Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Dried Fruit Extravaganza

Monday: Roasted Root Veggie Tsimmes; Farro Pilaf

Tsimmes is a traditionally Jewish dish, and one of my favorites (sweet-salty main dishes are very much my thing, after all). This one is from Clean Start, which I have checked out of the library. I'm not very enthusiastic about cookbooks that are prescriptive (rather than descriptive), so I found the "clean start/clean food" concept to be a little preachy. It's also an entirely gluten-free cookbook, which is a dietary restriction I'm grateful not to have (I think it makes baking especially difficult). I'm only willing to jump through all the gluten-free hoops if I'm cooking for someone who needs to eat GF, so most of the recipes for baked goods would be special-occasion-only in our house. All that aside, though, there are some great-looking recipes in here, and I definitely enjoyed Walters' version of tsimmes.

Fruits-and-Roots Tsimmes
adapted from Clean Start

  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder or cornstarch
  • 1 C orange juice
  • 8-10 C mixed root veggies, cut into 1-inch chunks (she suggests carrots, sweet potatoes, and parsnips)
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 10 pitted prunes, halved
  • 1/2 C dried cherries
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 1/4 C maple syrup
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
  • 1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • peel from 1 lemon, roughly chopped
  • salt, to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Whisk a bit of the orange juice into cornstarch or arrowroot powder until it forms a paste. Whisk in the rest of the juice. Combine all ingredients (just use a few pinches of salt to start) in an oiled casserole dish. Cover, and bake for 45 minutes. Uncover, stir, and bake another 15 minutes. Stir again, and bake for a final 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, stir again, add salt to taste, and serve.
serves 4-6

The pilaf is something I improvised to use up some farro I found in the back of the pantry.

Farro Pilaf
  • 1.5 C farro (we get ours at the farmer's market from Bluebird Grain Farms)
  • 8 C stock (or water plus bouillon)
  • 1/2 C dried cranberries
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • generous grinding of pepper, to taste
  • salt, to taste
In a dry skillet, toast the farro for 4 minutes or so over medium-high heat. The grains will begin to brown and pop in the pan toward the end. Add the liquid, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 5o to 60 minutes. The grains should be tender (sadly, they will still be "squeaky"). Drain.

Toss with remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I found that this dish tasted best with a lot of pepper.) Serve warm.
serves 4-6

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