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SUPER LOW-STRESS SUMMER SALAD

I adapted this from a “Green Goddess Salad” but I can’t find it now and I didn’t like that name.  This is a loosely measured salad, which means that you don’t need to stress about relative quantities.  But, as I learned the hard way, don’t go crazy with the substitutions (e.g. lime for lemon juice, yuck).

Super, cuz it’s got lots of high quality fats, proteins and vitamins.  It’s also got a great combo of tastes and textures.  To completely avoid cooking on a hot evening, cook the farro in the morning and let it sit in the fridge.  Let it come to room temp before using.

Anchovy Dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ small shallot, minced

juice from one lemon

2 big squirts Anchovy paste

big pinch of parsley leaves, minced

pinch sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Step one:  combine first three ingredients in a jar, shake, let sit for ten minutes.  Step two: add rest of ingredients and shake well.

Salad:

2 handfuls of dinosaur/Tuscan kale leaves, preferably about 6” long

1 big handful of arugula, chopped

1 handful flat leafed parsley leaves, chopped

1 palmful minced mint leaves (or basil, or tarragon)

1 palmful minced chives

1 big handful cooked and shelled edamame

1 small cucumber, diced

2 cups cooked farro*

1 hard boiled egg, diced

½ avocado per person, diced

Make dressing step one.

Stem and chop the kale leaves.  Place in a large mixing bowl.  Spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Massage the kale by gathering it into your fists and gently squeezing and rubbing until it has all darkened in color and begun to soften.  Add the rest of the ingredients except for the avocado and gently fold together (preferably with your hands).  Finish the dressing and drizzle it on sparingly, mixing it in gently and adding more to taste.  Serve with diced avocado on top, as well as additional parsley or a few crumbles of feta cheese or seeds or nuts of choice.

*Cooking Farro:

Combine 1 cup pearled farro with 2 cups water and ½ teaspoon salt.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, until al dente.  Drain if necessary.  If not using pearled farro, add another ½ cup of water and cook 40 – 50 minutes.

FAMILY COOKING ACADEMY: end of summer menu

My friend Annie and I have kept our FAMILY COOKING ACADEMY or “FCA” (kid-created labels) going for over two years now:  our two families gather quarterly to plan, shop for, cook and of course eat a menu featuring seasonal, local produce from our Farmer’s Markets.  We often include meat, but this time we decided to go completely vegetarian.  My husband was suspicious, but halfway through the meal he said, “I didn’t think I was going to like this, but everything is really great!”

 

The amount of helping (or trying new things) always varies with the kids, but all of them really seem to love it.  When we shop at the farmer’s market, they often run off to the playground, but we can usually get them to take photos or help us hunt for items.

Annie and I do the planning via email in the week before, bouncing ideas off of each other.  We do mostly new-to-us recipes and as you’ll see choose recipes that are quite complicated.  We have a couple of chefs-in-training that are detail oriented, and lots of hands, so we keep that in mind.

 

Then the host writes up a basic plan of attack – and then we fumble our way through it – teaching the kids (and each other) techniques as we go.

 

To me, this is a dinner party at it’s best:  the food is fabulous, but the “performance anxiety” is nil.  Everyone contributes (including washing dishes as we go) and because the kids are so involved, we feel like we are passing on our love of cooking from scratch and eating seasonally to them.  We hope you’ll be inspired to try this with family friends as well!

 

Here’s our most recent menu:

 

RATATOUILLE’S RATATOUILLE

BULGUR LETTUCE WRAPS

CORN CAKES WITH TOMATO & AVOCADO SALSA

Sourcream & Cheddar Biscuits

APPLESAUCE COCOA CAKE

THE COOKIE JAR IS FULL

Sad Cookie Jar

Call me crazy, but to me, homemade cookies are a good thing.  Making them, I get some fun time with my kids, or contemplative time on my own.  They fill the house with good smells.  And even though they are filled with sugar and flour and (oftentimes) chocolate – I know the real ingredients that are going into them, and I can make some thoughtful substitutions.

Besides adding in some whole wheat flour and reducing sugar, my favorite thing to sub for all purpose flour is 1/4 cup of almond meal.  TJ’s has the best, I think.  It adds some protein and richness at the same time.

Following are a bunch of simple drop and bar cookies to fill up your cookie jar.  Let me know what you think!

Happy Cookie Jar