Archive for the 'giada de laurentiis' Category

16
Aug
11

steak and eggs, tuna lettuce wraps.

I may be many things, but I’m rarely a myth debunker. For instance, I’m all for perpetuating that Walt Disney had his head frozen. It’s kind of fascinating to imagine, and I’d be all for him returning if he weren’t such a racist and likely anti-Semite. There is one myth that I’ve recently proven to be untrue, though, so I have to share. It’s such a myth that vegetarians are healthier than everyone else.

Since crossing over to the meaty side, I’ve realized that I have shedloads (British for “shitloads”..I wanted to class it up a bit) more energy and am eating far less processed foods to compensate for the frequent hunger common to many-a plant eater. I’ve also – gasp – lost weight since I’ve integrated meat back into my life. It’s as if my more balanced meals are giving my body what it needs for fuel, and I have little use for carb and sugar fat.

I’m also leaner these days since I’m training for this half marathon, so I’ve been doing bi-weekly morning runs through the streets of the city. Though I inhale my fair share of cigarette smoke and burnt Halal food on the way, it’s doing wonders for my stamina. It doesn’t hurt that I run with a group of, like, statuesque gazelles, so I’m trying like hell not to be the token straggler.

I often worry that I look like this:

Luckily, the gazelles don’t seem to mind.

I made an easy dinner the other night that I was absurdly proud of. It’s absurd, because on the list of impressive dishes I’ve made it would rank something like 213th. It was just tuna salad in lettuce cups, but I’ve never before made it so delicious. I had to share.

tuna lettuce wraps

Ingredients:

1 can tuna, drained
2 tbsp Grey Poupon mustard
1 tsp Cholula hot sauce
Romaine lettuce hearts
1/4 c golden raisins
1/2 avocado, cut into chunks
1/4 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks
juice of a lemon
salt and pepper, to taste

I drained the tuna and mixed in the Grey Poupon and Cholula. I mixed in about half of the lemon juice. I chopped the avocado and bell pepper, and added those to the tuna mixture. I mixed in the raisins, salt and pepper, and filled the lettuce wraps with equal amounts of the mixture. I then topped with the rest of the lemon juice, and devoured. Though unimpressive, it was a cheap, easy and healthy meal that I threw together in like five minutes. Highly recommended.

This new-found meaty love has prompted me to rediscover my girl Giada’s cookbooks, so I dug up the old “Giada at Home” cookbook and found a recipe I was interested in. I made her “Grilled Tuscan Steak with Fried Egg and goat cheese” last night:

role model

Ingredients:

1 boneless ribeye steak
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 tbsp herbes de Provence
olive oil cooking spray
1 tbsp goat cheese crumbles
1/2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley
2 c arugula
1 egg

She actually called for four servings, but I quartered the recipe knowing I could stretch it into two meals. Although I’ve realized I love beef, I don’t care for massive servings of steak. I’m a 4 oz at-a-timer, I’ve realized.

You start by heating up the grill, so I plugged in my Panini Press and sprayed both sides with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Grill 6-8 minutes for each side, and the steak is cooked medium rare. Remove from the heat and allow to rest.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat, and then add the egg. Season with salt and pepper, and cook until the egg whites are set, 2 to 3 minutes.

Serve the steak atop arugula. Top steak with the egg, and crumble goat cheese and the parsley on top. First off, I am very pleased that I was able to cook the steak properly. It remained reddish pink in the middle, and it actually bled on my plate! This was thrilling, especially considering how greyish it appeared when I likely overcooked it in my last attempt. Secondly, the yolk, goat cheese, and juicy steak made for an incredible tasty combination. This just may be my new favorite meal. See below:

Grilled Tuscan Steak with Fried Egg and Goat Cheese

13
Jun
11

roasted cauliflower salad & lentil walnut burgers.

One of my old college friends is what you would call an Extremist. She’s brilliant in science, the maths, and all other stuff that the right side of my brain atrophied to avoid, and yet she can craft a beautiful essay and color coordinate an outfit like no other. I love/hate her for being so well rounded. She recently enrolled in med school, but she can party harder than, like, Bluto. I once witnessed her spooning with a bottle of Patron because she didn’t want to risk enjoying a next day hair-of-the-dog Bloody Maria with an inferior tequila. That’s only a mild exaggeration.

