Farro with Cherries and Walnuts

On August 29, 2016, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Earlier this year I had the opportunity to participate in the filming of a TV show.  While that was fun and I’m still awaiting to see when it will air, the other positive was meeting some fellow food writers such as Rachel from Little Chef Big Appetite.

I have been following her blog posts for a couple months now and she has some great recipes that you should definitely checkout. I can tell we have some similar food tastes with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit in what she makes too.  I was particularly interested in a recent Instagram post of her’s showing a farro and cherry recipe.

Our family just finished spending sometime on vacation in Northern Michigan where Traverse City is, the Cherry Capital, and we had plenty of great tasting cherries the couple weeks we were there. I was lucky enough when we returned to LA to find some cherries at Bristol Farms from Hood River, Oregon.  They weren’t as great as Michigan cherries, but they were pretty close.

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You might still find some fresh cherries at the market, but hurry fast as the season is at its end.

RECIPE: [Farro Salad with Cherries and Walnuts]

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Chicken with Sauteed Leeks, Apples and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

On February 10, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I finally did some catching up on my Pinterest to-do list.  This recipe I found on the site a couple weeks ago. It’s quite simple and only takes about 20 minutes with prep and time cooking.  The addition of a light white wine and lemon sauce really brings everything to life.

The meal tastes like fall. With Dallas weather similar to Michigan fall weather, it feels like a cool day in October in Detroit.

Full recipe: Chicken with Sauteed Leeks, Apples and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

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Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup

On January 23, 2012, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I confess. I’ve been on a bit of a meat kick lately.  Take for instance last night when I had a perfectly good sounding vegan soup I planned to make.  Looking at the recipe on the Farmersgirl Kitchen blog, the recipe screamed for some italian crumbled sausage.

If you wish to make this recipe as a vegan meal, please visit the Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup recipe here.

For the more carnivores minded, here is that recipe done with some sausage.  The flavors from the original recipe really compliment the sausage nicely and I developed a few modifications to help the recipe if using meat.

For the paprikas, try an Indian market.  If you do not have the two mentioned below, 1 1/2 teaspoon of store bought paprika is fine.

Sausage, Chickpea Smoked Paprika Soup
Serves 6

1/2 lb crumbled Italian sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, washed and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
2 15 oz cans of chickpeas
1/2 teaspoon sweet smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon tomato puree
14 oz cherry tomatoes, cut in half
6 cups of vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Form small bite-size chunks of sausage and place in the pan, careful not to crowd the pan.  Cook the sausage for about 5-8 minutes until they start to brown and turn over to brown each piece careful not to overcook.  Remove the sausage and set aside on a plate.

Add the onion, garlic, celery, carrot and rosemary. Saute for a few minutes to soften then add the chickpeas, paprikas, tomato puree and cherry tomatoes. Cook for a good 3 minutes to let flavors combine. Add vegetable stock and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Remove the soup from the dutch oven and place, in batches, into a blender. Leave some of the soup including some chickpeas and tomatoes in the dutch oven.  With the rest pulse two times for a rough blend and then return all of it to the pan. The trick here is to add some thickness, but keep some of the chickpeas and tomatoes together so everything is not blended into a puree.

Now add the sausage and heat to boil then reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove the bay leaves and salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

 

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Parsnip and Sweet Potato Latkes

On November 22, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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I love latkes and with a refrigerator full of sweet potatoes I needed to find something new to do so I went to my favorite food blog – {Custom Made} Life. I had everything I needed, minus a parsnip to make the latkes recipe.

The only time consuming part here is shredding the sweet potatoes and parsnip. I reduced the recipe by half but found that I still needed the same amount of wheat flour, baking powder, salt, pepper and egg to have enough consistency to get the shredded vegetables to form a pancake.  I used half an onion, 2 sweet potatoes and 1 parsnip. This made 5 large latkes, plenty for Stephanie and me leaving some for lunch the following day.  The boys would probably eat this but they were already fed and tired when I arrived late from work.

You can serve this as a vegetarian meal with a bed of arugula salad and a light balsamic dressing with a couple latkes per person.  Tonight I went with some grass-fed steaks and fresh green beans.

Full Recipe: Parsnip + Sweet Potato Latkes

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Vegan Curried Sweet Potato with Herbs

On October 28, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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The sweet potatoes at the farmer’s markets are looking great. It’s also the perfect time of the season, even if it is still 80 degrees in Texas. It’s fall and fall foods like squash, pumpkin, potatoes, and root vegetables are perfect ingredients to add to your October cooking plan.

