Protein – Mixed Greens Blog Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest Thu, 14 Sep 2017 22:20:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Gluten-Free Bread Winner Wed, 07 Jan 2015 21:30:05 +0000 gluten-free seed bread

I’m not gluten intolerant but when I came across a recipe for a “Life-Changing Bread”, I’ll have to say that I was intrigued. I had my doubts that any one food can change your life, but this bread has come pretty close to doing just that. It would probably be more accurate to say that it’s become part of my life in that Charlie and I eat it for lunch practically everyday and I’ve started baking a loaf once a week or so. It contains some of the same ingredients as my homemade granola and I’ve found making them at the same time saves me effort. I guess that’s part of what it’s all about. Cooking at home instead of buying processed food takes some effort, there’s no way around that, but the benefits are great and besides, this bread is very low on the effort scale and very high on the healthy scale.  While I haven’t found a way to incorporate local ingredients (you can substitute hazelnuts for the almonds) into the recipe, you can put any number of local treats on top. I’ve had lots requests from friends for the recipe, I thought it was time to share it with you.

Gluten-free seed bread

I have to give full credit for this life-changing bread recipe to Sarah Britton at My New Roots, one of my favorite healthy eating blogs. I highly recommend checking out her post on this bread especially if you have questions about making substitutions or want to know more about the benefits of psyllium seed husks. I can tell you right now that psyllium seed husks are the ingredient that makes it possible to leave out the flour in this bread. It absorbs the water and binds all the other ingredients together. I’ve used Sarah’s recipe but changed it slightly to suit my needs.

gluten-free seed bread

 Life-Changing Bread Recipe

Ingredients: 1 cup sunflower seeds/ 1/2 cup whole flax seeds, I prefer golden flax/ 1/2 cup chopped almonds/ 1 1/2 cups rolled oats/ 2T chia seeds/ 4T psyllium seed husks/ 1t fine grain sea salt/ 1T maple syrup/ 3T unsalted melted butter, plus a little extra to butter your pan/ 1 1/2 cups water.

Ingredients for gluten-free bread

Directions: Butter a loaf pan (the original recipe uses a silicon loaf pan, so skip the butter if you have one)/ Put all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix well/ Meanwhile in a small saucepan, melt the butter, remove from the heat, add the maple syrup and water/ Add the wet ingredients together with the dry and mix well/ Put into your loaf pan and smooth the top with the back of spoon/ Let it sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or even overnight (I’ve tried all three with good success).

Uncooked Gluten-free Bread

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees/ Place loaf pan on middle rack and bake for 20 minutes/ Remove loaf pan from oven and turn it upside-down on a baking rack/ Return to the oven (on top of the rack) and bake for 35 minutes longer to cook the underside/ Cool bread completely before slicing. It smells amazing so this is the hardest part.

seedbread1 of 1 (1)

I keep mine in a sealed container in the fridge and slice it off as I need it. One loaf lasts about a week for the two of us. Charlie takes a couple of slices to work slathered with butter, of course. I prefer it toasted but since it can crumble, I like to stick it under the broiler until it’s brown and toasty. The lone tablespoon of maple syrup and the nature sweetness of the nuts and seeds makes it plenty sweet for me but if you’re so inclined, I’m certain it would be delicious with homemade jam. I always tend toward the savory side so here’s my new favorite lunch — toasted bread with butter and lots of chopped herbs straight from the garden. Another favorite is butter, sliced farmers market radishes and a bit of sea salt.

Chopped Herbs on Gluten-free Bread

If you’re in the mood to make some changes in your life, trying something new, even bread, is a great place to start. I can feel my life is changing already.








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With Pumpkin & Eggnog, Still French Thu, 18 Dec 2014 09:00:42 +0000 Holiday table This time of year there’s a lot of focus on ornaments, roasts of beast, trays of sweet things . . . presents, glitter and glitz galore. And then there’s breakfast. Whew. A quiet time with just you or a few and it can be very special too. Here are a some of our favorites from Christmases past.

Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast has a seasonal twist worthy of breakfast on Christmas or any winter morning.  The pumpkin, the eggs, a few spices and a splash of eggnog. Oh yes, eggnog. Grill it in more butter than usual, buy a special loaf of bread and celebrate something.Pumpkin Eggnog French toast

The French toast of my childhood was concocted by my cowboy father. He ran a ranch, grew spuds, trained horses, loved rodeos, and, he cooked. He made French toast with the usual eggs and milk and insisted that we should eat it with butter and brown sugar, not syrup. Up in the hills behind our ranch, he told us, the shepherds ate theirs this way. My brother and I went for it and to this day can’t eat French toast without the brown sugar. He would tell such stories while standing at the kitchen stove or squatting around a campfire, always in his cowboy boots and Levis, cast iron griddle ablaze. When we trekked into the mountains with pack horses there were a couple of cast iron pans jangling along in which he fried freshly caught trout and potatoes in bacon grease, and in the early mornings, French toast.

Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast Rose hips

Not sure why it’s French. I read that in the 1600s the English soaked bread in orange juice, wine and sugar and cooked it; some time in the 1800s eggs were added to the mix. French toast has been around the block. It’s a versatile and universal process more than a set recipe – eggs and a little milk are required, after that there’s room for innovation like pumpkin and eggnog. Just eggnog, or just pumpkin. Push the limits a little and you have to wonder what else is possible. Cocoa powder for a chocolaty essence? Cheese?

Pumpkin & Eggnog French Toast Recipe

Ingredients that are locally grown and produced make this particularly of the season. This  is my own made up version – eggnog toast recipes abound on the internet.

5- 6 eggs for 6 or 7 pieces of well-soaked bread

Slices of thickly sliced, sturdy textured bread

1/2 C pie pumpkin or other sweet squash, cooked

1/4 C eggnog

1/4 C whole milk

1/4 or less teaspoons cinnamon & ginger

A big pinch of nutmeg & salt

1 – 2 teaspoons brown sugar (you can skip this sweetener)

Butter for cooking, syrup or brown sugar for topping

Pie pumpkin puree Pumpkin Eggnog French toastPumpkin Eggnog French Toast Pumpkin Eggnog French toast

Whisk cooked squash with the milk and eggnog (use all milk, no eggnog, or all eggnog if preferred)/ Add eggs, spices, sugar and mix vigorously until well blended/ Pour into a large flat pan/ Place slices of bread in the pan and allow to soak for several minutes on each side for a total of 8 or 10 minutes, depending on texture of the bread/ Heat a griddle or a large pan on medium-high/ With a large spatula, carefully place egg-saturated bread on the buttery griddle/  Cook in plenty of butter for 3 or 4 minutes per side/ Spicy aromas drift through the kitchen and holiday breakfast is ready. Serve immediately with syrup or brown sugar.

Refrigerate leftovers after they’ve cooled and rewarm for another quick breakfast. Admittedly, French toast is an excuse, a fairly healthy egg-soaked, protein-packed excuse, to have dessert for breakfast.

Winter solstice upon us and more light coming our way, Happy Holidays to all of our readers. We so appreciate your coming back time after time

Delicious brunch: Salmon, Eggs & Potato Gratin Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin

And for the nights before:  An Old Fashioned Christmas Eve oldfashioned26 of 43

Fruit Cake Good Enough to Eat. California Fruitcake

Feast Mode: Come Join Our Thanksgiving Table Sun, 16 Nov 2014 13:38:04 +0000 Theoretically speaking, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, Brussel’s sprouts, Waldorf salad, biscuits, butter, whipped cream . . . all that, plus. Theoretically. A few years ago I saw a country vegetable garden with this sign outside the gate: Dear Deer, It’s almost Thanksgiving and it doesn’t have to be Turkey this year. Keep Out!

Over the years Poppy and I have cooked all kinds of Thanksgiving foods and posted many of them on Mixed Greens. We invite you to our table. Peruse the menu of possibilities and choose anything you’d like to try, or to make again because it was so good the last time. Choose two or three if you want. It goes without saying that there’s a nap on the menu too.

Recipes for Thanksgiving Dinner


Roasted Cranberry Sauce        Sweet Potato Biscuits         Pumpkin Pie From Scratch

Celery Root Puree      crispy shallots     caramelized shallots

Celery Root Puree                      Crispy Shallots                   Caramelized Shallots

Roasted Sweet Potatoes             Turkey Gravy                    Cranberry Gin & Tonic


Brussell’s Sprouts               Cranberry Upsidedown Cake         PNW Waldorf Salad


Turkey Soup Anytime       Something Green On the Side          Moroccan Turkey

Alton Brown is emphatic about how to roast a turkey: Brine your turkey – he does it in a large cooler along with some ice. Don’t stuff it! No need to baste. Keep the oven door closed as much as possible. If you’d like to be bossed around a little more about Alton’s way to roast a turkey, check out his recipe. I heard him carry forth on NPR the other night and it was impressive. He was decisive, which is a lot more than I can say for myself when it comes to how to best roast a turkey.

