Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Blue Corn Griddle Cakes

Holy cats these are good!! Couldn't have anything to do with the 3 Tbs of butter in the batter. I mentioned to the Monster that I could probably cut that down by at least half and he says "Great! You're already plotting how to make them not as good."

Inspired by making those scallion biscuits, I only had eyes for this cookbook when we went to sell some books at Half Price Books this past weekend. Originally, I scribbled this recipe on a scrap of paper from my purse, but found the more I thumbed through the rest of the book, the more I wanted to just go ahead and buy it. There look to be some good recipes in it, and I've already earmarked the Buckwheat-Molasses Griddle Cakes to try out for Sunday's breakfast.

These simple blue corn cakes were wonderful either plain or drizzled with honey, served up with a simple bowl of black beans.

Blue Corn Griddle Cakes:
(Biscuits, Pancakes & Quick Breads)

1 cup blue cornmeal
1 Tbs sugar (sucanat)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (I used ~3/4 cup buttermilk since I had it to use up, and topped off the cup with unsweetened soymilk. I can definitely say I'll be using buttermilk everytime.)

Combine all the dry ingredients (except for the baking powder if you're using aluminum-free...whisk this in just before you start to cook them).
Stir in the melted butter, eggs, and milk and mix well.
Allow the batter to rest for 10 minutes before cooking (don't forget to add your single-acting baking powder now).
Lightly grease a griddle (didn't need to with a non-stick griddle) that's been heated until medium-hot (325).
Drop the batter by tablespoons onto the griddle.
When bubbles form on top, after about 2 minutes, turn the cakes and cook until lightly browned on the other side.
Serve with butter and honey, or maple syrup.

Makes about 12 3" cakes (I used a Tbs. of batter for each cake and ended up with 24...if you eat 6 that's ~240 totally worthwhile cals.)

Simmered Black Beans

I bookmarked this recipe from the NY Times about a month ago and have finally gotten around to making it. For many this won't seem like a big deal. A pot of beans? Eh...
But for me, making this is helping me get over my fear of dried beans. I have no idea why I have such a mental block against making them. I guess I've just wanted to find one steadfast, tried and true method of cooking them and just kept coming across major inconsistencies in the recipes found. Do you soak, do you not (ok I realize this is just a cooking time saver)? Do you drain the soaking water? Most recipes say yes, but this one didn't, ugh. I thought if you added salt during the cooking they didn't soften, but some recipes call for salt at the beginning.

I figured I was just going to have to pick one and go for it. After cooking up 1 lb of black beans, we've got 1/2 of it in the freezer (recipe said it freezes great) and 1/2 in the fridge (keeps for 3-4 days). The only part of the recipe that had me the slightest bit confused was weather or not to cover the pot during the second hour. I split the difference and just kept the lid askew to vent some of the steam and thicken the broth. Also, there wasn't a specific amount of salt to add, so I used 2 tsp. of kosher salt.

This recipe is a total keeper. Done buying canned, unless I'm in a time pinch. We just ate these topped with avocado, chopped tomato, feta and a bit of cilantro. Skipped the rice since we had a huge pile of corn cake goodness to eat with them. Recipe to follow in the next post!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Party Squash Salad

Yesterday, I went searching for a new recipe online for yellow squash and this is what I found. Just happened to have all the ingredients for it in the fridge. Perfect.
I only used 1 large yellow summer squash for the two of us, and thus cut back on all the other ingredients. Really, a good recipe to just make to your tastes. You want less cheese, use less cheese. Less oil, use less...etc.
This would be a great recipe made with a mandolin. Hm...if only I had a mandolin.

Party Squash Salad:
(Parade Magazine Aug. 2001 via

2 small zucchini, trimmed
2 small yellow squash, trimmed
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

4 oz shaved Parmesan cheese (use a veggie peeler)
1 large bunch of arugula, trimmed, washed and patted dry (CM baby arugula, pre-washed...awesome)
1 large ripe, tomato, cored
2 Tbs chopped Italian parsley

Cut the zucchini and yellow squash into thin slices diagonally; place in a bowl.

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper; toss with the squash. Let rest for 15 minutes. Add the cheese.

Place the arugula in a bowl. Slice the tomato into thin wedges; scatter over the arugula.

Just before serving, spoon the squash and dressing over the arugula. Sprinkle with parsley and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately, tossing at the table.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ina Garten's Chicken Noodle Soup

A simple soup. Great to have in the freezer for a day you feel like cooking. Infinitely variable...I used roasted skinless thigh meat instead of chicken breasts, and some fresh thyme because I had it in the fridge. Other than that, followed the I have many, many times.
Whip up a batch of the Savory Scallion Biscuits to go with these and you'll be glad you did.