One recipe that caught my interest comes from a blog I’m a new reader of. I was initially attracted to it because of our recent VitaMix blender purchase, but I’m also finding some great vegan and vegetarian recipes. Plus you have to love the design of the blog. Healthy Blender Recipes from Tess Masters is a blog worth checking out.

Earlier this week I made the Vegan Curried Sweet Potato with Fresh Herbs dish that turned out pretty good. The only part I didn’t like about it was my forgetting I had the sweet potatoes boiling in hot water and forgot to set a timer so they ended up a bit mushy and more like a sweet potato mash, but that was all my issue not the blog’s.

For the Recipe: Healthy Blender Recipes – Vegan Curried Sweet Potato With Fresh Herbs

Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes

On August 29, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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Finding a new food blog full of amazing vegan (or vegetarian) recipes makes my life planning 3 to 4 vegetarian meals a week a whole lot easier. We are trying to eat half of our dinners without meat so I’ve been spending some time searching for some great recipes. I was happily surprised to find Healthy Blender Recipes.

Healthy Blender Recipes is more than just smoothies and things to do with a VitaMix blender. There are some great vegan recipes to try too which brings me to tonight’s dinner and my first recipe attempt from The Blender Girl’s blog.

I reduced the original recipe by half, since I only bought 3 sweet potatoes at the Coppell Farmer’s Market yesterday. They were beautiful sweet potatoes from a local farm near Dallas. I also had picked up some fresh lettuce at the Farmer’s Market that went well with a simple lemon and oil dressing I’ve been making.

 

Lemon and Oil Dressing

1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice

3 Tablespoons of olive oil

shavings of lemon peel

Squeeze the lemon, I usually just cut a lemon in 1/3 and extract the juice. Shave the lemon with a lemon zester. Add about half of the olive oil and mix the dressing with a fork. Add remaining oil and mix. If you want, add a small dash of salt too.

Makes enough for 2 small side salads.

I reheated some rice and dished out a couple heaping spoonfuls of the vegan sweet potato main dish then added a side of salad.

For the recipe: Vegan Curried Sweet Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

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Boden is wonderful UK clothing website where we buy quite a few outfits for our twin boys. They have some great clothing and recently we picked up some fantastic swim trunks for the boys since we are spending a lot of time at the University Park community pool – one of the best benefits of our new home.

Boden has a blog that talks not only about fashion and their products but anything the
“Boden Community” wants to discuss. One day my wife sent me an email she received from Boden showcasing a fabulous looking taglionlini recipe that she wanted me to make. Wish granted.

Here is the recipe: Springtime Taglionlini from Antonio Carluccio.

I made a few changes switching out the noodles with fresh linguini and swapping the hazelnuts with something I already had – pine nuts.

This is a light, easy to make recipe that goes great with some fresh bread and a small side salad.

Enjoy! Oops I meant to say, Brilliant!

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Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter

On May 27, 2011, in Recipes, by Chris Baccus
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In our family’s quest to try to eat 3 to 4 vegetarian dinners a week, I have turned to blogs like Emily Levenson’s {Custom Made} Life.

Tonight I attempted a rather peculiar recipe that uses a lot of balsamic vinegar and butter (in this case Earth Balance) to make a pasta sauce. Of course with any recipe that calls for balsamic as a key ingredient for success a quality balsamic vinegar is necessary. For tonight, I went with an Organic local selection that we found at the Addison Farmer’s Market late last year.

The balsamic vinegar is made by Texas Hill Country Olive Company. Their Terra Verde Traditional balsamic is a really fruity, rich, thick balsamic that has such an amazing sweetness to it that it really made for an excellent choice for this dish which calls for a 1/3 of a cup of vinegar. Plus Terra Verde’s vinegar is reasonably priced at $16 for a 250ml bottle and can be ordered online too.

The only change I made to Emily’s recipe was using lumaconi pasta shells instead of whole wheat penne which I thought I had, but did not. The shell shape of lumaconi did great and the thick syrupy sauce adhered to the noodles nicely, only downside is lumaconi means “giant snails” in Italian so that’s not so appetizing. Also, I recommend adding some imported Parmesan-Reggiano to add to the dish’s nutty, rich flavor.

For the Recipe: Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter