I whipped this butter up a month ago and after making a batch of these carrots I stashed it in the freezer. Today I made another batch to serve 2 people, and next week I could use what remains of the butter to serve at least 8. After making the butter all you have to do it cook the carrots, in small or large batches. This is a terrific semi-make-ahead side dish.
The herb butter can be made well in advance which, if you’re a good planner, makes this a super simple side dish to serve at a holiday meal or on a busy weeknight. I stored mine in the freezer for over a month and it was still great.
In addition to making the butter ahead you can prep the carrots up to two days in advance and store them in the fridge. That makes finishing these a breeze, taking no more than 15 minutes.
I personally loved the flavors, but my husband wasn’t crazy about the combination of herbs and pistachio. I’m still going to recommend this dish, though. I found the flavors to be a nice change from the typical flavors in cooked carrots. There is a slight bit of heat thanks to the hot sauce. The crunch of the chopped pistachios on top is really nice and adds great texture contrast. The herbs brighten things up, instead of weighing them down like brown sugar and butter do.
After cooking the carrots you drain the water, reserving some of it, and return the carrots to the pot. Then you add in your desired amount of butter and some of the water to make a sauce. The original recipe uses all of the butter for 3 pounds of carrots, but I used less and it was fine. Add less than you think you need, stir with a little water (less is more here as well) taste and add more butter if you desire. You may also want to season with salt. Once in their serving dish sprinkle with the reserved pistachios.
Carrots, peeled and cut into pieces about 2 inches long and 1/2 inch wide (1 pound serves 2-4. 3 pounds serves 6-10)
Make the Butter
Coarsely chop the pistachios in a food processor. Set aside half of the nuts. Pulse the remaining nuts until they are very fine but not pasty.
Add the parsley and mint, and pulse again until the herbs are finely chopped.
Add the butter, cheese, zest, hot sauce, and 1 tsp. salt; pulse until well blended.
If working ahead, scrape the butter onto plastic wrap, shape into a log, wrap, wrap in foil or parchment and freeze. Seal the reserved pistachios in a small zip-top freezer bag or other airtight container and freeze.
Make the Carrots
Put the carrots in a pot, add enough water to just cover them, and add a pinch of salt.
Bring to a boil, cover, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 4-5 minutes until desired tenderness.
Drain carrots, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Return to the pot and add butter (a chunk at a time adding a little water as you stir) until carrots are coated to your liking. Taste and season with salt if needed.
Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with reserved pistachios.
I have three of the best sisters on the planet. I was lucky enough to have two of them down to visit a couple weeks ago. We are all different, but we all share an interest in food and cooking. When a holiday or party is coming up we often menu plan together. Lindsey and Sarah found this recipe for an orzo salad while they were visiting and it was the perfect side dish for the steak Ben grilled for dinner. I made it again the following weekend when my parents were in town and it was a hit yet again! This salad is simple and delicious and a great choice for a summer side dish.
This salad comes together quickly, can be prepared ahead, and can be served room temperature or cold, making it a really convenient dish. You can adjust the ingredients to your liking. I used a lot of tomatoes and herbs, with a small amount of dressing and feta. You can serve more dressing and feta on the side for guests who want more of it. You could leave out the chickpeas if you don’t care for them, but I probably wouldn’t add anymore than the can called for. The chickpea to orzo ratio seemed just about perfect.
The basil and mint combination make this salad bright and refreshing, the feta is a great flavor addition, the chickpeas are a nice texture surprise and the tomatoes provide lovely flavor and color.
The first time my sister made the dressing I was almost out of red wine vinegar so she subbed in some balsamic to make up the difference. The next time I made it I used all red wine vinegar and it definitely changes the dish. I think I preferred it with a little balsamic, but both ways are quite good.
I hope this makes its way to your table this summer! You will not be disappointed.
Orzo Salad with Chickpeas, Tomatoes, Herbs and Feta
From Giada DeLaurentiis
1 1/2 cups orzo
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 to 2 cups cherry, grape or other small tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on their size
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
4-6 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste
Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (can sub in half for balsamic)
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup olive oil
Whisk vinegar, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper together in a bowl. While whisking, drizzle in the oil. Set aside. Note: You won’t use all the dressing. Save what’s left in the fridge to use on a green salad.
