Spring Green Millet Salad with Tangerine Mint Vinaigrette

This is such a pretty and delightful Spring Green Millet Salad!  It has a fresh quality that is absolutely intoxicating and it is overflowing with flavor thanks to the vinaigrette.  It gets its crunchiness from the veggies, its softness from the mozzarella and millet, and it is also bursting with aromatic herbs.  It’s hearty enough to be a meal yet it’s light enough that it won’t weigh you down.  I like to serve it with some crusty bread and wine.

Spring Green Millet Salad This last week was packed full of adventure and fun.  My mom came out for another short visit while her boyfriend Clyde was surfing in Mexico.  We had tasty food including this salad, good wine and inspiring conversations out on our deck.  We went for an awesome bike ride in Monterey along the ocean and then stopped for some iced tea at a cute little tea shop called “Quock Mui Tea Room.”  They had tables outside in a little courtyard with a water fountain and succulents growing out of the walls.  We rode a lot farther than intended so we decided to go out to eat at our favorite restaurant, Ella’s at the Airport.

Spring Green Millet Salad My mom left early Saturday morning and I drove up to Oakland to take photos of Beto’s two-year creek restoration project.  He received a grant to fix up a creek and then inspired some local teens and neighbors to work on the project.  The creek was originally full of ivy, trash and shopping carts.  In the beginning Beto had the water tested in the stream and they found a high ammonia content, most likely from urine.  Ewww.  With the clean up and with some time the ammonia level in the creek is now at a normal level.

Millet-Salads Beto is all about native plants so they dug up all of the non-native plants and they planted beautiful native plants.  It looks amazing!  Not only is it awesome that he is restoring this creek, but that the teenagers are getting educated on restoration, native plants and horticulture.

When we were finished for the day, we drove back to Beto’s house and then Jill and I snuck off to do a little wine tasting at a wine shop called K & L Wine Merchants.  We lucked out because we were able to taste a number of extraordinary French wines from Franck Millet Sancerre straight from the winemakers Franck and Betty Millet.  They have sold their wine to this shop for 21 years and this was the first time they had been there in person.  Every single one of their wines was incredible!  When Jill and I arrived back to their house, we all decided to walk to downtown Palo Alto for some incredible pizza at La Strada and then we went to see Paloma’s favorite art sculpture.  This was going to be the first time that I have stayed the night at their house and Paloma was excited because we were going to have a slumber party.

Green-Millet-Salad I served this salad with a White Rioja but it would also be great with a Cava, Sauvignon Blanc or a Rose.

Spring-Salads Spring Green Millet Salad Recipe:

6 – 8 servings

  • 1 Cup Dried Millet – 2 cups cooked – recipe below
  • Tangerine Champagne Vinaigrette – recipe below
  • 2 Cups Baby Arugula
  • 1/2 Cup Pink Radishes – thinly sliced
  • 1/2  Fennel Bulb – about 1 cup – thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Fennel Stalks – thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2  Cup Fresh or Frozen Peas – thawed
  • 2 – Persian Cucumbers – about 1  Cup – thinly sliced
  • 1 Cup Fresh Basil – chiffonade or roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Chives – minced
  • 1 Container Fresh Mozzarella – thinly sliced – optional
Optional garnishes:
  • Pistachio – salted/shelled – roughly chopped
  • Chive Flowers
  • Fennel Fronds – to taste
  • Mint Leaves – to taste
  • Pecorino – finely grated
  • 1 Cup Dried Millet
  • 2 Cups Filtered Water
  • 1 Vegetable Bouillon Cube –  unsalted
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2/3 Cup Tangerine Juice – (about 5 – 6 ) – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoon Tangerine Zest (optional)
  • 1 Teaspoon Dijon Mustard
  • 1/4 Cup Champagne Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Mint – – minced
  • 2 Shallots or 1/4 Cup – minced
  • 2 Small Cloves Garlic or 2 Teaspoons – minced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
  • Dash Black Pepper
Measure the millet and rinse in a fine mesh colander.
Add the millet , water, bouillon, and salt to a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then mash up the bouillon.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, undisturbed, until all the water is absorbed. ( I use a sauce pan with a glass lid so it’s easy to see if the liquid is gone.)
Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes with the lid on.  Dump into a bowl and fluff up with a fork, then let cool completely.

