Slow Cooker Chicken with Mushrooms & Wine

Chicken with MushroomsI never thought in a million years I’d be writing a meat recipe on here, but here I am. We’re a few months into my crazy diet for MSPI (Milk Soy Protein Intolerance), or infant allergic proctocolitis. So far, Luca is allergic to dairy, soy, gluten, eggs, nuts, coconut, chocolate, and possibly corn. But he’s happy! And healthy! So who am I to complain.

I was so tired of having beans/quinoa and rice for every meal, and a nutritionist I’ve been working with suggested I try adding in chicken. I’m not incredibly excited about chicken–I’d still rather have a plate of amazing veggies than some chicken–but it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be after 17 years!

Cooking meals three times a day without a break is kinda tough and so I’ve been trying to come up with as many slow cooker recipes as possible so dinner is ready when I walk in the front door from work. When you’re on this diet, it’s almost impossible to eat out and guarantee that allergens have been kept out of your meal. Most allergy-friendly slow cooker recipes (other than bean chili, bean chili, and bean chili) seem like they involve meat. This recipe smelled really nice when I walked in the door and the chicken shredded up nicely. I served it over brown rice, but it would also be good with polenta or pasta provided you aren’t gluten-free.

Wine Mushroom Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken with Mushrooms & Wine

Adapted from Chicken Merlot with Mushrooms, Taste of Home

  • 3/4 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup full bodied wine
  • dash of hot pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian herbs
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Optional: 1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tb. water

Layer the mushrooms, onion, olive oil, and garlic in the bottom of a 5-qt. slow cooker. Top with chicken. In a small bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, broth, wine, herbs, Worcestershire, Dijon, salt, and pepper. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until chicken is tender. Add a slurry of 1 tsp. cornstarch in water to the chicken if desired to thicken sauce.

Serve over hot rice, pasta, or polenta.
Freeze option: Freeze cooled chicken mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary. Yield: 5 servings.

Spaghetti Squash Risotto with Sage Pesto

This is a little ditty I whipped up last night after noticing our fridge had only some onions, sad carrots, and a spaghetti squash. I typically use spaghetti squash in pasta or in salads, but thought it might be nice in a risotto. Of course, you could sub in any other kind of roasted squash.

Stirring pesto into a vegan risotto is nice, because it adds in the fattiness (and some protein!) you might otherwise miss with no cheese or butter.

It’s vegan and allergy-friendly, but your partner or friends can stir in some butter or cheese if they’d like at the table to make it extra unctuous. I had Garriy roast the squash during the day, so when I came home from work, even though it may seem like a lot of steps, this dinner came together in 20 minutes or so with boxed stock.

Nevertheless, and despite the mediocre photography below, this would be a nice fall main, even for company and/or as a side for grilled seafood or meat. The sage pesto smells amazing and very autumnal! Enjoy!

Squash Sage Risotto

Spaghetti Squash Risotto with Sage Pesto

  • 1 small to medium spaghetti squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 large handful fresh sage
  • 1 large handful of other fresh herbs or greens (parsley, lemon balm, spinach, arugula)
  • 2 Tb. and 1/4 C. olive oil, divided
  • 1/8 C. pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1.5 C. Arborio rice
  • 5.5 C. vegetable stock (be sure it has no soy for allergy-free, as many contain soy oil or protein)
  • 1/2 C. white wine
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 2 Tb. chopped chives
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional: chile flakes, zest of 1 lemon, feta or parmesan cheese, fried sage leaves (fry sage leaves in olive oil till crispy)

Bake the seeded and halved spaghetti squash, cut side down, at 450 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until tender. Scoop out squash flesh and set aside.

Make the pesto while the squash is baking–combine the sage, other herbs, lemon juice, salt, and seeds in a food processor. With motor running, slowly add in 1/4 C. olive oil. Add more lemon juice or olive oil as needed to bring combination together into a paste.

