Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ode to Halva

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (re-blogged)

THREE YEARS AGO: Apricot Linzer Torte

FOUR YEAR AGO: A Trio of Air-Fried Goodies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip Over Cucumber Slices 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

Hoegaarden Beer Bread

 Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!

 Shrimp Moqueca


It is amazing how a bread formula can be tweaked slightly and result in totally different outcomes. I share today nine versions of sourdough. They all start with the same composition (90% white bread flour; 10% whole-wheat, salt and sourdough starter). From this starting point, some get added flavor components, and the final outcome depends on how they were handled for scoring.

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

470g white bread flour
30g whole-wheat flour (regular whole-wheat, spelt or rye)
10g salt
75g sourdough starter at 100% hydration
375g water

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add all flours and salt.  Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. You will notice the dough will gain quite a bit of structure even with just 4 minutes in the mixer. Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. Because the dough is already a bit developed from the initial time in the mixer, you should get very good structure after 3 and a half hours, or even sooner than that.

After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F.

Invert the dough on a piece of parchment paper and score with a new razor blade, if so desired, or simply make a cut on the surface in the shape of a cross with a very sharp knife.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. You can generate additional steam by spraying the inside of the lid with water before closing the pan.  Cool completely over a rack before slicing.


to print the recipe, click here


To the basic recipe above, add 1 to 2 tsp Panch Phoron, a five spice mixture from Eastern India, often used in Bengali cuisine. It is a mixture of equal parts of seeds of fenugreek, nigella, cumin, black mustard and fennel. I shaped this bread as an oblong loaf, and scored a pattern of leaves.

We loved this bread, in fact it was the first loaf that got us into a path of sourdough flavored with Middle Eastern spices.


In these three loaves, 1 + 1/2 tsp of Vadouvan curry mix was added together with the flour and incorporated in the dough. The bread in the center had spelt as the minor flour component, the other two regular whole-wheat.

For the final decoration, I covered the first loaf with red beet powder, marked with a string a symmetry of 8 guide lines and then scored as shown. The beet color faded a bit during baking but still gave it a little hint of purple. The second loaf got a dusting with charcoal powder, the string marked 6 guide lines to create a slightly different type of design. Finally, the third loaf was dusted with flour, marked with 8 lines and scored as a flower. A little center of pearl dust was added but the color faded during baking (is that a recurring pattern for this baker?).

I love the charcoal and the beet powder effects, but be warned: they stain your fingers as you handle the bread, so when you cut a slice, make sure you don’t touch your face right after. No further questions on this subject. Please and thank you.


Exact same recipe using rye as the minor flour component, and 1+1/2 tsp Ras-El-Hanout in the formula. One of our favorite breads in this series. I should give credit to a baker from Israel who is a true magician with scoring. I follow him on Instagram (check him out here) and often try to make one of his cool designs. This is one example, that starts with a little square as shown below.

I am very fond of geometric-type scoring. I find it easier to do if I make a drawing on a piece of paper with the different steps because once that razor blade hits the surface of the bread… is game over! There is no “erasing” possible. Of course, during baking the design will be affected in unpredictable ways. I am still trying to figure out ways to minimize explosions.


Basic recipe using spelt flour as the minor component and 1 + 1/2 tsp za’atar. The bread was coated with charcoal and I followed one of Mogi’s Dough Engineering scoring designs which he calls “reverse spiral”. Mine did not turn out as beautiful as his, but I still like it a lot. Here is what it looks like before baking.

He uploaded a video showing how to do it. It goes very fast, but after watching it (in awe) a few times, I felt ready to do it.


To the basic formula (with whole-wheat flour as minor component), I added 25g tahini, and adjusted the consistency with a little more flour after the initial mixing with the Kitchen Aid, as the tahini I used was reasonably fluid. The tahini gives a wonderful flavor. The scoring made the round loaf end up with a square shape after baking, pretty interesting.

