I am fairly new to Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah"). I began using it not quite a year ago; after my daughter was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. Originating thousands of years ago in the South American countries of Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia, and Peru, Quinoa is actually a seed, even though it is referred to as an "ancient grain".
Closely related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds(!) Quinoa is nutrient-rich in lysine, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and iron; all reason enough to make Quinoa part of your diet. But aside from all of this -- plus the fact that Quinoa is gluten-free -- I like it most of all for its nutty taste.
This recipe for Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Citrus-Coriander Dressing is from Faith in the Kitchn (get the recipe HERE). I served it as a side dish to a pork tenderloin with a chili powder-packed dry rub -- a nice contrast to the fresh oranges in this salad. In fact, I liked the oranges in this salad so much, I increased the number to three, using both Cara-Cara and Valencia oranges. My advice: Refrigerate for several hours to allow the flavors to infuse the salad.
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I had the pleasure of making dinner one night this week for two women I haven't seen in over 23 years. My friends from Asiatica in Kansas City, were in town for the Hot Art Cool Jazz benefit at the Textile Center of Minnesota, and subsequent trunk show of their exquisite clothing, handmade from vintage Japanese kimono fabrics, contemporary Japanese textiles, and Italian linens and wools. I became acquainted with Elizabeth after attending the Kansas City Art Institute in the early 1970's. Through Elizabeth, I was fortunate to have access to pieces of vintage Japanese silks and linens from Asiatica's vast collection; small remnants I used to line my one-of-a-kind crocheted tapestry bags.
The impromptu dinner party meant I'd be able to spend the entire day in my element; ingredients were purchased, red cabbage were harvested from my garden and surrounded with fresh sage for the centerpieces, the table was set, and the afternoon spent chopping, baking, roasting, and grilling.
The evening could only have been more special, had one other person been able to attend. I hope you know who you are...
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Each and every spring when I plant my vegetable garden, I place red cabbages at the corners of my "formal" garden beds.
My garden will NEVER rival the Château et Jardins de Villandry in France, but I am rewarded by the end of the summer with more red cabbage than I know what to do with.
So, what do I do with the red cabbages that aren't given away to friends? This season, I've been making Apple-Cabbage Slaw with Crystallized Ginger. It's easy, fresh, and delicious. And I always add more julienned apples than the original recipe calls for. Here's my version...
• Apple-Cabbage Slaw with Crystallized Ginger
adapted from Whole Living | 2010
• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 5 cups finely shredded red cabbage
• 2 large apples (I used Braeburn) peeled, cored, and julienned
• 1/4 cup finely diced chives
• 2 to 3 knobs crystallized ginger, halved and thinly sliced
1. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt; toss together with the cabbage, apples, and chives. Sprinkles with the crystallized ginger.
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Last year I planted cucumbers in my vegetable garden for the first time. I put in three plants which produced more cucumbers than were humanly possible to eat. I thought I was playing it safe by planting two this past spring. Next year -- I'll only be putting one in my garden.
I wonder if my neighbors know that it's me dropping the bags of cucumbers at their door, knocking, and running away as fast as I can!
So now I'm always on the lookout for something... anything delicious to make with a cucumber. My neighbor pulled this Cucumber, Tomato, and Pineapple Salad with Asian Dressing out of her refrigerator the other night when I stopped by and gave me a sample. I loved it! Cool, refreshing, healthy, and a fantastic way to not only use up cucumbers, but also tomatoes, jalapeños, and mint from my garden. I see this as a great side dish to grilled meats and fish. Tonight I served this salad alongside baked Salmon Croquettes; a family favorite.
Cucumber, Tomato, and Pineapple Salad with Asian Dressing
adapted from a recipe by Alexis Touchet
• 1 large garlic clove
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
• 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
• 1 jalapeño chile, minced
• 1/4 teaspoon Asian Fish Sauce
• 1 small cucumber, halved, seeds removed, then thinly sliced crosswise
• 2 cups fresh or canned pineapple, 1/2-inch dice
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
• 1/4 cup coarsely chopped mint
• 2 medium tomatoes (1 pound total), cut into chunks
1. Mince the garlic, combine with the salt and using the blade of a knife on a flat surface, mash into a paste. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the lime juice and the sugar, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the oil, jalapeño, fish sauce, and the reserved garlic paste.
3. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.
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One of the best things that has happened for me through LivingTastefully's Passions to Pastry is the people I have come in contact with and the friendships that have developed. One of those I now consider a friend is fellow Francophile Stacey of Stacey Snacks. Can't decide what to make for dinner tonight? Go to Stacey Snacks for inspiration. There's a new recipe posted almost daily, and it's always the kind of food I like to eat!
This Cherry Tomato & Corn Clafoutis is from one of Stacey's recent posts. I made if for dinner last night (I finally have some cherry tomatoes to work with -- no thanks to my French Bulldog Pipi who finds the ripe tomatoes before I do!), and my family loved it! The only change I made to the recipe was to add just a few more tomatoes. I served it alongside a dry-rubbed, grilled salmon and a salad of greens, roasted beets from my garden, toasted walnuts, and fresh goat cheese -- all tossed with a balsamic vinaigrette.
I'll send you to Stacey's post for the recipe. And please, if you haven't been to Stacey Snacks before, take some time to look around.
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My absolute favorite way to eat cantaloupe? This way... Cantaloupe with Black Pepper, Vinegar & Olive Oil. There's also Sopressata Salami and Chives in this dish. I've been making this recipe for years, but only in the summer when I've got locally grown cantaloupe to work with. Wouldn't even think of making this until cantaloupe are sun-sweet and juicy.
Easy, Healthy, and Delicious...
• 1 perfectly ripe cantaloupe
• freshly ground black pepper
• kosher salt
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 3 slices Sopressata Salami, finely sliced (optional, but not for me!)
• fresh chives, finely minced
Scoop as many melon balls as possible from the cantaloupe and place in a medium-size bowl (or cube the melon). Sprinkle cantaloupe with salt to taste and lots of freshly ground pepper. Drizzle melon with the olive oil and stir gently. Add the vinegar and stir again. Toss melon with Sopressata Salami and fresh chives.
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A perfect meal for for a hot summer's day -- quinoa salad filled with fresh cherries, lettuces, dried apricots, and nuts, and drizzled with a sweet honey vinaigrette. I served the salad with fragrant and flavorful (garlic, red pepper flakes, lemon juice, and fresh chopped rosemary) Grilled Chicken Paillards via a recipe on The Splendid Table's Weeknight Kitchen.
adapted from a recipe in Better Homes and Gardens | April 2012
• 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
• 1/4 cup honey
• 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
• 1 small clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinsed)
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cup unsalted whole cashews or mixed nuts
• 1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced into thin slivers
• 1 1/2 cups fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and halved
• 1/4 - 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
• 5 - 6 cups butter lettuce and radicchio lettuces, torn
1. TO MAKE THE HONEY VINAIGRETTE: Combine the ginger, honey, vinegar, lime juice, and garlic in a small bowl. While whisking, slowly add the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper; set aside.
2. TO MAKE THE SALAD: In a medium saucepan, bring the water, quinoa, and salt to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 10 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
3. Remove the lid from the quinoa and fluff with a fork. In a serving bowl, combine the quinoa, nuts, apricots, cherries, and onion. Drizzle with the vinaigrette to moisten. Add the lettuces and gently toss, adding more vinaigrette if necessary and season with additional salt, if desired.
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Coleslaw is a seasonal thing for me. I'm not exactly sure why that's the case, but I only make it in the months of spring and summer. If I'm craving coleslaw, this is the recipe I use...
recipe from Grilling by Louise Pickford
• 8 ounces white cabbage, shredded (about 2 cups)
• 6 ounces carrots, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 white onion, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons heavy cream
• 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1. Place the cabbage, carrots, and onion in a colander. Sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and vinegar and stir the mixture well. Set the colander over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes
2. Using your hands, squeeze all the moisture you can out of the cabbage mixture. Transfer to a bowl. In another bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, cream and mustard. Stir this into the cabbage. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until serving time.
