Molly Yeh makes a hearty Tomato Squash Soup and Labneh Grilled Cheese for lunch before husband Nick's trombone practice. Afterwards, they eat a simple weeknight meal of her delicious Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad. Below are the recipes used in today’s episode: Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/smoked-salmon-nioise-salad-8303742 Labneh Grilled Cheese: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/labneh-grilled-cheese-8303743 Tomato Squash Soup: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tomato-squash-soup-8303749 Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chewy-chocolate-peanut-butter-bars-8303750 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 Yeh makes a hearty Tomato Squash Soup and Labneh Grilled Cheese for lunch before husband Nick's trombone practice. Afterwards, they eat a simple weeknight meal of her delicious Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad.
Below are the recipes used in today’s episode:
Smoked Salmon Niçoise Salad: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/smoked-salmon-nioise-salad-8303742
Labneh Grilled Cheese: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/labneh-grilled-cheese-8303743
Tomato Squash Soup: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/tomato-squash-soup-8303749
Chewy Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chewy-chocolate-peanut-butter-bars-8303750
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. With direct audio from the hit Food Network series Girl Meets Farm, you’ll hear Molly create fresh and tasty meals from her country kitchen on the Minnesota-North Dakota border.
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/nicks-trombone-choir
[MUSIC PLAYING] MOLLY YEH: Nick's kicking off trombone choir season--
--so I'm making a couple of twists on some hardy classics to celebrate, my creamy tomato squash soup with tangy labneh grilled cheese for dunking will definitely keep his music flowing.
Then I'm sending him off with a few special treats for his whole choir to enjoy, the chewiest chocolate peanut butter bars in the Midwest.
SPEAKER 1: 10 out of 10.
NICK: 10 out 10, all right.
MOLLY YEH: Later on, we'll have a scrumptious weeknight meal for two, a colorful smoked salmon nicoise salad, drizzled with my tangy thyme dressing.
NICK: This looks tremendous.
MOLLY YEH: 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 a taste of the Midwest.
It's winter on the farm, which means it's off season for farming but on season for Nick's trombone choir. I want to send him off with treats for the whole group to enjoy, so I'm making my peanut butter bars, which are so sweet and satisfyingly chewy. And they're Midwest classic, I just make a peanut buttery cereal mixture, cover with butterscotch and chocolate chips and sprinkles. I have a cup of sugar in my pot, and now, I'm going to add a cup of light corn syrup. These bars are sticky and so chewy. They are just addictive. I'll add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and a few good pinches of salt to counteract that sweetness. I'll just stir this around and let the sugar melt.
So Nick is in this trombone choir, which is a group of local trombone players that get together and play at the university. So in the winter when Nick is done with the farming season, he gets out his trombone and starts practicing again. And the sound of a bunch of trombones together is so good. It's shiny, and full, and kind of reminds me of Christmas. Their concerts are great. It's looking shiny, and glossy, and good. These come together so quickly. I'm going to grab my peanut butter and cereal now.
I'm using unsweetened peanut butter, because there's a lot of sugar already in the pot, and toasted rice, and grain cereal, which comes in the nice big flakes. I'll add 1 cup of my peanut butter. Nick's obsessed with peanut butter. That's why he loves these so much. But you can also use almond butter. I love to make them with tahini because I'm me. I'll stir this in.
Now, I'm ready for my cereal. These are big, crunchy, sturdy flakes. They have the best texture with this. I'll add 7 cups of cereal and stir it all in. This is so crunchy. These will help achieve that perfect combination of chewy and crunchy texture. I want to fold it in pretty gently so that I don't crush the cereal, but I'm just going so that the cereal is fully coated with the peanut butter mixture.
The trombone choir is definitely going to love these because it's made up of mostly Midwest locals, either university students or members of the community who teach music or who are farmers who just play trombone in the winter like Nick. They're just going to have to wait until after rehearsal to eat these so that they don't get the sticky stuff into their trombones.