Add mustard, tangerine juice, zest, salt and pepper to a medium bowl and whisk together.  Next whisk in the champagne vinegar, then slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Stir in the garlic and shallots.


Mix everything in a large bowl except for the dressing.  Dress individual salads according to taste.

Spring Green Millet Salad Health benefits:

 Millet is alkaline and is easily digested. It has high levels of tryptophan like turkey, which causes a calming effects.  It is rich in magnesium, which helps to reduce blood pressure and the risk of heart attacks. It is high in fiber that helps lower cholesterol and keeps you regular by also hydrating your colon. It is high in antioxidants, which may help to prevent heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis and diabetes.  Millet also has high protein content.  Eat in moderation.

Tangerines are a type of mandarin orange.  They are a valuable source of flavonoid anti-oxidants that are several times higher than oranges and have even more vitamin A and iron.  The vitamin A helps with immune function, vision and reproductive health.  As with all citrus they are very rich in vitamin C that stimulates the production of collagen and helps keeps your skin supple as well as stimulating cell regeneration in the body.  Antioxidants are found in high concentrations in the rind of tangerines, which helps fight off free radicals keeping the body’s cells healthy while purifying the blood and remove toxins. They contain natural soluble and insoluble fiber that improves digestion and restrict the absorption of cholesterol in the gut, which helps cut the risk of obesity and reduce inflammation.  Tangerine fruit has been used effectively against skin diseases and arthritis.  They also help to absorb iron from food into the body.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde with Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa

This Chilaquiles Salsa Verde is a versatile dish that nourishes the soul.  I used a green salsa but this dish can also be made with a red salsa.  Top this dish with grated cheese, diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapenos, a little sour cream and the roasted multi pepper salsa and oh boy you are in for a treat!

new Have you ever had chilaquiles before?  It means a broken-up old sombrero.  I just about died the first time I tried them.  I thought to myself “where have you been all my life”.  Beto and Brian took me to a little diner that was inside a bowling alley called Pepy’s Galley shortly after I arrived back in Venice in 2007.  It seemed somewhat unassuming being that it was located in a bowling alley yet the food was outstanding!  Just check out the yelp reviews.  Pepy’s had been in business for over 40 years until they had to close there doors due to the crazy rent increases that have been going on in the Venice and Mar Vista area lately.  So very sad!

Anyways, I saw chilaquiles on the menu and asked Beto what it was.  He told me that they were a poor man’s breakfast made from leftover salsa and stale chips and urged me to try them.  They are normally topped with an egg but I asked them to make it without the egg.  They served them with a fire-roasted salsa and when I took my first bite, my eyes rolled to the back of my head in utter intoxication.  I was hooked!  I asked Beto why haven’t I heard about this dish before?  He said that it has just recently started to show up in restaurants because it was considered a poor man’s meal.  Now you see it everywhere.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde It was Robby’s birthday last Friday so Jill, Paloma and Severin came to our house in the early afternoon.  Unfortunately, Beto had to work so he met up with us later that evening for Robby’s birthday dinner at Ella’s at the Airport.  Erin, Leif and Taj also joined us.  It was a fun time as usual.  The cutest thing was that Paloma had asked her mom if Taj was going to be there and Taj had asked his mom if Paloma was going to be there.  OMG, they are so adorable together.  I think Taj thinks that Paloma is the coolest thing.  They get along great together even though Taj is three and Paloma is five!  After dinner, Beto and his clan came back to our house and spent the weekend with us.  It’s always a fun filled time with arts and crafts, the beach, good food, etc. with the Beto clan.

Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Try this with a light Mexican beer or a dry white wine such as a Pinot Gris or a Sauvignon Blanc.  Or if you make these for breakfast, a mimosa might be in order!

