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Betsy Block


Girls, Grains & Greens

Girls, Grains  Greens
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I had a party here last week - you can read all about it in a year or so in my book - featuring grains, greens and girlfriends. Twenty-five women came together for a night of fun and great, healthy food. (Yes, E and DK, it was not only fun, it was badass, so you can shut up with your making fun of me. Besides, you're boys. What the hell do you know.) In fact, it was such a good time I think I'll be doing more of these from now on. Just in case you want to have a party too, here are some of the recipes people used:

Quinoa-Sorrel Salad
From Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1/4 to 1/3 cup olive oil, to taste
3 cups water
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 small bunch sorrel (or arugula), stemmed and cut into julienne strips
1 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 ripe tomato, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup crumbled feta or any tangy goat cheese
mixed salad greens (author likes to combine sorrel, watercress, Italian parsley and red-leaf lettuce, but you do your own thing, honey)
  1. Put the quinoa into a fine-meshed sieve and rinse well under cold water for 1 minute to extract the bitter saponins. (!) Let the quinoa drain for 2 minutes.
  2. Heat a skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the quinoa. Cook it, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 2 minutes or until the quinoa smells toasted. Add the water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pan, and reduce the heat to low. Let the quinoa cook for 15 minutes.
  3. While the quinoa cooks, combine the balsamic vinegar and remaining oil in a large bowl. Add the sorrel or arugula, the red onion, and the tomato. Season the vegetables with salt and pepper.
  4. When the quinoa is cooked, add it to the vegetables and vinaigrette. Toss well, add the feta, and add more salt and pepper, as needed. Chill or serve warm. Either way, serve it on a bed of salad greens.


By Tal Schejter, former pastry chef of Rialto in Cambridge, Mass.

1 c. bulgur
1 c. flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
2/3, finely chopped
c. scallions (green and white), thinly sliced
c. feta cheese, crumbled
c. fresh lemon juice
c. evoo ( I like to use a nice, fruity Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Salt and pepper to taste

Place bulgur in a medium bowl, add boiling water and cover by 2 inches.
Soak for 1 hour, drain and leave in the sieve to dry for 2 hours.
Add herbs, feta cheese, lemon juice, evoo, salt and pepper to taste.

Buckwheat and Bows

makes 6-8 side dish servings

From Mommy Made *and Daddy Too! Home Cooking for a Healthy Baby and Toddler by Martha Kimmel, David Kimmel, Suzanne Goldenson

My friend R writes, My kids did actually like this; that is, until they decided they didn't like mushrooms. I've served it for our main course. I sometimes put vinaigrette dressing on it, even when it's warm. Kasha is gluten-free, ok for wheat allergies. Just watch what kind of pasta you use if you want this recipe to be gluten-free.

1 T. unsalted butter
1 med. onion, diced
6-8 mushrooms, sliced
1 c. kasha, cooked according to package directions and kept warm
1/3 lb. bowtie noodles, cooked, kept warm

Melt butter in medium-sized saut pan over med-low heat. Add onion and cook
slowly, stirring often, until edges of onions begin to brown. Add mushrooms and continue to cook until mushrooms begin to brown. Mix mushrooms and onions with cooked kasha, toss with drained noodles, and serve.

This can also be served cold, tossed with a few T. of vinaigrette dressing.

Quinoa Soup

from Barbara Kafka's book, "Soup"

My friend N writes, She calls this recipe the Mother of Ecuador soup. Pretty fitting, eh?

for the refrito
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large onions, very finely chopped
5 large garlic cloves, smashed, peeled and finely chopped
1 tbsp. annatto butter (you'll see! there is a small separate recipe for this, too)
(note from Betsy: annatto, or achiote, is a seed used mostly to impart a reddish-yellow color. I wonder if turmeric would be a good substitute)

for the soup
1-1/3 cups quinoa, rinsed well in a sieve
1-1/2 pounds firm potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes (optional)
2 cups milk
3 sprigs cilantro
2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
ground roasted peanuts optional

For the refrito, in med. stockpot, melt unsalted butter over low heat. Stir in the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring for 10 min., or until the onions are soft and translucent. Stir in the annatto butter and allow to melt.

