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Tomato Artichoke Salad

Here’s a fresh tasting salad that’s as incredibly delicious as it is verifiably healthy.

After taking this picture, I ate the entire bowl by myself.

The Story Behind This Recipe

Some time ago, I watched a TED talk by Dr. William Li called “Can We Eat To Starve Cancer?” Around that same time, Whole Foods was promoting a nutrition ranking system by Eat Right America called ANDI. I couldn’t help but notice the glaringly obvious similarities between Dr. Li’s list of cancer-fighting foods and the ANDI Superfoods list. So, I decided to change my diet to include more of these naturally healthy and delicious foods. That I already loved many of these foods didn’t hurt the cause either. 😉

After returning from the supermarket with a load of super foods late one night (which is the perfect time to go grocery shopping), my appetite was… “heightened.” So, I decided to make a little snack using the ingredients I had just purchased. I quickly chopped up some stuff and threw it in a bowl. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much because I didn’t give this concoction much thought, but I knew I had discovered something after that first bite. This recipe kind of feels like a home run – or maybe even a grand slam. It’s easy, fast, delicious, and healthy. You can’t ask for much more than that.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 campari tomatoes – quartered
  • 1 (12 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts – quartered
  • 1/2 C. flat leaf parsley – roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed or finely minced
  • 1 T. dry or fresh oregano
  • 1 lemon – zested and juiced
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • sea salt & fresh cracked black pepper (to taste)

Directions

In a large bowl, zest and juice the lemon over the garlic and oregano to kick start the marinating process. Pour the liquid from the artichokes in the bowl. Quarter the tomatoes and artichokes into similar size pieces and chop the parsley. Dress with some good olive oil and a little salt & pepper. Stir to combine. Allow the magic to marinate for as long as you can stand. Usually I can only wait about 10 minutes, but if you have patience you can prepare this recipe day ahead of time.

Serves 4-5 adults (or 1, if you’re me).

Download this recipe in PDF Format!

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Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

This is the recipe I developed for my first attempt at making dolmas. I wanted to balance the salty savoriness of the grape leaves with a sweeter filling of meat, nuts, fruit and spices. Venison is not a typical choice for dolmas, but it was readily available and ended up working very well. Because venison […]

This is the recipe I developed for my first attempt at making dolmas. I wanted to balance the salty savoriness of the grape leaves with a sweeter filling of meat, nuts, fruit and spices. Venison is not a typical choice for dolmas, but it was readily available and ended up working very well. Because venison is a very lean meat, there is no need to drain the burger. Lamb, beef, or bison would make good substitutes, but the lamb and beef would probably need to be drained.

Ingredients

  • 50 grape leaves – canned in brine
  • 1 C brown rice – short grain
  • 2 C water
  • 1 T butter
  • 1 lb. venison burger – Lamb, beef or bison can be substituted.
  • 1/4 C dates – pitted and diced
  • 1/4 C olives – kalamata variety, pitted and diced
  • 1/4 C nuts – almonds, macadamia, pistachio, sesame mixture – crushed
  • 1 T garlic – crushed
  • 1 C red onion – diced
  • 2 T chives – fresh or dried
  • 2 t nutmeg – ground
  • 2 t cinnamon – ground
  • 1 t turmeric – ground
  • 1 t ginger – ground
  • 1 t coriander – ground
  • 1 t cumin – ground
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon – juiced
  • 1 C feta cheese

Instructions

Place rice, water and butter in a covered sauce pan over high heat. Boil under tender. Set aside.

Combine burger, nuts, dates, olives, garlic, onion, chives, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, coriander, cumin and olive oil in a skillet. Brown over medium high heat until the pink is gone from the burger. Add rice to burger mixture.

In the center of a stemless grape leaf place approximately 2 to 3 tablespoons of burger mixture. Fold the bottom of the leaf up, the top of the leaf down, the right side over to the left, and then roll tightly to the left. Place the rolled leaf in a non-greased pan. Repeat the filling and rolling process until either out of meat or grape leaves.

Cover pan with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Baking longer makes for a more tender grape leaf, while a shorter time gives the leaf more of a chewy bite.

To finish, sprinkle lemon juice over the dolmas and top with crumbled feta. Serve warm with hummus and veggies, tabbouleh and pita bread. Makes approximately 50 dolmas.

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Blackberry Sauce for Lamb Chops

Recently, I visited Harvest Home Farm to play a show in their barn. Owners Mike and Becky Poulos share their knowledge and love with anyone willing to come visit the farm. After the show, they kindly sent me on my way with an arm load of food and a warm, cozy sheep pelt, which I […]

Photo of ewe standing on its mother’s back from Harvest Home Farm

Recently, I visited Harvest Home Farm to play a show in their barn. Owners Mike and Becky Poulos share their knowledge and love with anyone willing to come visit the farm. After the show, they kindly sent me on my way with an arm load of food and a warm, cozy sheep pelt, which I plan to sleep on during the crisp nights of hammocking in the fall.

Among the many items in the cooler of fresh-from-the-farm goodies were some lamb chops and wild blackberries, which I put to use in the following recipe* of my own. Enjoy!

Blackberry Sauce for Lamb Chops

By Scott Troyer

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. Blackberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2-3 T. Honey
  • 2-3 T. Butter
  • 2 cloves Garlic finely chopped
  • 1/4 c. Onion or Shallot finely chopped
  • 2 t. Dried Rosemary crushed
  • 2 t. Dried Parsley
  • 2 t. Dried Tarragon

Instructions

Cook the blackberries on medium high heat in a small saucepan until they have broken down and released most of their juice. Mashing them a bit will help release more of the juice too. Strain the berries through a fine sieve over a small sauté pan. Gently press the berries to remove the remaining juice. Reserve the berry pulp for baking or serving over ice cream, yogurt, cereal, etc.

Bring the juice to a simmer on medIum high heat and add the garlic, onions, and herbs. Stir continually to avoid burning. After the liquid has reduced to approximately half add honey until the desired sweetness is achieved. Continue simmering until the liquid is slightly thick (the sauce will thicken as it cools). Shortly before serving add the butter and stir until melted and completely combined with the sauce. Serve the warm sauce generously over freshly grilled or pan-seared lamb chops.

Notes

Makes enough sauce for 4-6 chops. Use more or less honey to achieve the right amount of sweetness. Other berries may be substituted. Wine can also replace the berries, in which case the recipe would call for far less honey. Most of the alcohol will be cooked off during the reduction process, so it is safe for children. Fresh herbs can replace the dried herbs and would actually be preferable if they are available. For a bit of showmanship sprinkle a few leaves of fresh tarragon on top of the sauce of each lamb chop.

*I don’t use recipes, but for the benefit of those that do, I’ve put this one together. If this doesn’t fit the MLA guidelines for culinary reference, I apologize; I’m a total hackchef. 🙂

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