I’d always enjoyed the sense of superiority I’d gain when calling her an Extremist and telling her I was going to introduce her to my friend, Moderation. It took me years to realize I was projecting and referring to myself, and it was I who needed to befriend Moderation.

And so, Moderation is the name of the game these days. Rather than jump into any workout craze, I am sticking to my midday gymming and going to the occasional dance and yoga class. I just found out that my favorite street jazz teacher will be teaching nighttime classes at the studio near me, so look forward to some West Side Story-friendly moves in the near future. I can finally have that dance fight I’ve always wanted! I’ll say things like, “Take that tour jete, bitch,” and “You don’t even know how high I can arabesque, ho. Now sashay, Shante.”

I turned on the 4 Hour Body nearly as quickly as I started due to its surprisingly restrictive nature characteristic of a diet (subtle sarcasm). I’m staying pescetarian for the time being, but I may move towards meat eventually. I want to be like Giada who eats everything in moderation, and stays just so fit and adorbs. I feel like once I master the long-lost art of moderation I can maybe broaden my horizons? It goes against my binge eating generation’s nature, but I will rise above it.

I made this Cauliflower and Arugula salad I saw Chuck Hughes make on the Cooking Channel:

Ingredients:

cauliflower arugula salad

1 cauliflower, trimmed, cut into small pieces and blanched
2 tbsp butter (he called for 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons good quality red wine vinegar
4 cups arugula
2 shallots, thinly sliced (he called for one)
olive oil spray (he called for 2 tbsp)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup walnuts (he called for pine nuts)

I just love Chuck with his curiously Midwestern accent and overly expressive eyes when he’s detailing his ingredients. He’s like an aggressively tatted-up puppy. His recipes look damn good, too, and I wanted to pay tribute to him by making one tonight. I changed this one quite a bit due to ingredient restrictions, though, and I’m not proud of that. I left out the bacon to keep it veg-friendly, but carnivores should include.

You start by chopping the cauliflower into florets and blanching them to start. For those unfamiliar with this technique, you start by dropping cauliflower into salted, boiling water for about three minutes. Scoop it out and drop in a bowl of ice water and leave for a few minutes until they’ve completely cooled. This is meant to break down the fibers (I assume) and preserve the color and flavor in the meantime.

Chuck then says to saute in a pan with the butter until golden brown. I found this was longer than the 5 minutes he said and closer to 10, and I threw the first sliced shallot in with the cauliflower. I wanted Shallot City, Population: 1, and so I went there. Then I added honey and 1 tbsp red wine vinegar, and cooked for another 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, mix together arugula, the shallot, the remaining red wine vinegar, and olive oil in a bowl. Top with the cauliflower and walnuts, and dinner is served. I really loved this dish, but next time I’m going to add some golden raisins. My sweet tooth is back with a vengeance.

While I’m not crushing fro-yo or enjoying some late-night rugelach, I’ve been countering the excess sugar intake as of late with some beans and greens. One of my go-tos is kale with lemon and cannelini beans, but I’m not sure I’ve ever featured it here. It looks like this:

kale with cannelini beans

Ingredients:

1 bunch of kale, chopped and de-stemmed
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 vidalia onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c dry white wine
olive oil cooking spray
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp ground cumin
sprinkle of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper

At some point in her career, Giada made something vaguely resembling this dish, but I’ve distorted it in my hundred or so iterations, so it’s barely recognizable.

I start by chopping the garlic and onion and sauteeing it over medium heat with the cooking spray. I then add about half the can of beans, and simmer for a few minutes. I season with about 1/2 tsp of cumin, salt and pepper, and let the beans start to brown. I then add the kale in batches, and cook it down until it starts to wilt. In this version I added some leftover white wine, and I’m glad I did because it added all kinds of flavor plus a fun sizzling sound upon its addition. I then cook for a few more minutes until the kale is all wilty, and then top with lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and more salt, pepper and cumin. It’s just so damn good, and total Poor Man’s Food so it’s ideal for the early month post-rent deduction scrimping familiar to my fellow New Yorkers.

