Happy Holidays from the Foxmans 2022!
photo by Oh Shoot Photos
The first time I recall eating farro I was grocery shopping at Willy Street Co-op. Next to the produce section they were offering samples of farro with goat cheese in little white paper cups. It had a wonderful chew to it. Nutty. Filling. I was hooked. Since then, it has found its way into our pantry along with quinoa, bulgur, lentils, chickpeas, split peas and several different types of rice.
At a recent potluck a friend brought a homemade Farro Salad. It was so delicious that her serving bowl was empty in under an hour. Below is the recipe which she got from Food52.com. Enjoy!
Parsley and basil straight from the garden.
Here is the onion half, garlic and handful of parsley that we removed from the farro. We saved it for another dish.
Cooked Farro looks lonely without the other ingredients.
Chopped tomatoes, olives and red onion.
Olive oil, vinegars and honey.
Everybody in the pool. Ready to serve and eat.
Did you know that we have a desert here in Wisconsin? With cacti and lizards, sand dunes and dry grasses? And that it’s just 45 minutes west of Madison? Yup. It’s the Spring Green Preserve and harbors some of Wisconsin’s rarest plant communities. Known as the “Wisconsin Desert”, the preserve is a place where forest meets bluff, and bluff levels off into plains and dunes. A client of mine mentioned how he went on a wonderful hike there a few months back and thought that Heather and I would enjoy it too. This past weekend we put on our hiking shoes and went on an adventure. The views and scenery did not disappoint. We walked on some of the finest sand I’ve ever felt and were surrounded by oak barrens, sumac, blue stem grass and wildflowers. With camera in hand, Heather identified and snapped pictures of prairie plants and the landscape. At one point, she stopped walking, took a deep breath, looked around and said how much she enjoyed being there.
There is something both energizing and peaceful about going on a hike. Nature, fresh air, scenic views. For me, my mind relaxes. My eyes relax. My muscles relax. We didn’t have a specific time to return to the car or mileage we wanted to accomplish or particular views that we had to see. Just enjoying. Being in the moment. Step after step. Breathing. What’s around the next bend? We took a break every now and then to observe and to listen to the birds and grasshoppers. So if you want to get off of the beaten path, check out the Spring Green Prairie.
Starting out on our hike with the bluffs as a beautiful backdrop.
Prickly pear cactus.
Sumac turns red this time of year.
This one-pan dinner brings together chickpeas, marinara sauce, broccoli and mozzarella in a single skillet. A crunchy Parmesan and bread crumb blend is the final touch to this comforting, easy, and nutritious meal. Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart.com.
1/3 cup breadcrumbs (*recipe called for Panko and I used Italian bread crumbs.)
Preheat over to 450°F, with a large cast-iron or other ovenproof skillet on middle rack. (*The original recipe asks that you cut the broccoli lengthwise and then cut larger pieces in half again (also lengthwise) to create long florets. Instead I used the entire head of broccoli including the stalk. No waste here.) Remove skillet from oven; swirl in 2 tablespoons oil. Add broccoli and turn to coat, then arrange so a flat side of each piece faces down; season with salt and pepper. Roast 15 minutes.
Stir together bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic, thyme, and oregano. Transfer broccoli to a plate. Add marinara to skillet; top with mozzarella and chickpeas. Return broccoli to skillet, browned-sides up. Sprinkle evenly with bread crumb mixture. Roast until bread crumbs are golden, mozzarella is melted, and sauce is bubbling, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Serve. (*Because my cast iron skillet wasn’t large enough to hold all of the contents, I used a bigger skillet [not oven-proof], added the ingredients and finished the dish off on the stove top instead of the oven. The Parmesan cheese did melt but the bread crumbs did not get golden. No biggie.)
When you think of a stack of breakfast pancakes, what do you picture? Thin and round steaming cakes with a tab of butter on top? A light and fluffy flapjack covered with maple syrup and other delicious toppings? Did you know that pancakes are basically flour, butter or oil, eggs, baking powder and salt?
Have you ever tried blintzes? A friend of mine calls them lumpy pancakes and loves them. My blintz recipe is high in protein and is more substantial than traditional rolled or filled blintzes. Plus this recipe does not use sour cream, ricotta cheese or cream cheese. My middle son, Bruce, says that he likes them “much more than boring pancakes.”
I have made blintzes for over twenty years and have experimented by adding baking powder, fresh fruit, frozen fruit, nuts, flavored yogurt, large curd cottage cheese, etc. The combinations are endless. See which one you like best! Enjoy!
1 cup unsifted flour (all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 cup yogurt (flavored, non-fat, low-fat or Greek)
1 cup cottage cheese (non or low fat)
4 eggs, beaten
In a large mixing bowl, add flour, yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs. Mix well. If consistency of batter is too thick then add a little milk.
Heat nonstick griddle to 325-350 degrees F.
Using a large mixing spoon or a 1/3 cup measuring cup, pour batter onto hot griddle. Each blintze will be about 4 inches in diameter. On our 22 inch griddle, we cook 2 rows of 4 blintzes: 8 total. It’s important to leave enough space between blintzes and room for flipping.
Cook for about 5 minutes. Then flip. You can tell when the blintz is ready to flip when: 1) The edges of the blintz are slightly pulling away from the griddle. So it is easy to get the spatula underneath and it doesn’t stick. 2) When you see the top of the blintz bubbling slightly. Cook approximately 5 minutes until done.
Serve with fresh blueberries, sliced bananas or your favorite fruit. Of course, drizzle a little Wisconsin maple syrup on top.
The other day, my 8 year old son, Roy, excitedly grabbed his pail and ran outside to collect blackberries. We have blackberry bushes surrounding our vegetable garden and at the edge of our woods. A few minutes later he came back inside and showed me his full pail. “Try one.” he said. I did, and they were delicious. Blackberries are great on their own, on top of hot or cold cereal and in crumbles, tarts and cakes. Soooooo Heather whipped up a dessert in no time at all. She did add fresh mulberries from some of our mulberry trees. It turned out great!
Enjoy this Old-Fashioned Blackberry & Mulberry Cake. (Recipe adapted and modified from Favorite Recipes of the Michigan 4-H Family)
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of allspice
3 tablespoons plain yogurt
3 tablespoons butter, cut it in
1/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces applesauce
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 cups blackberries
1 cup mulberries
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice in a bowl. Cut in butter. Add honey, eggs, walnuts, vanilla, yogurt, brown sugar and applesauce. Mix well. Stir in blackberries and mulberries.
Spread batter in greased 9×13-inch cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 45 minutes or until cake tests done.
Serve and enjoy.