Add veggie stock to pan on back burner and heat to steaming. Keep simmering on low. Heat 2 Tb. olive oil in heavy pot, and add onion. Saute for 5 minutes over medium heat and then add garlic. Saute for another 2 minutes. Add the rice and saute 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir until absorbed. Add a pinch of saffron and 1 C. veggie stock, stirring till absorbed. Add stock one cup at a time, stirring until absorbed. When the rice is halfway done (stock is halfway used up), add the cooked squash. When almost all stock is used, stir in pesto.

Once all of stock is used up, add any optional flavorings like the chile flakes, cheese, or lemon zest. Stir in the chopped chives and taste for salt and pepper. Serve while hot, adding the optional fried sage leaves if desired.

Crunchy Broccoli Apple Salad

We are so very lucky to have a happy baby. Since I’ve gone back to work, Luca has been hanging out with his dad, who is on paternity leave, and eating it up. These two are the best buddies.

The only hiccup in the whole thing has been finding out about Luca’s food sensitivities. Perhaps TMI, especially on a food blog, but around 2 months he started getting blood in his stool, and lots of diarrhea. After ruling out infections and other possibilities, his pediatrician posited it was most likely MSPI–a milk and soy protein intolerance. This is a horrible name for what he has, which we now believe is allergic proctocolitis, in that in addition to dairy and soy, he’s also sensitive to egg, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, and coconut that he gets via my breastmilk.

We feel extraordinarily grateful in that Luca doesn’t have severe IgE allergies–those are the kind that can cause severe anaphylactic shock. He seems super happy and healthy, and other than his weird diapers and some eczema when I accidentally eat an allergen, all is normal. However, it has been a tremendous challenge to both figure out what caused his problems in my diet, especially since these types of sensitivities can’t be tested for, and then to eliminate such a tremendous number of things from my pescatarian diet. In comparison, eliminating dairy or soy seems like a piece of cake.

The good news is that he’ll most likely outgrow his sensitivities–hopefully by 1 year old. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to figure out what to eat and still get enough protein and calcium, in particular. First of all, almost anything processed (even minimally processed) has dairy or soy. There are cheat sheets for hidden milk and soy, but since I don’t want to spend my life reading labels, I just don’t eat anything that comes in a package–easier said than done. As for nuts and coconut, it has been a bummer to also have to avoid them, since they have that fatty mouthfeel I’ve missed so much. And as for eating out, forget about it. I recently went to a very allergy-friendly local restaurant, but still managed to eat something that gave Luca blood in his diaper. When we go to friends’ houses, I just bring something with me to eat, because I would never wish cooking for me on anyone.

In the meantime, I’m writing this horribly long post because I’ve found very few helpful resources online for cooking on such a limited diet. Allergy-free cooking sites and blogs tend to rely on complicated ingredients (flax “eggs”) and other processed food ingredients (vegan “spreads”) that are often labor intensive, and not so tasty. While I know you three don’t need this diatribe, I figured I’d try and share and put some allergy-free recipes here in hopes that if anyone Googles this and is looking for ideas, it may be helpful. I’ll also tag older recipes on the blog as allergy-free as I find them.

So many lovely people have shared recipes with me as well. So while I can’t vouch for all of the recipes I’ve bookmarked, in case anyone is interested, I have hundreds of allergy-friendly, mostly vegetarian* recipes (*Note: some still contain fish and shellfish) saved in a public link on Evernote.

As for this Crunchy Broccoli Apple Salad, its tahini dressing is the key. Tahini has been my best friend through all of this. Unfortunately, most tahini is a no-go for me since it’s processed on equipment that processes tree nuts (who knew he’d be so sensitive, it’s crazy!). However, I found organic Kevala tahini on Amazon Prime, which is reasonably priced and processed in a factory that only processes sesame.

It would be great for picnics or lunches as it keeps quite well.

More allergy-free recipes to come!