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Recipe:

2 – 4 servings

  • Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa – recipe below
  • 1 Cup Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – or to taste – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 12 Corn Tortillas – cut into 8 wedges – recipe below
  • Cheddar Cheese – shredded – to taste
  • 1 – 2 Jalapeno Peppers – thinly sliced
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa –  1 1/2 Cups
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper  –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper  – roasted – diced
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper  –  roasted – minced
  • 1/2 Small White Onion – roasted
  • 1 Cups Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Small Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa – for whole recipe click here.
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted
  • 5 Tomatillos – roasted
  • 1/4 White Onion
  • 1 Small Jalapeno Pepper
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro
  • 1 Small Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Lime Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1 Teaspoons Sea Salt
  • Cherry Tomatoes – halved
  • Chives – thinly sliced
  • Queso Fresco – crumbled
  • 1 or 2 Avocados – sliced
  • Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • Sprouts – your choice – optional
  • Lime – wedges
  • Sour Cream or Greek Yogurt
Tortilla Chips
  • 12 Corn Tortillas
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt – lightly sprinkled
Roasted Multi Pepper Salsa Recipe

Roast all the peppers for both salsas,

Roast the peppers on the stovetop on medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onions, garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime and salt into a medium sized bowl.  Dice the peppers into small squares.  Add and stir well.
Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Cut the cores out of the tomatillos and cut in half then spread them out on a baking sheet cut side down.  Turn on the broiler and broil tomatillos for 5 -7 minutes then flip over and broil for another 2 to 4 minutes or until real soft.

Add the onion to a pot of water and bring to a boil then remove and let cool.   When cool add to a food processor.

When tomatillos are done, let cool then remove burnt parts of skin as best you can then add to a food processor.

De-stem, de-seed and remove burnt skin from the poblano and jalapeno with a paper towel (if you like your salsa hotter leave the seeds in the jalapeno and add to a food processor along with cilantro, lime, and salt.  Puree.  Set aside.


Prep all your toppings and shred the cheese then set aside.

Tortilla Chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Lightly coat each tortilla in olive oil and sprinkle with salt.  Stack them up and cut into 8 wedges.  Lay them onto a lightly greased baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer.

You will need to do it in two batches.  Place in the oven on the middle rack and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until the edges curl up and they are firm to the touch.  They will continue to crisp as they cool.  If not pop them back into the oven for a couple of minutes.


Heat up the tomatillo salsa and tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat.  When the salsa is hot add the chips, quickly toss to evenly coat. Top with cheese and garnishes.

If you like it on the crunchier side, serve immediately.  It will never be really crunchy.  You can also pop it in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes to really melt the cheese and then add all the toppings.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde Health benefits:

Tomatillos have been found to have antibacterial and anti-cancer properties from the Ixocarpalactone-A, a phyto-chemical.  They contain niacin, which helps convert food into energy.  They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants.  The vitamin K increases bone mass, potassium that helps electrolyte regulation, nerve function, muscle control, and blood pressure, folate that supports red blood cell formation and fiber.  They are without sugars, low in salt and cholesterol-free.

Bell Peppers are extremely high in vitamin A, which helps to support healthy eyesight especially night vision.  It is also very high in vitamin C, which is really important for the skin.  They have a good source of the antioxidant mineral manganese and B-complex and vitamin E.  They help reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol, helps controls diabetes and helps reduce pain.  They are a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, molybdenum and manganese.  Red peppers are one of the veggies highest in lycopene and have been successfully tested in the prevention of many cancers.  Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant, giving many fruits and vegetables their color, especially tomatoes, that are great for the prevention of cancers in the bladder, prostate, cervix and pancreas.

Poblano Peppers are extremely high in vitamin C; just one pepper has 95% of your daily value.  They are great for your immune system and help to reduce inflammation like in arthritis and asthma.  They are also helpful with the increase of oxygen helping the body to burn more calories 20 minutes after eating peppers.  They are full of vitamin A, vitamin K, and potassium.

Anaheim Peppers are a rich source of vitamin C, a half-cup provides over 100 percent required daily intake for adults.  They also have a good amount of vitamin A, which is helpful for skin and eye health.  Anaheim peppers contain phenols; flavonoids and capsaicinoids that help the body fight free radicals, inflammation and promote weight loss.  The bioflavonoids are a powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen blood vessels.  They aid the immune system and contain vitamin E that helps to protect cells from oxidative damage.  They also contain vitamin K, which increases bone mass more than any other pepper.

