Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving - with TENT!

My Mom's Roast Turkey
I am starting a little late on my preparations for our Thanksgiving feast.  Not to worry --will get quite a bit done over the next three days.  Tomorrow I will need to make the turkey stock for the make-ahead gravy.
Last year my husband added a heated tent to our celebration and we are doing it again this year.  I can't begin to tell you how special the tent is...all 30 people at one long table makes me so happy.  I just love it and love him for doing this for our family!  I hope you are way ahead on your preparations and hopefully some of my recipes have made your job a little easier.  I got lots of feedback last year and I was thrilled to hear that so many friends were cooking up My Mom's Roast Turkey!  It is so easy and always turns out perfect.  Happy Thanksgiving! xoxo

Claire's Thanksgiving Menu
Pumpkin Pie Tartlets (to be posted)

Cranberry Sauce

Butternut Squash Casserole
Make-ahead Gravy
Brown Rice with Leeks
Spinach, Fennel, Apple, & Pecan Salad
Old Fashioned Carrot Salad
French Apple Tart

Herb & Shallot Stuffing (my favorite item on the Thanksgiving menu)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Wheatberry Salad: For the Visi Girls!

Who doesn't like to mix it up for lunch box options?  My daughter has been getting lots of comments at lunch time lately, "Ooh, that looks good!  What is that?"   I like to come up with new lunch ideas each school year.  This has become a favorite and that makes me happy!  It is delicious, healthy, travels well in a lunch box, and can be made in advance.  A perfect lunchbox option.
In the top picture I used roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, baby spinach, baby kale, and Italian parsley.  In the below picture I used sauteed carrots & leeks, fresh corn, basil, dill, and toasted almonds.  You can add whatever suits your palate.  The wheat berries are chewy and slightly nutty in taste.  Let me know if you love it as much as we do.

Main ingredients:
1 ½ cups wheat berries (I used the Jovial Einkorn brand)
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lemon juice, about 2 medium lemons
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
Option 1 ingredients:
1 large leek, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
2 carrots sliced
3 cloves garlic (21g), minced
1 cup shaved corn kernels (from 1 medium ear) or 1 cup frozen, thawed
½ cup chopped dill
½ cup chopped basil
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
Option 2 ingredients:
1 butternut squash peeled and roasted with brown sugar, olive oil, and butter recipe here
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup sliced baby spinach and kale

Cook wheat berries according to instructions on the package:  bring 3 cups water to a boil, add the wheat berries and lower to a simmer.  Simmer uncovered for 25-30 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.  
To make vinaigrette - whisk olive oil with lemon juice in a small bowl or measuring cup, season with salt and pepper. 
Option 1:  In skillet or saucepan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and sauté until just beginning to soften (about 2 minutes), then add sliced carrots and cook for another minute or so, add corn and continue for another 30 seconds to a minute.  Add the garlic and sauté for an additional 1 minute.  Set aside to cool slightly.
 In a large serving bowl, toss together the cooked einkorn wheat berries, leek/carrot/corn mixture, basil, dill and pour vinaigrette over, toss until combined. Taste and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
Option 2:  In skillet or saucepan warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
Roast Butternut Squash as shown here.
In a large serving bowl, toss together the cooked einkorn wheat berries, butternut squash, parsley, chickpeas, baby kale and baby spinach, and pour vinaigrette over, toss until combined. Taste and season with more salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.

You may serve salad warm or at room temperature. Leftovers will keep covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Crunchy Top Zucchini Bread

School is in session so that means I am baking lots of muffins and quick breads.  I will put a few banana bread loaves and several dozen muffins in the freezer on a weekly basis.  The banana bread is perfect for any school gathering and the muffins are great for a quick breakfast or to pop into lunch bags.  I just found this delicious recipe for zucchini bread.  I love the crunchy topping of this not-too-sweet quick bread.  Like most quick breads and muffins this batter is quickly mixed by hand.  I switched up the recipe a little bit by using olive oil and less sugar.  The result is totally delicious!
Last week I baked this wonderful bread, My Grandmother's Banana Bread,  and my Energy Muffins.
I hope this post inspires you to do some baking, too!

Crunchy Top Zucchini Bread

1 cup toasted pecans (optional) Learn How To Toast Nuts Here
3 large eggs
1 cup olive oil
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
 3 cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
3½ cups coarsely grated zucchini (from about 1 lb. zucchini - about 2 medium size)
1¼ cups old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
3 tablespoons raw sugar (also called turbinado sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 8 ½ x 4 ½ " loaf pans and line with parchment paper, leaving a generous overhang on long sides. If using, coarsely chop the pecans. Whisk eggs, oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and nutmeg in another large bowl just to combine. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, add egg mixture, and slowly incorporate dry ingredients with a fork. Fold in zucchini, pecans, and 1 cup oats. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Toss raw sugar and remaining 1/4 cup oats in a small bowl. Sprinkle over batter and bake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55-60 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack and let bread cool in pans 30 minutes.  Grab sides of parchment paper and pull bread out of pans.  Place onto rack and allow to cool completely. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best Salad in the World!

This salad is so delicious that I choose to order it every time I dine at a certain Belgian restaurant. You might recognize it if you have eaten lunch there - you know, the one with the communal table.  I kept saying to myself, "I should figure out the recipe so I can make this at home".  It took me a while but it did it!  Wow!  It is truly the most delicious, healthy, and satisfying salad.  The basil vinaigrette is bright and fresh.  The combination of textures makes the salad out-of-this-world delicious!  The original salad also has julienne of cucumber, tiny cubes of tomato, frisee, and slices of spring onion.  I will add these next time but this was perfection as is.  The key to this salad is to use avocado oil in the basil vinaigrette. Let me know what you think!

Basil Vinaigrette for The Best Salad in the World
one to two basil cubes (recipe here)
avocado oil
kosher salt

Put a couple basil cubes into a measuring cup or small bowl.  Allow to defrost or put in the microwave on high for 20 seconds.  Pour avocado oil into the defrosted basil cubes using a small whisk to incorporate --make sure you put enough in to have a pourable vinaigrette.  Add the tiniest pinch of kosher salt and whisk again.

The Best Salad in the World
carrots, shaved
fennel, shaved or sliced thin
avocado slices
frisee, arugula, spinach (any combination of all three or two)
cooked french green lentils (just soak and simmer - make enough to store in fridge for the week)
flax seed
cucumber, fine julienne size
tomato, diced very fine
spring onion, sliced thin
fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together (you choose amount!) except for avocado and flax seed.  Pour basil vinaigrette over the salad and toss.  Top salad with sliced avocado and a sprinkle (about a teaspoon) of flax seed.