Everything But The Bagel Vinaigrette, Farro Cucumber Date Salad

Everything But The Bagel Vinaigrette, Farro Cucumber Date Salad

Everything But The Bagel Vinaigrette
Farro Cucumber Date Salad

I like to make my salads from scratch, using the freshest ingredients dressed with a homemade vinaigrette. Today I took a short-cut.

Trader Joe’s sells a snappy seasoning blend with a clever name called Everything But the Bagel made with black and white sesame seeds, sea salt, garlic, onion, and poppy seeds. I put a scoop of the seasoning blend into a mixture of olive oil, vinegar, and agave syrup. It was a surprisingly good vinaigrette with sweet and savory flavors and a nice crunch. The dressing paired perfectly with my farro cucumber date salad. It was visually stunning too, with contrasting black and white seeds; ribbons of cucumber swirling around the platter; and just a few scattered edible flowers that made the neutral brown-green palette come alive.

Farro Cucumber Date Salad Recipe

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The Green Bean Casserole is Back

French Green Bean/ Portabella Mushroom/ Gruyere
CASSEROLE
With Fried Onions

It dawned on me a few days before Thanksgiving that my nephews, Stone & Jett, would not ever know of the iconic green bean casserole unless I served it. You see, I always host the Thanksgiving meal now, as I took over that delightful task from my mother well over a decade ago. Stone and Jett, being 8 and 6 years old respectively, have only celebrated Thanksgiving at my home. So all of a sudden I realized, they would be going to college soon (well, not that soon) and someone in the fraternity house would mention their mother’s classic green bean casserole, and they, being foodies, would not know anything about it.  “Aunt GeeGee?” they might ask one day, “why didn’t you ever teach us how to make the green bean casserole?”

So…the green bean casserole has made a come-back! And it was, dare I say, popular! We all agree that it should grace the table again next year.

The original recipe created in 1955 by home economist Dorcas Reilly in Campbell’s Soup’s Creative Food Center, the one my mother always made, found on the Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup can, is now on their website here. My recipe is a variation of one from Trader Joe’s where we double the mushrooms and add gruyere cheese. Stone made the entire casserole, by himself.

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Another Colorful Side

Colorful Side Dish #3
Spinach and Feta
Israeli Couscous, Orzo, Baby Garbanzo, Red Quinoa

Sauté chopped garlic, chopped scallions, and red pepper flakes in olive oil. Add fresh baby spinach to wilt. Season to taste.

Toss spinach mixture with cooked Israeli couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo, and red quinoa. This blend is called Harvest Grains Blend and is available from Trader Joe’s. Crumble feta on top. This recipe was inspired by one in Gourmet magazine some years ago, they made theirs with Acini di Pepe (tiny pearl pasta) and used frozen spinach.
Something New at Home

I am very excited about this change that cost nothing but makes my home feel dramatically different for the new year. I switched the dining room and family room. The former family room is considerably larger and has a fireplace in the corner. I moved the dining table here so now there is a more open and casual space for dining, and we can eat in front of a beautiful crackling fire.

The former dining room is now a cozy den. The chandelier which was above the dining table is above the coffee table, so you can still walk by without hitting your head. Makes a great spot to sit and read cookbooks! I also switched some artwork around, and that has freshened up some of the other rooms in the house.
Have you made any changes to your home or kitchen for the new year?