Molly puts a fresh spin on classic farm lunch staples with her Garlic and Onion Challah Bread, Chopped Salad with Crumbled Feta, Creamy Homemade Hummus and Olive Oil Blondies with Chocolate Frosting and sprinkles. Below are the recipes used in today’s episode: Chopped Salad with Crumbled Feta: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chopped-salad-with-crumbled-feta-5325319 Garlic and Onion Challah Bread: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/garlic-and-onion-challah-bread-5325316 Olive Oil Blondies with Chocolate Frosting: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/olive-oil-blondies-with-chocolate-frosting-5325299 Creamy Homemade Hummus: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/creamy-homemade-hummus-5325318 Listen to cookbook author, food blogger and Midwest transplant Molly Yeh prepare dishes inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage – with a taste of the Midwest – explaining her recipes and tips along the way. Want even more of Molly’s recipes? Stream full episodes of Girl Meets Farm on discovery+. Head to discoveryplus.com/girlmeetsfarm to start your 7-day free trial today. Terms apply.
Molly puts a fresh spin on classic farm lunch staples with her Garlic and Onion Challah Bread, Chopped Salad with Crumbled Feta, Creamy Homemade Hummus and Olive Oil Blondies with Chocolate Frosting and sprinkles.
Below are the recipes used in today’s episode:
Chopped Salad with Crumbled Feta: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chopped-salad-with-crumbled-feta-5325319
Garlic and Onion Challah Bread: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/garlic-and-onion-challah-bread-5325316
Olive Oil Blondies with Chocolate Frosting: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/olive-oil-blondies-with-chocolate-frosting-5325299
Creamy Homemade Hummus: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/creamy-homemade-hummus-5325318
Listen to cookbook author, food blogger and Midwest transplant Molly Yeh prepare dishes inspired by her Jewish and Chinese heritage – with a taste of the Midwest – explaining her recipes and tips along the way.
Want even more of Molly’s recipes? Stream full episodes of Girl Meets Farm on discovery+. Head to discoveryplus.com/girlmeetsfarm to start your 7-day free trial today. Terms apply.
Find episode transcript here: https://girl-meets-farm.simplecast.com/episodes/new-farm-traditions
[MUSIC PLAYING] MOLLY YEH: Today, I'm putting a fresh spin on the traditional farm lunch. Mm.
MOLLY YEH: There's my garlic and onion challah, some creamy homemade hummus, a super fresh chopped salad with crumbled feta, and some olive oil blondies with chocolate frosting and sprinkles, obviously. Hey, this is me, Molly Yeh. I'm a cookbook author and food blogger. This is my husband Nick, and this is our home, our farm on the North Dakota-Minnesota border, the place where I eat, sleep, and breathe food. My food is a delicious mix of my Chinese and Jewish heritage and the taste of the Midwest.
I'm always experimenting with new recipes here. And one time recently, I subbed out the melted butter in my blondie recipe for olive oil, and it worked. It was so good, and moist, and fudgy. The combination of olive oil and brown sugar is an amazing match, and I think they taste fancier. I'm frosting them today with chocolate buttercream frosting and sprinkles because why not? So good.
OK, so to get started, I'll grab my bowls, my brown sugar, vanilla, and baking powder. And one thing I love about brownies and blondies is that I don't need to take out a big mixer to make them. I could just use two bowls and a whisk, and that's all I need. Every time I make blondies, I'm like, why don't I make these more often because they're so easy.
Grab 2 cups of flour, 2 cups of lightly packed brown sugar, and the flavor of brown sugar is front and center in blondies. Love brown sugar. When I'm asked what the difference is between a brownie and a blondie, my initial thought is, oh, it's just a brownie minus the chocolate, but the stars of the show here are brown sugar and olive oil. We'll get some salt in here-- got to have salt in my sweets to amplify every flavor-- and some baking powder.