Cook orzo in boiling water according to package instructions, until al dente. Drain, then transfer to a serving bowl, toss and let cool.
Toss orzo with the beans, tomatoes, onions and herbs.
Drizzle with some of the dressing, taste and add more until you’re pleased with the flavor.
Toss in the feta if serving right away, otherwise cover and chill until ready to serve. Toss in the feta right before serving.
The last month has been a crazy one, and the next two aren’t going to be any different. We are moving from our sweet little rent house into a lovely suburban home with 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice big kitchen with garbage disposal, and enough counter space not to have to balance pans on top of the coffee maker. Yes. I have done this. Life will be so good. And about 5 weeks after we move in we will have a new baby on our hands, and so life will be a totally different kind of crazy. Can that be an acceptable excuse for why I haven’t blogged in a month?
I have been cooking, but haven’t been taking pictures of any of it or recording it anywhere. This is a big time bummer. One of my favorite things about having this blog is being able to search for a recipe I’ve made in the past and be reminded of what I did to change it that made it better, or the things I didn’t like that I’d change the next time around. When I don’t update the blog, I don’t have those recipes…unless I managed to write notes on them and put them somewhere safe…which is a rare event. So today I am playing catch-up.
One of the things I’ve had the luxury of participating in this summer is the Farmhouse Delivery here in Houston. When the bushel of local fruits and veg arrive on my doorstep carried by a shaggy headed hipster jamming out to whatever cool music is playing through his earbuds, I get positively giddy. Some of the items we receive are no-brainers. Peaches and blackberries are perfect in my morning yogurt and granola. Cucumbers, sweet peppers and the sweetest cherry tomatoes known to man get sliced and tossed into salads. Potatoes, onions, corn and slicing tomatoes have also been part of our meals. But then we get stuff like patty pan squash and eggplant. What am I going to do with this? I haven’t figured out the patty pan yet, but did find a use for the eggplant. So Farmhouse Delivery, thank you for helping me to explore more in my kitchen. And thanks, Sarah, for the recipe! I feel more of an obligation to use the produce fully since, well, we paid for it, AND it’s fresh and local and delicious. If I forget about a grocery store peach in the back corner of the fridge drawer I toss it out. If I were to forget a farmhouse peach I would probably cry a few tears and have a little memorial service for the sweet and forgotten little guy. On to the recipes…
Spinach, Basil & Walnut Pesto
A big bag of fresh basil came one weekend, and so I made 2 batches of this pesto. We ate it on pizza with mozzarella and farmhouse tomatoes. Another night I mixed it in with penne pasta and chopped cherry tomatoes topped with grated Parmesan. The leftovers from that meal got mixed with lots of mozzarella cheese, more pesto, more tomatoes and then baked in a casserole topped with Parmesan bread crumbs. So many easy and delicious dinners out of one batch of pesto.
4 cups baby spinach
2 cups basil
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Rinse and pat dry spinach and basil.
Put greens in the bowl of a food processor, pour walnuts over, sprinkle with salt and begin to pulse. While pulsing, add olive oil in a stream until desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Transfer to a lidded container and store covered in the fridge or freeze for later use.
Quinoa Mac and Cheese Casserole
I’ve made this twice now. It is sure to become a regular on our dinner menu. The great thing is that you can change the vegetables, spices and cheese to make it fit your tastes or what you have available. I used an onion from Farmhouse in this recipe, but other than that it’s a grocery store produce meal. Don’t worry, I’m not getting all snooty about my produce…at least not forever.
Heat a drizzle of oil over medium heat in a large, deep saucepan. Add the onion, bell peppers, scallions and saute for about four minutes, just until bell pepper has started to soften. Add the mushrooms and spinach and cook until spinach is wilted. Add the garlic and continue sauteing for another 30 seconds.
Add quinoa to the pot, followed by the chicken broth, salt, dry mustard and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until all liquid has been absorbed, stirring just a couple times.
Add 1 1/2 cups of the grated cheese and milk. Stir to combine then pour into a greased 9 x 13″ casserole dish.
In a small bowl, combine the Panko and the remaining cheese. Sprinkle on top of casserole and bake for about 30 minutes until golden.