We’re grateful for you all dear readers. May your meal be as local as possible and delicious, your table lively and loving.

Water flows over these hands. May we use them skillfully to preserve our precious planet.

                              Earth Prayers From Around the World, Thich Nhat Hanh

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Sum sum summertime: Tomatillo, Tomato, Corn & Ricotta Tortillas Mon, 15 Sep 2014 00:00:24 +0000 It’s still summer and fresh corn is so good it’s almost a guilty pleasure. Take that corn off the cob and wrap it up in a tortilla with tomato, tomatillo salsa, savory ricotta, avocado, grill it in butter, and relish summer’s crème de la crème. Gild the lily with arugula, a fried egg, Dungeness crab or whatever sounds good. It’s a pretty straight forward, versatile meal, rolled up or open-faced, make it for breakfast, lunch or dinner.


tomatilla & corn tortilla 2

tomatillo tortilla #2

Knowing that fresh corn is about to disappear from the local table for another year, I’m appreciating every sunlit kernel. These wraps are for right now, or make this fresh corn chowder, which can be frozen and savored all winter.corn chowder

My mom loved to remember and describe her favorite childhood summer meal: just a big platter of corn on the cob, another platter of homegrown tomatoes, and her mother’s homemade bread. Grown in their garden, there was plenty for everyone. There was also the drama of sharing with 10 or 11 siblings, along with her parents. Autumn will bring its own versions of deliciousness and favorite memories, but for now, along with ears of corn and tomatoes from the vine, we savor each tank top day and warm sunset.

Tomatillo, Tomato, Corn & Ricotta Tortillas Recipe

tomatilla & corn tortilla 1

Enough for 4 tortillas.

Ingredients: 4 tortillas/ For the salsa, roughly chop and blend 8 tomatillos, 2 T shallot or 2 t garlic, 2 t jalapeno, more or less, depending on taste, 1 T lime juice, 1 t cumin, 2 t fresh oregano/ kernels from two ears of corn/ 1 C fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped/ 2 C fresh ricotta mixed with 2 T each finely chopped chives and basil or oregano, 1/2 t salt, 1/4 t pepper/ 1 sliced avocado/ 1/2 C cilantro/ 2 T butter for sautéing tortillas. (Recipe for Roasted Tomatillo Salsa below.)

 fresh corn tomatilla & corn tortilla  tomatilla & corn tortilla 1 (1) tomatilla & corn tortilla 2 (2) 

Directions: Tortillas can be cooked in butter before or after they are filled/ Place key ingredients in separate bowls, the corn, the ricotta mix, avocado, the blended tomatillo salsa (make salsa an hour or two in advance if possible)/ For an open faced presentation, sauté tortillas one at a time in butter until both sides are lightly browned, place one on each plate and layer ingredients on still warm tortillas: the ricotta, tomatillo salsa, fresh corn and avocado/ Or, place ingredients near center  of a tortilla, roll up tightly and sauté in butter until each side is golden/ Garnish with a little extra corn, cilantro and/or salsa.

Variations: Add salad greens, scallions, any salsa, roasted peppers, a fried or poached egg, Oregon shrimp, fresh crab, cheddar instead of ricotta cheese, omit the cheese . . . dive into late summer on a plate.

tomatilla & corn tortilla 3

*Roasted tomatillos make an excellent salsa.


Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Rick Bayless
Salsa Verde
Servings: 1 cup


8ounces (3 to 4 medium) tomatillos, husked and rinsed
Fresh hot green chiles to taste (1 or 2 serranos or 1 jalapeno), stemmed
2large garlic cloves, peeled
6 sprigs of fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off), roughly chopped
1small white onion, finely chopped

Roast the tomatillos, chile(s) and garlic on a rimmed baking sheet 4 inches below a very hot broiler, until blotchy black and softening (they’ll be turning from lime green to olive), about 5 minutes. Flip them over and roast the other side. Cool, then transfer everything to a blender, including all the delicious juice the tomatillos have exuded during roasting. Add the cilantro and 1/4 cup water, then blend to a coarse puree. Scoop into a serving dish. Rinse the onion under cold water, then shake to remove excess moisture. Stir into the salsa and season with salt, usually 1/2 teaspoon.