And I'm going to use a whisk to combine this. A few little clumps of brown sugar in this are OK. They'll dissolve once I add my wet ingredients, but I'm whisking this to get it mostly combined. Next, I'm going to mix up my wet ingredients. I have three eggs, my olive oil. Now, the flavor of the olive oil in these is quite present, so I recommend springing for a good quality olive oil, something that's fruity, a little buttery. It's going to be delicious.
I love baking with olive oil. I mean, I cook with it all the time, but baking with it is such a great option for something that just has a lighter flavor. I feel kind of healthier eating these because it's olive oil, so you could eat more. And it's easy because I don't have to melt any butter. It's already in liquid form.
And next, I'm adding vanilla, which will complement these flavors nicely. I'm going to whisk this to combine. I'm going to mix it really well so that these eggs and the oil combine smoothly. I'm getting whiffs of olive oil into my nose. Not a bad thing. At this point, if you want to add nuts in your blondies, I am not opposed to that. Chopped walnuts would be great. Pistachios would be really good. And I'll pour this into my dry ingredients, and that's it.
My love for blondies has no end. In the summertime, I sandwich them with some ice cream. Those are an oh yeah. Yum, yum, another thing that's great about blondies aside from how easy they are to make is that they last for kind of a while, and they don't dry out. They're so dense, and moist, and fudgy that they can last for a few days in the refrigerator. I'm mixing this to get all of my flour combined with the wet ingredients, and once this is good, I'll pour this into my pan. Done, so easy.
I'm going to scrape my batter into this pan. The oil has made my hands slippery. This type of thing is perfect for a farm lunch because you could just grab and go. It's not like a slice of cake that's going to make a mess all over the tractor. I'm going to spread this out evenly. Doesn't need to be perfect. I'm going to stick these in the oven at 350 for about 35 minutes. They're still going to be gooey in the center, but that's a good thing.
While these bake, I'm going to make some chocolate frosting to go on top. Blondes are good enough that they don't really need frosting, so if I was in a rush, I'd just eat them straight. But every farm lunch needs chocolate, so I'm going to whip this up. I'll grab my cocoa powder. I have some softened butter here, some powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, a pinch of salt.
I'll mix this to combine, and then I'm going to grab some heavy cream. It'll look like a lot of sugar and cocoa powder at first, but after blending for a bit, it'll combine. And eventually, you'll get to something where it's combined and smooth but still maybe a little bit grainy. So smooth it out. I'll add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream and a splash of vanilla. This can sit at room temperature while my blondies finish baking
[MUSIC PLAYING AND CLAPPING]
My blondies are cool, and they're ready to frost. Mm, smells so good. I'll just pile this frosting right on top of my blondies. This will be a nice, thick layer of frosting, which is a good match because these blondies are pretty dense. I'll use my offset to spread it out evenly. I love the texture of this frosting. Smells like heaven. I like to give some texture to this frosting by making swirls and swoops. It doesn't have to be perfectly smooth. I think it looks cuter if there are some swirls. You know what these need? Sprinkles, obviously, duh.
In a pinch, you could cut them right now and serve them, but I like getting really nice, clean cut to my frosting. So I'm going to stick this in the refrigerator for a few minutes until the frosting firms up, and then I'll cut into bars. Coming up, my creamy homemade hummus, some delicious garlic and onion challah bread, and chopped salad with crumbled feta for a farm lunch in the field with Nick.
Around here, we take farm lunch very seriously.
One of the things I love to make is my challah, a sweet, eggy, moist, delicious bread that is a cinch to make, and there are so many things you can do with it. To start, I'll grab my flour and sugar. I'll get my flour into the bowl of my stand mixer, and you can make this in a stand mixer or by hand. This is all purpose flour, but occasionally, I'll jazz things up and substitute half of it for whole wheat flour or rye flour. I also like throwing in some seeds to this or maybe even some dry spices, like cardamom or cinnamon work great in challah.
Next, I'll add my sugar and some salt. I'll mix this to combine. That's good. Now, I'll mix up my wet ingredients. I have four large eggs here and some flavorless oil will make it deliciously moist. I'm mixing these to combine. Sometimes, I like adding honey instead of sugar. So if I'm doing that, I would add that to this mixture instead of adding it to the flour.