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I've been grilling outdoors on a somewhat regular basis lately. You have to understand how unusual this is. Most winters, we've lost sight of our grill due to the deep snow in our backyard. But this season in Minnesota and the world it seems, nothing is "normal" anymore. When I go outdoors birds are chirping loudly -- something else that seems odd during the winter months. This past week, I grilled wild salmon fillets and served them with Quinoa & Lentil Pilaf, a recipe featured in the recent issue of Food & Wine Magazine. I had French green lentils on hand, I love cauliflower, and I was intrigued by the coconut oil in the recipe. I've never before used coconut oil. When I located the oil at Trader Joe's, I was approached by several of the employees who saw me reading the info on the label (I must have have had that usual puzzled look on my face). When I told them I was thinking of substituting olive oil for coconut oil in the pilaf recipe, they urged me to try coconut oil instead... for the taste (one of Trader Joe's employees puts a spoonful in her morning coffee)... for the health benefits (it reverses the effects of Alzheimer's??? boosts metabolism? fights viral and bacterial infections? according to coconutoil.com. We'll see... It would be beyond great if this were all true. Check out the website to read more about it). And, I was told, if I didn't like it as an ingredient in my cooking, I could massage it into my hair, or rub it into my dry skin!
Coconut oil is a solid that must be heated before using.
Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf
a recipe by Akasha Richmond | Food & Wine, March 2012
• 1 cup French green lentils, rinsed
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 thyme sprig
• 1 garlic clove
• 1/4 onion
• 2 tablespoons coconut oil
• 1 shallot, minced
• 1 celery rib, finely diced
• 1 carrot, finely diced
• 1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed ( I used tri-color quinoa)
• 1 cup vegetable stock
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound cauliflower, coarsely grated
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
• 1/3 cup chopped Marcona almonds
1. Put the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Add the bay leaf, thyme, garlic and onion and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderately low heat until the lentils are tender, about 18 minutes. Drain and discard the bay leaf, thyme, garlic and onion. Wipe out the pot.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil to the saucepan. Add the shallot, celery and carrot and cook over low heat until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add the stock, season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat until the grains are tender and plump and the liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add the cauliflower and cook over moderately high heat until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes +. In a large bowl, toss the lentils with the quinoa, cauliflower, parsley, and almonds. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot of at room temperature.
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Did you know that wild rice has twice the amount of protein as brown rice? Actually a marsh grass instead of a rice, it is also an excellent source of fiber, vitamin E and phosphorus. I tend to use wild rice more in the spring and summer months to make various salads and always after Thanksgiving when there are left-overs for a big pot of turkey-wild rice soup. But after learning about these health benefits, I plan to use it more often in my cooking. It's also low-calorie: One cup of cooked wild rice has approximately 130 calories. Best part though is its nutty taste!
(text posted originally in 2009)
• 1/3 cup raw wild rice
• 2 scallions
• 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
• 2 small tart red apples
• 3 tablespoons butter
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup flour
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
• 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1 egg
• 1/2 cup milk
• Addition butter or olive oil for the griddle
1. Cook the wild rice in boiling, salted water, partially covered, until tender, about 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water.
2. Slice the scallions. Chop the pecans. Peel, core and dice the apples. Heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the wild rice, scallions, pecans and apples. Season with salt and pepper and sauté lightly for 2 to 3 minutes. Cool.
3. Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking powder, brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt. Stir in the cornmeal. Lightly beat the egg, add to the dry ingredients along with the milk, and stir until the batter is creamy and free of any lumps. Add the rice mixture.
4. Butter or oil a griddle or cast iron pan and warm over medium heat. Drop the batter by tablespoons onto the griddle or pan. Turn when golden brown on the bottom and continue to cook until the second side is golden.
• I will serve the Wild Rice & Apple Griddle Cakes alongside meat, poultry, and fish, but I have also served it at breakfast with maple syrup.
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