*Recommend doubling this recipe. One cup isn’t enough!

A Party: An Enchanted Summer Evening Supper Mon, 18 Aug 2014 23:04:51 +0000 Thirteen friends, the December dinner group, met for supper mid-August. We had a blast wearing flip flops and shorts instead of boots and sweaters. We gathered in the backyard, used many of our own vegetables and herbs, and enjoyed food mostly made ahead.


The Menu: Roasted summer vegetables with goat cheese ricotta on crostinis, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe and Charlie’s Jungle Bird cocktails; followed by lemon-dill shell pasta salad with grilled prawns and a platter of salad; Pam and Pamm brought dessert and I’m sorry, no picture of their fabulous ice cream sandwich cookies – it was dark by then. So much fun and the perfect delicious finale.

Summer Evening Supper

   Jungle Bird  Summer party 3  charcoal Grilled Prawns

tomatoes  summer salad  Pineapple mocktail  Foraged bouquet

summer roasted veg 2  summer roasted veg 1  Summer tapenade  Summer party (1) 2

Salad dressings, roasted vegetables and goat cheese ricotta made a day ahead took about an hour. Day of, finished everything else in a couple of hours. Pretty easy considering it was a meal for more than a dozen. Easy enough for hosts to then kick back and enjoy the delicious evening.

Lemon-Dill Pasta & Prawns Salad Recipe

 Pasta Salad with Prawns

Serves 12, or more.

Ingredients & Directions: 24 oz (2 pkgs) large shell pasta/ Generously salt plenty of water and cook pasta until al dente/ Strain, place in a large bowl, let cool briefly and then toss with all of the lemon dressing.

Lemon Vinaigrette: Make dressing a day ahead or while pasta is cooking: 1/3 – 1/2 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, ¼ C finely minced red onion or shallot, 2/3 C olive oil, 1 T mustard, 3 T mayonnaise optional, 1 t salt and pepper to taste/ Whisk or shake vigorously, pour over warm pasta/ Make more if needed – the pasta needs plenty of dressing/ When pasta is completely cool stir in 1/2 C finely chopped fresh dill and chives (or more), 1 C chopped parsley, salt & pepper to taste/ Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Grilled Prawns Recipe

Grilled Prawns

Ingredients & Directions: 2 ½ # gulf prawns (shells removed before cooking or not, your call), about 5 per person – keep refrigerated/ If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 2 hours before grilling/ For the brief marinade: 2 T shallot or garlic, finely minced/ 1/3 C freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 T olive oil/ salt & pepper/ Make the marinade, pour over prawns and toss gently; let sit for one half hour before cooking/ Arrange 6 prawns on each skewer/ Cook directly on a hot grill for 2 minutes on each side/ When cool, remove from skewers and place on top of prepared pasta salad/ Sprinkle with a little extra pasta salad dressing, lemon and parsley/ Refrigerate covered for a few hours or serve immediately.

Summer Salad Platter

summer salad

Line a platter with lettuce leaves and then arrange favorite summer vegetables on top – for example, avocado, fresh corn, sliced peppers, scallions, cucumbers, tomatoes, fennel. Edible flower blossoms. Salt & pepper to taste. Dress with Balsamic vinaigrette (or any vinaigrette) and sprinkle generously with chopped basil or any fresh herb combination.

Balsamic Vinaigrette: Pour generously over salad just before serving. In a pint-sized container, combine ½ C Balsamic vinegar, 2/3 C olive oil, 2 smashed cloves garlic, 2 t mustard/ Shake or whisk vigorously, taste and adjust as needed/ Mix ahead and set aside until time to serve the salad.

Roasted Summer Vegetables Recipe

Follow link to previous post and recipe.

summer roasted veg 2

Proscuitto Wrapped Cantaloupe

Ingredients & Directions: Cut 1 cantaloupe into bite-sized pieces, wrap each one with a small piece of prosciutto/ 12 oz of prosciutto was about the right amount/ Arrange on a plate with toothpicks and refrigerate until time to serve.