Mediterranean Eggplant and Quinoa Salad
Eggplant, onion, zucchini and tomatoes from Farmhouse and then a great punch from the lemon dressing and an herby freshness from the parsley and mint make this my kind of summer meal. My sweet sister helped me find a recipe to use up my eggplant without feeling like I was eating eggplant. I used her suggestions of using quinoa instead of barley, and adding in a can of chickpeas and crumbled feta. This has made a terrific lunch the past couple days.
2 small to medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2-3 zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 onion, halved then sliced
10 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup chopped scallion (from 1 bunch)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups reduced sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup Kalamata or other brine-cured black olives, pitted and halved
1 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
4-6 ounces crumbled feta
Roast eggplant and zucchini: Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant and zucchini and onion with 5 tablespoons oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper in a bowl, then spread in 2 oiled large shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pans. Roast vegetables in oven, stirring occasionally and switching position of pans halfway through baking, until vegetables are golden brown and tender, 20 to 25 minutes total. Combine vegetables in 1 pan and cool.
Cook Quinoa: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 3- to 4-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook scallion, cumin and coriander, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add quinoa and cook, stirring until well coated with oil, 2 minutes more. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all of liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, 20-25 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Transfer to reserved shallow baking pan and spread to quickly cool, uncovered, to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Make dressing and assemble salad: Whisk together lemon juice, sugar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 2-3 tablespoons oil in a large bowl. Add quinoa, roasted vegetables, and remaining ingredients to bowl with dressing and toss until combined well.
While in Austin a few weeks ago my sister took me to Elizabeth Street Cafe. Eat here if you ever get the chance. It’s a French-Vietnamese cafe, which may sound strange to you (it has to a couple people I’ve told about my meal) but the marriage translates into delicious bánh mì, bún and pho as well as sweet eclairs and delicate macarons. We didn’t actually have dessert here since we’d already made plans to have ice cream at Lick. Go there too.
This was one of the yummiest meals I’ve had in a while. Vietnamese cuisine has a way of leaving you totally satisfied but not stuffed. I think it’s the abundance of fresh veggies and herbs, differences in textures and the heat and intense flavor of the sauces. We shared the pork belly steamed buns, pork bánh mì on house-made baguette, and the keffir lime fried chicken bún. All delicious.
This meal inspired me to make my own Vietnamese noodle bowl at home. I decided on a Vietnamese turkey meatball instead of fried chicken. Thanks to my Farmhouse delivery last weekend I had fresh carrots and cucumbers to use in the bowl. I made the dressing for the bún, nuoc cham. It’s a basic Vietnamese dipping sauce of lime juice, fish sauce, peppers, garlic, a touch of sugar and water. I think this a really great summer dinner. Fresh crisp veggies and herbs with warm meatballs and a spicy cool heat from the sauce.
I baked the meatballs instead of pan frying. I think there was too much liquid in the meat mixture because the baked meatballs were sitting in a pool of meatball juice (you know what I’m talking about, and it ain’t pretty) so I had to drain them. They tasted delicious and with some tweaking they could definitely be something I’d make again. Although, these meatballs I know are good and could easily be used here. The recipe below makes about 35 meatballs. I wanted to have enough to make bánh mì later in the week, which we did (2 nights in a row, in fact). Cut the meatball recipe in half if you’re only planning to use the meatballs for one meal with some leftover.
The meatballs do take some time to prep with all the chopping you have to do, and the chopping and slicing doesn’t end there. The bún is full of shredded lettuce (I used iceberg but you could use romaine) julienned carrots, cucumber slices, chopped cilantro and mint. So get your best knife and cutting board ready! I made the meatball mixture, dressing and chopped everything during nap time. This made dinner time pretty easy. All I had to do was scoop and bake the meatballs, and cook the rice noodles.
In looking at different recipe for bún I saw other vegetables used like bean sprouts, daikon and red radish. Traditionally beef is used as the protein as in this recipe from Leite’s Culinaria that looks dleicious. But pork can also be used, like in this recipe from Fine Cooking which is making me crave grilled pork at 9 in the morning.
