Hearty Farro and Lentil Vegetable Soup.

Welcome to this recipe. Here’s some hot hot info on cooking with parmesan rind.

If you buy parmesan cheese “the old-fashioned way,” a.k.a. you buy a real hunk of cheese and not the pre-shredded or grated stuff, you MUST start saving the rinds in the freezer. I keep a little plastic bag in the door of my freezer for them, because they’re an amazing ingredient. Cheese rind has all the same flavor as the cheese itself, so when I’m making a soup or a sauce, I throw in one (or three) bits of parmesan rind during the simmer stage and let all that parmesan-ness permeate into the dish while it cooks. It’s an amazing flavor trick AND it recycles something you would have otherwise thrown away. And given the beautiful plant-based nature of this soup, you might as well offset a bit of the damage your cheese (i.e. a cattle product) ingredient inflicts on the earth by recycling part of it!

Hearty Farro and Lentil Soup with Turmeric, Parmesan, and Kale | Kelly in the Kitchen | Ingredients: butter or olive oil, onion, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper, stock or broth, bay leaf, farro, lentils, kale, parmesan rind (optional)

INGREDIENTS

butter or olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 3/4 tsp ground turmeric
3/4 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
8-ish cups stock or broth (honestly guys I almost never measure stock, so just eyeball it. Also, I use homemade chicken stock, but vegetable stock will do the trick if you want to keep this vegetarian/vegan)
1 bay leaf
1 cup farro, rinsed
1 cup lentils, picked clean and rinsed
optional: parmesan rind (obvi this is not vegan so feel free to leave out. Or, if you love the flavor of parmesan as much as I do, add as much rind as you want)
1 heaping cup kale, washed, stems removed, chopped
good quality olive oil

DIRECTIONS

In a large stock pot, heat butter or olive oil over medium low and add onion, zucchini, and garlic. Cook until starting to soften, about 2-3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until veggies start to soften.

Add turmeric, cumin, salt, and pepper, and stir. Cook about 2 minutes until the spices are fragrant. Stir in the stock and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add farro and lentils. Bring back to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and partially cover the pot. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are just tender and the farro is cooked but still chewy. Add the kale and cook just until softened, only a few minutes. Turn off the heat. Remove bay leaf and fish out the melted parmesan rind bits.

Hearty Farro and Lentil Soup with Turmeric, Parmesan, and Kale | Kelly in the Kitchen | Ingredients: butter or olive oil, onion, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper, stock or broth, bay leaf, farro, lentils, kale, parmesan rind (optional)

Mandatory: serve with a drizzle of good quality olive oil. Actually, “drizzle” is far too dainty a word for the amount of olive oil I add when I eat this soup. Some kind of magic happens when all those flavors get together. Enjoy.

Hearty Farro and Lentil Soup with Turmeric, Parmesan, and Kale | Kelly in the Kitchen | Ingredients: butter or olive oil, onion, zucchini, garlic, tomatoes, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper, stock or broth, bay leaf, farro, lentils, kale, parmesan rind (optional)

Chickpea Flatbread.

I’ve become obsessed with these chickpea flatbreads. Lately I’ve been making them every week, because they go with everything and are so good. They’re the basis of a breakfast tostada-like thing I make on weekends, a great addition to a curry chicken and cauliflower rice work lunch, and I’ve even tried to make them into a quesadilla for dinner (with mixed results). They’re also very forgiving–it’s tough to overcook them–and have so few ingredients, I can barely call this a recipe. But a recipe it is, and such a versatile one. Chickpea flatbreads are quickly becoming one of my go-tos and I’m not mad about it.

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INGREDIENTS

2 cups chickpea flour
3 cups cold water
olive oil
salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Pour the chickpea flour into a mixing bowl, and slowly whisk in the cold water, stirring to break up any lumps. Once you’ve added all the water and the batter is completely combined, use a slotted spoon to skim off any foam that has risen to the top. Get rid of that foam! Your digestive system will thank you later. Set the de-foamed batter aside on the counter to soak overnight (or for at least 6 hours).
A note on soaking: I’ve made the flatbreads after waiting only 3 hours, and while they still turn out delicious, they are also a lot harder on your digestive system (remember that rhyme about beans?). So I soak the batter overnight at a minimum.

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Once the batter has soaked, use a slotted spoon again to skim off any foam/impurities that rise to the top. Then give the batter a good stir to make sure it’s well-combined, and you’re ready to make some flatbreads!

Heat a crepe pan or other non-stick surface over a low flame (2 out of 10 on my stove) and add a good amount of olive oil to the pan – not so much that you completely cover the bottom of the pan, but more than you’d use to just grease it. The olive oil is a fantastic flavor in this recipe, so you really do want to taste it.

Once the pan is hot, you’re ready to add your batter. The amount you add will depend on the size of your pan: I use about 1 cup of batter, which covers the entire pan so that you can’t see the bottom–thicker than a crepe. Pour it in, add salt and pepper to taste, and let cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes. Once the batter is set on top, turn up the heat to medium/medium low (4-5 out of 10 on my stove) for 2 minutes to brown the bottom.

