Picking Arugula

Today I picked the last of the Arugula growing in my garden. Not sure if you even like Arugula? Or like my brother-in-law said when I showed him my arugula, "I thought that was weeds!!" Ha!

Here's a great recipe I've adapted and made on several occasions with farro (which is a wonderful grain). You can also use brown rice or orzo.

farro arugula salad

I rinsed and then toasted my farro in a little sautéed garlic and shallots and used chicken broth instead of water for cooking the farro. If vegan - use vegetable broth.

I added English cucumber, crumbled feta and made a dressing using the juice of a couple of oranges, fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. If you like your dressing a little sweet add a little honey or agave. I also toasted pine nuts to sprinkle on top.

Here's the basic recipe from the Proud Italian Cook blog:

Farro & Arugula Salad Recipe

Roasting Fresh Vegetables

Oven roasting vegetables is by far my favorite way to prepare and eat fresh vegetables. I absolutely love the sweet natural flavor that comes from roasting vegetables. During the winter months there are so many good root vegetables available for roasting, and during this time of year I roast a ton of fresh veggies. Some of my favorite vegetables to roast are multi-colored fingerling potatoes, fennel, carrots, red onions, snap peas, peppers, turnips, and small pieces of corn on the cob.  Amazingly, even the normally bitter tasting turnip become sweet when roasted. That’s because something sort of magic happens during the roasting process. The high heat transforms the vegetables by causing them to caramelize, leaving a natural sweet flavor.

Keep in mind that different vegetables require different roasting times. That’s because softer vegetables and those that hold moisture like peppers, leeks, zucchini, asparagus, tomatoes, mushrooms and green beans take less time than hard root vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, parsnips. Try to combine vegetables with similar roasting times together to ensure even cooking.

When using a conventional oven, I usually roast my vegetables at about 425 degrees, but you can roast vegetables between 375 and 475 degrees. At 425 degrees my vegetables are usually ready in about 20 minutes. The higher the temperature, the shorter the cooking time. The vegetables are done when the centers are soft and creamy and the outer edges are golden and crispy. Be sure and watch them carefully if roasting at higher temperatures.

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What you’ll need

  • A cookie sheet (a flat pan works best. A roasting pan with the higher sides can cause your vegetables to steam rather than roast)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Parchment Paper (or spray your cookie sheet to prevent sticking)
  • Salt and Pepper

Step 1

Preheat oven to 425

At this high temperature, most vegetables will roast in about 15- to 20 minutes.

Step 2

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Helps to keep the vegetables from sticking and makes for easier cleanup. If you don’t have parchment paper, spray your cookie sheet with cooking spray.

Step 3

Cut vegetables evenly. Cut your vegetables in similar sizes, to help them roast and brown close to the same time. Throw vegetables in a large bowl and sprinkle with extra virgin oil and toss. Use your hands if needed to make sure covered on all sides. A couple of tablespoons per pan should be sufficient. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Step 4

Spread vegetables evenly on a baking sheet with low sides. Metal is best for roasting.

If your pan is too crowded, your vegetables will steam rather than roast. If you have too many vegetables to fit onto one pan, use two. Also position them near the edges of the pan which makes them brown better.

Step 5

Be sure to stir vegetables a few times while cooking so they will brown evenly on all sides.

Step 6 – ENJOY!

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with roasting, try experimenting. Here are some ideas:

  • Try different oils like coconut oil, peanut oil or safflower oil. Just make sure your oil is very fresh.
  • Add some aromatics like onions, garlic, ginger, shallots, leeks
  • Add herbs like thyme, sage, rosemary, bay leaf
  • Spice it up with chili power or curry
  • Finish with something spicy or crunchy like nuts
  • Roast vegetables and fruit together like butternut squash with apples.

Roasting Guides

http://www.healwithfood.org/chart/vegetable-oven-roasting-times.php

http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/how-to/article/simple-roasted-vegetables

Source: http://www.healwithfood.org/chart/vegetable-oven-roasting-times.php#ixzz3yB8rV3vc

 

 

 

 

Let’s Make a Conserve

I have an extensive library of both old and new canning books, magazines and recipes that I have collected over the years, and I still refer to several of my old books from time to time for a good throwback recipe. I discovered several of my favorite conserve recipes in some of these classic canning books. One of my books is titled “Putting Food By” – which is what they used to call it back in the day when my Great Grandmother, Mother Dear, we called her “Mu-dear” was growing grapevines and canning all sorts of things from her garden. What great memories. I remember sitting on her front porch shelling a bushel of purple hull peas, which were then canned or frozen.

SO WHAT IS A CONSERVE?

Conserves look just like jam and they have the same consistency, except they take it up a notch or two. A Conserve is made with a combination of fruits, including citrus, nuts and/or raisins. Conserves are excellent paired with meat and poultry dishes, and also very good as a topping for desserts –or just on a good biscuit.

I’ve canned quite a few combinations of conserve recipes over the years, but my favorite by far is Peach and Orange Conserve with Slivered Almonds. I know I have made hundreds of jars of this Conserve.

There are now some very interesting contemporary combinations that I plan to try. Some include the use of cardamom and pistachio nuts. Here are some other combinations for Conserves to think about.

Apple-Sour Cherry Conserve With Toasted Almonds
Cranberry and Orange Conserve with Chopped Pecans
Fig, Orange and Pistachio Conserve
Cranberry Apple Conserve with Walnuts
Cranberry Pear Conserve with Fresh Ginger
Rhubarb-Strawberry Conserve
Apricot and Pineapple Conserve
Pear and Orange Conserve
Tomato-Apple Conserve
Cantaloupe-Peach Conserve
Gooseberry Conserve

Check out my Peach and Orange Conserve Recipe.