Tag Archives: broccoli

pasta salad with greens and beluga lentils…

Cooking for my daughter is such a privilege, especially now since she has taken an interest in the kitchen…we cook together and my heart is full every time.   I think her constant presence in the kitchen, on my back as a baby and now on a step stool as a little girl, has lead to her surprisingly open minded eating habits and curiosity about food.  Food is such an amazing medium with which to teach. Food is art, science, math, craft, history, family, love, nourishment, celebration, and more recently for us conservation.  She is craving independence and autonomy right now in her life, and cooking (well…and playing dress up), has been such a free way for her to express and address those internal needs.

 For the past school year, we have been attending Branches Atelier, a Reggio inspired pre-school. The conversations with the teachers, fellow parents, and the children, helped to create the space (and patience for that matter) in my mind to have the confidence to allow my daughter to explore cooking.  We talk about the science of boiling, absorption, emulsification, we talk about color palettes of food, what colors can say about nutrition, we talk about smells, taste, and ripeness…and we talk about her Mormor, who passed down this passion of ours to bond in the kitchen…which I hope lasts a lifetime. 

Sadly, we had our last day at Branches, and we are going to miss our community more than we realized.  For our potluck my daughter created this dish.  Her artistic eye called for “only greens mama”.  She was in charge of the esthetics of this dish, and we worked together on developing the flavors.  We love you Branches Atelier Toddler A program, the “terrible twos” were not so terrible with you. 


pasta salad with greens and beluga lentils…


4-6 cups (1 16 oz package) of dried farfalle pasta noodles (we buy in bulk)

1 ½ cup dried beluga lentils

2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

10-12 stalks of asparagus, rough ends cut/snapped off



¼ cup fresh cilantro

juice of 2 lemons (4-6 tbs)

3 green onions, sliced

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

olive oil to emulsify

salt and pepper

**I will preface these directions in that so much of this recipe is by taste and feel rather than specific directions. Trust your instincts and have fun.

Begin by cooking the noodles and lentils.  Cook farfalle in salted water until al dente (7-9 minutes).  Cook lentils until tender (10-15 minutes). Drain mix together and set aside.  Gently steam vegetables, careful to maintain crunch (5-7 minutes).  Toss into salad.  Then make dressing. Puree cilantro in blender of food processor until paste like consistency and move to a large bowl.  Add juice of lemons and spices.  Then while whisking, gradually add olive oil.  Should be 1:1 ratio with lemon juice.  Pour over salad. Toss, and season with salt and pepper.  Refrigerate overnight to let flavors absorb into salad, and serve cold. 


Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Asian noodles with kumquat relish…

Here is how my kitchen works, “Hey honey? Have you seen that 20% off coupon laying around anywhere?”, “No, why?”, “Well it has a recipe for relish written on it”, and “Oh dang it! I mailed my student loan bill, and the recipe for this noodle dish was on the back!”. I do have a notebook that I keep in the drawer by our stove, however I usually end up grabbing any piece of stray paper in sight and scramble to keep track of what I am doing.  I am a pinch here and a dash there kind of girl, so real time measuring is the only way I have any idea what I put into my dishes.  I cannot count the number of times I have mailed off a recipe, or went to go use a coupon and had to evaluate if the recipe was worth the 20% discount.  I do have to admit, I have a little fantasy that the recipes that accidentally get sent out into the universe will make some credit card-bill-envelope-opener a happy dinner one night.

This dish is all about the kumquat relish, tangy and sweet, balancing out the salty soy sauce that flavors the rest of the dish. Delicious and good for you.  We had this recipe tested out by one of our carnivorous foodie friends, and it passed with more than flying colors. So good it necessitated seconds. Plus, you get to buy kumquats which are super cute.

Asian noodles with kumquat relish…

1 8 oz package wild yam soba noodles

1 package firm tofu (we are lucky enough to have locally made)

4 scallions, sliced

2 crowns broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces

2 heaping handfuls of snap peas

1 tbs vegetable oil

2-3 tsp Sriracha sauce

soy sauce

toasted sesame oil

tofu marinade:

2 tbs soy sauce

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

¼ tsp shredded fresh ginger

¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes

1 clove garlic minced

kumquat relish;

10-12 kumquats

¼ cup orange juice

2 tbs peach preserves (or apricot)

1 tsp toasted sesame oil

¼ tsp shredded fresh ginger

pinch of salt

pinch of black sesame seeds

Begin by marinating the tofu.  Because tofu is so porous, it will absorb the flavor of anything in which it is soaked. However, to maximize flavor absorption, cut tofu into thirds so that it maintains its length and width, but you now have three thinner pieces, so cutting across the tofu’s tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn if you will. Lay pieces on a plate wrapped in paper towels or a dry, clean dishtowel, and place another plate on top for 15 minutes.  This will help press the extra water out of the tofu.  In a shallow dish mix together marinade ingredients, add tofu coating all sides. Cover and let sit for at least one hour.  You can flip the tofu halfway through.

While tofu is marinating, begin kumquat relish.  Slice kumquats into thin coins.  De-seed.  Add orange juice to a small pot on low heat, add kumquats.  Then stir in preserves, ginger, oil, and salt to tastes.  At the end add the sesame seeds.  Set aside.

Boil noodles in salted water, making sure not to overcook. These noodles get very starchy, very quickly and will alter the taste of your dish if overcooked. I cooked these for six minutes exactly, and they were perfect. Then rinse under cold water.  Add a little soy sauce to the rinsed noodles, and mix.

In a pan over medium heat, add vegetable oil and Sriracha sauce and whisk together. Then add broccoli, snap peas, and scallions.  Coat evenly.  Allow to cook until tender but still crunchy.  Then finish with soy sauce and toasted sesame oil.  Add noodles to the dish at the end.  Mix.

In a hot pan with vegetable oil, fry tofu until outer edges are caramelized and firm, careful not to burn.

Top vegetables and noodles with tofu sliced into squares, and a dollop of the kumquat relish.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!