Tag Archives: recipes

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
spinach

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.

 

 

Barley and Chickpea Salad


This salad, or some version thereof, has become my go-to salad this spring / summer season.  Last year was the summer of quinoa and I think this might become the summer of barley.  Or maybe wheatberries (I can’t wait to try this recipe).  In any case, with Burning River Farms delivering our CSA goodies weekly now, I’m trying to think of creative ways to eat up all those greens.  Although few things beat a regular ol’ green salad, mixing in some grains really does make for a heartier meal.

Barley and Chickpea Salad (adapted from Cooking Light, April 2011)
1 c. uncooked pearl barley
2 c. arugula, spinach or kale, chopped
1 c.  chopped bell pepper
3 Tbsp. chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1 c. dried chickpeas (about 2 or 3 cups cooked)
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
8 kalamata olives, drained and quartered
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios

Step 1:  Prepare the chickpeas.  Soak overnight, or for at least 4 hours.  Rinse thoroughly before cooking.  Put chickpeas in a stock pot and cover with water.   Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes, or until chickpeas are cooked through.
Step 2:  Prepare the barley.
Step 3.  Mix peppers, olives, tomatoes, barley, chickpeas and greens* together.
Step 4.  Whisk olive oil, lemon and spices together.  Add to chickpea mixture.
Step 5:  Sprinkle pistachios over each serving as desired.
* If using kale, steam it just a bit before mixing it in.

Barley and Chickpea Salad

Bran Muffins (and brief update on my vacation)


Another delay in posts, I know!  But a friend of mine and I were traveling in Scotland for two weeks, hiking the West Highland Way, and I just couldn’t post from the trail.  And last week was jet-lag recovery so cut me some slack (ahem, mom).

The trip was amazing, once we actually got there.  We departed the day the volcano in Iceland errupted, and since we were flying Icelandair, our flights were canceled.  This resulted in an unanticipated stay in Toronto for a day where we ate the best chocolate and gelatto ever (Well, for me.  I’ve never been to Italy so that opinion is subject to change.)  If you ever find yourself delayed in Toronto, head down to the Distillery District and go to Soma Chocolatemaker for some tasty treats.

Best chocolate ever. Soma chocolate maker, Toronto

Anyway, when we finally did get to cross the pond over to London, our flight to Scotland was canceled because the ash from the volcano had drifted over our destination.  Thankfully, (mostly) reliable train transportation exists in the U.K. so we took a train to Glasgow, found a hotel, and then the next morning took a train to Balloch and bus to Balmaha so we could get caught up on the trail.  Of course, the train to Balloch was canceled but by day 3 (or was it 4?) of our vacation, and still not at our actual destination, this didn’t really phase us.

Just let us get to the trail!!

After a brief encounter with what we can only assume was a crazy Scottish woman who insisted that we were deaf since we couldn’t understand anything she said, we really did finally get on the trail.  And we walked and walked and walked.  And though we were delayed in getting there, it was worth the wait.

Loch Lomond

Not a bad view, right?  I must also share these pictures of “wildlife” I took for my parents.  Sheep for my mom, the knitter, and beef for my dad the beef farmer.

Sheep

Highland Beef

I should note that we were not standing in a cow pasture when we took the picture of the beef.  Rather, they were on the trail.  My friend calmly stated, “Alyssa, I grew up in Chicago and this is scaring the crap out of me.”  To which I replied, “I grew up on a farm.  Our beef do not have horns like that.  This scares the crap out of me!”  But we had nothing to worry about.  Apparently these beef are used to hikers and ignored us as we gingerly walked on by.

Shortly after passing the beefers, I thought to myself that it would be really nice to have some delicious food that night after hiking.  Most of the food we had since arriving was sort of blah.  Turns out my wish was granted when we arrived at the Bridge of Orchy hotel.  The only eating establishment in the town, the Bridge of Orchy served up some very tasty treats.  Upon the advice of a group of Scottish hikers we met on the trail, we were daring enough to try the Crisp Haggis and Chicken Money Bags which were quite tasty.  We were not yet willing to commit to the Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, though (that’s haggis, turnips and potatoes if you don’t speak Scottish).  All in due time.