Broccoli Crunch Salad

Crunchy Broccoli Apple Salad

adapted from Broccoli Crunch Salad, Pamela Salzman

  • 1 bunch broccoli, cut into small bite-size florets and stems diced
  • 1 crisp apple, cored and diced
  • 1/3 C. dried cranberries
  • 1/8 C. sunflower seeds
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 4-5 Tb. tahini
  • 4 Tb. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • dash water
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan with a steamer insert, bring a few inches of water to a boil. Place the broccoli on the steamer basket and cover with the lid. Steam for 1 minute. Transfer broccoli to a large plate in a single layer and allow to cool. Finely chop broccoli. Lightly toast the sunflower seeds in a skillet over medium heat until fragrant and starting to brown. In a large bowl toss together broccoli, apples, cranberries, seeds, and onion.

In a small bowl whisk together dressing ingredients: tahini, vinegar, water, salt, and pepper. Taste and add more water or vinegar if too thick. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss until broccoli is well coated.

Warm Lentil, Kale, and Beet Salad with an Egg

FullSizeRender (2)Dinners on the porch look like this lately. Hanging out with Luca and eating something simple as the sun starts to dip, and before we tuck him away for his early bedtime.

Nursing not only makes you very hungry, but in my experience, makes one a protein fiend. Much more so than pregnancy. So tonight I made this heavy-on-the-protein salad with what we had in the fridge. In my mind the beets are pretty important, but you could certainly make the salad without them if the roasting/boiling of beets seemed like too much. I typically buy beets 1-2 times a week and roast them while I’m cooking dinner, pull the skins off, and either store them whole in the fridge, or chop them up, douse them with some cider vinegar, and store them that way for the week’s salads and meals.

Sorry for the lacking photo–I realized that perhaps I would write a blog post once I’d already dug in. A testament to the deliciousness of the meal! This would also make a great picnic dish served chilled.

FullSizeRender (3)

Warm Lentil, Kale, and Beet Salad with an Egg

  • 1 C green or de Puy lentils
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small bunch kale, finely shredded
  • 3 beets, cooked and chopped
  • 1 egg, per person (recipe serves 2-4)
  • 2 tsp. Dijon
  • 1 Tb. red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tb. olive oil
  • fresh herbs, if desired
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Boil the lentils in heavily salted water until tender–around 20-30 minutes. When the lentils are almost done, add the carrot and cook till tender. While everything is cooking, whisk the Dijon, vinegar, and olive oil together. Cook the egg until desired doneness (I prefer my soft boiled). Toss the warm lentils and carrots with the dressing and the kale. Stir together till the kale wilts. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add herbs, if desired. Top each serving with some cooked beets, and the egg and serve.

Cardamom Rosewater Bread Pudding

Lately we’ve been doing a lot of this….


Just watching this little dude, and feeding him, and changing him, and feeding him, and changing him. And staring at him. I can’t believe that he’s finally here, and how in love with him we are.

And as we near his one month birthday, we’re finally hitting a bit of a rhythm. Part of feeling back to some semblance of ourselves has meant being able to cook and hang out with friends. Tonight we had friends over for Indian on the front porch–daal, chana masala, and sarson ka saag (Indian greens, which I’ll post a recipe for soon).

I wouldn’t normally make dessert, but I had a ton of leftover hamburger buns from a weekend cookout, and decided to make an Indian-inspired bread pudding from them. I know that a nice sourdough or challah would be more classy, but I hate wasting food. The cardamom and rosewater were a nice touch, and the hamburger buns made a surprisingly custardy and light pudding. I would definitely make this again for dessert or breakfast/brunch with whatever bread I had around.

Bread Pudding

Cardamom Rosewater Bread Pudding

  • 8 hamburger buns
  • 3 C. whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 2 Tb. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. rosewater
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/8 C. golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 350. Tear the buns into large pieces and place in a lightly greased Pyrex. Sprinkle the raisins over the bread. Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, and butter. Add the rosewater, vanilla, and cardamom and whisk well. Pour over the bread and let it soak in evenly. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the pudding is set and pulls away from the edges of the pan.