With my mixer on low, I'll pour in my egg mixture, and I also have some dry yeast activating in some warm water with a little bit of sugar that will help the bread rise and make it fluffy. I'll knead this for about 7 to 10 minutes until it's smooth and slightly sticky. So when it's sticking to the bowl, that's a sign that I need to add a bit more flour.
I want to try not to add too much flour because that could create a dry bread. I think we're ready, so I'll scrape this off of my dough hook and then transfer it to a clean bowl to rise.
I'll coat it with a little bit of oil, so it doesn't stick. I'll stretch it into a ball, so it's smooth, give it a slap, zhoosh it around, flip it over, so now it's all coated in oil. And now, I'm going to cover it with plastic wrap. And this is going to rise in a draft-free place for about 2 hours or until it's doubled in size, and then we'll be ready to shape it.
My dough is almost finished rising, so right now, I am prepping my fillings for my challah. Challah is great on its own, but I love to get creative, and add different fillings, and stuff it with scallions or cheese. Or you could also go a sweet route and add chocolate chips, and of course, it's really good plain, too.
Challah is a traditional Jewish egg bread. Growing up with a Jewish mom, we always had challah around the holidays. There were challah holidays, and there were matzo ball holidays. And the challah holidays were the best. It was the first bread that I ever learned to make, and I remember helping my mom braid it when I was little, and then when I got older and had my first apartment in New York, this was one of the first recipes I ever made.
My dough is looking great. It has risen, and now, I'll divide it into three equal parts. And these will become my three braid strands. I will roll them out into long, skinny ovals. Now, if this were a normal, plain challah with no stuffings in it, I would just make logs and braid them together. But because I'm adding my butter, onion, and garlic, I'm going to roll them out. I'm just flattening it out, so it's about, I don't know, between a quarter and 1/2 inch thick.
All right, I'm going to brush the top of these with some melted butter. I'll sprinkle it with my garlic and onions. Now, I'm going to roll these up lengthwise and then pinch the edges to seal everything in. I've got my three strands. Now, the time for the fun part. When I get to braid.
Now, I like to start my braid from the middle. I find that I can get a more even shape that way. If I start from one end, I find that my braid can look a little oblong. I cross the middle strand, and then the left side, I'll place it over that strand. And I'm helping it along each way because it is kind of a delicate dough to handle, and when I get to the end, I'll give them a little pinch and tuck them under.
And now, the other side, you have to braid it under the center strand since we're going backwards. Right, under, just like braiding hair. All right, let me grab my pan. I've lined it with parchment so that it doesn't stick. And now, this is going to rise for another 30 minutes or so because we want to get an extra fluffy, and then I'll brush it with an egg wash that has a bit of honey in it, sprinkle it with some flaky salt, and then bake it at 375 for about 35 to 45 minutes until it's golden brown on top.
Coming up, once my challah is out of the oven, I'll move on to my creamy, homemade hummus and a fresh chopped salad with crumbled feta. This is my favorite type of farm lunch.
The challah should be just about ready. I can't imagine a better smell. I'm going to let it cool a little bit and then dive right in. One of the things I'm most proud of to have brought to the farm is good, homemade hummus. Nick freaks out every time I make it. Now, what is good hummus? It's a few simple ingredients, tahini, freshly cooked chickpeas, and fresh lemon juice. I don't like adding too much else, maybe some garlic, maybe a few seasonings, but when it's made correctly, it is so pure and good.
OK, let's talk about chickpeas for a second. Chickpeas are the star of the show here, and it's very important that you start with dried chickpeas that you soak overnight and then boil until they're soft. Now, you can make hummus with chickpeas out of the can, but trust me on this one, just a little bit extra effort will make this hummus mind blowing. It's so good.
