This is my riff on J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s lovely Garbanzos con Espinacas y Jengibre over on Serious Eats. I decided to make it less tomato-centric, instead relying more on the chickpea cooking liquid. Raisins, olives, saffron, cumin, wine and double paprika took it right to the top of Flavor Mountain.

Do try and cook the chickpeas from scratch, because the cooking liquid works very well here. But in a pinch, you can use two (BPA-free) cans of chickpeas plus their liquid, and some stock or water.

I love, love, love this stew and its intense flavors. If you’re not a big fan of smokiness, or perhaps if you’re serving this to children, you can skip the smoked paprika and even the olives.

I served this on soft polenta but it would also be good alongside olive oil mashed potatoes.

Spanish Chickpea and Spinach Stew

2 large garlic cloves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Pinch of saffron threads
2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (BPA-free brand)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
½ cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
3 cups cooked chickpeas
2 cups chickpea cooking liquid
12 ounces baby spinach (or chopped spinach)
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons sliced Spanish green olives (optional)
Sherry vinegar and olive oil, for drizzling

Combine the first 9 ingredients (through tomatoes) in a food processor and puree.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy pot. Add the onions and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, until soft and lightly browned. Raise the heat to medium-high, add the pureed mixture and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add wine, chickpeas and the bean cooking liquid. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 minutes. Add a little more liquid if it seems too thick.

Add spinach and raisins, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. Adjust salt to taste. Serve in bowls or over soft polenta, topping each serving with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a few drops of sherry vinegar.

First, sorry for not posting much lately. I keep getting emails asking if something is wrong. No worries, I’m fine – just busy to a ridiculous degree. Sometimes, life trumps food blogging.

As a result, this post will be short and sweet. I wanted to share this salad, which you should make this week while there are still good tomatoes and corn. The success of this dish depends entirely on the quality of the ingredients. The fresher the corn and tomatoes, the better it will be. So get to the farmer’s market!

I used tender baby zucchini in addition to the corn and tomatoes, but if there aren’t any good zucchini around, you could substitute cucumbers. Either way, the sherry vinegar gives this salad a nice tang without overwhelming the vegetables. It’s so delicious, I could eat the whole bowl in one sitting.

End-of-Summer Corn and Tomato Salad with Sherry Vinaigrette

Kernels from 4 medium ears corn, preferably just-picked
1 pint cherry tomatoes that have never been refrigerated, chopped
3 baby zucchini, diced small
1 handful fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons good-quality sherry vinegar, or a bit more to taste
Pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve. Best served the same day, without refrigeration.

 

On a whim, I bought some kohlrabi to plant in the garden. Now, fast forward two months…uh-oh, the kohlrabi was ready to harvest. I stood there looking at this odd round vegetable with spiky stems coming out all over the place, and realized I had no idea what to do with it. My default with vegetables lately seems to be “throw it into a kale salad”, so that’s what I did today.

Turns out the combination of kale and kohlrabi is quite a nice one. The kohlrabi has a mild taste, and its crunchiness reminds me a bit of jicama. I added some toasted almonds and raisins for contrast, and a coarse mustard vinaigrette.

As you can see, I used the dark, distinctive-tasting lacinato kale, but any kind will do. You can feel free to vary the nuts and dried fruit to your liking. I’m sure pecans and cranberries would be delicious.

From the look and feel of kohlrabi, you’d think it was fairly low on the nutrition scale. However, I learned that it’s a rich source of Vitamin C, as well as B-complex vitamins and potassium. Plus it’s nearly calorie-free, at just 27 calories per cup. So this may be just the first of my kohlrabi experiments. I see a kohlrabi curry in my future….

Kale and Kohlrabi Salad

3 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse Dijon mustard
1 small shallot, minced
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
One large bunch kale, stemmed and thinly sliced
1 medium kohlrabi, peeled and julienned (I sliced thinly with a mandolin, then cut into matchsticks)
¼ cup whole raw almonds, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
¼ cup raisins or other dried fruit

In a small bowl, mix the vinegar, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper. Gradually add the olive oil and whisk well.

Place the kale in a large bowl. Top with the dressing and massage gently with your hands for about 20 seconds. Add nuts and fruit, and serve.

Serves 4

I’m trying not to eat sweets lately. But I had tons of rhubarb in my garden…now tell me, what was I supposed to do?!

I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie last week, and it was a bit of a letdown for some reason. So this week I decided to turn to one of my favorite crust recipes for inspiration and came up with this tart. With olive oil, hazelnut meal and sugar, this crust is like a sweet shortbread cookie – and surely one of the most delicious crusts ever, vegan or not.

I used rhubarb, raspberries and blueberries because I had them on hand. But you can make this tart with most any fruit combination you like. Since the crust is nicely sweet, I didn’t add nearly as much sugar to the filling as I normally would. So it’s an inversion of the usual unsweetened crust-sweet filling approach. I just love it.

This recipe makes two medium tarts, serving four to six people each. Or do as I did and make one larger one and one small. I took the extra tart to work for my colleagues. (Yes, they would really miss me if I left!) For the best crust texture, eat the tart the same day it’s baked. If saving leftovers until the next day, just throw a paper towel over it rather than covering tightly.