Chilaquiles Salsa Verde

Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip topped with Thyme Pistachio Pesto

This Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip with the Thyme Pistachio Pesto is a flavorful and unique appetizer.  The goat cheese and pistachio is a perfect match and they pair wonderfully with the fresh thyme.

Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip Ang’s boys turned twelve this last weekend.  I cannot believe how fast time flies!  It seems like it was just yesterday that they had turned three.  Speaking of three, this weekend was our friends Erin and Leif’s little boy Taj’s third birthday.  I think three is my favorite age.

Taj decided that he wanted to have his birthday party at Costanoa located on Pacific Coast Highway just north of Davenport.  It is an awesome campground with lodging, cabins, campsites, etc.  His birthday party was a superhero theme so Erin made green capes for all of the kids. Tajie was so excited about all the presents he was receiving.  The first thing he said to me when we arrived was “do you have a present for me”?  I just about died! It was so cute!  We got him an orange tractor made from recycled plastic.  I’m sure he will like it but he was really obsessed with his remote control monster truck, duh, ha ha!

There was a lot of great food along with a variety of beverages.  I brought my own wine as usual.  Erin had made a huge cake covered in sprinkles topped with a superhero.  Taj blew out all of his candles by himself and then we dived into the delicious cake.  I was also very excited that Beto, Jill, Paloma and Severin were able to make it to the party as well.  Everyone had a really great time!

White-Bean-Thyme-Dip I had this dip with a white Rioja and it was perfect.  It would also go great with a Sauvignon Blanc or a light Pinot Noir.

White-Bean-Thyme-Pesto-Dip Thyme Pistachio White Bean Dip Recipe:

Approx. 3 Cups

  • 1 Cup Dried White Beans – 2 cups cooked
  • 1/2 Cup Pistachio – salted – shelled
  • 1 Cup Drunken Goat Cheese – grated
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Large Clove Garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil – or to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice – fresh squeezed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Thyme Pistachio Pesto
  •  3/4 Cup Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Cup Pistachios – salted – shelled
  • 1 Cup Drunken Goat Cheese – shredded
  • 1/2 to 3/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste

Garnish – optional

  • Pistachio – roughly chopped
  • Thyme – sprinkles
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil – drizzle

Sort through the beans to remove any rocks and rinse.  Add the beans to a large pot, then add 10 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, turn to medium-high heat for about 1 hour to 1 hour and a 1/2  or until beans are soft.  You might have to add more water if the water levels drop too much.  Drain out all the water and let cool completely.  You can also soak the beans overnight if you prefer.


Add all the ingredients for the dip except the beans to a food processor or blender.  Blend together, then add the beans and puree.


 Remove the tiny leaves off the thyme stems by holding the top and sliding leaves off with the thumb and pointer finger of your other hand along the sprig.

Measure everything and add all ingredients except the cheese to a food processor or blender.

Blend to a coarse texture then add the cheese and blend until your desired texture.


In a medium sized bowl or large platter, add the dip and swirl around with a spoon then top with some of the pesto or just dump the whole batch of pesto on top.


Health benefits:

Thyme is rich in thymol, the essential oil that has powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties.  It has anti-aging properties that help boosts the immune system.  Helps fight asthma by relaxing the muscles in the bronchi and it is an expectorant helping to eliminate mucus from the lungs.  Thyme has a powerful detoxifying agent that is helpful in detoxing the liver. It is full of vitamin C and is a good source of vitamin A.

White Beans are a super rich source of dietary fiber, which is good for the prevention of constipation, also helps digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.  They are great for heart health because of their significant amounts of folate (support of red blood cell formation, one cup of the cooked beans provides 63.7% of the recommended daily intake for folate) and magnesium (lowers blood pressure).  They are good for helping insulin resistance, hypoglycemia or diabetes, and help you balance blood sugar levels while providing steady energy.

Black Lentil Chili with Crispy Shoestring Fries and Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

This Black Lentil Chili is one of my favorite dishes.  It is an extreme comfort food packed with a whole lot of roasted pepper and tomato goodness.  It’s perfect on its own or you can dress it up with yummy crispy shoestring fries and my incredible crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo.