Agua de Jamaica (Hibiscus Flower Drink)

Two of my favorite warm weather drinks, which are enjoyed all across the Caribbean, are iced “Bush Tea” and Jamaica drink. In the US Virgin Islands, bush tea is any combination of local herbs, but in my experience, almost always is made mainly of lemongrass. Jamaica, or hibiscus, flowers also make a tart tea that is so delicious (and that most people have probably had before if they’ve had any “zinger” iced teas). Unfortunately, both lemongrass and hibiscus can possibly cause uterine contractions, and so I’ve avoided them in tea/herbal form during pregnancy.

Until now! My doula let us know that since I’m 40 weeks, hibiscus could be a safe way to possibly induce labor. I’m skeptical, but who cares–I love it!

I like this adapted recipe, but you could definitely add less sugar if you’d like. Taste and sweeten as you like. The ginger adds a really nice Caribbean twist. And happy early Mother’s Day everyone!

Jamaica Drink

Agua de Jamaica

adapted from Hibiscus Punch,

  • 12 C. boiling water
  • 1 2-inch piece ginger, finely grated
  • 1 1/2 C. dried Jamaica flowers (also known as hibiscus or flor de Jamaica)
  • 1 C. granulated sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime

Pour boiling water over ginger, Jamaica flowers, and sugar, and stir until sugar has dissolved. Let steep 10 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large, heat-resistant bowl or pot. Stir in lime juice and set aside to cool. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve over ice.

Almond Orange Cookies

I’ve been talking about waiting for this baby to come, and one of my atypical waiting activities this past week has been baking. Baking is usually too tedious for my tastes, but I had some leftover egg whites from another recipe, some leftover almond meal from a Passover cake, and a slight hankering for the German almond cookies our family friend Erika makes at Christmas. Not too sweet, chewy, delicious. Hers are made with spices or even with lemon, and I haven’t found the exact replica yet–I’m just going to have to ask her for the recipe–but I found another recipe online that sounded like I should give it a go.

These cookies turned out great. If I’d had an orange in the house, I definitely would’ve included the zest. The recipe also called for almond extract, but there’s nice almond flavor with the almond meal alone, so I added orange extract instead. I’m assuming that there would be room to adlib here and add cinnamon, cardamom, or lemon zest to the batter instead, so I’ll be doing that in the future.

Hope you enjoy these! I think they’re perfect with a cup of coffee or tea, or a light post-dinner sweet.

Almond Orange Cookies

Almond Orange Cookies

Adapted from Almond Biscotti, Leite’s Culinaria

  • 2 1/3 C. almond meal
  • 1 C. superfine sugar (if you don’t have superfine sugar, blitz some granulated sugar in a food processor till finely ground but not powdery)
  • 3 large egg whites
  • Grated zest of 1 orange, preferably organic (optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. natural orange extract
  • 1/2 C. sliced or flaked almonds

Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine the almond meal, sugar, egg whites, optional orange zest, and orange extract in a bowl, stirring well.

Using two spoons, drop tablespoons of the cookie mixture on the parchment-lined sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough. Sprinkle the biscotti with a few of the almonds per cookie. Bake the biscotti for ~12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Will keep in an airtight container for up to several days. Makes about 20 cookies.

Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Chipotle-Tahini Dressing

Wow! Has it really been three months since we’ve posted on here? As everyone else jaunts off on world travels and family trips, we are here, waiting for our little boy to arrive. (It’s so weird to write that still!)


A photo by our amazing friend Kelli, of Kelli-GO Photo, at 33 weeks.

I’m 38 weeks today, and expect him to come anytime from any day now to four weeks from now. This waiting time is kind of weird: we’re two, we’re about to be three, and we know that our lives are about to be irrevocably changed forever. What now is a series of kicks and pushes, and imaginations will all of a sudden be real, without pause, without a chance to absorb it all. We’ll just be thrown into it. But we’re excited–beyond, excited really–to see what this creature is like, what he becomes, and what we’ll learn from him. What an adventure.

Have I mentioned our friends are amazing? Courtesy of Kelli-GO Photo.

Have I mentioned our friends are amazing? Courtesy of Kelli-GO Photo.

