Archive for the ‘parsley’ Category

i love, love lebanese food. this is one of my favorite salads made with tomatoes, cucumbers, and toasted pita bread. i’ve had it many places, and it is always different. the traditional way to make it is with sumac, it gives it a very burnt red color; i have never prepared food with sumac and honestly should look it up. the way i make it is the way it was introduced to me in a little restaurant 30 years ago. the italians make a similar bread salad, panzanella.

the following recipe makes enough for two people to have it as a main course:

rip one large piece of pita bread in half, then open up the pocket and split it apart. put it on a cookie sheet and toast it under the broiler until it is well toasted. take the pan out and turn over the bread occasionally, the edges curl up and will burn before the rest of the piece is toasted.

cut up about 2 cups of tomatoes; i used about 7 – 1 1/2″ salad tomatoes on the vine. i’ve said this before, but especially in winter, smaller tomatoes have much better flavor. add about  6″ of a seedless english cucumber, diced; i like the skin left on. add about 1/3 cup chopped mint, and about 2/3 cup chopped italian, flat leaf parsley. you can also add dried mint. some people use only dried mint, but i love the fresh mint or fresh and dried together. add the juice from one lemon, about 1/3 cup olive oil [to taste, really], and 1/2 t sea salt [also to taste]. press one large clove of garlic through a press and finely chop. mix well, then add the toasted pita, broken up into pieces. i leave the garlic out to serve my daughter, then add the clove to what is left, essentially having double the garlic. if you love raw garlic, add two cloves; it fights cancer. so i hear.


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tuesday dinner…

i bought shrimp forgetting about my daughter’s piano lesson. instead we had otto’s italian sausage, toasted italian bread rubbed with raw garlic and olive oil, and steamed cauliflower with olive oil, chopped italian parsley, lemon juice, salt. and pepper.

tonight, maybe tomorrow: jumbo shrimp provencal.

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tabouli made with quinoa [traditionally made with wheat bulgar] is so great. i would be hard pressed to find a single dish that had more fiber and nutritional value for your fork- full. quinoa is very high in protein and complex amino acids for a vegetarian source, and parsley and raw garlic are two of the best foods you can eat.

measure 1 cup of quinoa into a pan with 2 cups of water and 1/2 t of sea salt. cover and let simmer, 10-15 minutes, until the water has been absorbed. let rest. while it is still a bit warm, squeeze the juice of one lemon into the quinoa. add one large bunch of chopped italian, flat- leaf parsley, chopped tomatoes [this time of year, the smaller ones have way better flavor], and about 1/4 cup of good olive oil. press 2-3 cloves of garlic through a press, chopping off the garlic as it is extruded in 1/16″ increments with a sharp, but disposable, knife [don’t use a good knife metal on metal]. taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

i have made this with wild rice before. i try not to eat too much wheat because of it’s inflammatory effect, and quinoa has a much better nutritional profile. i never get tired of parsley, garlic, and olive oil.

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i don’t know about you, but i have a LOT of turkey stock! before my stove blew up and i was without a stove for two weeks, i had procured green tomatoes from a couple of friends to make green relish. well, they ripened! so i was lucky enough to get TRULY the last red tomatoes of the year. because they were not ripened on the vine, the normal tomato-y fresh aroma is not as strong, however, roasting tomatoes brings out their flavor and is a great way to use tomatoes throughout the year, even with those otherwise tasteless hot house and import fruits.

i preheat the oven to 400 degrees. i like a hot oven. i like brown. i like caramelization. cut the tomatoes lengthwise (a lot of these were roma), and put them cut- side- up on a lipped baking sheet that has been drizzled with olive oil. DON’T take out the seeds and stuff! drizzle with more olive oil, salt, and herbs de provence, and roast until the pan is juicy and there are brown caramelized bits of yumminess in the pan. if you like, you can add some garlic when roasting, but i suggest leaving skins on until done.

put roasted tomato halves in a blender and add the liquid. add a couple ladles full of stock to the pan, and put it over a burner. scrape away all of those brown parts in the pan (you are ‘deglazing’) until they are incorporated into the stock. pour the liquid into the blender. it’s prudent at this point to allow the ingredients to cool before blending. in the least, make the plug at the top of the blender loose and cover with a cloth. hot liquid in a blender can potentially disfigure driver.