Black-Lentil-Chili I was obsessed with Amy’s canned lentil chili when growing up, so I decided it was high time that I share my own version.  Amy’s uses brown lentils where I use black lentils.  Black lentils have a firmer texture so I feel like it lends itself to a heartier chili.  I have to admit that there are times where all I want is basic comfort food and to me that means chili, fries and cheese.  However, there are other times where I want to add the freshness of my crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo salsa.  I love this chili smothered in cheddar cheese but it is also awesome left vegan.

Crunchy-Veggie-Pico-de-Gallo This crunchy veggie Pico de Gallo is a unique and incredible salsa that adds an amazing fresh quality to the mix.  The colors of this salsa make me so happy. It’s like a treasure chest of jewels.

Robby and I are pretty much obsessed with salsa and it is always a sad day when tomatoes are no longer in season.  I was determined to create an off-season salsa and I feel that I have succeeded.  It is so incredibly versatile.  You can eat it with chips, add it to quesadillas, burritos, tacos, beans, salads, rice, pasta, soup and the list goes on and on.  What would you like to add it to?

Black Lentil Chili On another note, how was your Easter?  We had a relaxing afternoon around the house and then we headed to our friends Erika and Gary’s house for dinner and had a super fun time full of conversation and laughter.  I made my rosemary garlic almonds , which were a bigger hit than I imagined.  Erika’s friend Teresa brought her artichoke dip that was to die for, I couldn’t stop eating it!  I must get the recipe and share it with you!  There was plenty of wine and champagne to go around, not to mention, Erika made her famous potato au gratin. YUMMMMM!!!

Black Lentil Chili Black Lentil Chili Recipe:

10 – 12 servings

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Red or White Onion – diced
  • 3 Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1/4 Dry Red or a Dry White Wine
  • 1 Jar Strained Tomatoes – I use Bionature (this link is for 6)
  • 10 – 12 Cups Filtered Water
  • 4 Cups Black Lentils
  • 2 Poblano Peppers – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Orange Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 1 Red Yellow Pepper –  roasted – diced
  • 2Tablespoon Ancho Powder (you can buy it already in powder form or de-stem and de-seed whole dried peppers and grind them in a coffee grinder until it turns to a powder)
  • 2 Tablespoons Paprika Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Oregano
  • 2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 2 Tablespoons Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Cup Frozen Corn
Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • 1/2 Cup Radishes
  • 1/2 Cup Red Cabbage
  • 1 Orange Bell – diced
  • 1 Red Bell – diced
  • 1 Poblano Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1 Anaheim Pepper – roasted – diced
  • 1/2 Onion – diced
  • 1 Cup Cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic – minced
  • 3 Tablespoons Lime Juice
  • 1/2 to 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt – or to taste
Crispy shoestring potatoes
  • 1 Yellow Potato
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil – plus more for baking sheets
  • Sea Salt – sprinkling
  • Shoestring Potatoes
  • Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo
  • Optional Garnish
Other garnish options
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Jalapeño
Black Lentil Chili

In a large soup pot or Dutch oven add the onion and olive oil to a straight sided pan and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 minutes then add the garlic and cook until garlic just start to brown.  Add wine and cook until reduced and it has a syrupy consistency.

While onions are cooking, grind the ancho peppers to a powder.

When the wine is reduced add the strained tomatoes and spices, except the salt!  Turn up the heat to medium and cook for about 10 minutes.  Add the water and lentils and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium again.  Cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

Add the spices, roasted peppers, corn and salt.

 Let cook on medium low for at least 10 minutes to incorporate the flavors.  You can also puree up to half of the lentils before you add the veggies.

Crunchy Veggie Pico de Gallo

Roast the poblano and anaheim peppers on the stovetop at medium high heat.  A gas stove works the best but it works fine on an electric stove.  Char the peppers on all sides turning with a pair of tongs.  When good and charred, steam them for about 10 minutes in a covered dish or a paper bag rolled shut to hold in the steam.

Take a paper towel and rub off the char.  It’s ok to leave a little of the char.  Slice in half and remove the seeds and stems.

