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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios

Farro is a food composed of the grains of certain wheat species. If you love barley you’ll definitely love Farro. Farro has a slightly nuttier flavor with a chewy texture that’s really delicious.  If you’re one that doesn’t/can’t eat sweets, for one reason or another, this dish will satisfy all those cravings. The natural sweetness in dried fruit once rehydrated is super intense.

Prepared similar to pasta, Farro is cooked in water until tender, or if you prefer, Al Dente. Farro With Cranberries, Pineapple, And Pistachios give a slightly sweeter take on the many traditional recipes that are available.

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (2)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (4)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (3)

Cranberry, Pineapple, And Pistachio Farro (5)

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: 3-quart sauce pot

Ingredients:
1 cup of uncooked Farro, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth (or water)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/8 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh basil, finely julienned (substitute fresh mint)

Directions:
In a large saucepot on medium heat, place 1 cup of farro with 3 cups of unsalted vegetable broth and the dried fruit. Bring to a low boil and season with Kosher salt. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until al dente. When the farro is done, drain any excess liquid that may remain. Add the chopped pistachios and fresh basil, stir to combine. Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Honeydew Cucumber Soup

Soup’s Chillin’!
Let's DishHoney Dew Melon And Cucumber Soup

Honey Dew Melon And Cucumber Soup (2)

I love all the little toppings that go on top of a delicious soup as a garnish.  I also like to use certain garnishes to let you know what’s in a particular soup. Today I’m making a cold  Honeydew Cucumber Soup With Fresh Mint. I am displaying a variety of garnishes just to give you some ideas of what would really be delicious and pair well with this soup. You could use all or any combination of these toppings you like.

I think cold soups are underrated and not used nearly enough. They are really refreshing, and super healthy too!  You can use this as an appetizer, served in shot glasses, or as a first course.

I’m going to be using fresh mint from my garden for this recipe today.

 

First, I want to set aside the ingredients that will give my soup lots of texture, and also can be used as toppings or garnish.   Using my food Mandolin that you see in the picture above will make the perfect tool for thinly sliced cucumbers. I have some other goodies up my sleeve too!

 

To contrast the sweetness of the soup, I’ve crisped up some Pancetta. Pancetta is Italian bacon. It’s cured but not smoked and filled with peppercorns, and sometimes pistachios, delicious!

 

 

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: chill for 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Equipment: Blender or food processor, food mandolin, Melon Baller
Yields: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 to 2 melons (not over ripe) yielding 8 cups of  large dice honeydew melon, 1 heaping cup of melon balls for garnish
1 English (hothouse) cucumber peeled and diced, 1/2 cup small dice, reserved for garnish, 12 very thin slices ( using food Mandolin) of cucumber reserved for garnish
1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves plus 4 small sprigs for garnish
12 slices of crisped Pancetta
4 tablespoons of Greek yogurt (keep refrigerated until ready to serve)
1/2 cup of pistachios
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar
1/4 cup of water
1 lime juiced
1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Directions: First, is to get the ingredients you’ll be using for the garnish and toppings prepared. The pistachios,  small diced cucumber, melon balls, and crisped Pancetta.

Directions For Pancetta:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Place the pancetta slices, evenly spread out, on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Bake for 8-10 minutes and let cool. Set on a plate lined with paper towel, set aside.

If needed, do this step in batches. In a food processor, add mint, lime juice, diced melon, diced cucumber, Agave nectar, water, cayenne pepper, Kosher salt. Pulse all the ingredients together, until a smooth consistency. Refrigerate for a few hours.

To serve,  divide equally among 4 bowls. To each of the bowls, I like to add 1 tablespoon of Greek yogurt, small diced cucumber, and melon balls.  Finally, garnish with cucumber slices and a sprig of mint.  Crispy pancetta and pistachios are optional. They will give that sweet and salty flavor combination, delicious!!!

 

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Pestos and Tapenades

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It’s a meat-free day today at my house. Anything you can spread on grilled bread or toasted bread is delicious.

Pesto doesn’t have to be made with just basil anymore. You can substitute arugula or spinach, you can add walnuts or pistachios. The possibilities are endless.

The difference between a Pesto and a Tapenade is generally Tapenades are olive-based… yes there are olives in certain Pestos.

In the pictures above I’ve made a Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto, a Pea With Fresh Mint Pesto, an Artichoke Pesto, and a Kalamata Olive With Cannellini Bean Tapenade.

I like to change it up, by using all types of different ingredients. For example; roasted red peppers, artichokes, peas, Cannellini beans, Kalamata olives, or Ricotta cheese, mix in nuts and fresh herbs.

Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese, fresh lemon juice, and a great Extra Virgin Olive Oil are key in making a great pesto or Tapenade. Let’s not forget about the nuts. Traditionally pine nuts are what’s used, not today, it’s pistachios. I even used a variety of herbs like basil, chives, mint, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. I say let your imagination go wild!  Then spread it on grilled bread.

In the next section, is my recipe for the Roasted Piquillo Pepper Pesto. Recipes may vary from one pesto to another, some tend to be thicker than others. A secret I use to thicken certain Pesto recipes is by adding a small amount of Cannellini Beans. They add a creaminess and give great texture to the Pesto or Tapenade.

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Pestos And Tapenades

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12-15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Equipment: Food Processor, rimmed baking sheet with a rack

Ingredients For RoastedPiquilloPepper Pesto:
7-ounce jar of drained roasted Piquillo peppers, (If you can’t find Piquillo peppers, substitute roasted red peppers)
1/4 cup of drained and rinsed Cannellini beans
1/4 cup of Pistachios
1/4 cup of  grated Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese
1 small clove of peeled garlic
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O.
1 loaf of Tuscan Ciabatta bread, sliced (yields 16 slices) substitute a good French baguette

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Slice the Ciabatta bread at a 45-degree angle into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet topped with a rack. Brush the top surface of each slice of Ciabatta lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Place into the oven on the center rack. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the bread is golden. Take the baking sheet out of the oven and let the toast cool slightly before adding the toppings.

Start processing the nuts ( Pistachios) garlic and the herb of choice first. You can see this in the pictures above. Once this has been processed, add in the main ingredients. In this case, the drained and rinsed roasted Piquillo peppers, Cannellini beans, fresh lemon juice, Kosher salt, and pepper.

Next, through the feed tube, at the top, drizzle in the *E.V.O.O. slowly. This will allow you to control the consistency of the pesto as it’s being processed, and you can adjust the amount accordingly.

Finally, add the grated cheese. The reason I do it this way, is so the cheese doesn’t get too hot from that blade doing all this processing and change the integrity of the cheese. I only pulse the cheese through the mix just until it’s mixed through.

This is the method I use when making any type of pesto. I also want to mention, using Cannellini beans gives extra body to the pesto without changing the flavor.

*E.V.O.O. is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

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Roasted Chicken And Tarragon Salad Tostadas

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Roasting your chicken with skin on and bone in makes such a difference on how moist and flavorful your chicken turns out to be. This roasted chicken and tarragon salad is to die for. It may be the sweet green grapes, or maybe the hint of the anise flavor the tarragon brings to the table. Now tarragon can overpower a dish, especially if you’re using the fresh and not the dried herb. It’s all about the balance of the sweet and the savory in this recipe.

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First, I roast off two large chicken breasts,with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I let it cool long enough to where I can handle the chicken to remove the bone and skin. Then I just dice it into large chunks. You could shred it also if you like, but I think the chunks look better in the recipe.

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While the chicken is roasting, I get all my veggies and flavorings ready to go in. I have green grapes that I halved, red onions diced small, some large diced celery ( including some of the leafy tops chopped), finely chopped fresh tarragon, and some ruffly chopped pistachios.

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To the diced roasted chicken, I add all the veggies and flavorings, with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Next I add some really good mayonnaise, and gently mix all this together. While the roasted chicken is still warm it will absorb the flavors of everything you add to it even better. That’s all there is to this.

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes ( or until the internal temp of chicken is 165 degrees)
Yields: 6-8 tostadas

Ingredients:
2 large chicken breasts, bone in skin on
Olive oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt ( 1 to season the chicken, and 1 for the salad)
2 teaspoons of black pepper ( 1 to season the chicken, and 1 for the salad)
1-1/2 cups of large diced celery ( optional include their leafy tops)
1/2 a cup of finely diced red onion
2 cups of green grapes that have been halved
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/4 cup of chopped pistachios
3/4’s of a cup of mayonnaise
1 package of Tostadas

Directions: Oven set at 350 degrees, roast the chicken off with olive oil, salt and pepper for 35-40 minutes or until the internal temp is 165 degrees. Pull the chicken out and let cool long enough to handle to remove the skin, bones an dice the chicken up into large chunks. While the chicken is roasting cut the veggies, nuts, and tarragon up. When the chicken is diced up add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix together gently. You can place this into the refrigerator until your ready to eat, or scoop some onto a tostada, and eat right away.

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