blend thoroughly, pour into soup pan, and add more stock until you have a slightly thick consistency. i don’t like it gloppy. add some evaporated milk, cream, or half and half if you like. to a half-sheet of tomatoes i added about three to four cups of stock, and about 1/2 cup of evaporated milk. salt and pepper to taste.

for the garnish, chop italian flat-leaf parsley with a clove of garlic and some salt (i used smoked salt). the salt keeps the garlic from sticking to your knife. chop until fine, but still has nice texture. add a couple of tablespoons of nice olive oil. garnish the soup with a dollop of the parsley concoction and some black lava salt for glamour. simple and yummy.

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since meeting a “new” guy, i’ve been eating more rice and potatoes, i don’t know why; i don’t even know if he really eats that much. i rarely eat rice, and i really don’t see the upside to potatoes except as a vehicle for fat and salt. i have gained about ten pounds, and i’m not saying it’s his ‘fault’, per se; but his influence has made me weak for carbs. damn him!

i have turned to black rice, it’s higher in protein, is rich in B12 and B6, which i am in shortage anyway, and is, well… pretty. while purchasing a big bag-full (not as cheap as white rice of any ilk) i found this huge mound of sweat pea tips, basically sprouted sweet peas, minus the pea they rose from. they were beautiful, and for $2 a MOUND, very reasonable. they contain vitamins A, B, C and E, calcium, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, all essential amino acids, and are 20-25% protein.

i chopped thinly one stalk of celery, and one (or two) scallions and added them to about 2 cups of cooked and cooled (room temp) black rice (the instructions for cooking the rice ask that you soak it for an hour; i added a couple extra T of water and cooked it right off and it was fine. 1 c dried rice to 2c + 2T water, sea salt to taste).

in a bowl i combined (meas are approx.): olive oil and rice vinegar (3 to 1 w/ about 1/3 c of olive oil), 1T sesame oil, 1/2 t stevia, toasted sesame seeds, 1T lemon juice, about 3 T of braggs aminos (remember putting it on popcorn in high school with brewer’s yeast? yum! if the memory is too brutal, use soy sauce) and pepper. You could also add some red chile flakes to taste, and soaked arame seaweed (very quick).

add dressing and about 1/2 c chopped italian parsley to the rice mixture, then toss in about 2 1/2 cups sweet pea tips. you can also use shredded napa cabbage, escarole, or other green or lightly steamed veggies.

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this is so good with chicken or fish, or just on it’s own for a light supper.

cook the rice pasta according to the instructions on the bag. if you overcook it it gets very mushy, it should be a bit al dente. if you have a pasta pot that has a separate strainer in the top, cut the beans into 1 inch pieces and steam them above the pasta until just tender. remove the whole strainer and plunge into cold water or rinse well in cold water to stop the cooking and maintain the color.

when the pasta is done, rinse it briefly, rice pasta can feel slimy. you want the dish to be room temp, so cooling down the past a bit is fine. add beans to pasta along with chopped italian parsley and lemon mint, olive oil, lemon or lime juice, grated reggiano cheese, smoked salt and pepper. some red pepper flakes are good to for a bit of fire.

try it with a drier chardonnay or Pouille Fuisse.


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i love tabouli, but don’t always want to eat a lot of wheat. make this classic middle-eastern dish with wild rice instead, it’s SO good.

prepare wild rice by the instructions on the package, you want about 3 cups cooked rice [tip: trader joes has a packet of pre-cooked wild rice that is great, put it in a covered bowl and warm it in the microwave for a minute before next step]. while still warm, squeeze one whole lemon  onto the rice, stir well, then ad about 1/2 cup really good, fragrant olive oil. i love spanish olive oil, i think it has better flavor than italian or greek. cool rice.

when cool or room temp, add:
2 bunches of italian parsley, chopped
3 medium- size ripe tomatoes
2 cloves of finely minced or pressed garlic
another lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

this is great with lamb, or sometimes i just eat it out of the bowl standing in front of the refrigerator. also, i’ve had it with a heap of homemade guacamole  and a handful of blue corn tortilla chips. corn makes me feel crappy, but it’s the best vehicle for guac. i served it the other day with grilled flank steak, and the beets with cheese and nuts and grilled asparagus [see below].


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