After such a satisfying meal, we hit the trail the next day only to be pelted by hail.  You wouldn’t believe it for some of the pics I took that day, but the weather was horrendous (make sure you roll the ‘r’ as much as possible when you read that.  Think Sean Connery times 10).  It took a lot of energy just to stay on the trail and not be blown off the side of the mountain.  Good thing we had that haggis in our bellies to weigh us down.

Between Bridge of Orchy and Kingshouse, Scotland

Despite the beautiful pictures we took that day, it was the last day of our hike. The weather forecast wasn’t in our favor for the remainder of our hike, so we cut our losses and left the trail alive and well.  We embarked on a new adventure – eating haggis, neeps and tatties anywhere it’s served.

Haggis, neeps and tatties are good.  Haggis on nachos are also decent.  (Yes, you read that right.  Haggis + nachos.)  But one should not eat too much haggis.  It will make your belly hurt.

Which brings me to today’s recipe.  If you find that you’ve eaten too much haggis, or too much of anything for that matter, I recommend eating some bran muffins.  Activa yogurt? Bah!  Fiber One bars?  Double bah!  Just bake up these bran muffins and I promise all will be right in your tummy.  I found this recipe a few months ago and have been meaning to share it with you for ages, but alas, just as I had to wait to finally arrive at the West Highland Way, you too needed to wait for this recipe.  But I promise, in both cases, the wait is worthwhile!

Bran Muffins (from Susan at Farmgirl Fare.  I love the name of her blog.  And all of her recipes.)
2 c. wheat bran
1 c. oat bran
1 c. whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 c. yogurt
2/3 c. milk
1/3 c. molasses
1/3 c. honey
1/3 c. canola oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. frozen fruit (I usually use cranberries, but see Farmgirl Fare for other delicious options).

Heat oven to 375o.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.  Whisk the wet ingredients together in a bowl.  Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix with a rubber spatula until just combined.  Add fruit to batter.  Scoop into greased muffin tin.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Bran muffins

Pistachio-Chai Muffins


Dear Faithful Readers,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve last posted, but I have a confession to make.  After March Maple Madness a couple of unintended side effects took hold.  First, and foremost, I was coming dangerously close to disliking maple syrup.  Oh, the horrors!  What would I pour on pancakes if I didn’t like maple syrup anymore?  More importantly, would my dad disown me (I mean, he was pretty upset when I told him I don’t like cows milk…thankfully Grandma stuck up for me on that one)?  So, clearly, I had to take it easy on the syrup for at least 2 good reasons.  Second, I was just plain sick of blogging.  I’m glad I took part in my 20 day experiment of daily blogging because it gives me new appreciation for those who blog day in and day out.  I just don’t have enough linguistic fodder to pull that off on a daily basis.  Sorry, folks.  The final unintended consequence, though not wholly unpredictable, was that my pants no longer fit comfortably.  Despite my morning swims, all those maple goodies caught up with my waistline.  And though I did spend copious amounts of money on a new spring wardrobe, apparently my pocketbook does have its limits.

So, for the past two weeks I was doing a modified version of the Fat Flush to reboot my system.  My mom introduced me to the Fat Flush a couple of years ago and I like to do it when I’ve had just a little too much sugar.  Like my dad, I don’t have one sweet tooth, but rather a whole mouth full of sweet teeth, and though I love sugar, I know it won’t love me if I over do it.  Anyway, the Fat Flush was a success, and though the recipes are good, many of them are not VVG and thus inappropriate for this blog.

What is appropriate however, is this muffin I made today to kick off a new era of non-maple recipes.  This is my “I’m back” recipe!  I promise that more will be coming!

Pistachio-Chai Muffins (from May, 2011 Cooking Light)
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 chai tea bags, opened
1 c. low-fat buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1/3 c. shelled dry-roasted pistachios, chopped
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. water

1.  Preheat oven to 375.
2.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Cut open tea bags and add to mixture.  Make a well in the center of the mixture.  Combine buttermilk, butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and egg in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture, stirring until just moist.
3.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray.  Divide batter evenly among tins, filling about 2/3 full.  Spring nuts evenly over batter.  Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cook for 5 minutes on a wire rack.
4.  Combine remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla, powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp. water in a bowl until smooth.  Drizzle over muffins.

Pistachio-Chai muffins on plates

Thanks to Michael Diener for the picture!

Multigrain Maple Muffins


I made these muffins a few weeks ago in lieu of my go-to bran muffins (which I will report on after this March Maple Madness thing is over.  Promise).  These are pretty good. Not super sweet, but just sweet enough.

Multigrain Maple Muffins (recipe adapted slightly from The Sprouted Kitchen)
1/2 c. wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. wheat bran
1/2 c. oatmean
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. powdered ginger
1 1/2 tsp. baking Powder
1/2 tsp. baking Soda
2 eggs
1 c. maple syrup
1 c. buttermilk
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. chopped pecans

1.  Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease or spray your muffin tins, or use papers.
2.  Whisk all dry ingredients (up to the eggs) together in a large mixing bowl.
3.  Separate the egg yolks from the whites. In the bowl with the yolks, add the maple, vanilla and buttermilk and whisk to combine. Beat or use an electric mixer to whip up the egg whites until they just start to hold shape.
4. Mix the maple mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the yogurt and 1/2 cup of the pecan pieces and gently fold in. Lastly, just before you’re ready to put batter into the tins, fold in the whipped egg whites. Because the dough is somewhat heavy, try to fold from the outside of the bowl in, to not deflate the egg whites.
5. Fill the tins about about 3/4 full. Sprinkle the top with a few chopped pecans and a few oat flakes. Bake on the middle rack for 20-23 minutes (cooking times may vary depending on tin). Remove and cool.

MMM Day 10: Sweet Potato Soup with Nutmeg and Maple Syrup…and Bacon.


So. The taps have been in for 10 days.  10 days.  10 recipes.  Any bets on how many more days the taps will be in?  Because I’m running out of inspiration.  Ok, not really.  I still have numerous maple recipes to try out.  I think Grandma would be proud of my dedication to this March Maple Madness project.

Grandma watching the sap

Grandma watching the sap boil, once upon a time.

Sweet Potato Soup with Nutmeg, Maple Syrup and Bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
5 cups sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (1 – 2 pounds)
4 veggie broth
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 slices bacon, cooked and cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Cook bacon until just crispy.  Drain and set aside.  Cut into 1/2″ pieces.

Melt butter in large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes. Add chopped celery stalks and sauté until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add sweet potatoes, veggie broth, cinnamon, and nutmeg and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered until potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove cinnamon stick and discard. Working in batches, puree soup in blender until smooth. Return to pot. Add half and half and maple syrup and stir over medium-low heat to heat through.  Ladle into bowls and sprinkle bacon on top.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Sweet Potato Soup with Maple Syrup and Bacon

MMM Day 7: Maple Date Smoothie


I drove home to Wisconsin today to – guess what – help make syrup. The trees weren’t running today so there’s no sap to pick up, but hopefully after a good freeze tonight we’ll have plenty of sap tomorrow. With any luck, we’ll be able to do some cooking tomorrow evening!

If you don’t know how sap becomes syrup, I think this song by Pete Seeger sums up the process pretty well, especially the important detail that you need warm days and freezing nights (more on that tomorrow!).

In anticipation of tomorrow’s work, I think an energy drink might be in order. And what better fuel than maple syrup?

Maple Date Smoothie
1 small banana
small handful walnuts
3 or 4 whole dates (no pits!)
1 – 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
1/8 c. yogurt
1/4 c. milk

Blend all ingredients together and enjoy!

Maple Date Smoothie