I made these Lentil Walnut burgers from Whole Foods last week that I was relatively proud of:

Ingredients:

street jazz

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small carrot, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
2 cups cooked brown rice, divided
1 15-ounce can lentils, rinsed and drained
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons canola oil, divided

You start by heating the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, walnuts, parsley, thyme, salt, pepper and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

You’re then supposed to puree the rice lentils and egg in a food processor, but I have nothing of the sort so I merely mashed them together with a potato masher and some elbow grease. Transfer to bowl with vegetables, add remaining 1 cup rice and stir to combine. Form lentil mixture into 10 to 12 patties, using about 1/4 cup of the mixture to make each one.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Arrange half of the patties in skillet and cook, flipping once, until golden and crisp, 8 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and repeat until the patties are done. I served with some sauteed spinach and onions, and it was really tasty. The food processor is a must, though, because my patties had a hard time staying together. I know what I’m treating myself to on payday!

lentil walnut burgers and sauteed spinach

25
Apr
11

grilled ratatouille, seared tuna, lentil Israeli salad, stuffed peppers.

It’s happened again. I’ve allowed so much time to lapse between posts that I’m no longer confident with all the spice I’ve been eating and the sweat I’ve been doing. And I’ve been consuming massive amounts of spice and sweating TONS, my friends. Remember that Physique 57 I spoke of not too long ago? I’m now in the intermediate class and going about four times a week. I’m also severely limiting carbs from my repertoire, cutting out processed anything, and moving towards a more protein-focused regimen. If that’s not progress, then I’m not sure what is? Aside from in-flight wifi. No one can deny the absurdity/brilliance of that. Remember when we had to fly without facebook? Shudder.

I could try and condense a month’s worth of meals into one post, but I choose to feature only the most colorful of what’s been sustaining me. I made this great Grilled Ratatouille Salad with Feta that I found on Epicurious. It came about when I was thinking of making ratatouille, and then instantly self voting against it due to the pasta.

grilled ratatouille salad

Ingredients:

1 12-14 oz. eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch rounds
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into strips
1 medium onion, cut into 1/2 inch thick rounds
2 tbsp fresh basil, slivered
2 tbsp garlic flavored olive oil (I used garlic mixed with olive oil)
3 tsp balsamic vinegar
2/3 c feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste

This recipe is meant to be made on the barbecue, but I have neither a workable outdoor space (hello, bustling Avenue A? Don’t mind the charcoal) nor a barbecue (nevermind, Avenue A. Go on about your day), so I used my version of the indoor grill with my Panini Press. That thing is a sweatandspicy legend, right? It’s been along for this more than two year ride, and it still has shotgun.

Anyways, you start by drizzling the vegetables with olive oil, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Since I made my olive oil garlic-infused, I started by mincing 2-3 cloves of garlic and letting them soak in the oil while the Panini Press heated up and I chopped all the vegetables. Grill for about 10-15 minutes, or until the veggies look all blackened and delicious, and then remove from grill. Drizzle with vinegar, sprinkle cheese and basil, and eat. It was ridiculously easy, delicious, and colorful. Winner.

Next, I made a Seared Tuna with Green Onion-Wasabi Sauce, also courtesy of Epi. Trader Joe’s is always good for $4 frozen Ahi tuna steaks, so it was actually a pretty cheap meal, too.

Seared Tuna with Green Onion Wasabi Sauce

Ingredients:

1/2 c of water
3 tbsp wasabi powder (I used crushed peas)
1/3 c soy sauce
3 tbsp peanut oil
1 tbsp dry sherry (I used sherry vinegar)
1.5 tsp sesame oil
1.5 tsp minced fresh ginger
4 green onions, thinly sliced
4 6-oz ahi tuna steaks (I used two)
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced into matchstick-sized strips

You start by whisking water with the wasabi powder, which I made by putting a handful of wasabi peas into a plastic bag and taking a hammer to them on the floor. Such a good stress reliever, and it made the perfect crunchy consistency. Then, whisk in soy sauce, 2 tbsp peanut oil, Sherry, sesame oil and ginger. Stir in onions, and set aside.