We’ve felt so loved and supported, by you all, by our amazing friends–from two amazing baby showers, to the advice, porch sitting, emails, and calls–we feel so, so lucky to be bringing a child into this particular community. And while we wait, we’ve been in major nesting mode–tearing down a pergola, painting the house, setting up the nursery, and cooking tons of food for the freezer. We’ve also inexplicably signed ourselves up for lots and lots of social outings, which inevitably also come with the end of the school year and the beginning of Spring, so I decided to write up this quinoa salad recipe, of which there are a million variations, just because it’s easy and good, and it was the only way I’d have a recipe with an actual photo to post here! I added the chipotle last minute, as I thought it needed a little kick, but of course, you can leave it out, and/or add feta or any number of different veggies or types of beans to the mix. It serves a ton of people, is great for lunch or a picnic, and is healthy.

Enjoy! And I’ll keep you all posted if you keep me posted! xoxo

FullSizeRender (3)

Quinoa Black Bean Salad with Chipotle-Tahini Dressing

  • 2 C. white or red quinoa
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 1.5 C. frozen white sweet corn, or fresh corn off the cob
  • 3 C. (or about 2 cans) cooked black beans
  • 3 carrots, grated
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 C. tahini
  • ~1/4 C. or so apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • water
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tsp. ground chipotle chile powder
  • Optional: small bunch of cilantro or chives, chopped

Cook the quinoa in lots of salted water for ~15 minutes, or until done. Drain and toss with olive oil plus a splash of cider vinegar or lime juice. While quinoa is still hot, toss with the frozen or fresh corn. When it cools down to room temperature, add in the black beans, carrot, green onions, and tomatoes.

Stir the tahini and the vinegar or lime juice together until the tahini breaks down into a thick white paste. Add the chipotle, salt to taste, and enough water to make it dressing consistency. Taste and add more vinegar, water, or salt to taste. Toss the quinoa mixture with the dressing, adding extra olive oil or vinegar if it seems too dry. Top with the optional cilantro or chives, if desired. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Lentil and Mushroom Slow Cooker Soup

This recipe is both in sympathy for my Boston and NYC friends trapped in a blizzard (or not-so-blizzard?) at the moment, and the anticipation of life with less time to cook in my not so distant future.

In the past, I’ve never much been into slow cookers. Outside of the prospect of coming home to cooked dried beans (with no soaking!) to be utilized for various concoctions, I haven’t understood the appeal. Pinterest is always full of gloppy slow cooker recipes–most featuring meat and cheese, things from cans, and other processed ingredients. Other slow cooker recipes that sound more appealing to me often involve lots of cooking various things on the stove, then transferring them to the cooker, which always seemed to me to be redundant–why not just keep it all in the same pot and put it in a low oven or on a low simmer?

However, as I approach my third trimester of pregnancy, I often think about how life will change once the baby is here, and how appealing it would be to throw some stuff in a slow cooker, go out for the morning, and return home to a complete meal. Thus begin my forays into slow cookery.

Most of the appealing recipes that I’ve come across are soups that typically involve beans, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with that! Especially since I recently found out in my birthing class that the WHO recommends 70 grams (!!) of protein daily, and since I love beans.

Here’s a hearty lentil and mushroom number that I threw together after looking at a few recipes online. While it doesn’t look like much, it’s yummy, and if you add some more stock + carrots, celery, and/or other veggies, it would probably be even tastier. I ate my words above, and separately sautéed the onion and garlic on the stovetop before putting them in the slow cooker, but you could also give them a quick zap in the microwave, or just toss it all in the slow cooker raw if you find that easier.

Do you all have any vegetarian slow cooker favs? I’d love to know about them!

Stay warm…..

Lentil Mushroom Soup

Lentil and Mushroom Slow Cooker Soup

inspired by Crockpot Lentil Soup, by Everyday Maven

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 2 Tb. olive oil
  • 2 Tb. Turkish red pepper paste (or substitute tomato paste)
  • 2 tsp. fresh chopped thyme (or sub 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 C. green or brown lentils
  • 3/4 C. winter wheat berries
  • 6-8 baby bella, or other mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 C. white wine (optional)
  • 8 C. vegetable stock
  • 1/8 C. grated Romano cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp. red wine or sherry vinegar

Sauté the onion in the olive oil in a skillet over medium until translucent. Add the garlic and stir till fragrant, about a minute. Add the red pepper paste or tomato paste and herbs and sauté all for another 3-5 minutes.