You can see it starts pretty round, but the way the slashing opens up during baking substantially affects the final shape. I love using nut butters in sourdough, they bring a bit of fat to the composition and the crumb feels moist and tender. Along those lines I share another favorite version….


Basic formula with spelt flour and 25g creamy peanut butter. This was one delicious bread, the smell during baking is something! The scoring was once again inspired by Mogi’s Instagram feed, and this time I used a powder red food dye that is fat-soluble (appropriate for chocolate work). That seemed to stand better during baking.

Very simple scoring, I used 8 guide lines made with a string, but you could definitely just improvise.


My final adventure following the footsteps of Mogi. This is a bread called Tu B’av (ט״ו באב), the Jewish holiday of love, similar to our Valentine’s Day. I made a simple sourdough with full white flour, and 1 tsp turmeric in the dough. The surface was dusted with white flour, a shower of turmeric, and the center was dyed with pitaya powder, which next time will be replaced by red dye powder. A round cookie cutter comes in very handy to contain the red dot. I am still struggling with how heavy a hand to use when adding colors, particularly the subtle ones as turmeric that might end up too similar to the crust. Once again my results are not as gorgeous as Mogi’s, but there is always next time!

So that’s all for now, my friends… This post, entitled For the Love of Sourdough, had to end with a bread to celebrate love, that feeling that keeps us together, staring at the future without fear.

ONE YEAR AGO: Brazilian Pao de Mel

TWO YEARS AGO: Stir-Fried Chicken in Sesame Orange Sauce


FOUR YEARS AGO: A New Way to Roast Veggies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Two Takes on Raspberries

SIX YEARS AGO: Spice Cake with Blackberry Puree

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Own Your Kitchen with Cappuccino Panna Cotta

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Chicken Parmigiana, the Thriller

NINE YEARS AGO: Wild Mushroom Risotto

TEN YEARS AGO: Tartine Bread:  Basic Country Loaf 

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:  Pugliese Bread


Staying safe in Corona virus time: read the guest blog post by Phillip Klebba here.

During social isolation we have more time to devote to meal preparation, things that take hours to materialize at the table don’t need to be reserved to the weekend. But I always welcome simple things with a smile. The first one comes from Nadiya’s show Time to Eat, which I binge watched from first to last episode, enjoying every second of it. The second would be breakfast for most people, but my first meal of the day is lunch, so that’s when I’ve been enjoying it (often). Lastly, the third is a tribute to a UK ingredient that can be not only hard to find, but quite pricey for us Americans, clotted cream. I finally made it from scratch, and if you are into that sort of ingredient, I have one word for you: WOW.



(adapted from Nadiya’s Time to Eat)

for one person….

1 egg
salt, pepper, spices to taste
1 tortilla (I used corn, she used flour)
olive oil
goodies to taste (I used leftover roasted butternut squash)

Crack the egg into a bowl, season with salt pepper and any spices you feel like. Whisk well.  Put a small frying pan over a medium heat, and drizzle in two teaspoons of oil.  Pour the egg  mixture into the hot oil, making sure it is hot enough to sear it quickly.

Scatter your goodies over the egg, put the tortilla on top, pressing it gently with a spatula to glue nicely to the egg mixture underneath it. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip it all gently and cook on the other side (tortilla down) for another 30 seconds.

Take the pan off the heat and put the tortilla/egg on a plate. Roll the whole thing when it is cool enough to touch, slice and….


to print the recipe, click here


Corn tortillas are a little harder to roll, but I prefer them because they are lighter and in my opinion more flavorful.  I sometimes warm it up for a couple of seconds in the microwave before adding on top of the egg to make it slightly more pliable, but it’s not mandatory. Nothing wrong keeping it simple… You can add mushrooms, olives, peppers, sliced leftover meat, and make them a little bigger by using a larger flour tortilla. The method is simple and so easy to adapt to your needs, I hope you’ll give it a try.