Sprinkle tuna with salt and pepper, heat skillet with 1 tbsp peanut oil over high heat, and sear tuna for about 3 minutes a side. Spoon cucumber on a plate, top with tuna, and spoon sauce on top. The recipe called for radish sprouts also, but Trader Joe’s had nothing of the sort, so I left them out. I served alongside sugar-snap peas, and it was so delicious. Highly recommended, if only for the fact that I got to hammer wasabi peas. Delightful.

I was getting relatively close to introducing meat back into my diet, but I had a temporary setback with some unwilling bacon grease consumption and a subsequent bout of food poisoning. It wasn’t pretty, and so I’ve decided to steer clear of meat and limit even the pescetarian side of me for a bit. It really was jarring when I went an entire day in which I consumed just one slice of toast (ah, so sorry Passover!) and about a 1/2 cup of yogurt. A little breaksie is necessary.

While I was midway between my cardio routine (30-45 minutes of a combo of interval treadmill running, elliptical or the bike) and my Physique-ing, I invented and devoured this little salad earlier today:

lentil "Israeli" salad

Ingredients:

1/2 c yellow lentils
1/4 c grape tomatoes, sliced
1 mini-cucumber, sliced
1 c arugula
1/8 c feta, crumbled
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of cumin

I was inspired when I dug some long-forgotten lentils from my freezer immediately after the cardio side of my workout. I had been craving this chopped Israeli salad I get from this place, but I’m conserving the slight remainder of my monies for my sister’s visit this coming weekend. Armed with a bag of newly bought groceries, I decided to make my own take on the salad with lentils rather than chickpeas.

I started by boiling one cup of lentils in 2 1/2 cups of water, and then simmering for 5-10 minutes. I then chopped the tomatoes and cucumbers, and laid them atop my bed of arugula. Once the lentils were done, I drained in my handy Giada colander (shameless plug for my girl) and added about half to the top of the salad. I seasoned with cumin, salt and pepper, and then topped the whole salad with the feta, olive oil and vinegar. Easy and delicious, just like I like it.

After my salad, I headed to Phyqisue for some more body sculpting. I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in those studios doing moves like the one you see below, and it’s all in the hopes that I’ll get somewhere near Kelly Ripa-ripped. I mean, that’s the goal. It’s her preferred workout and they taunt you with press pieces all over the place that she swears by it. Any day now, I guess.

Staying with the whole originality thing, I made my own version of a stuffed bell pepper for dinner.

Physique

Ingredients:

3 large green bell peppers
1 c black eyed peas, pre-cooked
2 ears of corn, grilled and sliced off the cob
1/2 c grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 c feta, 3/4 mixed in and 1/4 on top
salt and pepper, to taste
dash of cayenne pepper
lemon juice from 1/2 lemon, to finish
1/4 c dried cranberries to top (not pictured)

First, I pre-heated my oven to 350 degrees. I started by cutting the tops off the peppers and gutting the insides, removing the ribs and seeds. I par-boiled the peppers in water for about 5 minutes, and then I removed them to drain with their “business ends” in the air.

Meanwhile, I spent about 15 minutes grilling the corn on all sides with my Panini Press. Once that was done, I stood an ear up on a bowl and sliced the kernels right off. I learned that little trick from Rachael Ray, and it really does make it to where no kernels fly across the kitchen. Easy clean-up, my friends. I’m a fan.

I combined the onions, tomatoes, peas, corn and feta in a bowl. I mixed those ingredients together, and then added the salt, pepper, and cayenne. I filled each pepper with the mixture, and then topped with more feta. I put them on an aluminum foil covered baking sheet and popped them in the oven for 30 minutes. I removed, cut one in half, and served with a squeeze of lemon juice for added flavoring. About midway through, I realized some dried cranberries would be a welcome addition to the party, so I added those as well. They know how to get the party started. Anyways, they were really good and pretty, in a Georgia O’Keefe kind of way:

stuffed bell pepper with black eyed peas, onions, tomatoes, corn and feta

21
Dec
10

borscht and sweet potato soup.

Can we talk about this affair I’m having with soup? Are we on that level? I’m dying to confess this to someone and I’ve yet to find the opportunity. This just feels right, so here goes.

