Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fusilli with Lemony Kale, Toasted Sunflower Seeds and Feta

I am able to grow kale year-round here in Southern CA. This dish came about after I picked a huge amount and made a double batch of kale salad.  I decided I wanted something a bit more substantial for dinner and having twice as much kale salad as I normally make, this pasta was what came to mind. It's very good!  The salty feta with lemon and basil, the crunch from the toasted sunflower seeds makes a refreshing pasta dish.

Fusilli with Lemony Kale, Toasted Sunflower Seeds and Feta

Serves 6-8 


1 pound kale (1 large bunch, I use Lacinato Kale)
Juice from 2 lemons
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
4 TB extra-virgin olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup feta cheese (I used sheep’s milk feta)
Fresh Italian basil leaves, torn
1 pound dry fusilli or penne pasta (I used a bit of both)

Cook pasta according to package directions. While your pasta is cooking, strip the kale from the stalks, rinse well in cool water, and dry well.

Slice kale into small pieces and place in large, shallow serving bowl. Pour the lemon juice and olive oil over the kale.  Massage this into the kale by rubbing between your fingers; I use food grade, gloved hands for this so the lemon won’t hurt my hands! It will take about 5 minutes to get the kale soft; it will look much darker and very shiny in color when you are finished.

Add the minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, and feta cheese to the kale, toss lightly and season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked, drained pasta to the kale mixture. The pasta should still be hot when you add it to the kale mixture.

Sprinkle with the toasted sunflower seeds, some fresh torn basil leaves, and check for the need of additional lemon juice, feta or seasoning.   Now you're ready to serve.

Lemony Kale with Feta and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

Friday, August 22, 2014

Red Cabbage Slaw with Edamame, Sunflower Seeds and Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette

This Asian flavor influenced slaw is crisp and refreshing, which I prefer over the traditional heavy mayo laced dressings you typically find in coleslaw recipes.  Added bonus:  you get that CRUNCH that so many of us love, not to mention the healthy protein from edamame, vitamin B and E plus copper, manganese and calcium that you get from the sesame and sunflower seeds.

Red Cabbage Slaw with Edamame, Sunflower Seeds and Ginger Sesame Vinaigrette
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Serves 4 
2 cups thinly sliced Red Cabbage
1 Carrot, shredded, (about ½ cup)
½ cup Edamame (soybeans)
2 tbsp. Toasted, Salted Sunflower Seeds
1 tbsp. Toasted, Sesame Seeds 
2 tbsp. low-sodium Soy Sauce or Tamari Sauce
2 tbsp. Seasoned Rice Wine Vinegar
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 tsp. Toasted Sesame Oil
1 tbsp. Raw Honey or Agave
2 tsp. minced fresh Ginger
1 Garlic Clove, minced

1.   Combine cabbage, edamame, carrots, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds in a medium size bowl; set aside while you make the vinaigrette.

2.   Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and pour over cabbage mixture, allow the flavors to meld together for 1-2 hours, covered, in the refrigerator. 


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Eggplant Provencal Tartine

No real recipe needed here, just see what you have growing in the garden and there you will find dinner!

I made these for our dinner on the night of the full moon.  I didn't want to have to fuss over anything cooking since we were not sure when the moon would show over the hills to the East.  It finally showed up around 9:00 pm!

Around 7 pm, I cut up the small eggplants, tossed in some purple green beans, various varieties of cherry tomatoes, fresh garlic, sliced onion and basil.  Tossed it all together in some delicious California Olive Oil
then baked in a 400 degree oven for 30-40 minutes. I stirred it once about halfway through cooking.

The vegetables roast up soft and sweet, no need for cheese on these tartines.  The onion was so creamy that we used those and the garlic to spread on the bread first.  The eggplant, creamy soft, chewy and succulent, roasted to perfection.

Then all you need do is make some toast from your favorite ciabatta bread, pile on the vegetables, add some fresh basil, sprinkle with a little sea salt and there you have it.  Dinner for two, perfect for an evening under the stars and the most magnificent moon of the year!

Fresh from the Garden, Japanese Eggplants and Purple Beans
Lots of Cherry Tomatoes from the garden!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Farro and White Wheat Berry Greek Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Feta

We eat a lot of one-bowl salads/meals.  They are quick to put together and you can add all sorts of grains, vegetables and herbs to vary the mix.

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Farro and White Wheat Berry Greek Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts and Feta

Makes 8 servings

  • 1 cup (dry) Farro
  • 1 cup (dry) Soft White Wheat Berries
  • ½  tsp Sea Salt

Several hours ahead or the night before, soak the farro and wheat berries in a bowl of water, to cover.  Drain, place in saucepan and cover the grains with water, about two inches over the top of the grain.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender but still firm, al denté.  Drain and allow to cool.

Thai Basil fresh from my garden
Heirloom Hillbilly variety Tomatoes from my garden
Fresh Parsley from my patio herb pot

  • ¼ cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • Juice from one Lemon
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • 1 TB Oregano, dried
  • 4 TB Parsley leaves, rough chop
  • 4 TB Basil leaves, rough chop
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp ground Pepper
  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
Whisk all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Set aside while you prepare the salad


  • 1 red Bell Pepper, diced
  • 3 small Persian Cucumbers, diced
  • 2 large Tomatoes, diced in large chunks
  • ¼ of a large Red Onion, minced
  • Cooked Grains
  • Feta Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts (optional)

Toss all ingredients together in the bowl of Vinaigrette.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.  Keep in mind that tomatoes taste best when room temperature.
 **Add a bit of Feta Cheese and Toasted Pine Nuts to each serving.  I forgot to take the photo after I plated.  The crunch of the nuts and the tangy, saltiness of the feta is a perfect addition.