Rhubarb, Raspberry & Blueberry Tart

1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup all purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour)
½ cup hazelnut meal
2/3 cup coconut palm sugar, divided
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup hazelnut oil (or high-oleic safflower oil)
¼ cup cold water
3 cups sliced rhubarb
3 cups raspberries
1 cup blueberries
1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon freshly grated ginger, optional
1 teaspoon raw (turbinado) or demerara sugar, for sprinkling

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flours, hazelnut meal, 2/3 cup sugar and salt. Gradually drizzle oil on top, mixing with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly. Gradually add water until the dough comes together (add a little more water if necessary.) Divide into two balls and set aside.

Roll out each ball of dough directly on a rimless baking sheet, to about a 10-inch diameter.

In a medium bowl, mix the fruit, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, cornstarch lemon zest and ginger (if using). Do not let the mixture sit for long – get it into the crust immediately.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer half the fruit filling onto each crust round, leaving an inch or more of dough uncovered. Spoon  the liquid from the bottom of the bowl onto the fruit, but don’t use quite all of it – you want to moisten the filling but not to the point that a lot of juice starts running off the edge of the crust. Quickly loosen the dough all around the edge with a pastry lifter, then fold over gently with your hand. Sprinkle the dough edges with the raw sugar.

Bake for 45 minutes, until the dough is deeply golden and the filling is bubbling. Cool before serving.

I woke up craving cilantro. Strange, but true. As I planned a Sunday night barbecue for a few friends, I could only think of things that contained cilantro. After way too much deliberation, I decided to make a farro salad packed with heart-healthy beans, sweet mango and fresh corn. I pureed cilantro into a lime vinaigrette and poured it over my ingredients.

I thought this would be good, but I must say, it’s a “wow.” It’s destined to be my go-to grain salad for summer. It’s super easy to make, and the flavors really pop. If you like foods that combine sweet and tart, you’ll be a fan. And if you have a cilantro craving like I did, I promise it will be satisfied.

Notes:

Farro is Emmer wheat, a nutty tasting and distinctively chewy grain. If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute barley in this recipe. Or use quinoa for a gluten-free dish.

The salad is far superior if served the same day it’s made – preferably before any refrigeration. The flavors fade fairly quickly over time.

This recipe serves a big crowd. If you’re just feeding four or five people, halve it.

Farro Salad with Corn, Black Beans and Mango

1½ cups pearled farro (can substitute barley)
¼ teaspoon salt
2½ cups raw corn kernels (about 3 ears)
1½ cups cooked black beans
1 ripe mango, diced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

Cilantro-lime vinaigrette:

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup fresh lime juice
½ cup (packed) cilantro leaves (small stems ok)
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon salt

Cook the farro with salt according to the package directions, then drain off any excess liquid. Be careful not to overcook – you want the farro to be very chewy.

Cool for 15 minutes, then place it in a large bowl and add the corn, beans, mango and scallions.

In a food processor, puree the olive oil, lime juice, cumin and salt. Pour over the farro salad and stir to combine.

Serve at room temperature (preferable) or refrigerate to eat later the same day. Refrigerated salad may need some additional lime juice, so taste before serving.

Serves 8-10

A quick post today to share with you a variation on my Caramelized Onion Tart with Greens and Cashew Cream. That tart was a game changer for me and has become a favorite among my friends. For this version I’ve cut down on the calories by using a layer of lemony pureed beans in place of the rich cashew cream. I also switched up the vegetables, and this combination of onions, red peppers, mushrooms and broccolini is another winner. Since it’s spring, maybe you’ll want to make a ramp and asparagus version – or use a fava bean puree as the base.

If you haven’t tried a tart like this before, I really urge you to, because the chickpea flour crust is incredibly flavorful, and the dish can be served warm or at room temperature. It’s perfect for your next luncheon (I always wanted to use the word “luncheon” – no one says that anymore!)

Vegetable Tart with White Beans and a Chickpea Crust

For the crust:

1 3/4 c. chickpea (garbanzo bean) flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. cold water

For the bean layer:

1 can cannellini beans (use a BPA-free brand), drained and rinsed
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice

For the vegetable topping:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1/4 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 cups chopped broccolini (also marketed as “baby broccoli”)
1 red bell pepper, chopped
5 ounces sliced shiitake mushrooms (approximately 8 ounces before stemming and slicing)

To make the dough, mix the chickpea flour and salt. Drizzle the olive oil over the flour mixture and work together with your hands until crumbly. Add the water and mix very briefly, just until dough comes together (add an additional teaspoon of water if the dough seems too dry.)

Flatten the dough into a disk on a floured work surface.  Roll it out with a rolling pin to about 10 inches. Loosen the pastry by slipping a pastry lifter or metal spatula underneath. Fold in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch tart pan, pressing it into the bottom and all the way up the sides.  (If the dough breaks, don’t worry – you can just piece it together in the tart pan and press to shape.)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prick the crust lightly with a fork and pre-bake for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.

To make the bean layer, thoroughly puree the beans, lemon juice and salt in a food processor. If you have trouble making a smooth puree, add a teaspoon or two of water (I didn’t find this necessary but it depends on the type of beans.)

For the vegetable mixture, heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven. Cook the onions and salt over medium-low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft and starting to brown. Add the broccolini and red bell pepper, raise the heat and cook for about 5 minutes, until the broccolini is just starting to get tender. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes or until mushrooms are soft. Stir in black pepper.

To assemble, top the partially-baked crust with the bean puree, then the vegetable mixture.  Return to the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 6