The Good Dirt

March 2nd, 2015

Hot stewed oats and raisins with the Winter flavors of molasses, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. This crowd pleaser will keep you cozy even on the coldest of mornings. This recipe comes to us from our friends at Foodista.

Serves 2

  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • skim milk, to taste
  • maple syrup, to taste

*pre-made pumpkin pie spice can be found in the spice section of most grocery stores, but it’s quite simple to make your own.

Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add steel cut oats, molasses, pumpkin pie spice, raisins and mashed banana to the pot and bring back to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and oats are tender. Mix to combine and serve with skin milk and maple syrup, to taste.

March 2nd, 2015

This dish features quinoa seasoned with lemon juice, mint and parsley, served in a steamed artichoke. You’ll have extra quinoa after you’ve stuffed all the artichokes so stretch your leftovers to make a chimichurri salad featuring this heart healthy grain. This recipe comes to us from Erin of Living and Loving in LA.

Serves 4

  • 4 artichokes, cleaned, stems and tough pointy leaf tops trimmed off
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice from 3 lemons
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 2 cups flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup mint leaves
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon low sodium seasoned salt*
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 tomatoes, diced
  • extra mint leaves, for garnish

*low sodium seasoned salt is sold in the spice section of most grocery stores, but if time allows we suggest making your own low sodium seasoned salt.

To cook the artichokes:

Place the trimmed artichokes stem down in a large in a large heavy-bottomed pot on the stove. Fill pot half-way with water. Add the 2 cloves of garlic and the juice from one of the lemons. Turn heat up to high and cover, bring water to a boil and reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook for 40 minutes-1 hour, or until leaves pull out easily from the artichoke. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.

To cook the quinoa:

Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 12 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

To make the chimichurri sauce:

Place parsley, mint, vinegar, olive oil, salt, black pepper, seasoned salt and red pepper flakes and the juice of the remaining 2 lemons in a blender or food processor. Liquefy.

To complete the chimichurri quinoa stuffed artichokes:

Season the diced tomato with salt and pepper to taste. Place the quinoa in a large bowl and combine with the diced tomatoes and chimichurri sauce from the blender.

Using tongs or your fingers, remove the center leaves from the artichokes. Scrape out the fuzzy “choke’ with a spoon. Be careful to avoid scraping out the artichoke heart when you remove the choke.

Stuff each artichoke with chimichurri seasoned quinoa until full. Garnish with any extra mint leaves and enjoy!

March 2nd, 2015

Artichoke hearts and olives produce a delicious briny flavor which comes to life when mixed with the sweet Italian pairing of roma tomatoes and fresh basil. Try this contemporary salsa with baked pita chips or cut up veggies. This recipe comes to us from Patrice of Circle B Kitchen.

Serves 16

  • 1 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese*

*optional

Mix the artichoke hearts, tomatoes, red onion, olives, garlic and basil together in a medium sized bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Stir the grated cheese into the salsa if using. Add enough olive oil so that the salsa reaches desired consistency.

Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving, or until flavors have melded to preference.

March 2nd, 2015

This warming soup features a host of veggies, a touch of flavorful white wine and Parmesan cheese, and millet, a whole grain that cooks up quickly and gives the soup a hearty consistency. This recipe comes to us from Maria Tadic, RD, who blogs at Bean A Foodie.

Serves 4-6

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 head roasted garlic, minced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 15.5 oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cup millet
  • 1 bag baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 6-7 cups vegetable broth (add more or less depending on your desired consistency)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add in the carrots, onion and celery and sauté for about 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables start to soften and brown slightly.

Add in the roasted garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.  Add white wine and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon removing any browned bits.  Cook for 3-5 minutes or until wine has reduced by half.

Add in the all the ingredients from crushed tomatoes to Parmesan cheese.  Bring soup to a boil.  Cover and reduce heat to low.  Simmer soup on low for 30-45 minutes.

Before you’re ready to serve, stir in the chopped parsley.  Serve hot soup with extra Parmesan cheese and parsley if desired.

February 26th, 2015

Recipe courtesy of Lidia’s Italian Table © 1998 by Lidia Bastianich

Serves 6

  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Warm water, as needed

On a marble or wooden work surface, pile the flour into a mound. Make a well in the center of the mound that goes all the way down to the work surface. In a small bowl, beat the eggs, salt, and olive oil together with a fork until blended, and then add them to the well. Continue beating the egg mixture with the fork, gradually working the flour from the sides of the well into the egg mixture. As you work, the egg mixture will become thicker, and the size of the well will expand. Continue beating until there is just a thin ring of flour around the egg mixture and the dough becomes too thick to mix with a fork before almost all of the flour is incorporated. Drizzle a tiny amount of the warm water over the egg mixture and continue mixing. It is possible that you will not need any water at all. Work the remaining flour into the dough with your hands just until a rough, firm dough is formed. Rub your hands together to remove as much dough as possible and add that to the rest of the dough. Shape the dough into a rough ball and set it aside.