Orange – Yogurt – Tahini Bowl

Cut orange in segments. I used blood oranges for this version, but any juicy orange will work. Place fruit in a serving bowl.  Top with a nice dollop of yogurt, drizzle tahini all over it. A touch of maple syrup, and your favorite granola.  Close your eyes as you eat it. It is dreamy. I called it lunch many times in the recent past. Tahini and yogurt. Who could tell? I used bananas instead of oranges and also a mixture of oranges and strawberries. Everything works. Refreshing, light but satisfying because tahini packs quite a bit of energy.



Hardest part of this “recipe?” Finding non-ultra-pasteurized heavy cream. I was lucky to find ONE little container at the grocery store and jumped on it with so much enthusiasm I almost lost my mask. Once you find that, follow this super simple procedure: pour it in a baking dish so that the level is not higher than 1 inch. Place carefully inside a low oven (mine was set at 170 F and I confirmed with oven thermometer to be pretty stable).  Leave it there for 12 hours.  Come back to this view….

Let it come to room temperature, and place it in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. Carefully scoop out the clotted cream and transfer to a container for storage. If you like it softer, add a bit of the liquid left underneath. That liquid, by the way,  will work as milk in any type of baking, or as a nice addition to your coffee or tea.

Clotted cream is pure culinary gold, and so easy to make, essentially no hands-on work. Perfect over scones, pancakes, waffles. You will find plenty of ways to enjoy it, I’m sure. Even as a simple spread over bread or crackers. With a touch of jam if you are so inclined.

I heard that clotted cream can also be prepared in a crock pot. I intend to try that next time I score some of the appropriate heavy cream. The preparation sous-vide is also available in many sites in the internet, but I found the method a bit too convoluted and potentially messy. This was super easy and I highly recommend you give it a try.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ispahan Macarons

TWO YEAR AGO: Smokin’ Hot Meatloaf and Homemade Ketchup

THREE YEARS AGO: Banana Bread with Espresso Glaze

FOUR YEARS AGO: Slow-Cooker Carnitas & Paleo Planet Cookbook Review

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Making of a Nobel Reception

SIX YEARS AGO: Fennel Soup with Almonds and Mint 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Green Curry Pork Tenderloin

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Farfalle with Zucchini and Ricotta

NINE YEARS AGO: Slow-baked Salmon with Lemon and Thyme

TEN YEARS AGO: Hoisin Explosion Chicken



Third Saturday of the month, it’s time to share a post about soup. For this month our hostess Camilla picked a very nice theme: Spring Has Sprung… we should make and blog about a soup to celebrate a favorite season of mine. Unfortunately this year spring is taking its time to enter our universe in all its colorful glory, but little by little the harshness of the winter is fading away.  My soup centers on zucchini, makes it a bit more toothsome with a nice helping of cauliflower, and more mysterious with a swirl of tahini right before serving. Mysterious? Quite an adjective for foodstuff. But if you don’t tell your guests what’s the “unusual” ingredient in the soup, they will never be able to guess. So mysterious it is…

(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 small shallots, minced
4 medium zucchini, sliced
1/4 of head of cauliflower, florets only
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, juiced (divided)
2 to 3 cups water
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup yogurt
additional yogurt and Sriracha for serving (optional)
toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a large stockpot. Add the shallots, season lightly with salt and pepper, cook until fragrant. Add the zucchini and cauliflower, saute in medium-high heat until soft and the cauliflower starts to develop some golden color.

Add the water, half of the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, cover the pan and reduce heat. Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Reserve 1 cup of liquid. Transfer the vegetables to a blender or food processor, and blend until fully smooth.  Return the pureed soup to the pan, add the reserved liquid until it reaches a consistency you like. Add yogurt, tahini, mix, and simmer just to heat through. Add the remaining lemon juice just before serving.

