After myriad holiday indulgences, I think some light, healthy recipes from the NYT’s “Recipes for Health” column are in order. The column is particularly great when you’re in a pinch because you can select an ingredient you have on hand, and the site gives you a list of recipes. Healthy & helpful. These two recipes look especially good (I’ve had an insatiable craving for broccoli. I know. Weird, right?). xo, m
Warm Broccoli & Chickpea Salad
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side
1/2 pound (1 heaped cup) dried chick peas, soaked for 6 hours or overnight in 1 quart water [Alternatively, you can use canned chickpeas, but they’re often too mushy to work well in salads)
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
1/2 pound broccoli crowns, broken into florets
1/2 small red onion, sliced (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, or a combination of parsley and dill
2 ounces shaved Parmesan
For the dressing:
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, or sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small garlic clove, minced or put through a press
Salt, preferably kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, or 4 tablespoons olive oil and 2 tablespoons buttermilk or plain low-fat or nonfat yogurt
Place the chickpeas and their soaking liquid in a large saucepan and add enough water to cover by 2 inches. Add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer 1 hour. Add salt to taste and continue to simmer until the chick peas are tender, 30 minutes to an hour. Remove the bay leaf.
Meanwhile, place the red onions in a bowl and cover with cold water. Soak 5 minutes, then drain and rinse. Dry on paper towels.
Make the dressing. Mix together the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil (or the oil and buttermilk or yogurt). Set aside.
When the beans are tender, add the broccoli. Turn up the heat, cover and simmer or steam (depending on how much water is left in the pan) 5 minutes, until the broccoli is tender but still bright. Drain the beans and broccoli and toss with the dressing. Add the herbs and the Parmesan, toss again, and serve warm.
Risotto with Carrots & Leeks
Serves four to six, depending on the girth of your guests’ waists
About 7 cups well seasoned chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound tender spring carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the diagonal
2 large leeks, white and light green parts only, cut in half lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly and chopped
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
1 1/2 cups arborio or carnaroli rice
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, or a combination of parsley, tarragon and marjoram or chives
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Pour your stock or broth into a saucepan, and bring it to a simmer over low heat with a ladle nearby or in the pot. Make sure that it is well seasoned. Heat the oil in a wide, heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, and add the carrots, leeks and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to soften, about three minutes. Add the rice, thyme and garlic. Cook, stirring, until the grains of rice are separate and beginning to crackle.Add the wine, and stir over medium heat until it has almost evaporated. Begin adding the simmering stock, two ladlefuls (about 1/2 cup) at a time. The stock should just cover the rice and should be bubbling, not too slowly nor too quickly. Cook, stirring often, until the liquid is almost absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock, and continue to cook in this fashion — adding more stock when the rice is almost dry, then stirring — for about 20 to 25 minutes. Taste a bit of the rice. It should be chewy but not hard in the middle. (If it is still hard in the middle, add more stock and cook for another five minutes or so.) Stir in the chopped fresh herbs, add pepper to taste, taste and adjust salt.When the rice is cooked al dente, remove the pan from the heat and stir in another ladleful of stock, the Parmesan and lemon juice. The rice should be creamy. Serve right away in wide soup bowls or on plates, spreading the risotto in a thin layer rather than lumping in a mound.