Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing; Spicy Shrimp

By Ira

You can make this salad the day before. It’s very satisfying because of the chickpeas and feta, and it has a bright flavor because of the lemon, cilantro, and mint. The spicy shrimp is a nice addition and very easy to make.

You can start by marinading the shrimp, then making the salad, and finally cooking the shrimp.

Chickpea Salad with Cumin Dressing

Serves 5-6 – Adapted from Clean Eating magazine

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 15oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and julienned
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 large tomato, or 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 6 oz crumbled feta cheese

In a small bowl, add the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. Whisk and set aside.

In a large bowl, add the rest of the ingredients, then add the dressing, and gently stir to combine. Taste to check the seasonings and add extra salt accordingly. You can serve it immediately, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Spicy Shrimp

Serves 4

  • 24 uncooked shrimp, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha sauce
  • salt and pepper

You can halve this recipe, or use just 18 shrimp where you can still use the same amount of marinade like I did.

If the shrimp is frozen, defrost it according to package directions, and dry it with a paper towel.

In a medium bowl, combine the grapeseed oil, garlic cloves, lemon juice, sriracha sauce, salt, and pepper.

Add the shrimp and let it marinade for 15 to 30 minutes.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add the shrimp one at a time without the marinade.

Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes, turn each one, and cook on the other side until pink.

Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon; Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios

by Jennifer

My older son had the idea of a strawberry dinner,

celebrating both the local strawberries now in season and Ira’s birthday.  After picking strawberries at a local farm, I came up with this menu:  Strawberry Bellinis with Goat Cheese and Balsamic Onion Phyllo Pouches; Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon, Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios, and No-Knead Bread;  Chocolate – Strawberry Cake.

Broiled Salmon with Mint and Preserved Lemon – serves 4

  • 1 large or 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup, packed, of fresh mint
  • 1 small preserved lemon, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus extra for sprinkling
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 4 salmon fillets

In a small food processor (or by hand, if you wish), chop the garlic.  Add the preserved lemon and pulse a few times,

then add the mint and process again to finely chop.

Transfer mixture to a bowl and stir in 2 TBS oil, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper to taste.  Preheat broiler.

Brush salmon fillets with oil, season with salt and pepper, and broil a few inches from the heat for 10 minutes, or until just cooked through.  To serve, divide mint/lemon mixture on top of salmon fillets.

Strawberry Salad with Feta and Pistachios – serves 4

  • 1 1/2 lbs strawberries, sliced
  • 10 oz. package Romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cup, packed, of fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup toasted, unsalted pistachios
  • 3.5 oz. package crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1 1/2 TBS sherry vinegar
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Whisk together vinegar, oil, salt and pepper.  Toss together salad ingredients, then add dressing and toss gently to combine.

Limoncello Champagne Cocktails with Mint

by Jennifer

This recipe, adapted from Bon Appetit, looks like what I imagine wheatgrass looks like, but tastes, I also imagine, much, much better.  Serves 4.

  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup limoncello (I used Meyer Limoncello)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for dipping Champagne flutes
  • lemon peel strips from 2 lemons
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • about 2 cups Champagne, Prosecco, Cava, etc.
  • lemon wedge

Combine mint, limoncello, sugar and lemon peels in a blender;  process until pureed.

Strain mixture into a cup, pressing on and then discarding solids.

Run lemon wedge around the rim of four Champagne flutes, then dip into sugar.  Divide mint mixture among glasses, then

top with Champagne (the bubbles make the mint mixture unattractively coat the entire glass;  ah well, looks aren’t everything!).

Pasta with Green Vegetables and Herbs

by Jennifer

This great weeknight meal, adapted from Gourmet Magazine, uses only one pot (and a food processor…but still, one pot!).  Serves 4.

  • 1 bunch asparagus – mine was about 1 1/2 lbs. – trimmed, cut into 1” pieces
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 lb. dried linguine
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh mint
  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh oregano
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. crumbled feta cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Cook the asparagus in the boiling water for 4 minutes, then remove, using a sieve or slotted spoon, to a serving bowl.

Cook the peas in the boiling water for 2 minutes, then transfer in the same way to the bowl.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water according to package directions;  before draining,

reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water.

While the linguine is cooking, pulse the mint, oregano, oil, salt, pepper to taste and 2 oz. of the feta cheese in a food processor

until finely chopped.

Add this mixture to the serving bowl with the asparagus and peas.

Add the remaining cheese, parsley and scallions to the bowl, too.