Sprinkle your hands liberally with flour, rubbing them together to remove any remaining scraps of dough from your skin. With a knife, loosen any dough and flour from the work surface. Pass these scrapings through a sieve so you can reuse the flour and discard the scraps in the sieve. Be sure your hands are clean, and flour them lightly.

Once you have formed a rough ball, it is ready to knead. Flour a marble or wooden work surface. (for effective kneading by hand, the surface should be hip-high; this will allow you to put your body weight into the kneading motion.) Press the heel of one hand deep into the dough, keeping your fingers high. Then press down on the dough while pushing it firmly away from you: the dough will stretch and roll under your hand like a large shell. Turn the dough over, then press into the dough, first the knuckles of one hand, than with the other; do this about ten times with the knuckles of each hand. Use the knuckles of your forefingers especially during this process. Then repeat the stretching and knuckling process, using more flour if needed to prevent sticking, until the dough is smooth and silky, for about10 to 20 minutes. Roll the dough into a smooth ball.
Place the dough in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature or up to 1 day in the refrigerator, before rolling and shaping the pasta. If the dough has been refrigerated, let it stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour before rolling and shaping.

February 23rd, 2015

Carrots are chopped into matchsticks then coupled with chewy raisins and toasted pumpkin seeds.  Sour meets sweet meets savory in a dressing concocted of lemon juice, maple syrup and tahini, seasoned with garlic and curry powder. This recipe comes to us from Kathy of Healthy, Happy Life.

Serves 10

  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper*
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast**
  • salt, to taste
  • 10 ounces carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds

*optional. Add if you like your salad spicy.

 

**optional. Found in health food stores.

 

In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, curry powder, black pepper, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and nutritional yeast, if using. Season with salt to taste and whisk well so all seasonings are equally distributed.

Place the carrots, raisins and pumpkin seeds together into a large bowl.

Pour the tahini dressing over the carrot mixture. Toss well until all the ingredients are well-coated.

Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour. Serve chilled.

February 23rd, 2015

You won’t miss the meat as this veggie version of a classic sandwich marinates tempeh in a savory spice mix of garlic, coriander, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and ginger. You’ll have some leftover Russian dressing, which is delectable as a dip for sliced veggies or served atop tomato salads. This recipe was created by Ashley Kershner who writes the blog Sprout.

Serves 4

For the red cabbage slaw:

  • 2 cups red cabbage, shredded
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Russian dressing:

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons sweet pickles, minced
  • 1 tablespoon capers, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

To complete the Tempeh Reuben Sandwiches:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (8 ounce) package tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch slices
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 8 slices pumpernickel rye bread

To make the red cabbage slaw:

Place the shredded cabbage, apple cider vinegar and salt together in a medium bowl. Mix until well combined. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

To make the Russian dressing:

Whisk the mayonnaise, ketchup, pickles, capers, red onion and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside in the refrigerator.

To complete the Tempeh Reubens:

Combine the garlic powder, black pepper, ground mustard, coriander, red pepper flakes, allspice, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves, ginger and salt together in a small jar with a fitted lid. Put the lid on the jar and shake the jar vigorously to mix the spices. Transfer the spices to a gallon freezer bag and add 1 teaspoon of the canola oil and 1/2 cup water to the bag. Shake to combine.

Bring 8 cups water and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh and boil for 10 minutes. Transfer the tempeh to the freezer bag containing the marinade. Let the tempeh marinate for 2 hours.

Heat the remaining teaspoon canola oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the marinated tempeh slices and cook 2 minutes per side, or until golden brown on each side.

Toast the bread and lay a few pieces of tempeh on half the slices of bread. Top each sandwich with about 1/4 cup of red cabbage slaw, 1 teaspoon of Russian dressing and the remaining slice of toasted bread.

February 23rd, 2015

These flapjacks are rooted in American history as Laura Ingles Wilder and family used to bite into buckwheat banana pancakes in The Little House on the Prairie series. This version bakes the banana right in the middle for full fruit integration. This recipe comes to us from Jennifer Grayson of The Red, White and Green.

Serves 3

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour*
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar**
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 banana, sliced thin
  • a little butter, as needed to prepare the pan

*This rich, nutty flour is full of nutrients as well as gluten-free, so it can consumed easily by those with wheat allergies. Buckwheat flour can be found in the dry goods section, near standard flour, in most grocery stores.

**optional

In a large bowl, combine buckwheat flour, baking powder, salt and sugar if using. Whisk dry ingredients together to combine.

One at a time, add the egg, milk and oil to the buckwheat mixture, beating the mixture well after each addition.