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Mixed Greens Mornings Mon, 05 May 2014 01:01:34 +0000 The a.m. food vibe. My own morning habits have gone from merely convenient and tasty to just a little bit obsessive. Smoothies are the norm six or seven mornings a week and I feel a little off if I miss a day. Toast with jam or honey, same thing. Coffee, mornings only, though there are occasional midnight espresso exceptions with a gang of friends trying to be carefree with their caffeine. Friend Poppy’s into granola most days, and nearly every Saturday a fried egg with fresh greens from the farmer’s market. We savor our a.m. habits because they taste and feel good, comfort us, and they accommodate our schedules.

homemade latte
Morning rituals become embedded and, if we’re lucky, move from merely convenient to comforting meditations, beyond just a kick start. Making coffee from scratch, for example. I smell it, feel the steam, notice the iridescent bubbling in the filter, close my eyes and feel grateful for a new day and that I’m here, feeling pretty good. Also grateful that the coffee’s about ready. That first cup – for some it’s tea – a little steamed milk, toast, self indulgent I know, my morning ritual.
Here are a few a.m. recipes from Mixed Greens that are delicious wake up calls for leisurely or fast-paced mornings. Either way, take a moment to smell the coffee and taste your delicious new day.

Smooothie Recipes

Blueberry Smoothie Recipe blueberry-smoothie

Kale Smoothie Recipe            Kale Smoothie

Basic Fruit Smoothie              sour cherry smoothie


Granola Recipes

 Call Me Granola                       Granola6 of 6

Great Granola, No Gluten       Granola

Homemade Cereal                   homemade cereal


Egg Recipes

Overly Easy Eggs                        Fried Egg with Cheese
Spanish Frittata                          Spanish omelet

Baked Eggs in Tomato Sauce  baked eggs in tomato sauce

Baked Eggs & Chard                  Baked Eggs on a Bed of Swiss Chard

Make A Lotta Stratta                 Sausage strata

Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin   Salmon, Egg & Potato Gratin

Search eggs on our home page and discover more.


 Breakfast Goodies

Toast & Peach Jam                     toast-jam-1

Blueberry Buttermilk Hotcakeshealthier hotcakes

 Raw Apple Cake                            raw apple cake

Irish Soda Bread                             Irish soda bread

Frittatas, granola, smoothies, eggs . . . they all invite creativity and spontaneity, depending on what you have around and what your taste buds crave. Last night, last minute, we made a giant frittata with what was in the fridge: a few bits of pancetta, leek, potato, brassica florets from the garden, all  sautéed together in plenty of olive oil. Add a few eggs with some milk or cream, season, cook for just a moment on the burner, sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Pop into 375 oven for just 4 or 5 minutes, maybe less. Embellish with whatever, grated cheese, sour cream, avocado, chives.  Voilà, breakfast for dinner.

Switch these recipes around as needed to fit your own ingredients and culinary ideas. Say good morning to yourself.


Breakfast for Dinner: Overly Easy Eggs Mon, 14 Apr 2014 00:00:39 +0000

I never really had full appreciation of what it meant for my mother to put dinner on the table for five rowdy kids every night of the week. Somewhere along the way, she rebelled, at least on Sunday nights and it became a DIY dinner night. More often than not, we kids collaborated on a Chef Boyardee pizza but for my taste, a fried egg sandwich was the perfect dinner, nutritious and delicious at any time during the day. I still feel that way and I’m not the only one to sing the praises of the simple fried egg sandwich.  One of M.F.K. Fisher’s most remembered recipes is her Aunt Gwen’s fried egg sandwich — “made of equal parts hunger and happiness.”

We all have our methods for frying eggs but mine is as easy and foolproof as they come. After years of trying to make the perfect over-easy fried egg by flipping it at exactly the right moment, I discovered using a lid on the skillet instead. Now they’re perfectly done, whites firm, yolk runny, but not too runny and cheese, if you want it, is melted, all in a matter of minutes. Use fresh organic eggs from a local farmer if at all possible. You’ll be able to tell such a difference in taste, you’ll have a hard time going back to grocery store eggs ever again.

Fried Egg Sandwich

Ingredients: 2 slices of good bread – When I don’t make my own, I often buy mine from Alex at Preston Hill Bakery at the University Farmers Market/ mayonnaise, optional for some but necessary in my house/ a fresh organic free-range egg/ some bacon or pancetta is great if you have some on hand/ a few slices of cheese – I used Beecher’s Flagship cheddar/ lettuce & tomato slices/ T of butter/ salt & pepper.

