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Garden Harvest Lentil Salad

Garden Harvest Lentil Salad

Posted 31 March 2011 | By | Categories: Cooking, Food, Gardening, Growing Food, Health, Inspirations, Seagarden, Vegetables | Comments Off on Garden Harvest Lentil Salad

Todays harvest 31 March 2011

Behold, today’s bountiful harvest! Featuring cavolo nero, meyer lemon, parsley, roma tomatoes, jalapeno pepper, hungarian wax pepper, mint and oregano. This purple flowering oregano preceeded me in the seagarden. When I first arrived (and mistook it for marjoram), it established one half of the strawberry patch as its domain. We cut it out entirely, I thought, but tall stroppy strands of pungent leaves and purple petals continue to pop up where it once ruled. Since I’m resigned to never be rid of it, I’m always looking for new ways to use it. Thus, I was excited to discover a recipe featuring fresh oregano, “Greek-Style Lentil Salad” in one of my favorite cookbooks, Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian.

Bioitalia lentilsWhere Jaffrey’s salad features green lentils and cucumbers, my version that she inspired features canned lentils and all the vegetables just harvested above. I was a purist about cooking with dried lentils (since they didn’t need pre-soaking) until I read Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Body. He’s got a good point that it’s better to eat canned beans than to not eat beans at all because you don’t have time to cook them. Discovering Bioitalia canned beans that come out of the can looking perfect rather than sorry and soggy upped my enthusiasm. And considering the recent run of natural disasters around the world, it’s comforting to see a stock of legumes at the ready each time I open the cupboard.

1 (14oz/398ml) can lentils, drained and rinsed
1 chopped red onion
1/2 c diced tomatoes
1/2 c cavolo nero leaves, torn from stem
1/4 c chopped parsley
2 seeded and diced peppers (I had a jalapeño and Hungarian wax, but use bell pepper or other capsicum too if you have on hand)
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 fresh lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

Toss all ingredients and enjoy!

Gardenharvestlentilsalad

This was delicious on its own, and it would also welcome feta cheese. It also makes a lovely base for simply grilled fish. Hope you enjoy!

What are your favorite ways to use fresh oregano? If you’ve got any recipes or pointers, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Clamalicious Recipe

Clamalicious Recipe

Posted 04 January 2011 | By | Categories: Cooking, Food, Health, Vegetables | Comments Off on Clamalicious Recipe

clamalicious
Happy New Year! In Chinese New Year celebrations, clams symbolize wealth and prosperity because their shells look like coins. Clams are also rich in an essential nutrient I’ve been seeking out lately, vitamin B12, and New Zealand clams are the best I’ve ever tasted. Growing up far from any ocean, I don’t remember coming across live bivalves, and although I’ve always loved eating them, I was intimidated to cook them for a long time. Turns out there’s nothing simpler…

  1. Choose live clams that close when you touch them. (Ideally Cloudy Bay Clams from Yellow Brick Road at City Market in Wellington, NZ. Pictured above, the also wonderful littleneck clams, aka Austrovenus stutchburyi and tuangi, from Southern Clams Ltd.) If you’re not cooking them immediately, keep them in a well-drained container in the fridge — not in a plastic bag or they’ll suffocate. Savour the sound of their gentle sighs as they open up and let it all hang out.

  2. Cook up a pot of aromatic and delicious things from the garden in wine like: Crazy by Nature shotberry chardonnay with kaffir limescallionsparsleymintcoriandercherry tomatoes and Vietnamese mint olive oil and/or buttergarlic and chile peppers.

  3. Rinse, then kiss and thank your sweet little clams as you place them in the boiling broth.

  4. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes until they all open. Toss any that don’t open.

  5. Have some great bread ready to soak up all the delicious juices. My favorite in Wellington is Simply Paris’s wholemeal, made from just organic rye flour, spring water and salt. Alternately, serve over linguini or spaghetti.

If you try a variation of this, let me know how it turns out. I’d love to learn from your favorite ways to cook with clams too. Wishing you a healthy 2011 abundant with serendipity and delight!