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Flip the flatbread over and cook the other side for another 8 minutes or so, until both sides are browned and the flatbread is cooked through.

That’s it! I prefer to serve these right away, with some melted cheese, salsa, and eggs. Or you can let them cool, cut them up into quarters, and serve later. These heat up fine in the microwave, but they’re best reheated on a skillet. Usually I make one at a time, and I keep the rest of the batter in the fridge to make later (up to a week after first mixing it).

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Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower.

Fancy breakfast side. Favorite work lunch. Quick and easy dinner. This salad has everything going for it even before I tell you how healthy and and wholesome it is (and it is healthy and wholesome). The dressing has all the things a good dressing should. Lemon and oil, sweet honey and tangy mustard, and a bit of seasoning are beautifully simple tossed with kale. The cauliflower makes it interesting and a little “meatier,” and with a good sprinkle of pistachios, things are starting to look downright fancy! I love this as an accompaniment to frittata on my weekend mornings (check the bottom photo!), and it’s an office lunch I actually look forward to. And since it’s normal to be out of an ingredient or two, I love riffing on the dressing using whatever I have around (no lemon? Try white wine vinegar. No pistachios? Almonds are great, too.). What I’m saying is, it tastes amazing, is good for you, and you can eat it for every meal. Make it. Make it today.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

INGREDIENTS

for salad:
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
salt and pepper
1/4 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese (or as much as you want!)
1/3 cup chopped pistachios (or about 1/2 cup if you measure before shelling)
1 large bunch kale, washed, dried, and julienned

for cauliflower:
1 cup cauliflower florets, washed, dried, and sliced
olive oil for drizzling (no need to use EVOO here, regular is fine)
salt and pepper
scant 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
pinch of cayenne pepper

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

I like to start with the dressing; the longer those flavors have to come together, the better it will taste. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, garlic, salt, and pepper, and stir together. Add the cheese and gently stir it in. Set aside.

Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, and cayenne until evenly coated. Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast about 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. It’s done when the florets are soft and just toasty-brown. Let it cool to room temperature before using.

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

While the cauliflower is roasting, I use this time to de-shell and chop the pistachios.

The final step is assembly. Toss the kale in the dressing, taste, and adjust seasonings if needed. Add the pistachios, and top with cauliflower. Serve as a side or as the main event. Enjoy!

Lemon Parmesan Kale Salad with Pistachios and Roasted Cauliflower | KellyintheKitchen.net | extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard, honey, granulated garlic, salt, pepper, parmigiano-reggiano cheese, pistachios, kale, cauliflower, cayenne pepper, olive oil

 

Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip.

After a month hiatus from blogging, I’m back! It’s been a very busy, fun month which included a fantastic ten day vacation in Paris! Hopefully this Europe-trip-in-the-Fall thing is starting to become an annual habit for me – at about the same time last year, I was heading off to Scotland for 10 days of Highland hijinks. Paris was so lovely, and it was wonderful to get to spend a full ten days in the city. We were really able to combine sightseeing with relaxation in the best possible way, while sprinkling in lots of amazing eating! Here are some highlights of the trip, before we get into recipe-land.

One of many, many patisserie visits, we had kick-butt hot chocolate and baba au rhum at Angelina, near the Tuileries:

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A big culinary highlight of the trip was dinner at the art nouveau dreamworld Brasserie Julien. I was lucky enough to discover this place on a previous visit to Paris, and I couldn’t wait to bring my friends back to enjoy it this time. We enjoyed plate after amazing plate of their beautiful food—Julien delivered again. For my main course, I had this shrimp and salmon dish in a light lime cream sauce:

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I love the ubiquity of Paris cafes – they mean instant peace and a full tummy, with a side of people-watching. The intermittent Fall rain was a great excuse to drop in.

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Probably my favorite pastry of all time is the buttery, chocolate-filled croissant-like bun known as pain au chocolat. Pair it with a cup of black tea and you’ve got a breakfast of champions right here. SO GOOD.

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And not pictured: a HEFTY daily dose of macaroons that would rival the excesses of Versailles. Nothing beats a chocolate macaroon. Except 5 chocolate macaroons.

And now, folks, for the recipe: a creamy, spicy, delicious black bean and goat cheese dip.

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INGREDIENTS

olive oil or bacon grease
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 (15 oz) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup vegetable stock (chicken stock or even water would work here, too)
1 (4 oz) can green chiles, chopped
2/3 cup Greek yogurt (or sour cream will do)
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 oz goat cheese
sriracha or other hot sauce
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
tortilla chips, pita bread, or carrot and cucumber slices for dipping

Just the Recipe link: Black Bean and Goat Cheese Dip

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a bigger saucepan than the inexplicably small one I chose to use for this, heat olive oil or bacon grease over medium flame. Saute the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook another minute, and then pour in the first can of black beans. Mash with a potato masher.

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Stir in the vegetable stock and green chiles. Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.

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Then add the second can of beans and mash again, a little more coarsely this time. Remove from heat.

Stir in the Greek yogurt, oregano, salt, and pepper. Transfer the bean mixture to a baking dish.