If desired, add a dollop of yogurt and Sriracha on the serving bowl, and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: I am thrilled to participate of this month’s soup event. I was not sure I could make it, as – putting it mildly – life has been a bit stressful lately. But here I am to share a delicious soup which was perfect  for a Friday lunch with a lot of sun and even more wind. I tell you, we get constant reminders that we live in tornado alley. When the wind blows in Kansas, it doesn’t hold anything back. Note to self: get some ruby slippers…

To see the soups my virtual friends cooked for this month’s event, click on the link at the end of the post.

Wendy, thank you for organizing Soup Saturday Event,


Camilla, thanks for hosting!

ONE YEAR AGO: Black Sesame Macarons

TWO YEARS AGO: Fine Tuning Thomas Keller

THREE YEARS AGO: Cauliflower Tortillas

FOUR YEARS AGO: Majestic Sedona, Take Two

FIVE YEARS AGO: Secret Ingredient Turkey Meatballs

SIX YEARS AGO: Swedish Meatballs and Egg Noodles

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Italian Easter Pie

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Black Olive Bialy














I never imagined I would call a butternut squash dish “festive”, but it’s the word that came to my mind as I savored it. I blame it on the addition of pomegranate seeds. They turn any dish into a celebration, little jewels of the gastronomic world. Plus their slightly sharp taste complements sweets, complements veggies, meats, hard to imagine something that cannot be paired with these red beauties. Remember Fesenjan? Anyway, in this preparation, I roasted butternut squash as I’ve done many times, in coconut oil with paprika. To me, it’s a trio made in heaven. And no, I do not use smoked paprika for this anymore, I now prefer a milder flavor with the squash. Of course, do as your taste buds instruct you to.

(inspired by several sources)

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut in large cubes
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
walnut halves or large pieces
1/4 cup tahini
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
pepper to taste
water if needed to thin sauce
fresh pomegranate seeds
light drizzle of pomegranate molasses for serving (optional)

Heat the oven to 400 F.

Place the pieces of butternut squash in a large bowl, drizzle with the coconut oil, mixing it very quickly because it solidifies fast. Season with paprika, salt, and a little pepper. Transfer the squash to a baking dish that holds the pieces in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then add walnuts, mixing gently with the squash. Roast for about 10 minutes more, until the squash is golden, with edges turning slightly brown.

Meanwhile, prepare the tahini sauce mixing tahini, lemon juice pepper and pepper. If it seems too thick, add water until you reach a nice fluid consistency.

When the squash and walnuts are roasted, transfer to a serving dish, drizzle the tahini sauce all over, and top with fresh pomegranate seeds. If you have pomegranate molasses, consider drizzling a little bit on top, a nice additional contrast of color and flavor.


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This could be a great side dish for Thanksgiving, for those trying to move away from the classics, or perhaps in need to increase the variety of vegetarian-friendly sides. Of course, it’s odd to mention Thanksgiving in December, but the color-scheme of this dish makes it hard not to. Come to think of it, roasted sweet potatoes would work wonders too replacing the squash. And dried cranberries could play the role of pomegranate. The tahini dressing is perfect to tie the whole thing together in a very luscious way. We enjoyed this hearty side dish with store-bought roast chicken. Admittedly, this could be considered a sin in the home of a food blogger, but we love the convenience of it, and our store does a pretty decent job preparing it. So, we make our life easy and often bring one home for our dinner.

Plan ahead and reserve some tahini sauce (as well as extra pomegranate seeds) in case you want to call it lunch next day… I did, and it was absolutely delicious, love the contrast of a cool sauce with the warm squash.

ONE YEAR AGO: The Complicit Conspiracy of Alcohol

TWO YEARS AGO: Candy Cane Cookies

THREE YEARS AGO: Macarons: Much better with a friend

FOUR YEARS AGO: Our Mexican Holiday Dinner 

FIVE YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Cranberry Sauce

SIX YEARS AGO: Edamame Dip


EIGHT YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night