field of blooming lavender flowers enfolded in their soothing, aromatic fragrance. Last July, right here in Montana, I did just that. On a hillside overlooking Flathead Lake at the Purple Mountain Lavender Farm, I walked among hundreds of sweet-smelling lavender plants in hues of purple, pink and white. Heavenly.
Relax with Lavender. One of our most powerful senses, the sense of smell, impacts both our mood and well-being. A recent study from London’s King’s College confirmed lavender’s ability to relieve anxiety. The lead researcher wrote that lavender worked so well that it would make for “on-the-spot anxiety reduction in dentists’ waiting rooms.”
With six cans of wild salmon in the cupboard and nary a flake of crab, I had an idea. Perhaps I could replace the crab with salmon in my favorite crab cake recipe and make salmon cakes instead. With each bite, we wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before.
As it often happens, not even a week later, I came across an unusual recipe for baked crab cakes using cooked quinoa instead of bread crumbs. With a bit of recipe refining and combining to make them healthier, Salmon Cakes with Quinoa & Vegetables were born, creating a healthier and equally delicious first cousin to crab cakes.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve read the rave reviews about chia seeds and chia puddings. Perhaps, like me, you’ve even made them a few times. And, perhaps like me, they never worked for you. That is until I read this amusing and well-written article by Joe Yonan in the Washington Post. He suggested high-speed blending the ingredients. What a difference!
And now that I know that it’s possible to substitute frozen berries for fresh, this Triple-Berry Chia Pudding has become even more flavorful and more deeply colored. Actually there are two secrets for a smooth, luscious, delicious and nutritious Triple-Berry Chia Pudding…
Some people prefer Split Pea Soup thin and creamy. My preference is for a thick, chunky-with-vegetables soup that easily becomes a meal in itself. Whatever your preference, and especially during the cold days of winter, comforting and easy to make homemade Split Pea Soup is a most delicious way to enjoy these nutrient rich legumes.
Native to Europe and central Asia, field peas, also known as dried peas, have been cultivated for thousands of years. Field peas were grown specifically to be dried and consumed whole or ground. And consumed they were throughout India, the Middle East, Asia and Northern Europe…
Perhaps you, too, have wondered about those visions of sugar plums. I imagined sugar plums as something sweet, luscious and beautiful. But what exactly were those sugar plums (and how do I make them)? With a little research, I read that the visions of sugar plums most likely were of “comfits.” Not much as I imagined, as comfits are a type of hard candy. They were difficult to make and consisted of many layers of sugar covering seeds such as coriander or caraway and possibly of fruit.
Fortunately, I gained a new understanding after reading an article by Samira Kawash in The Atlantic. She wrote that “in Tchaikovsky’s day, sugar plum was both the name of a particular candy and the universal signifier of everything sweet and delectable and lovely.”
For two weeks last September, we dutifully covered both our flowers and vegetable garden to protect them from the low night-time temperatures. And then we stopped. With a forecast of snow and a low of 24 degrees, we gave up trying. We harvested all the herbs and green onions and most of the carrots and chard. Then my husband brought in almost eight pounds of green tomatoes.
We’ve had some past success attempting to ripen tomatoes by hanging the plants upside down in our garage. With so many unripe tomatoes, though, I decided instead to make green tomato chutney. Where the inspiration came from I don’t know as I’ve only heard about, though never tasted, such typical green tomato dishes as fried green tomatoes or green tomato jam.