Place the sautéed onion mixture, dried lentils, dry wheat berries, sliced mushrooms, white wine, cheese, salt, pepper, and veggie stock into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on the strength of your slow cooker.

When done, stir in the vinegar and then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Winter Wheat Bowl with Tahini Dressing and Yogurt

We had a really nice holiday in Kentucky with my family, and then in Texas for New Year’s with Garriy’s parents, but we were both relieved to make our way back to home in Knoxville. Too much travel, too much rich food…you know the drill.

The baby is growing by leaps and bounds (he’s around a foot long now!), and I finally felt him kick around in my belly on Xmas eve, which felt like the best Christmas gift ever. Even though it’s frigid in Tennessee right now, our May due date feels like it’s closing in on us already as I near the end of my second trimester. We’re in the process of turning our dining room into a guest room, our guest room into a nursery, and our sunroom into a permanent dining room. Garriy has been working hard to build us a new 10-person dining room table (!!), which is coming along beautifully.

photo (22)

I’ve been trying to make lunches and dinners easier and more appealing by roasting a bunch of colorful veggies at the beginning of the week. Unfortunately, we tend to gobble them all up before I can get many meals out of them, but I’ve loved having a big bowl of grains with lots of different vegetables on top. This is something I whipped up earlier this week with one of my biggest pregnancy cravings–beets (and plain yogurt? I don’t know why, but I’m thankful for my healthy cravings). It may seem like a lot of separate roasting, but you can do them all on the same baking tray, or do them at the beginning of the week in larger quantities to ease the multiple steps. None of it is supervised cooking though, so I found I could toss them in the oven with a timer while doing yoga and cleaning the house.

Here’s wishing my besties a happy, healthy 2015! Miss you all.

photo (23)

Winter Wheat Bowl with Tahini Dressing and Yogurt

  • 1 1/2 C. Soft or Hard Winter Wheat Berries (or another whole grain of choice–quinoa, bulgar, etc.)
  • 2-3 beets, beet greens set aside
  • 1 can rinsed and drained chickpeas (or homecooked)
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 tsp. curry powder
  • ~4  to 5 Tb. olive oil, divided
  • 4 Tb. Greek Yogurt
  • 4 Tb. feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • Hot Sauce, to serve (optional)

Tahini Dressing:

  • 2 Tb. or more of tahini
  • juice of one lemon (or a few Tb. of cider vinegar)
  • warm water
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil and add the winter wheat–simmer for around 45 minutes, checking at 30 minutes for doneness (should be chewy, but not at all hard). If you’re using another grain, cook it accordingly.

In the meantime, preheat the oven to 350. Wrap whole beets in foil and place on a baking sheet. Chop sweet potato into small cubes and season with salt, pepper, and 1-1 1/2 Tb. olive oil. Place on baking sheet. Toss chickpeas with 1-1 1/2 Tb. olive oil, salt, pepper, and curry powder, and place on final third of baking sheet. Test the chickpeas and sweet potatoes for doneness at 15 minutes. Remove them when tender and set aside. Bake the beets for 30-60 minutes, depending on the size, till tender.

Let the beets cool on the side. Chop the beet greens. Heat 1 Tb. olive oil in pan and saute beet greens till tender, seasoning with salt in pepper. While greens are cooking, make tahini dressing. Add the tahini to a bowl or mug and stir in the lemon juice or vinegar. Beat the mixture until it tightens and turns white. Add a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add a dollop of olive oil, and then slowly stir in a bit of water until the dressing is thinned to salad dressing consistency. Taste for salt, seasoning to taste.

Assemble bowls by placing cooked grain on bottom, and then layering cooked beets, beet greens, chickpeas, and sweet potatoes on top. Drizzle each serving with tahini dressing and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some feta cheese. Serve with hot sauce, if desired.