Add the onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, lime juice and salt to a medium sized bowl and mix well.  Next add the radishes, cabbage, and the bell peppers to the bowl.  When the roasted peppers are steamed dice and add then mix everything well.
Crispy shoestring potatoes 
Use a julienne peeler or a spiralizer to cut potatoes into strips.  Submerge the potatoes in a bowl of cold water.  Drain potatoes and place on clean towel.  Pat as dry as you can with a paper towels.
Toss together potatoes, oil, and salt in a bowl.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer as best you can on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for about, 12 to 18 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.  (I turn them in 8 minutes.) Turn potatoes with a metal spatula a few times and rotate the baking sheets halfway through.  I cut the potatoes so there are four flat sides and depending on the size I might cut the sides to match the width of the pealer.
*You will have some leftover scraps that I usually add to a pot of water, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.  You can fry them up for breakfast or however you seem fit.  
 Health benefits:

Lentils have very high levels of soluble fiber and a good amount of insoluble fiber, which is a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels giving you a steady steam of energy.  A half-cup provides about a third of the daily requirements.  Not only is the fiber good for your heart the amount of folate and magnesium is very beneficial for cardiovascular health. Lentils provide a steady stream of glucose to your brain.  Glucose is a sugar and key source of energy for cells in the body, and is the only fuel your brain can use.  The high fiber regulates the release of the glucose, providing a steady stream of fuel that powers your brain cells, and is a key component in keeping your brain in excellent shape. They are loaded with an impressive amount of blood-fortifying iron and when paired with a food containing vitamin C, like citrus fruits or peppers the iron is enhanced, which can also increase your energy.  They are also a good source of potassium, calcium, zinc, niacin and vitamin K. They are truly a nutritional fountain of youth. Lentils originated in Southwestern Asia along the Indus River have been eaten for over 8000 years.

Potato Leek Cheddar Tart with a Buckwheat Almond Crust

This Potato Leek Cheddar Tart is a delectable treat!  The combination of potatoes, leeks, cheddar and jalapeno is a soul soothing experience.  Combine that with the buckwheat tart crust and it is a taste of heaven.

4-Tart I had planned to post this recipe during our trip to Hood River, Oregon but I just couldn’t make myself do it.  Sometimes, you just need a break!  Am I right?

Robby and I basically ate our way through Hood River.  On our first night, we walked downtown and had dinner at Brian’s Pourhouse, which was the location of my old restaurant Purple Rocks.  It was fun to show Robby the house I turned into a restaurant with the addition of the kitchen and stone patio.  The next day, we met up with my friends Cari and Rory for lunch at a new spot called River Daze Cafe.  I had a grilled cheese with tomatoes on their homemade gluten free bread and it was incredible!  We had a great time with them.

After lunch, we met up with my mom and her boyfriend Clyde for an afternoon walk by the Columbia River on the Washington side at Catherine Creek.  It was an incredibly gorgeous day with sunny skies.  We really lucked out with the weather.  It had been raining for days prior to our arrival and we were very fortunate to have 3 sunny days in a row.  That evening we went to my friend Sarah and her husband’s amazing restaurant across the river in White Salmon called Hennie’s.  I was so psyched to check it out because it opened up after I left Hood River.  Well, let me tell you, it was phenomenal!!!  I was also stoked that I was able to see Sarah.  I almost missed her because she was about to leave right when we arrived.  We caught up for a bit and before she left, she hooked us up with a few appetizers that were absolutely to die for!  It was definitely the best food of the whole trip!

 Friday was our one-year wedding anniversary.  My mom, Clyde, Robby and myself met up with my friend Tami for lunch at Divots, which is the restaurant in a golf course clubhouse.  It has an incredible view of Mount Hood that is insanely gorgeous when viewed on a clear day.  The food was good and the conversation was even better.  After lunch, we headed on to Cathedral Ridge Winery.  It uses to be Flerchinger’s Vineyard where I had worked for 4 years.  They have changed it quite a bit.  I was happy to see that the mural my friend Mark painted was still there.  Later that evening, Robby, my mom, Clyde and I went to pFriem Brewers for our anniversary dinner.  We had a really nice mellow evening.