What the hell, soup? You’ve cast a spell on me these days. I can’t break away from Udon soup. Believe me – I’ve tried. I get it with miso broth and always add a little cayenne pepper for spice. Yum. I’ve recently fallen for the Vegetarian Chili from Fresh Direct, too. Hello, flavor. Welcome to my lunchtime repertoire. Sometimes I pick up this Lentil soup from a Mediterranean place near my apartment, and – especially as someone who has never been a proponent for take out – I’m veering towards addiction.

The affair first got serious a couple of weeks ago. I was overcome with the need to make it at home, and I found myself drawn to my Eastern European roots for some reason. As in, I decided to make borscht.

I know borscht has mixed reviews, but I’ve always found it somewhat fascinating. Also, beets are trendy for maybe one more season and then they’re out, so I can’t afford to hesitate on this. I found this recipe in the “Herbs and Spices” cookbook my dad gifted me.

chunky borscht

Ingredients:

2 tbsp cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into slices
1 small celery root, peeled and cut into chunks
1 turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1 ¾ tsp salt
2 cups drained diced beets
1 ½ cups drained diced canned tomatoes (I used fresh)
3 ½ cups veg stock
3 c water
1/3 c chopped fresh dill
¼ c sour cream (I used greek yogurt)

The recipe also called for kielbasa, but I’m not going anywhere near meat for at least another year, so I left that out. You start by heating oil over moderate heat and then adding the onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add the parsnips, celery root, turnip, and 1 tsp of salt, cover and cook for 5 minutes.  A word on the turnip – meh. I don’t get the appeal of this thing, if there is one. It’s pretty unattractive and doesn’t contribute the best flavor as far as I’m concerned. I included it because I’d never worked with it before and the recipe begged for it, but next time I’d leave it out. Sorry, borscht. The turnip is a crutch, and you can stand without it.

You then add the beets, tomatoes, broth, water, and the remaining salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Serve topped with sour cream (yogurt) and dill. Voila. My borscht was not my favorite soup of them all, but it didn’t deter me from trying more.

On Saturday, Giada made a sweet potato and rosemary soup that was much more up my alley. It pretty much spoke to me. I actually just finished my first meal of it, but I’ll get there. Let’s take a moment and appreciate the sweaty side of things.

I’m starting to get comfortable with variety, which is a huge win for my fitness routine. Rather than fall into yet another short-term fitness obsession (i.e. outdoor running, elliptical, treadmill, dance, yoga, circuit training), I’ve decided to do a mixture of them all, at all times. Save the outdoor running these days. It’s like 12 degrees daily with wind chill. Mother Nature, you bitch.

Saturday was the start of the variety integration. I went to the gym and started with some elliptical action, and then progressed to the stair stepper, the treadmill for some uphill walking (incline up to 16! Holla) followed by a mile run, and then rounded out the cardio with some spinning. Extreme cardio? Why, yes. Yes it is. But you didn’t witness my Friday night dinner of grilled cheese, fries and beer, did you?  Shameful.

Habit would have sent me to the gym again on Sunday, but variety suggested a yoga class. Many Downward Dogs later, and I was feeling pretty flexible and zen. I chased that with a hip hop class at my dance studio. It was so much fun, and I highly enjoy being the only white kid from the ‘burbs in there. Like, so much. I learned this fun new sliding foot thing I’m dying to show off, too. My whole body was sore today, which I’m attributing to Ms. Variety herself. Nice work, milady.

Now about that famed soup…

sweet potato and rosemary soup, while cooking

Ingredients:

3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp olive oil
3 large or 6 small shallots, thinly sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 lbs sweet potatoes (2-3) peeled and cut into ½ inch pieces
2 stems rosemary
6 c chicken broth (I used veggie)
½ c mascarpone cheese (I used Greek yogurt)
3 tbsp maple syrup

You start by melting the butter and oil together in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, rosemary, and broth. Season with salt and pepper, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove rosemary stems, and then use an immersion blender to blend altogether. You’re looking for that baby food-like consistency that is so very trendy these days. I must have softened the sweet potatoes properly, because this thing pureed in like one minute flat. You then whisk in the cheese (yogurt in my case) and maple syrup, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

I’m trying to limit my bread intake and all, but I found this seeded bread at Whole Foods that happens to be the perfect companion for everything. Eggs? Check. Salad? Always. Soup? It’s almost insulting NOT to float a piece atop a nice puree. Therefore, I toasted a piece with some shredded Parmesan cheese and let it skim the top of my soup. Giada wins again, because this soup is all kinds of amazeballs. See below:

sweet potato and rosemary soup

26
Oct
10

farro salad.

