Buckwheat Crepes with Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 8 crepes

Buckwheat adds a delicious sour note to crepes and breads. As a crop, buckwheat gives a boost to the environment because it suppresses weed growth and provides nectar for honeybees. It requires little to no chemical fertilization and actually adds nutrients to the depleted soil on which it’s grown. I like to fold these crepes in half, but they can also be filled and rolled like sushi.


¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon buckwheat flour
13 cup white flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 large eggs
2 cups fresh berries
3 tablespoons honey
1 cup Greek yogurt
½ cup coarsely ground walnuts


To make the batter, mix the flours and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and 1½ cups water. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until the batter just comes together. Cover the batter and let it rest in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Heat a lightly oiled skillet over medium heat. When the pan is hot, drop ¼ cup of the batter into the skillet, immediately titling and rotating the pan to spread the batter evenly. Cook the crepe for roughly 1 minute, until it is set on the bottom, then gently loosen the edges with a heatproof spatula and flip. Cook on the second side for 30 seconds, or until firm. Slide the crepe onto a plate and repeat with the remaining batter.

In a medium-sized bowl, toss the berries with the honey. Lay a crepe on a flat surface and place ¼ cup of the berries on one side of the crepe. Fold in half. Repeat with the remaining crepes. Serve with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkle of walnuts.

Copyright 2011 © by Louisa Shafia. All rights reserved.

Creamy Farro Salad with Shaved Fennel, Beets and Radishes

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 4

Farro is the Tuscan name for spelt, a hard brown wheat traditionally eaten in Tuscany, Italy. Farro looks similar to short grain brown rice, and has a nutty, earthy taste. Farro’s chewy texture holds up even after long cooking. Because of its hard texture, it’s good to soak farro overnight in order to make it more digestible. If you don’t have time to soak the farro, simply cook it for an extra 30 minutes with an additional ½ cup of water added to the 2½ cups called for in the recipe.


1 cup farro, soaked overnight
5 tablespoons créme fraiche
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 minced garlic clove
¼ cup minced fresh dill
¼ cup minced fresh chives (or scallions, green part only)
1 beet, cut in half
1 fennel bulb cut in half, core removed
6 radishes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Place the farro in a small saucepan with 2½ cups water and ½ teaspoon salt and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 1 hour. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Drain excess cooking water.

In a large bowl, whisk together the créme fraiche, olive oil, vinegar, garlic, dill and chives. Salt to taste. Using a mandolin or a very sharp knife, thinly shave the beets, fennel, and radishes. Add the shaved vegetables and the farro to the dressing, and toss to coat thoroughly. Taste and season with salt and a generous amount of pepper.

Recipe copyright © Louisa Shafia 2010

Lemony Gold Beet Barley Risotto

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Serves 6

Barley replaces the traditional Arborio rice here for a textured, nutty-tasting whole-grain risotto. Soaking the barley overnight reduces its cooking time. Gold beets have a sweet, mellow flavor. When roasted with the skin intact, their beautiful color is preserved. Wait to salt the risotto until you’ve added the ricotta salata; as the name implies, it is quite salty. This aged ricotta does not melt, but instead retains a pleasant firm chewiness.


2 gold beets
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 yellow onion, finely diced
1 cup pearled barley, soaked in water overnight in the refrigerator
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup white wine
1¼ cups crumbled ricotta salata


Preheat the oven to 400°.

Wash and trim the beets, leaving a little of the stems so that you do not cut into the beets themselves. Put the beets in a casserole dish with 3 tablespoons water. Cover tightly and roast until the beets are very tender, about 45 minutes. When cool, pull off and discard the skins. Finely chop the beets. Add them to a bowl with the zest, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, and a dash of salt. Set aside.

Pour the stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer.
Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, then the onion, and sauté until translucent. Remove the barley from the soaking water, then add the barley and garlic to the soup pot and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and cook until evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Ladle a cup of stock into the risotto and stir until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat, adding the stock 1 cup at a time, until the barley is tender. This will take about 30 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the stock to stir into the risotto at the end. When the barley is tender, stir in all but a few tablespoons of the beets and cook for 1 minute. Turn off the heat and fold in 1 cup of the ricotta and the remaining stock.

Serve the risotto with a little olive oil spooned on top. Top with the remaining ricotta and the reserved diced beets. Season with black pepper.

Copyright © by Louisa Shafia. All rights reserved.

Savory Millet and Hominy Cakes with Cilantro Jalapeño Sauce

October 2nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Makes 8 cakes

The cakes can be seared in a pan instead of baked. For additional serving options, put a dollop of yogurt or some crumbled feta cheese on top. Or serve grilled chicken or fish on top of the cakes, and garnish with the sauce.


2 tablespoons canola or olive oil for cooking, plus extra
1 cup minced onion
2 cups cooked millet
3 cups hominy, or most of a 4.5 ounce can, rinsed and drained
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
18 teaspoon cayenne

For the Sauce

2 cups fresh cilantro leaves
1 or 2 jalapeños, ribs and seeds removed and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat a large skillet on medium high heat and add two tablespoons cooking oil, followed by the onions. Sauté the onions until brown, then add the millet, hominy, garlic, and spices and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Salt to taste. Cool.

Put 2 cups of the millet mixture into a food processor, and pulse until it forms a sticky ball, about 45 seconds. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the remaining contents of the sauté pan. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, continue mixing with your hands to form a large ball of dough.

Pack a 13-cup measuring cup with the dough, and tap it out onto the baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough. Coat your hands with oil, and form the cakes into patties ¼-inch thick. Bake until the tops are lightly browned, 20-25 minutes.

To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, jalapeño, honey, lime juice, and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth. Season with salt. Serve the cakes hot, with the sauce on the side.

Copyright © by Louisa Shafia. All rights reserved.

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