Farro salad with peas, asparagus and feta

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This is Farro Salad with Peas, Asparagus and Feta from the Bon Appetit Fast Easy Fresh Cookbook.

Our 5-year-old did most of the chopping and mixing, so not to tricky a recipe. We used regular farro where the recipe calls for semi-pearled, so it took 35+ minutes to cook rather than 10, but the whole salad was still ready in a little less than an hour.

Also, it calls for sugar snap peas, which I bought at the grocery store, but they were kind of old and didn’t look so great so at the last minute I put in frozen peas instead.

The dill is really good in this — not too dilly, just blended nicely with the other flavors. We’ll definitely make this one again.

Gratin of endive and ham

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This was really easy to make and pretty fancy at the table. It’s Gratin of Endive and Ham from The Bon Appetit Cookbook.

It’s Belgian endive wrapped in ham and smothered in a cream sauce and Swiss cheese.

I’ve never cooked Belgian endive before. It’s a little bitter, which is a great flavor with the salty, meaty ham and sweet, cheesy sauce. The kids demanded PB&J when they saw it come out of the oven and head the name, but then they smelled it and changed their minds. One asked for seconds.

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Homemade chicken nuggets

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These chicken nuggets are based on a MOMables.com recipe that uses ground chicken as the base. We add extra seasoning (hand mixed cajun spice blend from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que cookbook instead of Zatarain’s Creole). I also use fresh shredded Parmesan cheese instead of powdered, fresh minced garlic instead of powdered and a little oil added to the crumbs. Oh, and salt. This recipe oddly leaves out the salt. More than once I’ve followed the recipe faithfully and served salt-less nuggets. Not good. Add salt to the chicken mixture and the bread crumb mixture.

The sides here are roasted asparagus (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, bump the oven up to 400 to 425 after the nuggets come out and bake until a little browned) and Cajun corn from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que cookbook.

Sourdough banana bread

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This seemed like an obvious use for some discarded sourdough starter.

Our usual banana bread recipe from Cooks Illustrated calls for a quarter cup of yogurt. I swapped in a quarter cup of leftover sourdough starter.

For better or worse, the results were indistinguishable from the usual recipe — not more interesting, but also not freakishly sour or anything (unlike our latest pancakes, which have so much discarded starter that they are freakishly sour).

BLT Panzanella

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This is an old recipe called BLT Panzanella. There are several versions of this online. I can’t find the source of ours right now, but here’s the index card we made of it years ago.

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I used romaine lettuce instead of arugula this time.

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Gado Gado (Peanut sauce on veg)

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This is the Indonesian-inspired dish called Gado Gado from the Moosewood Restaurant Favorites cookbook. I love peanut sauces. This was more involved than the Mark Bittman one we often make, where you just mix peanut butter or tahini with hot water, soy sauce and some other yummy stuff.

This one starts with cooking onions, garlic and spices. It includes tamarind concentrate, coconut milk and a little vinegar. I’m not sure the flavor is that much different from the simpler ones, but it’s very, very good.

This recipe makes a TON of peanut sauce. It calls for an entire jar of peanut butter for 6 to 8 servings. We ate maybe a quarter of the sauce at dinner. Good left-overs, but next time I’ll make a lot less.

Since I could probably eat myself to death with peanut sauce on pasta, it was good that this was on an enormous pile of vegetables. Of course, there was so much going on between cooking the sauce and chopping the veg that I ran out of time to saute the tofu and never even thought to boil eggs until it was time to eat. This is a dish that takes some planning.