Category Archives: Sides

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad

The wheat berry is one of my favorite grains so I was excited to try out this Waldorf Salad recipe I discovered in the November / December issue of Midwest Living.  I brought it over to my friend’s today for lunch and we both agreed it was pretty good.

There are a lot of pretty good recipes and stories in this issue of Midwest Living, actually.  One of my favorites is a story of a Christmas cookie – Date Pinwheel Cookies – featured on page 26 by a Minneapolis blogger.  Oh wait!  That blogger is me!  I was pretty honored to be asked to contribute a story for this issue of the magazine and I think that my grandma would be pleased as punch to see one of her recipes in a glossy magazine, even if she never would have submitted it herself.

In any case, if you’re looking for some tasty, Midwestern holiday recipes, whether they be cookies or grain salads, you’ll want to check out this very special (at least to me!) issue of Midwest Living.

Wheat Berry Waldorf Salad (from Midwest Living)
2 1/2 c. water
3/4 c. wheat berries, rinsed
1/3 c. olive oil
1 Tbsp.  dried parsely
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large apples, chopped (ML suggests one Granny Smith and one Braeburn; I used one Fireside and one Honeycrisp)
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. dried currants (or cranberries, cherries or raisins)
1/2 c. grapes, halved
4 Tbsp. slivered almonds

1.  In a small bowl, combine the water and wheat berries.  Cover and chill in your refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.  Do not drain; transfer to a medium saucepan.  Bring to boiling and then reduce to a simmer, covered for 30 mins or until tender with a chewy texture.  Drain and cool.  (I admit, I forgot to do this step and just cooked the wheat berries, sans soaking.  I think they’re fine.)
2.  Prepare the dressing.  In a screw-top jar, combine oil, parsley, vinegar, juice, sugar, salt and nutmeg.  Drizzle dressing over wheat berries, stirring to coat.
3.  In a large bowl, toss apples, celery, cranberries, and grapes.  Stir in wheat berry mixture and mix well.  Serve immediately, or chill for up to 4 hours.
4.  Serve over a bed of spinach and garnish with almonds.




Grilled Peach and Red Pepper Salsa

I don’t have a good story to go with this recipe so I’ll keep it short and sweet and instead suggest that you run to your local grocer, farmer’s market or garden and collect the ingredients listed below.  Then, chop quickly so you can do your cooking out of doors and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Grilled Peach and Red Pepper Salsa (adapted from Epicurious)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. fresh basil, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 small peaches, halved or 2 large
1 medium to large red bell pepper, quartered
2 rings purple onion
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

Mix oil, garlic, basil and mint together.  Brush peaches with oil mixture and grill cut side down over a medium high heat 5 – 8 minutes, or until just browned.  Remove from grill and cool.  Brush onions with oil mixture and grill until done, about 5 – 10 minutes.  Brush pepper with olive oil and place peel side down on grill.  Grill for 8 – 10 minutes, or until peel is blackened.  Place pepper in a paper bag for 10 minutes.  Peel skin off.
Cut peaches, pepper and onion into 1/2″ cubes.  Put cubed fruits and vegetables in oil mixture.  Add vinegar and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Serve over grilled chicken or enjoy with chips.

Moroccan Carrot Soup

My mom is addicted to magazines a magazine devotee. Whenever I go to my parents there are tons of magazines, begging to be flipped through.  Earlier this fall, I stumbled upon one I didn’t recognize – Mary Jane’s Farm.  To my brusque, “What is this one?” my mom responded, “Oh, it’s some hippie from Idaho.  You’d like it.”

As usual, my mom was right.  I do like this Mary Jane hippie woman.  A cursory glance of her website tells me she is a busy-bee hippie woman at that.  She’s got a magazine to her name, a B&B, some sort of educational farm, and all sorts of earthy-type goods. I love that!  More importantly though, her soup recipe, which I made last night was fast and easy – perfect for a weeknight meal – and delicious.

