The flavors of the season call for hearty, fresh and vibrant! For inspiration, I went out to our kitchen garden, where not much has survived at this late date, to be pleasantly surprised by a large patch of thriving Mizuna. Even with our frosty nights, the Mizuna is still beautiful! It's a hearty green and just right when paired with the pearl barley, peas and tofu. Below is a simple recipe where the Mizuna shines ... and it's so satisfying! And if you don't have your own patch of Mizuna, a tender baby arugula is a terrific stand in. Of special note: the black eyed peas, while a nutritious powerhouse on their own, are also traditionally eaten in the South to assure success in the new year! (I'm giving away my heritage, aren't i?!) Here's to health, happiness and much success in 2106! Enjoy!
Mizuna and Black Eyed Pea Barley Bowl
3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon Sesame Oil, plus more for sautéing
Juice of 1 Meyer lemon
1 teaspoon Meyer lemon zest
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano, roughly chopped
1, 12 oz. block of extra firm tofu, drained, and cut into 1 inch squares
1 cup cooked heirloom pearl barley, room temperature or cool
1 cup cooked black eyed peas
4 cups Mizuna or baby arugula
1 avocado, sliced
¼ cup pomegranate airils
Optional: viola flowers to garnish
In a shallow bowl, whisk together the tamari, sesame oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and oregano. Marinate the tofu squares briefly – then remove from marinade and set aside while you heat a sauté pan. Reserve remaining marinade. Add a scant bit of sesame oil to the sauté pan and sauté the squares on two sides. Remove to plate and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Place Mizuna in a large bowl. Drizzle with a scant bit of the marinade, toss until leaves are just coated.
Serving: Place one serving of Mizuna in a shallow yet wide salad bowl, sprinkle with barley and black eyed peas. Lay in pieces of tofu. Add avocado to the side of the bowl and sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon pomegranate airils and garnish with violas (optional).
For a little crunch, serve these protein packed, gluten free, crisp buckwheat crackers:
A terrific accompaniment to any salad or bowl, these buckwheat crackers satiate that little need for a bit of crunch that we all crave day to day. They also make a great dipping cracker for your favorite seasonal hummus or dip!
Savory Buckwheat Crackers
1 ½ cups whole buckwheat groats, soak 4 hours – overnight
¾ cup brown rice flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds, grind half
2 teaspoons fennel pollen
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 clove garlic, finely grated
1 teaspoon finely grated onion
1/2 teaspoon sea salt plus more for topping
1 Tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup water, more as needed
¼ cup sunflower seeds
1 egg white, beaten
1 Tablespoon Black Sesame Seeds
1 Tablespoon Brown Sesame Seeds
Preheat oven to 275 °
In a food processor, process groats until smooth. Add rice flour, ground pumpkin seeds fennel pollen, coriander, garlic, onion and sea salt. Process again until well mixed. Add olive oil. Process briefly. Add enough water to make a stiff dough. Remove from processor and add in remaining pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Line a work surface with parchment paper. Place dough on top and form into a rectangle. Place another sheet of parchment on top and roll out dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Remove top sheet of parchment and trim edges as necessary and score into rectangles.
Transfer to prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes. Turn over each cracker and brush with egg white. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and a grind or two of sea salt, and continue to bake until completely dry, about 30-45 minutes longer. Cool on a wire rack.