Vietnamese Turkey Meatball Bún
(Makes about 35, you may want to cut this recipe in half)
2 pounds ground turkey
5 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
3 small shallots, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger root
2 stalks of fresh lemongrass, tender white inner bulb only, minced
4 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Nuoc Cham (Dressing)
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
1 red or green Asian chile, or serrano chile, sliced into thin rounds
1/2 head iceberg lettuce, shredded (or you can use romaine)
6-8 ounces of rice noodles (this depends on how many people you’re serving and how much you like noodles. We used 5 ounces and it made 5 servings.)
1 cucumber, sliced into half moons or halves
6-8 carrots, peeled and julienned
4 green onions, sliced
sriracha (if you need more heat!)
If baking right away, preheat the oven to 400°F. Position a rack in the top third of the oven.
Combine the turkey, fish sauce, shallots, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, herbs, egg, salt and pepper and mix with your hands until well combined but without overworking the mixture. At this point you can either refrigerate the mixture in the bowl, form into balls and cover and refrigerate on the pan, or form into balls and bake right away.
Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using slightly moistened hands, roll the mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Transfer the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet and bake them for 15-20 minutes, until they are lightly browned and cooked through.
Nuoc Cham (Dressing)
Combine warm water and sugar and stir to dissolve sugar.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and refrigerate until ready to use.
Cook rice noodles by bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and remove from the heat. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles in cool water.
Layer in deep, wide bowls: lettuce, noodles and meatballs. Arrange vegetables and herbs around the sides. Sprinkle with peanuts and green onion and drizzle with nuoc cham. Toss everything together and enjoy using fancy chopsticks (or a nice reliable fork!).
This is a meal I made fairly frequently when Ben and I first got married. I rediscovered it in an old pile of recipes I’d torn out of magazines (that need some serious organizing) and I’m glad I did. It’s easy, quick and delicious; all things I appreciated back then when I was teaching full time, and all things I look for in recipes now that I work at home full time. The ingredient list is short, there is very little prep, and you can have this on the table in about 45 minutes. Serve with rice, this orzo from Martha or with some good crusty bread to soak up the sauce. The tomatoes get nice and soft, becoming just delicious squished on a piece of bread with a little of the warm feta.
This recipe was in an old issue of Food Everyday and I was happy to find it on Martha’s website also. In reading the reviews online, a lot of people opted to used basil instead of mint, which I am sure is fantastic. I personally like the mint, but I know some people who wouldn’t. Other than that change, I’ve never felt the need to change anything. I will say that this isn’t great leftover, as is the case with most seafood in my opinion. So make a half recipe for 2 people, a full recipe for 4.
Finding tasty, refreshing vegetable side dishes can be difficult. I am all for a nice salad, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it. Steamed or roasted veggies are delicious, but when the weather is warm I want something cool. This salad is the perfect solution to all these problems! Using seasonal ingredients like fresh corn and juicy tomatoes is a great way to celebrate summer. The fresh basil and mint in the salad make it even more delicious.
I only made one slight change to this recipe. Since I am not a huge fan of drowning a salad in dressing, I simply drizzled the dressing over each individual serving of salad. You don’t need much to add a nice zesty, and tangy flavor to this salad. I left one serving completely naked except for a light sprinkling of salt and thought it was great. The herbs provide so much flavor alone that you could do without the dressing completely. It is up to you.
I served this with Quick Tandoori Chicken, here is the link. I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. The flavors were robust and yummy, but I wouldn’t serve these two things together again. Serving this salad with a simple grilled steak or simple flavored grilled chicken would be wonderful so that you don’t have competing flavors.
2-1/4 cups fresh corn kernels (from about 3 medium ears)
2 Tbs. plain low-fat yogurt
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. clover honey
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Freshly ground black pepper
1 heaping cup quartered cherry tomatoes (about 15)
1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh mint
1/4 cup very thinly sliced fresh basil
Cook the edamame according to package directions. Drain and set aside to cool completely.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kernels are golden brown in patches, about 9 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the yogurt, lemon juice, honey, garlic, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Slowly pour in the remaining 4 Tbs. olive oil, whisking constantly until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a medium serving bowl, combine the cooled edamame and corn, the tomatoes, and the herbs. Gently toss. Add half of the vinaigrette and gently toss. Add more vinaigrette and salt and pepper to taste. Serve at room temperature.