Directions: Melt butter in skillet over medium heat/ If you’re using bacon or pancetta, fry it in the skillet first and you may not need butter at all/ Crack egg into skillet and cover immediately with a lid, I usually turn the heat down between medium and medium-low/ Check after 3-4 minutes to see if the white is no longer clear, if so, place the cheese on the egg/ Cover again and cook just until the cheese melts, a couple of minutes longer/ Make your sandwich using your own unique method (we all have one) and devour it while it’s still warm.

Even though it’s such a loving act to make this for your kids, do yourselves a favor and teach them to make this simple meal.

Frittatas, omelets and plain old scrambled eggs make an excellent dinner with the addition of fresh vegetables. Leftovers will work fine so if you have a small container of something in the fridge, feel free to throw it in. I’ve been known to cut up leftover burritos and any number of other things and haven’t gotten a complaint yet. This week I made one with potatoes, corn and roasted peppers, one of my favorite late summer combos.

Corn, Potato and Pepper Frittata

Ingredients: 6 fresh eggs/ 4 oz. feta cheese/ 1 large potato, cooked and cubed/ 2 ears of corn, cut off the cob/ 1 medium red onion, chopped/1 clove garlic, minced/ 1 red bell pepper and 1 poblano pepper, chopped and seeds removed – I used roasted peppers but uncooked are fine too/ 2 T olive oil/ 2 T butter/ Salt & pepper to taste.

Directions: Preheat the oven broiler/ In a oven-proof skillet, heat the oil and melt butter over medium-high heat/ Saute onions, garlic and peppers until soft and translucent/ Whisk eggs in a bowl/ Add corn, cooked potato to the skillet/ Stir lightly together/ Pour egg mixture over vegetables in skillet/ Dot with feta cheese, season with salt & pepper/ Let cook on medium heat on stovetop until the eggs begin to set, around 3-4 minutes/ Transfer to oven, set under broiler and broil until brown and puffy on top, around 5 minutes/ Let the frittata sit for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

When Sally discovered Market Vegetarian by Ross Dobson this summer and I tried her Summer Vegetable Roast Au Jus inspired by this book, I knew I had to check it out of the library for myself. Although I don’t buy many cookbooks these days, this one is a real keeper literally loaded with recipes I’d like to try. I’m not a vegetarian but aspire to eat more meatless meals throughout the week and feel much more prepared with this book as a guide. I tried the Swiss Chard, Feta Cheese & Egg Pie and got rave reviews here on the homefront. It’s basically a pie crust loaded with sauteed swiss chard, onions and garlic, then topped with 4 eggs and plenty of feta cheese, then baked at 425 for about 20 minutes.


Easy meals, fresh ingredients, mostly vegetarian (oh yeah, except the pancetta on my fried egg sandwich), I’d like to have breakfast for dinner more often.


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Spicy Meatballs & Their Sidekicks Mon, 24 Mar 2014 00:40:29 +0000 Not sure I make lamb meatballs because it’s an excuse to eat the tzatziki sauce that belongs with them, or make the tzatziki in order to indulge in the lamb meatballs. Either way, they’re perfect pals, they go everywhere together. The Greeks figured out a while back that you can’t make one without the other, or, that you could but you shouldn’t.

walla walla sweets  & yogurt raita salad

lamb meatballs

So, three recipes for a Greek-inspired spring supper: one for lamb meatballs, another for its sidekick, tzatziki, along with saffron yogurt rice that’s such a nice bed for the meatballs.

Bon Appetite, Kalí óreksi, Happy Spring.

Spicy Lamb Meatballs Recipe

lamb meatballs

Ingredients: 1# ground lamb/ 1/4 C half & half/ 1/2 (or 1 C) finely chopped onion, sautéed/ 1 clove garlic, finely chopped and added to onion sauté/ 1 egg, whisked/ And lots of spicy flavor: 1 t each coriander and cumin seed, toasted lightly in dry sauté pan and then ground with mortar and pestle (or in a coffee grinder) along with 1 t kosher salt/ 1 t ground cumin, 1/4 t each cinnamon and turmeric, 1 – 2 t chopped fresh mint, 1 t lemon zest, 1/4 C chopped fresh parsley, 1 t pepper or to taste.