I’ve recently fallen victim to habits similar to the Home Decor Obsessive (HDO. Don’t google; I’m pretty sure I invented this disorder, and if not it’s probably an offensive acronym in French or Dutch or something. Bitenuker). I moved just a week ago, and bare walls are not, and have never been, my forte. They’re the equivalent of an undressed salad – ‘taint happening. I’m going to need some extra virgin olive oil or Annie’s Green Goddess immediately. I feel this compulsive desire to get these nakey walls covered by any means possible, so’s not to terrify the occasional visitor by their state of undress. A coffee table can wait. So I don’t have household scissors, refrigerator magnets, or curtains in my bedroom that prevent all of Tomkins Square Park from seeing my business. So what? That’s all secondary. What’s really important is that I just bought this sweet vintage mirror/window combo that’s going to make my living room look like it’s 700 square feet, which I’m pretty sure is a LOT of feet. Also, I bought a gorge piece of art that has gotten like 12 favorable comments on facebook since yesterday. So, win.

That being said, it’s obvious that I can’t afford cable just yet. No matter, for I’ll turn to cooking and exercising for entertainment. More material for the blog, you say? Someone’s astute.

I’m still mid-gym freeze month, and it’s been a feat. I’ve had to turn to the great outdoors more than once for my endorphins fix. How unnatural. I ran outside like seven times last week, which far exceeds anything I did at the height of track fame. I’ve hardly been using those muscles all month due to my trial gym separation, so it actually made an impact on my physique. It turns out I’m NOT dead inside, which was a total relief. I’d made the mistake of thinking so when my body plateaued last month, but all it took was some variety and a temporary stoppage to start responding. My calves are coming back, and I think I saw a quad this morning. Lower abs are historically next, so it looks like I’ll find a use for my 90s baby tees soon enough.

Nothing compliments baby tees like an arugula salad, so I made just that for lunch yesterday.

arugula salad

Ingredients:

2 cups arugula
1/2 block extra firm tofu
1 plum, sliced
1/2 oz brie, chopped
1 tbsp grey poupon mustard
1 tsp honey
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

I started by sautéing the chopped tofu in one tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan. It’s worth noting that my dad sent me some high quality new cookware courtesy of Rachael Ray, so you can infer that I’m mostly using my new toys from here on out. Oh, also, aren’t my new dishes adorbs? This place is my mecca. While the tofu was sautéing, I laid down a bed of arugula and topped it with the sliced plums and chopped brie. I whisked together the mustard, honey, and olive oil for a tangy homemade honey mustard dressing, and added a little salt and pepper to the mix. Tofu – on. Honey mustard dressing – drizzled. Et voila. One of my more attractive lunch companions.

I just think Giada de Laurentiis is the coolest. Wait, have I mentioned that before? Weird. It’s such a discreet admiration. I made her Mediterranean Farro Salad last night, and it was a hit. With me. I totally approved. It calls for:

my girl Giada

Ingredients:

10 ounces farro (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus 1/2 teaspoon
8 ounces green beans, cut into 1 to 2-inch pieces (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup pitted black olives
1 medium red pepper, cut into thin strips (totally forgot this ingredient)
3 ounces Parmesan, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
1 small bunch chives, snipped (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Start by boiling four cups of water in a saucepan and add the farro. For those just joining, farro is a grain that has the texture of a couscous and the looks of a quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 20 minutes. Add 1 1/2 tsp of salt and simmer for 10 more minutes, then drain completely. Meanwhile, boil water in another saucepan for the green beans. Add those, cook for two minutes, and then blanch in ice water. Drain and set aside.

Stir the green beans, olives, Parmesan, and chives into the farro. I also would have stirred in the red pepper, had I remembered its place in this recipe. Fail. In a small bowl mix together the sherry vinegar, olive oil, mustard, pepper, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine. Pour over the farro salad. Combine and consume.

Yeah, Giada wins again. I loved this tangy salad and its good looks too. See below:

Mediterranean Farro Salad




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