Saturday afternoon I had a nice visit with my friend Lorin while my mom did hypnotherapy on Robby.  After my mom was finished with Robby, we all met up for dinner at Solstice with Clyde, Tami and her date Christopher along with my good friends Kim and Gavin.  It was a lot of fun with great conversation.  The next morning Robby and I lounged around for our last day before we met up with my mom and Clyde in the Dalles.  We piled into one car and drove up to the Maryhill Museum for lunch and took a tour of the museum.  After we were done at the museum, we went to the Maryhill Winery and tasted a number of white wines.  They had more white wine available for tasting than any other winery I have ever been to.  We bought the Rosé of Sangiovese and a Viognier to bring back to Clyde’s house for the amazing Thai dinner he made for us.  We all had a really great time full of heartfelt conversations.

 This trip was a needed break for Robby and I.  It was really nice to visit Hood River after so long to see how much it all had changed.  I used to make many different vegetarian tarts at Purple Rocks because they were always a big hit, which makes this tart a perfect pair with our trip to Hood River.

Tart This is a perfect summer tart that pairs well with a cold glass of Viognier, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Gris.

Tart-Tart Potato Leek Cheddar Tart Recipe:
6 to 8 servings
  • 1 Recipe Almond Buckwheat Crust – recipe below
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 White Onion – diced
  • 1 Garlic Clove – minced
  • 2 Leeks – about 4 Cups uncooked – quartered lengthwise – washed – white and pale green parts only – thinly sliced
  • 3/4 Pound Yukon Gold Potatoes – sliced rounds about 1/8th inch
  • 2 1/4 Cups (8 ounces) Cheddar Cheese – shredded – divided
  • 8 oz. Creme Fraiche
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 2 Jalapeno Peppers – thinly sliced
Tart Dough
  • 3/4 Cup Ground Almonds
  • 1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Salted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Ice Water or until it sticks together (don’t over do it)



In a food processor, grind the almonds into small crumb size.

Add flour & salt In the food processor, pulse several times to combine.

Add 1/4 inch piece of butter.

 Pulse a few times to evenly break up the butter then add ice water slowly as you pulse, until it resembles a coarse meal with tiny pieces of butter.  It will be crumbly but holds together when squeezed with fingers, do not over process.

Press the dough into a tart pan then refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees

Bake on the middle rack for 10 minutes with pie weights or beans 10 min without.


Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the leeks, stir occasionally until tender about 8 minutes.


Slice potatoes into thin slices (about 1/8-inch thick).  Add potatoes to a pot and cover with water then bring to a boil, continue to boil for 2 minutes.  Make sure and keep an eye on them.  Use a timer.  Drain potatoes in a colander, rinse with cold water.

Cheese and Creme Fraiche

In a small pan, mix together the 1 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar, creme fraiche, salt and pepper.  Melt together on medium low heat.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Sprinkle a 1/4 cup of cheese over the crust.  Add a layer of potatoes, a little sauce (about a 1/4 of it), spread out half the leeks and a 1/4 cup of cheese.  Repeat, then top with potatoes and the remaining sauce and the remaining cheese.  Arrange the jalapeno slices on top.
Bake for 30 minutes on the middle rack or until golden.
Health benefits:

Leeks allicin content reduces cholesterol production, blood pressure, blood vessel stiffness and protects the lining. Leeks help chronic low-level inflammations like in diabetes, obesity and rheumatoid arthritis. They contain polyphenols that are known to be strong antioxidants that fight against free radicals, which help with chronic disease and aging. They are a good sources of vitamin-A, C and K.

Yellow Potatoes – Yukon gold’s content of potassium is higher than many foods and can help reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke. They have twice the amount of vitamin C as a Russet, which helps protects your cells from free-radical damage. Yukon’s are rich in B6 and antioxidant properties. It has a bit of Iron but the C helps the body absorb it. They contain fiber that helps reduces cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, helps prevent constipation and aids in weight loss.

Buckwheat Flour is a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb and sorrel.  It’s a great alternative grain for people who are sensitive to wheat glutens. It is high in insoluble fiber and is incredibly good for the heart, cholesterol and high blood pressure.  It’s great for diabetics as it it lowers blood sugars more slowly than rice or wheat.  It is awesome for the digestion and it helps to clean and strengthen the intestines.  Buckwheat contains more antioxidants that most other grains.