Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bring it: Grape Salad

Yes, I have played with wheat berries, but not at the same time I experimented with grapes that California fresh grape growers promote. They sent a recipe for Wheat Berry Salad with Caramelized Onions and Grapes and note a pairing “with the deep sweet of the soft onions and the subtle sweetness and juicy texture of the grapes.” They add chewy wheat berries, peppery arugula and the bite of feta cheese, for a dish diners will spoon up to the last morsels in the salad bowl. You can “bring it” to parties. Here’s how to make four servings:
1 cup wheat berries
6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
1 large yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
2 cups green and red seedless California grapes, halved
1 cup baby arugula, washed and dried
1 garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or pinch cayenne
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

Cook the wheat berries in a pot of boiling, salted water until they are cooked but still quite crunchy, about 55 to 60 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Meanwhile, heat 5 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they are dark brown, about 25 to 30 minutes. Stir the onions into the drained wheat berries and cool slightly. Stir in the thyme, grapes and arugula.
For the dressing: Using a chef’s knife, mash and chop the garlic on a cutting board with the salt until it becomes a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add the vinegar, pepper and remaining tablespoon of oil. Blend well and pour over the salad. Mix well, sprinkle with feta and serve.

Grill Lean
Yes, we Southeast Texans love the fatty meats on the grill, but a doc shares tips for finding new favorites. Vivienne Halpern, MD, a member of the Society for Vascular Surgery, says your family can learn to love chicken, fish, turkey and sirloin are lean proteins that are lower in fat, calories, and cholesterol than hot dogs and full-fat hamburgers. Turkey, buffalo and veggie burgers are great on the grill, and olive oil-based marinades and lemon juice give barbequed meats and vegetables added flavor. Think squash, zucchini, peppers or tomatoes served over a bed of rice and round out the meal with a fresh garden salad and watermelon for dessert. No one would go hungry with this plan.

Spreadable update
I told y’all about Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread for baking and cooking. I’m loving it on toast and even drizzled warm over popcorn. I’m enjoying the companion piece, Earth Balance MindfulMayo dressing and sandwich spread. It’s a dairy- and egg-free vegan spread that’s transformed my basmati rice into a fragrant salad when tossed with cilantro. I haven’t kept mayo in the house for years, but I’m thinking of amazing ways to use this little jar. Makers urge users to “Spread the joy.”

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