This mixture is fully coated in this peanut buttery goodness. I'm going to grab my pan. I've got my pan that I've lined with parchment paper, and I sprayed it with cooking spray because this mixture is very sticky. So I'll pour it right in. Oh yeah. Mm, peanut buttery. Now, I'm going to pat this out evenly and firmly in my pan, and now, I'm ready for my chocolate and butterscotch chips. I'll dump these right on top, about a cup, but you can eyeball it, and a cup of butterscotch chips, too. I'll spread these over the top.
And now, these bars are pretty much a no bake treat, but I am just going to stick this in the oven so that the chocolate melts. You could easily melt the chocolate in a microwave or double boiler, but this way, you cut down on dishes. Oh yeah, the chocolate chips are melty and shiny. Now, I'll spread them around with my offset spatula. Oh, that's satisfying. I'll make sure that the chocolate chips melt down and are really smooth. Gorgeous swoops. Mm, oh, perfect, mm.
And now, I'm going to add a few pinches of flaky salt and of course, the sprinkles. Big surprise, I know. We'll make it rain sprinkles. So cute. I'll let these set and then slice into squares. They are going to be the perfect treat for Nick and his choir after practice and for me any time.
Nick's about to head to trombone choir practice, so I'm going to make us a quick and comforting lunch. Nick raves about my tomato squash soup. It's thick, and velvety, and perfect for grilled cheese dunking and double dunking. To get started, I'll roast a butternut squash. I'm going to chop off the top and then cut it in half. I'll place it on my baking sheet and then scoop out the seed. The squash adds such a lovely sweetness to the soup.
Now, I'll drizzle some olive oil on these. I'll brush this all over, and then I'll grab my spices. I've got cayenne, paprika, cinnamon, and cloves. I'll first salt the squash. I'll add a few good pinches and some pepper, and then I'll add a 1/4 teaspoon each of cayenne, cinnamon, paprika, and a pinch of cloves. OK, I'll roast this at 375 for about an hour until it's fork tender. It'll add such nice sweetness to the soup.
Coming up, I'm loading this butternut squash into an extra warm and tasty tomato soup and pairing it with a couple of grilled cheeses that have a creamy, tangy surprise you won't want to miss. I'll send the chocolate peanut butter bars out with Nick for the trombone choir to enjoy and then put together a delightful smoked salmon nicoise salad for tonight's dinner. I'm smelling that smokiness.
I've got my butternut squash in the oven, and now, I'm cracking on with the rest of my ingredients for this luxurious and velvety tomato squash soup. I've got my onions, garlic, thyme, and tomatoes. And I'm going to heat some olive oil in my pot, and I'll add my onions. I'll add a pinch of salt, and this'll help the onion soften. And I'll stir it around, and I'll let these cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until they're translucent. I'll add my garlic and thyme now.
Oh, it's already starting to smell good. I'll cook this for another minute, and now, I'll end my fire-roasted tomatoes. I love these because they still have bits of char on them, and they add great smokiness and flavor. I'll stir this around and let it come to a simmer. OK, I'm smelling that squash. I'm going to check on it. Mm, I just got whiff of cinnamon. OK, this looks perfect.
I'll scoop it out now and add it right to the pot. I'll add a few cups of vegetable stock here, which will bring everything together and add a ton more flavor. And now, I'll puree it into a thick, luscious soup. And it's easiest to use a hand blender like this, but you could also put it into a food processor or blender as well.
it's starting to look smooth. This looks great. OK, I'm going to let this simmer now for about 20 minutes. I've got to give it a taste first.
Oh yeah, tomato soup was perfect already, but with the sweet creaminess of the squash, this is next level. I cannot wait to dunk a sandwich into it. My tomato soup called and begged me to make something to dunk in it, so I am making my labneh grilled cheese, which is three kinds of cheese sandwiched between toasty bread. And it is unreal when it's dunked in the creamy soup.
To get started, I'm going to drizzle my grill pan with some olive oil. I'll grab four slices of my bread, and there's enough olive oil here where it's actually kind of going to fry the bread. OK, I'll grab my cheeses. I've got white cheddar here, which is going to get all melty, Parmesan, and labneh, which is a Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. You could buy it at the store or in a snap. I'll sometimes just sub out whole milk Greek yogurt. It's very similar. It's just a little bit thicker than regular Greek yogurt.