Moroccan Carrot Soup (from Mary Jane’s Farm)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
3 c. diced carrots
3 c. vegetable broth
1/4 c. minced parsley (I used an unidentified quantity of dried)
1 T. honey
1 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. ground cumin
1/2 t. ground allspice

Saute onion and garlic in oil.  Add carrots and vegetable broth; bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.  Add parsley.  Purée.  Stir in honey, lemon juice, and spices.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

Moroccan Carrot Soup

Spinach Risotto with Roquefort

Yesterday I came home early from work with a stomach flu.  I haven’t had a stomach flu in years -probably not since leaving the farm, to be honest.  Anyway, I seemed to remember my mom giving my brothers and me some sort of magic liquid that made the flu go away, so naturally I called her yesterday to ask for “you know, that magic liquid that made the flu go away?” recipe.  I remember it having a raw egg in it.  My mom, wise one that she is, said she has no recollection of serving us raw eggs ever.  Says it was probably some recipe grandma gave her that she doesn’t remember.  So…I didn’t get the recipe I was looking for.

Somewhat disappointed about not getting the magic recipe, I consoled myself by thinking of how being sick wasn’t all that bad.  The following thoughts ran through my head:
“At least I didn’t have any meetings or have to miss class today.”
“At least my back doesn’t seem to be hurting anymore.”
“At least I can breathe again because the cold I had last week seems to be gone.”
“At least I don’t have to chase cows.”

Wait.  What’s that last one?  “At least I don’t have to chase cows?!?”

I’m all for looking on the bright side of things but the fact that “At least I don’t have to chase cows” ran through my head as something normally associated with the flu scared even me!  Who chases cows when they have the flu?

Umm, oh that’s right – me.  Once upon a time, maybe in junior high, I was home sick with the stomach flu.  My dad came in from outside and said to me, “What are you up to?”
“I’m sick.  That’s why I’m not at school.”
“Huh.  How bad are you?  Want to chase cows?” (I’m sure there was a wink to go with that question.)
“Not really.  I’m sick.  That’s why I’m not —”
“Can you make it 20 minutes?”
“I don’t know, Dad.  I don’t feel —-”
“Ok, see you out there!”
Door slams.
Next thing I know I’m out in the pasture helping my dad chase cows.  Actually, I don’t think I did much chasing because I had the flu and couldn’t really run anywhere except to the bathroom.

Anyway, turns out I didn’t need that magic liquid recipe yesterday because as they say, laughter is the best medicine.  Really – how can you not laugh at the absurdity of thanking your lucky stars that you don’t have to chase cows as a consolation for being sick?!  Guess chasing cows cured me, one way or another.

Today I’m back on solid foods and decided to make this spinach risotto.  It’s much more appealing than the cinnamon-sugar toast I was eating yesterday.

Spinach Risotto with Roquefort
Spinach Broth
In a 2 to 3 quart pan over medium-high heat, stir 1 c. chopped onion and 1 tsp. minced garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until onion is barely limp.  Add 3 cups packed rinsed spinach leaves and stir until wilted, about 1 minute.  Add 4 cups vegetable stock.  Puree mixture, one half at a time.  Return to pan and bring to a simmer.  Add about 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.  Makes about 4 1/2 cups.

1/2 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/4 tsp. olive oil
1 c. arborio rice
3 – 4 c. hot spinach broth (see above)
1 Tbsp Roquefort or other blue cheese (I always use just a wee bit more)

In a 2 – 3 quart nonstick pan over medium-high heat, mix onion, garlic and olive oil.  Add rice and stir until onion is barely limp, 2 – 3 minutes.
Stir 1 c. spinach broth and bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to maintain simmer and stir until liquid is absorbed, 2 – 3 minutes.  Add 2 more cups broth, 1/2 c. at a time, stirring after each addition until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender but still has a slight bite, 20 – 25 minute total.  If rice isn’t done, add more broth and stir until risotto is creamy.
Crumble cheese into risotto and stir until blended.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Makes about 3 1/2 cups.

Photo from Michael Diener‘s awesome iPhone.