After draining the linguine, stir the reserved cooking water into the vegetables,

then add the linguine and toss well to combine.

Pasta in Garlic Almond Sauce

by Jennifer

This recipe, adapted from Gourmet magazine, serves 4.

  • 3/4 cup whole roasted almonds
  • 3 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 lb. cavatappi or other short tubular pasta
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 TBS unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 10-oz. package frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for serving
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint, divided
  • 1/3 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a blender, puree the 3/4 cup almonds, garlic and water.  Cook cavatappi in a large pot of boiling salted water until almost al dente (a couple minutes short of the listed cooking time).

Reserve 2 1/2 cups cooking water;  drain pasta.

Have the rest of the ingredients ready.

Heat oil and 1 TBS butter in a 12” skillet over medium heat;

add almond puree and simmer, whisking occasionally, until thickened, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the reserved cooking water along with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer another 3 – 4 minutes, whisking occasionally.

Whisk in remaining butter until melted,

then add the pasta and peas.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until pasta is al dente, another 3 minutes or so.

Stir in cheese and lemon juice.

Remove from heat and stir in half the basil and mint, along with more salt and pepper to taste.

Serve pasta in bowls, sprinkled with remaining basil, mint and cheese.

Orecchiette with Chickpeas and Preserved Lemon; Sauteed Swiss Chard

by Jennifer

Continuing my current crush on Meyer lemons, I made preserved lemons a while back, and this is my first recipe using them.  The lemons are delicious.  You use only the peel, and make sure to rinse off the salty lemon juice before using them.

Serves 4.

  •  1 lb. orecchiette
  • 14 – 15.5 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup chopped preserved lemon rind
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cook orecchiette in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente;  drain.  Transfer pasta back to the empty pot and stir in the olive oil.  Add chickpeas, feta, mint, preserved lemon and pepper to taste.


Sauteed Swiss Chard

Serves 4.

  •  2 bunches green swiss chard, stems and thick ribs removed, torn into pieces
  • 2 TBS extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute until fragrant.

Add the swiss chard in batches, tossing with tongs until it wilts.

Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and lemon juice.  Toss again, then serve.

Moroccan Chickpea and Couscous Stuffed Peppers

By Jennifer

You can assemble this dish ahead, if you like;  reheat peppers, covered with foil, in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes or until heated through.  This would pair well with warm pita bread, too.

Serves 4 – adapted from Cooking Light

  • 4 large red bell peppers
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 4 oz crumbled feta cheese with garlic and herbs
  • 4 TBS mango chutney
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh mint, divided

Slice peppers in half lengthwise, discarding seeds and membranes.  Place peppers cut-side down in a microwave-safe dish with a splash of water;  cover with foil.  Cook on HIGH in the microwave for 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender.  (You’ll need to do this in batches.)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat;  add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2 minutes.

Add spices and cook, stirring, 1 minute.

Add chickpeas and water;  bring to a boil.  Stir in the couscous, cover the pan, and remove from heat.  Check the pan 5 minutes later;  the couscous should have absorbed all the liquid.

Off heat, stir in the cheese, chutney, and 2 TBS of the mint.  Fill the pepper halves and sprinkle with the remaining mint.

Serve with The Best Challah.

Celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint; Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad; French bread

By Jennifer

Celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint;  Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad;  French bread

This dinner was delicious.  Just saying.

Celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint – adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi

  • 1/3 cup whole hazelnuts (skin on)
  • 1 cup French green lentils
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 1 small celeriac (celery root), peeled, quartered, and thinly sliced
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 3 TBS red wine vinegar
  • salt and black pepper
  • 4 TBS chopped fresh mint

Roast the hazelnuts on a small baking sheet in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes.  Cool and chop.

Lentils, bay leaves and thyme in the pot

Bring the lentils, water, bay leaves and thyme to a boil in a pot;  simmer for 15 – 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Drain and discard bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Celeriac, aka celery root

Celeriac, peeled and sliced

Bring a pot of salted water to boil and add the celeriac;  boil for 8 – 12 minutes, until tender.  Drain.

Combining everything in a bowl

Toss the warm lentils, celeriac, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper together in a bowl.  Add most of the hazelnuts and mint;  toss to combine.  Sprinkle remaining nuts and mint on top.  Serve with crusty French bread and with the Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad.

Celeriac and lentils with hazelnut and mint;  Beet, Orange and Black Olive Salad;  French bread