Stir in the quinoa, 8 cups water and if, using potatoes, an additional 2 cups water. bring to boil. lower the heat and simmer for 30 min. if using the pork rinds, add them now. Either way, continue to simmer for another 30 min.

Stir in the milk, cilantro and salt and pepper. If using ground peanuts add them now. Further reduce the heat and simmer, very gently, for 15 min.


Sesame-ginger dressing to toss with spelt noodles (they sell them at Whole Foods)
From Vegetarian Planet by Didi Emmons

1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp smooth Dijon mustard
3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup dark sesame oil
1/2 cup canola oil

Whisk together ginger, garlic, mustard, vinegar, pepper and salt. While whisking, slowly add the sesame oil. Add the canola oil in a stream the width of a pencil, whisking constantly.

Makes one cup. Pour over cooked spelt noodles. Add slices of scallion and toasted sesame seeds if you like.

Portuguese Green Soup (Caldo Verde)

1 onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 tablespoons olive oil
6 potatoes, peeled and sliced thin
2 quarts cold water
6 oz. sausage ( chorizo, linguica,or whatever you like) sliced paper thin
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. kale (cabbage, collard greens or turnip greens would work too) washed, trimmed and rolled up and sliced into extra fine shreds

Saute onion and garlic in a large saucepan in 3 tablespoons of oil for about 3 minutes. Add the potatoes, stirring constantly for 2-3 minutes. Add water, cover and boil gently over medium heat for about 20 minutes until potatoes are soft and mushy. Fry sausage in a skillet over low heat for about 10 minutes until most of the fat has drained out.

When the potatoes are soft, remove from heat and mash them. Then, add sausage, salt and pepper to taste. Return to heat and simmer for 5 more minutes.

When ready to serve, add the shreds of greens and the last tablespoon of oil. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes, until greens are tender and the color of jade.

Classic Colcannon
4-6 large potatoes (about 3 lbs) *
2 T butter
3 cups packed/chopped kale leaves
1 cup chopped onion
1/2-2/3 cup milk, warmed
1-2 T parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

*JSD health twist = sweet potatoes

Chop and peel potatoes, boil until tender. Meanwhile, saute the onions and kale in the butter until soft/wilted. Drain potatoes, mash with the milk, add S&P to taste. Combine with the kale mix, toss well. Put it all in a buttered baking dish at 375' for 20 minutes.

(Note from JSD: Personally, I think this could get fancied up with parmesean cheese, and/or bread crumbs, and or other ideas but since I haven't tasted yet I don't want to get ahead of myself.)

Judy's Banana Bread

3 bananas
1 egg
1/2 c. sugar
1 c. applesauce
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
about 1 cup chocolate chips (more or less depending on your chocolate needs)
  1. Mash bananas and mix w/ beaten egg.
  2. Add sugar and mix. Add applesauce. Add remaining dry ingredients.

Line loaf pan with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes.

Spaghetti with green olive pesto
Frm entertaining for a veggie planet by Didi Emmons

Serves 6

cup pine nuts
Kosher salt to taste
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 cups packed fresh basil leaves
cup pitted Mediterranean green olives, brine reserved
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice (1 juicy lemon)
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes or 2 tomatoes, cut into -inch cubes
1 large bunch arugula, stemmed
black pepper to taste

In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over medium heat, shaking the skillet often, until they are golden brown in spots, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti or linguine and return to a boil, stirring to separate the noodles. Boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, then return the pasta to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a food processor puree the basil, olives, cup of the Parmesan, the garlic, lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water into a coarse paste. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube, and then add 3 tablespoons of the reserved olive brine.

Add the pesto, tomatoes and arugula to the pot of pasta and mix well to coat everything with the pesto. Season with salt and pepper and serve with pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.