OK, I'm going to flip my bread. Oh yeah, that's beautifully toasty. So whenever I make a grilled cheese, I toast the inside of the sandwich first. There's extra crunch that way, and that way, if you heat it up one side of the bread and then add the cheese, you have a jumpstart on helping your cheese melt. So to this side, I'm now going to add my white cheddar and Parmesan.
Every grilled cheese has to have a cheese that's going to get melty and give you those gorgeous cheese pulls. And now, I'll shave on some Parmesan. I like to do a combination of different cheeses, just for more depth of flavor. Now, in these two slices of bread, I'll spread on some labneh, and this is going to add such great tang and creaminess. Now, before I sandwich these on, I'm going to grab some za'atar and sumac.
Za'atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend made primarily of dry thyme and toasted sesame seeds. It has this amazing earthy flavor that goes so well with labneh. And I'm also adding sumac, which is a spice that has kind of this acidic, vinegary kick to it. So it's going to brighten this sandwich up. And now, I'll sandwich these right on top of the parm. Oh yeah, these are already getting oozey.
I'll give these a flip so that the other side can get toasty. Ah, look at that crusty cheese. And I'm also going to cover these to ensure that the inside gets extra melty and gooey. I'm using this bowl, but you could also just use the lid of your pan. Uh, those look great. I'll slice these in half. Look at how melty that is. Holy cow. And I love that you can see the different layers of labneh, and cheddar, and parm. I've got to go grab Nick so that we can eat these while they're still hot and melty with the soup.
NICK: That soup looks so good.
MOLLY YEH: And of course, every good tomato soup has to have a grilled cheese. So are you ready for rehearsal?
NICK: You always play better after eating a grilled cheese is what I always say.
MOLLY YEH: You have to focus. Mhm, mhm. Next, I'm sending Nick out with my chocolate peanut butter bars to share with the whole trombone choir. Then I'm making a colorful, hearty salad that you'll definitely want for your next weeknight meal. Don't you love a nicoise?
NICK: I love all the "coise."
MOLLY YEH: [LAUGHS] And for another quick and easy lunch on the go, head over to the Food Network Kitchen app for my sausage and broccolini pizza pockets.
My chewing peanut butter bars have set beautifully. I'm just going to slice them into squares now, so that Nick can take some to his trombone choir practice. I've got my accordion cutter here that I'm going to use to score them, and now, I'll cut. Oh, hey.
MOLLY YEH: Y'all ready?
NICK: Are those the treats?
MOLLY YEH: Yeah, do you want to try one.
NICK: They look so good. Please.
MOLLY YEH: Here you go.
NICK: That is really good.
MOLLY YEH: OK, so I packed some up for you to bring to the rest of the choir.
NICK: Thank you.
MOLLY YEH: Have a good practice--
NICK: They're gonna love this.
MOLLY YEH: --and I'm saving some for after dinner, too.
NICK: Good idea.
MOLLY YEH: [CHUCKLES]
NICK: See you.
MOLLY YEH: Bye. Break a leg.
SPEAKER 2: OK, we'll take that. Very good.
NICK: Molly made us some special treats to celebrate the beginning of trombone choir season, so--
SPEAKER 2: All right.
NICK: Here we go.
SPEAKER 2: Thank you.
SPEAKER 3: Yummy.
SPEAKER 1: So good. 10 out of 10.
NICK: 10 out of 10? All right.
MOLLY YEH: Nick's at trombone practice, and I'm whipping up an easy and colorful dinner that's going to rock his world, if he hasn't rocked it himself already. I'm making my smoked salmon nicoise salad that's loaded with different textures from roasted to creamy. It's got it all. To get started, I'm chopping up some fingerling potatoes. I love these little guys. They have such great color, and they get buttery and crispy on the outside.
I'm going to toss these with a drizzle of olive oil, and then I'll season them with a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, which seems like a lot of salt but potatoes can take it. I'll roast these at 425 for 30 minutes, and then they're going to continue to roast once I get the other ingredients in the oven. And now, I'll grab my green beans and eggs. I'm using haricot verts, which are daintier and more tender than your typical bean, and I've got my 4 eggs, which I'm going to roast in the oven right on the same pan.