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Break up the goat cheese into small pieces and press them into the dip, speckling the top with the little white gems. Drizzle sriracha or other hot sauce over the top.

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Bake for 20 minutes. As the dip bubbles, it might bubble over, so make sure you have a pan or a sheet of foil to catch any drips. When the 20 minutes are up, remove from the oven.

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This stuff is great both hot and room temperature. Just before you serve it, sprinkle with chopped green onion. Serve with tortilla chips or pita bread, or do what I did and cut up some carrots and cucumber for dippin’.

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Spinach and Green Garlic Soup.

Green garlic is everywhere right now. It’s just young garlic, with a softer, edible skin and a milder flavor. It’s delicious in scrambled eggs, soups, and sauces (especially pesto). Since I haven’t been feeling well lately, from a combination of allergies and a sore throat from screaming my head off when the Blackhawks beat the Red Wings in a Game 7 of the NHL playoffs, I figured a nice spring soup might perk me up a bit. It’s also a great way to get a good healthy helping of spinach! Adapted from Orangette, this light and easy green garlic and spinach soup is a breeze to make and delicious to boot. Dig in.

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INGREDIENTS

butter and olive oil
3 stalks green garlic, sliced (use the white and the light green parts)
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 cup chicken stock
2 1/2 cups water
5 oz baby spinach
a spoonful of Greek yogurt
pepper

Just the Recipe link: Spinach and Green Garlic Soup

DIRECTIONS

In a Dutch oven or other large pot, heat a bit of butter and olive oil over medium low. The butter is for flavor, and the olive oil will keep the butter from burning. Once it’s hot, add the green garlic, salt, and cayenne.

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Cook gently, careful to avoid burning or browning, until the garlic is soft and smells sweet, and has lost its raw smell. Add the chicken stock and turn up the heat. Bring to a boil, and then turn down to simmer for 15 minutes.

Add the spinach and turn off the heat. Stir it in and let stand just 5 min, so it cooks but keeps its bright green color.

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Now puree the soup in batches, until it’s smooth. Add it back to the pot to reheat. I wanted to reduce my soup and get it to a little bit thicker consistency, so I simmered it a few minutes more.

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Once it’s where you want it, turn off the heat and stir in a scoop of greek yogurt. Serve immediately, with lots of pepper on top. Delish!

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Steamed Artichoke with Harissa Butter.

Let’s use our imaginations for a second. It’s something like 100,000 years ago and you’re a primitive human, walking around and looking for food. You spot a green, tough, pointy-leafed, stringy-stemmed, hairy-hearted and bitter-tasting vegetable. Naturally, you do not eat it. And none of your fellow humans eat it either. It’s clearly a bad food option. You move on and continue your search. Are the berries on that bush non-poisonous? Only one way to find out!

Are you enjoying the imagination game? I find myself thinking about this kind of thing a lot: how many thousands of years had to go by before someone figured out how to prepare an artichoke so that it’s a delicious treat instead of the “problem vegetable” that it is in its untouched state? The artichoke is one of the weirdest vegetables there is, and it’s pretty labor-intensive to prepare, and yet it is all so worth it to get to that delicious heart and eat the meat off the bases of the leaves. Mmmmm.

Despite its baggage, I am a huge fan of these guys, and today I share with you the best artichoke and dressing I have ever eaten. The dressing is a simple combo of melted butter and harissa, a red spiced paste that comes from Tunisia and is usually made from chilis and olive oil. It goes so well with artichokes, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this combo before now. Please please please make this simple recipe as soon as you can – it it magnificent.

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INGREDIENTS (this recipe easily doubles/triples/etc.)

1 artichoke
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp harissa paste (or more, to taste)

Just the Recipe link: Steamed Artichoke with Harissa Butter

DIRECTIONS

Fill a pot with 1 inch of water, toss in the bay leaf, and set it to boil. Meanwhile, prep the artichoke for steaming. Using a serrated knife, chop the stem most of the way, and cut through the middle of the artichoke so that you trim off the leaf points. Pull the small leaves off the base and discard.

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When the water is boiling, put the artichoke in the pot, wide cute side down and stem up. Cover, turn down to a low boil, and cook 20-30 minutes. It’s done when you can easily pull off smaller leaves at the base near the stem. Remove the artichoke from the water and set is aside to cool down a bit.

To assemble the harissa butter, melt the butter and stir in the harissa.

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When the artichoke has cooled enough to touch, take out the choke. Take your tongs and use them to find the middle section of the artichoke, where the purple-y leaves are. Use the tongs to pull this section out of the artichoke and expose the hairy choke in the center.

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Then trade the tongs for a fork. To remove the hairy center, use the fork to gently loosen the hair from the heart. Pull it away and throw it out. Continue to gently loosen the hair and remove it until the heart is clean and exposed.

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Put your artichoke on a plate and spoon about half of the butter over the center, over the heart. Use the rest for dipping the leaves; I like to dip each leaf and scrape the base for the “meat,” and then eat the heart last. These are so unbelievably good!!

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And thank you, oh culinary pioneer of the past, who discovered the glory of artichokes and made this meal possible.