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Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes

Mediterranean Farro Salad

Mediterranean Farro Salad


Mediterranean Farro Salad

Aug. 22, 2011 06:05 PM

Lisa Dahl

For Magic Mushrooms:

  • 16-24 button mushrooms, about 1 pound
  • 3/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 1/4 red onion, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme

For salad:

  • 4 quarts water
  • Scant salt to taste
  • 1 cup farro
  • 1 cup zucchini, 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 eggplant, peeled, 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 yellow pepper, 1/2-inch squares
  • 1 medium onion, 1/2-inch squares
  • Drizzle plus 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided use Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup marinade from Magic Mushrooms

To make mushrooms, clean and trim tough ends and stems. In a medium to large non-reactive bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, red onion, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, olive oil and canola oil. Toss in sprigs of fresh thyme. Reserve quarter cup marinade for farro. Add the mushrooms to bowl and stir until the mushrooms begin to absorb marinade. Marinate at room temperature 4 to 6 hours, stirring occasionally to make sure all mushrooms are covered with marinade. When done, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Mushrooms are best if served within 48 hours.

To make salad, bring water to a boil with a small amount of salt. Add farro. Boil until farro is tender, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, chop the vegetables into 1/2-inch pieces. Place in a bowl and drizzle with enough extra-virgin olive oil to glisten. Sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until brown on all sides, turning once or twice. Remove and allow to rest about 10 minutes.

When farro is tender, drain in a colander and rinse in cool water. Gently shake off excess water and turn the farro into a bowl large enough for tossing. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over the room-temperature grains to coat evenly. Add 1/4 cup mushroom marinade and stir evenly. Toss in the roasted vegetables and fold gently. Next, fold in or top with mushrooms.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Wild Rice With Pecans

  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup celery, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup rice-wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, optional
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper

Cook the wild rice according to package directions in the chicken broth. When done, the rice grains will have begun to split open and rice will be tender. Drain the rice. Set aside to cool in the refrigerator. While rice is chilling, make vinaigrette. Whisk together the rice-wine vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Pour vinaigrette over the cold rice and fold gently to coat. Add the prepped peppers, celery and scallions, and stir them in. Toss in the toasted pecans.

Makes 6 servings.

Warm Kamut Salad With Caramelized Squash and Dried Fruit

  • 1 1/2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pound Kamut (khorasan wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 6 ounces dried fruit (can be blend such as cranberries, apricots and figs)
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 1/2 cups acorn squash, small cubes
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Duck confit or any other meat for garnish (optional)

Bring stock to a boil, stir in Kamut and salt. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 45 minutes, or until desired texture. Drain excess liquid and reserve Kamut. Saute red onion and garlic in olive oil until onion is translucent; stir in dried fruit. Add vinegar, water and sugar and simmer low for 10 minutes. Reserve. Saute red onion in olive oil until caramelized, 15-20 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve. In same pan, saute squash and thyme until squash is caramelized, about 15-20 minutes. Salt and pepper as needed. Mix all ingredients well and serve. Top with duck confit if desired.

Makes 10-12 servings.

Wheat Berry Salad With Apples and Mint

  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3/4 cup tightly packed mint leaves, divided use
  • 2 cups cooked wheat berries
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest (from 2 juice oranges)
  • 1 small green apple
  • 1 small red apple
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

To prepare the dressing, blend the orange juice, oil, vinegar, salt and 1/2 cup of the mint in a food processor or blender. Place wheat berries in a medium bowl. Pour the dressing over them and toss to coat. Stir in the orange zest. Set aside for at least 15 minutes. Toss occasionally. Meanwhile, core the apples and cut them into 1/4-inch dice. Stack the remaining mint leaves and roll them into a log. Slice them as thinly as you can. Toss them into the salad along with the apples and hazelnuts. Add more salt, if needed.

Makes 4-6 servings.

Wild Rice Salad With Spiced Pepitas, Cranberries and Apple-Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1 pound wild rice
  • Chicken stock, as needed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 3/8 cup apple-cider vinegar
  • 3/8 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/8 cup sun-dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds toasted in oil with salt, paprika and chili powder)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Watercress, for garnish

Prepare wild rice according to package directions using chicken stock instead of water. Once rice has cooled, add remaining ingredients and toss well. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Makes 12 servings.


Whole-grain salads with nutritious flavor

by Karen Fernau - Aug. 22, 2011 06:05 PM

The Arizona Republic

Serving whole grains for dinner seems more penance than pleasure. But when tossed into a salad, these good-for-you foods show off their rich flavors and versatility.

Grain salads also offer a tasty segue from the lettuce salads of summer to heartier fall salads.

"A salad bowl is a great way to use whole grains. Eat farro for dinner, and toss into a salad to take to work the next day," said Cynthia Harriman, nutritional director of the Whole Grain Council, a national advocacy group dedicated to touting the health benefits of whole grains.

Delicious whole grain salad recipes:

  • Mediterranean Farro Salad
  • Wild Rice With Pecans
  • Warm Kamut Salad With Caramelized Squash and Dried Fruit
  • Wheat Berry Salad With Apples and Mint
  • Wild Rice Salad With Spiced Pepitas, Cranberries and Apple-Cider Vinaigrette

Nutritionists recommend at least three helpings of whole grains a day, and salads offer creative alternatives to breads, cereals and hot bowls of brown rice with Asian stir-fry.

Americans, faced with mounting health risks from a diet of nutritionally vacant refined grains, are beginning to listen. We are eating whole grains such as quinoa, amaranth, wheat berry and brown rice in unprecedented numbers. Consumption of whole grains has risen nearly 20 percent since 2005, according to Whole Grain Council research.

Whole grains vary in their nutritional composition, but all come loaded with vitamins and fiber that studies show help reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. These slowly-burning grains also fight fatigue, mood swings and obesity.

Equally important, chefs are chipping away at their reputation as the gritty staples of the granola set.

At Dahl & DiLuca Ristorante Italiano and Cucina Rustica in Sedona, co-owner and sous-chef Lisa Dahl regularly serves a wild-rice-and-fresh-vegetable salad and one made with farro and marinated mushrooms.

"Grain salads might be novel here, but they are a staple in Italy. Like pasta, the grain is a blank canvas, and you add whatever flavors you want," said Dahl, who includes several of her favorites in her cookbook, "The Elixer of Life."

And, unlike daintier lettuce salads that wilt quickly after being dressed, grain salads remain crisp for hours.

Dahl suggests tossing crunchy vegetables or nuts in the salads as contrasts to the softer, creamier grains. For heartier salads, add cooked seafood, poultry or meat. Whole-grain salads can be served hot or cold.

The only must is for the grains, many with origins in ancient cultures, to be cooked just right. Overcooked grains make mushy salads, while undercooking robs the grains of full flavor.

Details: "The Elixir of Life: Finding Love and Joy in the Passionate Pursuit of Food" sells for $39.95 at AJ's Fine Foods stores statewide and

Friends donít let friends buy spices at American grocery stores!

Mikeís Hot Spicy Food Recipes