Heat large skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Prepare the heated skillet with small amount of butter. After the butter melts pour one small ladleful of pancake batter for each pancake onto the hot, greased skillet. Place three slices of banana onto each pancake.

Cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes, or until the edges look brown and bubbles break the surface. Flip each pancake and cook on other side for approximately 1 minute, or until cooked through. Serve immediately.

February 23rd, 2015

Pansotti is a stuffed ravioli-like pasta with origins in the Liguria region of Italy. This recipe comes to us from Chef Nicoletta Grippo of Eataly and was recently featured in an Eataly cooking class.

Serves 6-12

For the Pansotti:

  • Basic Egg Pasta Dough (see recipe)
  • or
  • 60 wonton wrappers

For the Stuffing:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (about 2 medium-sized) leeks, whites only, washed well & minced
  • 4 cups spinach leaves, cleaned and steamed
  • 4 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh ricotta
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley leaves, chopped
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the Walnut Sauce:

  • 2 cups shelled walnuts
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, infused with garlic
  • 1 cup heavy cream

To prepare the stuffing:

In a small casserole pan, heat the olive oil over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the basil, then increase the heat to medium. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are tender and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

In a large bowl, combine the fresh ricotta, mascarpone, Pecorino Romano, Parmigiano Reggiano and parsley. Add the cooked spinach and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the beaten egg and mix well.

To assemble the pasta:

Roll out the pasta dough to the thickness of a lasagna sheet and cut to make 3-inch squares (or substitute wonton wrappers). Using a tablespoon, scoop and place the vegetable-cheese filling in the center of each cut square. Fold each square over to form a triangle and press the edges of the pansotti firmly to seal them tightly.

Arrange each pansotto in a single layer on baking sheets lined with lightly floured kitchen towels and cover them with additional towels until ready to cook.

To prepare the walnut sauce:

Combine the walnuts and garlic-infused olive oil in a food processor and process until a paste forms. Add water to the paste as needed. Spoon the paste into a bowl and add the cream. Beat thoroughly and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To serve the pansotti:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pansotti to the water one at a time, stirring gently as you do. Cook until they rise to the surface and the edges are tender but still firm to the bite, about 6 minutes after the water returns to a boil. Remove the pansotti from the pot, draining well, and arrange them in layers in a deep serving dish, topping each layer with a healthy layer of the walnut sauce.

February 23rd, 2015

Recipe courtesy of Nicoletta Grippo of Eataly.

Serves 6

  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled & cubed
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In a small bowl, beat the egg with the ice water and white vinegar until thoroughly combined, and set aside.

In a food processor or by hand in a bowl, cut butter into the flour, sugar, salt mixture until the butter is the size of peas. Add the egg mixture and continue to mix gently until the dough comes together.

Be careful not to over mix the dough. Shape the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for a minimum of 1 hour before using.

February 16th, 2015

Tofu and almonds provide protein to this pasta-like dish, while cilantro and a flavorful sesame dressing bring in exotic flavors. This recipe comes to us from our friends at the Almond Board of California in celebration of National Almond Day, Monday, February 16, 2015.

Serves 4

For the Noodles:

  • 8 ounces buckwheat noodles
  • 8 ounces Asian-inspired marinated tofu, such as sesame-ginger flavor
  • 1/2 cup grated or thinly sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced or chopped almonds, roasted
  • 1/3 cup diced scallions, cut on the bias or diagonal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup prepared Asian-inspired salad dressing, or 1 recipe homemade sesame dressing (recipe below)

For the Sesame Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup blended sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated red pepper flakes

Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a pot, and add noodles. Cook 6 to 8 minutes or as package instructions advise. Drain, cool, and place in a large salad bowl.

Cut tofu into small cubes or triangles and place in bowl, along with carrot, red pepper, almonds, scallions and cilantro.

Pour dressing over salad and toss gently but thoroughly. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate up to 1 day.

Sesame Dressing: Whisk together all ingredients until smooth and blended.

February 16th, 2015

Pumpkins are roasted sweet, potatoes are steamed tender and onions are caramelized in this hearty stew with flavors both sweet and savory. Curry powder and chili powder give this supper a kick, while fresh thyme lends its herbal undertone. This recipe comes to us from GF Celebration!

Serves 8

  • 2 pie pumpkins, halved and seeded
  • 3 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 5 red potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 32 ounces low sodium vegetable stock
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 red onion, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, for preparing the onions

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Place the pumpkin halves, cut side down, onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the pumpkin becomes tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside to cool.

Fill a saucepan with 1 inch of water and place it over medium heat. Add the cubed potatoes, cover and steam for about 25 minutes, or until the potatoes become tender. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside.

When the roasted pumpkin has cooled, scoop out its flesh and add it to the mixing bowl with the potatoes. Season the potatoes and pumpkin with the vegetable stock, salt, curry and chili powder. Transfer to a pot and cook over medium heat while you prepare the onions.