Directions: Sauté onion until soft (about 10 minutes), adding garlic when onions are nearly done/ Set aside to cool/ Meanwhile, mix egg and half & half together and add to larger bowl with the ground lamb/ Mix lightly with clean hands/ Add all the spices and chopped herbs, mix together, but don’t overwork – in order to keep meatballs tender/ Add cooled onions and mix again.

Double this recipe and freeze the meatball mixture or the meatballs. Freeze uncooked meatballs on a cookie sheet for several hours until firm, and then transfer to an airtight container or zip lock bag.

lamb meatballs

Using fingers or a small spoon, make meatballs of a uniform, smallish size/ A pound will make 15 – 25 depending on size/ Place on cookie sheet and directly into 400 degree oven for 20 minutes (again, depending on size, could be a little less or a little longer)/ Or, sauté with olive oil in batches, turning every few minutes to brown/ Cook on each side, 15- 20 minutes total.

Serve with tzatziki sauce and saffron rice or make a sandwich, minus the rice, with pita bread, halved meatballs, tzatziki, a little red onion, lettuce and tomato.

Tzatziki Sauce Recipe

Ingredients & Directions: Mix together 2 C plain Greek *yogurt, 1 t finely chopped garlic, 1 T ground cumin, 1 t lemon juice, 1 t chopped mint or dill (optional), 1/2 t salt, 3 C seeded and *diced English cucumber/ Mix together, refrigerate.

Serve cold with any lamb dish or by itself as a refreshing sauce or salad.

*The yogurt and cucumber are typically placed in sieves – cucumbers chopped and salted – and their natural liquids allowed to drain for 30 minutes or so. This prevents tzatziki from becoming too liquidy. Rinse salted, drained cukes before adding to the mix. Greek yogurt and seeded English cucumber tend not to have much liquid, making the preparation process a little simpler.


Another kind of ‘tzatziki’ made with carrots, Raita, of Indian origins, is almost identical to tzatziki. And there’s Walla Walla Sweet Onion & Yogurt ‘Salad’ ala Jerry Traunfeld.

walla walla sweet onions & yogurt salad

Saffron & Yogurt Rice Recipe

Serves 4 – 6.

Ingredients & Directions:  2 C rinsed and drained Basmati rice, 4 C water, 1/4 – 1/3 C plain Greek yogurt, pinch or a few strands of saffron, 1 t lemon zest, 1/2 t turmeric, 1 t salt/ Stir together in pot, bring to simmer and cook with lid on until water has been absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.

lamb meatballs

Christmas Brunch: Make a Lotta Strata Mon, 09 Dec 2013 01:00:25 +0000

Christmas morning is quite possibly my favorite time of the entire year. Presents have been wrapped and exchanged, family is gathered together, Christmas Eve dinner leaves lots of leftovers for snacking during the day but oh yeah, what can I serve for Christmas brunch that doesn’t take me away from sitting and savoring that most special time of the year. If you’ve never tried making a strata, it’s my perfect solution. It’s a one-dish meal that has it all — eggs, sausage, cheese, bread and a couple of veggies. You can assemble it in about 30 minutes the night before, let it rest in the fridge and on Christmas morning, just pull it out and bake for about an hour while letting the festivities begin. It smells divine and tastes even better. Simple deliciousness that lets you be part of the party instead of in the kitchen. I don’t know about you but this is one day that I don’t want to miss even one moment of.


Simple Sausage Strata

This recipe is for 4 – 5 servings but you can double it, like the original from Bon Appetit  and make it for 8-10.

Ingredients: 3 large eggs/ 1 1/2 cups whole milk/ 1 cup sliced green onions/ 1/3 cup whipping cream/ 1/2 cup grated hard cheese – parm, romano, pecorino/ 1T chopped fresh parsley/ Salt and pepper to taste/ 1/2 lb Italian sausage, casings removed (I used a combo of mild and spicy)/ 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into wide strips (since bell peppers aren’t in season, I used some pickled peppers instead)/ About 1/2 loaf of sliced French bread, stale is fine/ 1 cup of grated cheese, I used Beecher’s Flagship cheddar but see what you have in the fridge — fontina is great too.

Directions: Butter a baking dish/ Whisk the first 7 ingredients together, seasoning with salt & pepper/ Saute sausage until brown, breaking up with fork/ If you’re using fresh bell peppers, saute them at the same time on the other side of the skillet.

