Sunday, June 14, 2015

Chickpea & Feta Orzo Salad

This is one of those recipes where every flavor stands out nicely, but the dish as a whole blends well.  It's also incredibly simple. And it's perfect for summer because it won't heat up your kitchen.

It serves mainly as a side-dish, though I suppose one could make a double recipe and treat it as a main course.  Serve at room temperature, or cooled in the fridge.

Chickpea & Feta Orzo Salad

1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1/2 cup green onions, sliced thinly
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 15-oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1.5 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 TBSP cold water
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1/2 tsp. minced garlic

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions being sure not to overcook.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain well again. 
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cheese, green onions, dill, and chickpeas.  Toss gently. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, water, salt, and garlic. 
  4. Drizzle the sauce over the pasta mixture and toss to salt. 

Family Ratings: 

Lucy, who never met a cheese she didn't love: 10
Jamie, who's taken to picking small bits of something or other out of all of his foods, but likes chickpeas:  8
Will, who's becoming increasingly easy-going:  9
Ellen, who's no fool:  10
Paul, who's searched his whole life for a pasta salad that didn't seem forced:  10

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Smoky Frittata

This is one of those recipes where you really don't care if your kids like it.  It's just that good.  That said, it's not out of the question that your kids will indeed gobble this dish up:  it contains cheese and more cheese and cream and eggs, and is like a tasty version of scrambled eggs, albeit with cauliflower thrown in.

A few notes:  if your kids aren't cauliflower fans, cut it into small pieces and reduce the boiling/frying time dramatically so as to not overcook.

The recipe calls for scamorza affumicata, a fancy Italian cheese that's often labelled "smoked mozzarella."  If like most people in the known universe you don't have access to this cheese, substitute comte or a similar gruyere-related cheese.  Don't be afraid to allow a little of the skin or rind to get grated in as well, for extra taste texture.

This recipe comes from Yotam Ottomlenghi's PLENTY, which is fast becoming my favorite vegetarian cookbook.

Smoky Frittata

1 small cauliflower, cut into medium-sized florets. 
6 eggs
4 TBSP creme fraiche (I just used sour cream)
2 TBSP dijon mustard
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp smoked paprika (if you don't have both kinds of paprika, just use one kind & don't worry about it)
3 TBSP finely chopped chives
5 oz. smoked scamorza, grated
2 oz. mature cheddar, grated
salt and black pepper
2 TBSP olive oil

  1. Simmer the cauliflower in boiling salted water for 4 minutes until semi-cooked (do not let it get completely soft!).  Drain and dry. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Mix the eggs, the cream/creme, the mustard and the paprika and whisk the heck out of it, making sure everything is thoroughly blended.  
  3. Stir in the chives and 3/4s of the cheeses.  Season well with salt and pepper.  
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large, overproof frying pan.  The pan MUST BE OVENPROOF.  Not that I've tried it without, mind you . . . 
  5. Fry the cauliflower in the pan on medium-high for about five minutes until golden brown on one side.  Pour the egg mixture into the pan and spread evenly.  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.  
  6. Turn off the burner.  Scatter the remaining cheeses on top of the ingredients in the pan, then carefully transfer the pan to the over.  Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the frittata has set. 
  7. Remove from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes before serving.  

Family Ratings:  

Lucy, who loves everything, the more adventurous the better as long as it's not too spicy:  10
Jamie, who never got around to trying it:  No score. 
Will, who is actually becoming fairly adventurous himself:  8
Ellen, who is happy I've finely discovered vegetarian cooking:  10
Paul, who likes anything where the cheese to non-cheese ratio is high:  10