I got my freshly cooked chickpeas here. I'm going to add them to my food processor. Next, I'll add my tahini, which is ground sesame paste, and this will add a rich, smooth texture and a delicious nutty flavor to my hummus. And it's important to use good tahini that isn't bitter. Looking for about a 1/2 a cup, but it's no problem if I add more because I love tahini.
I'll give my lemon a little roll to release the juices. Some lemon juice will brighten this up, and I'm adding this in. It's a lot of great acidity and freshness. Salt, I'm going to add 2 cloves of garlic. Don't even need to chop them. I'm just going to throw them right into my food processor, and this is basically it, freshly cooked chickpeas, tahini, fresh lemon juice, garlic, and salt. It's so simple, but it's such a great filling dish that it could be the centerpiece of a meal.
I'll blend this up for about 4 or 5 minutes. It's going to seem like a long time, but that's important for getting a rich, smooth texture. And as I'm blending it, I'm going to drizzle in some cold water, which will make the texture even lighter and fluffier. OK, I think it's there. It's looking and smelling great. I'm going to taste it. Mm, it's so nutty and perfect.
OK, now, hummus is by far the best right after it's made, when it's either room temperature or maybe even still a bit warm from the chickpeas having cooked. But if I'm not going to be serving it immediately, I'll transfer it to a bowl and cover it with some olive oil, and that'll prevent the top from drying out. This is so light and fluffy. And I like making a swirl in it to catch some of my olive oil. Gorgeous. I'm going to tilt it around to get it evenly coated on the top. And now, to serve this, I like sprinkling it with some cumin or paprika, just for a little color on top. Beautiful, and this is done.
Still to come, a quick and colorful chopped salad with crumbled feta, and then it's lunchtime.
I've got my bread and hummus, and now, I need a salad. This is a very simple salad that's got a few key ingredients, tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, so colorful, delicious. Growing up in Chicago, I was trained to call it "sealad." And then when I got to New York for college, all of my friends started making fun of me, and they started mocking me. And they said, oh, you're going to eat a "syalad" and then you're going to go "prectice" the "sneer" drum. They were exaggerating.
These tomatoes are really juicy, so I add them to a strainer sitting over a bowl, and a pinch of salt will help draw the moisture out of the tomato. And next, I'll add my cucumber. I like using these little Persian cucumbers. I love the flavor. The colors of the salad are gorgeous. Got the green, red, and the purple from the red onion, and with these little cucumbers, you don't even have to deseed them.
And now, I'll grab my onion, add some nice purple color, and you can use what you have on hand. I sometimes like adding radishes to this or a bell pepper. I never measure. I kind of just eyeball about two parts tomato, two parts cucumber, or one part onion. Oh, today, I'm adding feta cheese, which I love to add for a great salty snap. Oh, I'll grab my feta, too, and I'll add the onion to the bowl. I'll get the rest of my vegetables in here. Next, I'll chop up some fresh parsley.
I'm going to add some salt and pepper, and I want to be careful not to add too much salt to this because I'm adding the feta, which is quite salty. So I'll take it easy for now. Some lemon juice and olive oil will bring this all together. There's no dressing to this. It's just the lemon juice and olive oil and some of the tomato and cucumber juices will continue to come out. Good olive oil, and I'll crumble in some of this feta.
If you have feta in the block at the store, get that instead of the crumbles. It'll be more moist and flavorful. Let me stir this up. I'll give it a taste. Mm, really bursts with flavor. It's going to work so well with the bread and hummus.
MOLLY YEH: I got lunch.
NICK: Oh my gosh, you read my mind. All the other farmers are going to be jealous. Ugh. Look t that.
MOLLY YEH: Oh, I want the inner part.
NICK: Yes, got to go right for the center.
MOLLY YEH: Yeah.
NICK: This is perfect. It's going to give me the energy I need to farm the fields.
MOLLY YEH: Good. Now, we've got to eat these.
MOLLY YEH: Just enough sprinkles.
NICK: I do not want to go farm right now. I just want to sit here with you.
MOLLY YEH: Aw.