I got my beans on here. I'll drizzle these with some olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, then toss them around. So this is my take on a traditional French nicoise salad, which typically has boiled green beans and boiled potatoes, eggs, tomatoes, and tuna, but I love the textures that you get when you roast vegetables. So that's why I'm doing it on a sheet pan, and I'm also using smoked salmon, which comes already cooked. So it makes things easier. It's perfect for a weeknight dinner.
OK, I'm going to nestle the eggs in amongst the green beans, and when the eggs go in the oven, they're going to cook up just like a hard boiled egg. I'll stick this in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the green beans are browned. And while my sheet pan dinner roasts, I'll get all the ingredients for my thyme dressing. This dressing is tangy and earthy from the thyme, and it brightens up all the veggies. It's like you're adding body glitter to them.
I'm going to start by chopping up half of my red onion, add the leaves from a few sprigs of thyme, and I'll just hold it by the stem and then strip off the leaves with my fingers. This will add earthiness that kind of balances out all the brightness. One thing I really appreciate about this salad is that there are so many different components that every bite is different. It's how I get my thrills these days.
Next, I'll add some Dijon mustard because we're "Franch" today. I'll add a 1/4 cup. I'll grab my whisk, and then 1/2 a cup of white wine vinegar will make it even brighter. I'll whisk this together, and then as I whisk, I'm going to drizzle in 1/2 a cup of olive oil. And I want to whisk continuously to make sure that the olive oil emulsifies and thickens the dressing. I'll season with salt and pepper. Taste it to make sure all the flavors are balanced. Oh yeah, that's bright.
OK, I'm going to check out my green beans now. The green beans are lightly browned. They are going to be perfectly tender. And once the eggs cool, I'll peel and quarter them and then put together my salad. Who would have thought a weeknight salad like this would have been so easy? Still to come, I'm putting this whole ensemble together, just in time for a perfect weeknight meal.
NICK: This looks tremendous.
MOLLY YEH: Thank you.
I'm finishing up my smoked salmon nicoise salad for a delightful dinner for two. I'm just halving my cherry tomatoes. My eggs, vegetables, and dressing are ready to go. Now, I just need to put everything together over a bed of lettuce with my smoked salmon, and I'm going to check on my potatoes. I think they're ready. Oh yeah. I can tell just by looking at them how crispy they're going to be. I'll let these cool slightly now while I grab my lettuce, salmon, and olives.
I've got a plate of butter lettuce here, which is so soft and velvety. It makes me feel fancy on a weeknight. I also have my smoked salmon and Kalamata olives. You've got to have olives on a nicoise salad. Typically, it's nicoise olives, but I just find it so much easier to find Kalamatas at the store. Now, I just have to put my salad together.
I'll start with my tomatoes. Now, I'm going to add my eggs. These are so perfectly cooked. The yolks are still a teensy bit soft. I'll add my olives, and these add delicious brininess, and next, my smoked salmon. I'll tear this up into a nice big chunks. Oh, I'm smelling that smokiness. Next, I'll add my green beans and my potatoes. These will add great texture with their crispness on the outside, creaminess on the inside, potatoey nature.
I'll drizzle on some of my dressing. I'll do a little bit now and then serve the rest on the side. And then I'll finish with some flaky salt. This'll add extra flavor, and it'll be sparkly on top, and black pepper. This is a showstopping salad with all these colors and textures. What a fun weeknight meal. Look, it's like a little salad bar. Can I plate you?
NICK: Please. This looks tremendous.
MOLLY YEH: Thank you. Don't you love a nicoise?
NICK: I love all the "coise."
MOLLY YEH: [LAUGHS] How was rehearsal?
NICK: The choir loved the bars. They were a total hit.
MOLLY YEH: Wait, really?
MOLLY YEH: OK, I was kind of nervous because they're all like local Midwesterners.
NICK: They loved it.
MOLLY YEH: I was nervous. Do you want another bar? How many have you had today?
NICK: One less than I'm prepared to have.
MOLLY YEH: Good answer. [LAUGHS]
NICK: Thank you.
MOLLY YEH: Want to watch a movie?
NICK: Can I bring my bar?
MOLLY YEH: Yeah.
NICK: All right, let's go.