Place the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onions are well done and translucent. Add the caramelized onions to the stew on the stove. Season everything with the garlic and fresh thyme, taking care to stir to ensure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Add the onions to the simmering potato mixture. Stir, turn heat down to medium low and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the flavors have melded. Taste and adjust seasoning if desired. Divide into 8 portions and enjoy!

February 16th, 2015

Crepes are wrapped around vanilla custard then topped with refreshing orange and grapefruit segments. Sprigs of mint make for a lovely herbal finish to this Mardi Gras breakfast. This recipe comes to us from myrecipes.com and CookingLight.com.

Serves 8

For the filling:

  • 2 cups nonfat milk
  • 1 5 inch vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • dash of salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup low fat sour cream

For the crepes:

  • 1/2 cup nonfat milk
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • nonstick cooking spray

To complete the Louisiana Citrus Crepes:

  • 2 naval oranges, peeled and separated into segments
  • 2 red grapefruit, peeled and separated into segments
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 8 sprigs mint*

*optional

To make the filling:

Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and bean to the pan. Place the milk over medium-high heat and warm until it reaches 180°, or until tiny bubbles form around edge, but before the milk boils. Remove from heat and set aside.

Mix the 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch, dash of salt and the egg yolks together into a large bowl. Gradually whisk in 1 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture. Return the milk mixture to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook for 1 minute more and remove the pan from the stove. Spoon the filling into a bowl and discard the vanilla bean.

Stir in sour cream. Place plastic wrap on surface of custard. Chill thoroughly.

To make the crepes:

Pour the milk, water, melted butter, vanilla and egg into a blender. Add the flour, sugar and salt. Process until smooth and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Prepare an 8-inch nonstick crepe pan or skillet with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray. Place the pan over medium heat. Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Quickly tilt the pan in all directions so that the batter covers the pan with a thin film. Cook for 2 minutes. Carefully lift the edge of the crepe with a spatula to test for doneness. Turn crepe when it can be shaken loose from the pan and the underside is lightly browned. Cook 1 minute more on the other side, or until the center is set.

Place the crepe on a towel and cool completely. Repeat until all of batter is used. Stack the crepes between single layers of wax paper to prevent them from sticking.

To complete the Louisiana Citrus Crepes:

Place the orange and grapefruit segments together in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mint and toss gently until combined.

Place 1 crepe on every plate, spread about 1/3 cup chilled filling over each crepe. Fold each into a triangle. Top each serving with 1/4 cup fruit mixture. Sprinkle crepes evenly with powdered sugar, garnish with mint sprigs, if using, and enjoy.

February 16th, 2015

Apples are so naturally sweet that these crisps don’t need any sugar, just sprinklings of cinnamon, curry and ground ginger. These fruit snacks aren’t fried like most tortilla chips, simply baked in the oven to give them a delightful crunch. This recipe comes to us from Anne of Fab Frugal Food.

Serves 4

  • a little nonstick cooking spray, to prepare the pan
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 cloves
  • 4 apples, cored and sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 250. Prepare 2 baking sheets with a light layer of nonstick cooking spray.

In a large pot over high heat, bring about 5 cups of water to a boil. When water boils, add the cinnamon stick and cloves.

Place the apples slices in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry with towels.

Meanwhile, mix the curry powder, cinnamon and ginger together in a small bowl.

Lay the apple slices flat on the prepared baking sheets. Sift the spice mixture evenly over the apple slices.

Bake for about 2 hours, or until the apple slices start curling at the edges and turn golden. Cool thoroughly on wire racks and enjoy.

February 9th, 2015

Stuffed grape leaves, or dolmades, are a delicacy of countless variations hailing from different regions of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. In this version, brown rice is stir fried with onion, seasoned with parsley and mint and tossed together with chickpeas and tomatoes. This recipe comes to us from Erin of Living and Loving in LA.

Serves 5

  • 1 16 ounce jar grape leaves, drained
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 15 ounce can chick peas, rinsed, drained and roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt, to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the grape leaves in the boiling water for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.

In the same pot, place the brown rice, olive oil, sea salt, onion and garlic over medium heat. Stir well and cook for 15 minutes, stirring intermittently, or until the rice is browned and the onions are soft.

Mix the parsley, mint and tomato paste into the pot, followed by the vegetable broth and lemon juice. Allow rice mixture to cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, but not fully cooked.

Add the chopped chickpeas and diced tomatoes to the rice mixture. Season with the cumin and salt to taste.

Place a grape leaf flat on a plate. Put about 2 tablespoons of filling in the center of the leaf and roll into a bundle. Repeat until you are out of leaves and filling.

Place all the stuffed grape leaves into a pot and pour enough fresh water in to cover the bundles.

Place the pot on the stove over medium-high heat and bring back to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for an additional 15 minutes, or until the rice filling is fully cooked.