Arrange half bread slices in one layer in buttered baking dish/ Pour 1/2 egg mixture over the bread/ Sprinkle with 1/2 grated cheese and 1/2 sausage, laying pepper strips over top/ Repeat the layering – bread, then rest of egg mixture, then cheese and sausage, topping with pepper strips/ Press lightly to submerge bread in liquid/ Cover and let it sit in fridge for several hours or overnight (if you’re in a hurry, you can let it stand for as little as 20 minutes)/ In the morning, remove from the fridge and preheat oven to 350/ Bake until it’s puffy and brown, about 1 hour/ Cool slightly before serving.

Once you’ve got the basic idea, you can vary the recipe — take out the sausage and add more veggies for a vegetarian dish, maybe even leave out the bread for a gluten-free version, like a crustless quiche. It’s surprisingly light for a meal so incredibly comforting. A green or fruit salad would make an excellent accompaniment — a Bloody Mary, even better but that’s another story.

Other great Christmas morning breakfasts are Sally’s family’s Salmon Potato Gratin or how about Pumpkin Eggnog French Toast. Whatever you make, remember it’s the thought that counts.

Happy Holidays!!

Fish Taco Quest Mon, 08 Apr 2013 02:24:22 +0000 I arrived in Puerto Rico a few days ago wondering about a few things – the heat and humidity, will I get cozy with Zumba and standup paddle boarding, will I get some work done? Make a good fish taco? Finally?


Chances are pretty good for the fish tacos. A. I’m in a small town where fresh fish is abundant. B. I’d like to cook fresh and light and quick.

So, let the quest begin. The best part of the trip is my family here – they  were captive to my taco experiments. First round, my second night here, featured frozen fish from the supermarket. It was a start. Made with grouper, the star of that show was the red cabbage/cucumber/avocado slaw dressed with lots of fresh squeezed lime and some hot pepper. Salsa and sour cream of course. Pretty good.

Next day I learned where to buy freshly caught local fish. And then I got lucky.

Pirulo, the landlord of the little place on the beach where I’m staying, gave me a freshly caught Mahi Mahi, or something like Mahi Mahi he thought. The perfect fish for tacos, but truthfully, any white fish will do.

Pirulo’s a local character, in a very good way. He fishes from his little boat many mornings, manages a small guest cottage, tends his beautiful tropical veggie and herb gardens, raises pigs and chickens. Not interested much in the internet, he jumped right on the bandwagon to try to recover his wifi service for me. Thanks Pirulo, for all of it.

My Best Fish Taco So Far Recipe

Fish taco

I’m on vacation, this ‘recipe’ is very loose. I’ll tell the story and I think there’s a recipe in here somewhere. Enough for approximately 6 tacos.

The basics: 3 or 4 limes/ the fish/ cabbage/ sour cream/ cilantro/ jalapeño/ salsa/ avocado/ hot sauce/ fresh tortillas.

A piece of white fish, a pound or two depending. My fish must have been at least a pound and made six hearty tacos.

Marinating fish

 Ingredients for fish marinade: the juice of two limes/ 2 T olive oil/ 1 clove of garlic coarsely chopped/ 1 or 1/2 finely chopped jalapeño (according to taste)/ 1 t cumin/ Shake to mix and pour over fish one half hour before cooking.

Lime sour cream

Prepare lime sour cream: 1 1/2 C sour cream/ Juice of at least one lime/ 1/2 t cumin/ More finely chopped jalapeño/ Mix together and reserve.

Red cabbage slaw

Prepare cabbage slaw: Grate or very finely slice 3 C red or green cabbage/ Dice an avocado/ 1/2 C thinly sliced red onion/ Stir together with 1 T lime juice and/or vinegar/ Stir in 1/4 C of the sour cream lime dressing.

Salsa, hot sauce, more avocado, cilantro on the side.

Grill or sauté fish. Remove from marinade, cook fish several minutes per side and then pour marinade over when it’s about done, let it sizzle in the sauté pan for a minute. It becomes a lovely sauce. When grilling, simmer marinade in a small sauce pan and pour over fish before serving.

Assemble: Grill fresh tortillas to your liking. I place them on a hot grill pan, less than a minute on each side. Smother grilled tortilla with lime sour cream, salsa, slaw and fish. Embellish with hot sauce and cilantro to taste, another squeeze of lime. Eat up. Have another one. They’re good for you.

Fish tacos

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