I’m Back: and Whole Grain Salad with Cherries


It’s been a long hiatus. I didn’t intend it, but a new job, a new commute to New Jersey, and all that comes with such a major life change sidelined the blog for a bit. Honestly,  I got so behind that it started to feel to difficult to start back up again. But I’m back. I’m excited to keep talking about food – good, local, exciting food – and I’m excited to share this delicious grain salad from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday with you.

Generally, I’m a bit suspicious about savory + sweet. But it’s a local cherry moment, and after I brandied a a jar of beauties for fall drinks, I wanted to try to eat them in a non-traditional way. I had just bought some beautiful black rice at the Co-Op (along with the cherries) which offset the deep red of the cherries so well. Toasted walnuts, basil, and wilted spinach round out the dish, transporting it from a pretty side dish to a distinctive main dish. Heidi suggests some goat cheese if you’re in the mood. I’m always in the mood, and treated the salad, and myself, to half a round of Purple Haze. Yum.

For the photo below I left the cherry vinaigrette right on top so that you can see how brightly colored it is – another reason to use a dark colored grain. If you keep this vinaigrette separate, the salad can store for days in the refrigerator.

You can find the recipe, posted by Heidi, on The Daily Meal.


Dilled Green Beans with Seitan

What a long, strange trip it’s been. In the last month I’ve traveled to Indiana, New Orleans, Berlin, Michigan and Ohio, and I’ve made good friends with the Detroit airport. Needless to say, I’m behind. But I promise to catch up fast, both with my travels and with some of the delicious spring lunches and dinners I’ve been enjoying.

A few weeks ago I received the new Heidi Swanson cookbook, “Super Natural Everyday.” I’m such a geek, I actually pre-ordered this cookbook and was SO excited when it finally arrived. Pictured above is her recipe for Dilled Green Beenw with Seitan. I used green beans that I froze last summer, leeks freshly harvested from my garden, and homemade seitan. It was quick, and it was delicious. I had my doubts about the dill (when its not eggs are potatoes I always wonder how the dill will compliment the dish), but like every Swanson recipe I’ve tried, this one was a winner!

Because it’s fairly time consuming, I always make a huge batch of seitan, chop most of it up, and freeze it in just a little broth. A quick defrost and a delicious, small – effort evening meal later, I’m always glad that I did.

Cauliflower Soup with Cashew Cream and Spinach Garlic Pesto

I just received Heidi Swanson’s new cookbook “Super Natural Everyday,” in the mail. I pre-ordered this cookbook months ago, and was so excited when it arrived! Look for many upcoming posts about “Everyday.”

Meanwhile, I’ve still been making my way through her first cookbook, “Super Natural Cooking.” The above soup has three simple steps – the basic cauliflower soup, with onions and vegetable stock, the cashew cream (really a cinch to make with a food processor) and the pesto (the same – a cinch!). All together, this soup is AMAZING. Really. And chock-full of vitamin C. I had both leftover cashew cream and pesto, which I ate later in the week on some whole-wheat pasta. Delicious.

Chunky Lentil Soup

I’ve mentioned before that I’m cooking my way through “Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson, but I realize that I’ve been a bit slow and forgetful about posting the results. I love this cookbook. The recipes are simple and always turn-out delicious, the photography is great, its paperback, and it emphasizes cooking from whole foods and grains.

Pictured above is the chunky lentil soup. When I first read the recipe above I though “what? no garlic? should I just put some garlic in?” because for me, savory recipes without garlic just don’t make sense. BUT I held off, used some chili powder I brought back from New Mexico last year, and added the stream of olive oil at serving that Heidi suggests. And let me tell you. Just look at that squash, with those gorgeous tomatoes canned last August, and the hearty, green lentils. It was amazing.

Creamy Wild Rice Soup

I’ve been slowly cooking my way through “Super Natural Cooking” by Heidi Swanson of the blog “101 Cookbooks,” and I have to say, I love it. During this last cold and blustery week, I have particularly loved the wonderful whole grain recipes. I made this wonderful creamy wild rice soup last week, using Thai red rice instead of wild (I’m of the “use what you have” thrifty school) and it was a-maze-ing. Like, perfectly sweet yet spicy, filling without stuffing, beautiful make me happy for days amazing. I love it. And while the sweet potato croutons that sit on top are a little extra work, they really round the soup out and add another layer to the earthy flavor.

Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens

I’ve been enjoying recipes in Heidi Swanson’s “Simply Natural Cooking.” While I don’t usually follow recipes to a T, a new cookbook always offers new inspiration, and Heidi’s recipes aren’t so complicated that they can’t be made for a weekday evening dinner. I also love her focus on vegetarian superfoods, grains, and vegetables! Above is the salad. I soaked the beans overnight and made the salad quickly the next day. Giant Crusty and Creamy White Beans with Greens delivered on their promise to be crispy fried on the outside and creamy inside. I used kale in the recipe because I had it, but you could substitute any dark leafy green and the recipe would work just as well.