Chicken Noodle Soup:
(Barefoot Contessa at Home)

1 whole (2 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 quarts homemade chicken stock (I'm usually bad and use boxed organic)
1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
1 cup medium diced carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups wide egg noodles (I used Tinkyada's brown rice elbows)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the chicken breast on a sheet pan and rub the skin with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones, discard the skin, and shred or dice the chicken meat.
Bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a large pot and add celery, carrots, and noodles. Simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes, until the noodles are cooked. Add the cooked chicken meat and parsley and heat through.
Season to taste and serve.

If you're roasting chicken thighs instead, just roast til they hit 170 degrees.

Savory Scallion Biscuits

This is another recipe from the Moosewood Cooks at Home cookbook. They were wonderful with our chicken soup and really easy to make. And even more perfect because the recipe calls for 1 cup of yogurt...of which I have plenty, after winning a case of Fage in a BlogHer sweepstakes. :-) I did have to thin the Fage with Bulgarian yogurt, even adding a bit more of the Bulgarian, as the mix was still a bit dry. So bear that in mind when deciding what kind of plain yogurt to use. I hadn't baked with plain white flour in so long and it felt a little strange. I'll try making these again sometime with more than just 1/4 whole grain flour.
Oh and they make killer breakfast sammies the next day if you manage to heed the warning to follow! I just ate one with scrambled egg, ham and Muenster cheesy goodness. :-)

Warning: If you too are infested with rabid kittehs that jump on counters in the middle of the night, put any leftovers in a cupboard, as they seem to be powerless to resist these. Discovered early this morning. And yes, she tore right through the ziplock baggie only managing to decimate one of the 4. Whew.

Savory Scallion Biscuits:
(Moosewood Cooks at Home)

1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs canola oil
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 cup minced scallions
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the flours. Sprinkle in the baking powder and salt, and stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, yogurt, scallions, dill, and pepper. Blend the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture quickly and thoroughly to form a soft dough.

On a floured board or counter top, pat the dough into a 3/4 inch-thick circle and cut it into eight wedges. Separate the wedges and place them on an oiled baking sheet (I didn't oil the air bake sheet I used and there were no sticking issues). Bake for 20 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of a biscuit comes out clean. Serves 8.

We ate this with Ina Garten's Chicken Noodle Soup. Guess I'd better post about this simple soup next, since it doesn't look like I have yet! No idea how this one escaped me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baked Salmon with Spicy Giardiniera and Herbed Buttermilk Mashers

Rarely do I try the stuff they're sampling at HEB supermarkets (CM not incl. in this statement), but on this day I was weak. First, the sample was wild salmon, and second it was topped with a jarred giardiniera that was free if I purchased the same company's item which happened to be on my list anyway. The perfect storm. Canyon Foods, the maker of my giardiniera topping, is a woman-owned Texas company that creates all kinds of sauces and what nots. It was really very good, but had I to purchase it on it's own, the price would have kept me away. I think I ended up paying 6 dollars for the pesto and got the gardiniera for free. Way too much for pesto in my book, but at least it led to this tasty and very easy meal.
The mashed potatoes were a great pairing for the fish, and are "herbed" because I had some tarragon and chives needing to be used up. There are definitely enough flavors going on in the gardiniera to leave those out if you don't have them.

Baked Salmon with Spicy Giardiniera:

1 lb wild Alaskan salmon filet
~1/2 a bottle of storebought spicy giardiniera topping

Heat oven to 450.
Place the fish on a foil-lined baking sheet, then spread the giardiniera over the salmon (I salted the salmon a bit first).
Bake for 12 minutes per inch thickness.
Serve over top of mashed potatoes.

Herbed Buttermilk Mashers:

Yukon gold potatoes, cubed (I left the skins on and only used 2 for us and this made about 3 servings)
salt and pepper
~1 Tbs butter
low-fat buttermilk
chopped fresh tarragon (~1 tsp)
chopped fresh chives (~1 Tbs)

Boil water in a medium saucepan, add salt and cubed potatoes.
Cook until soft enough for mashing.
Drain, then return to pot letting any residual water evaporate.
Add butter, mash, then add the rest of the ingredients until you're pleased with the consistency and taste.

I served this with a nice big salad of Romaine, sliced organic strawberries and cucumbers. The dressing echoed the herbs in the potatoes....dijon, lemon, tarragon, chives, salt and pepper, and olive oil.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cranberry-Peach Pancake Topping

I made this for our pancakes this past Sunday, and it's super easy and undeniably scrumptious. Save any leftovers and mix into oatmeal, yogurt topped with crunchy buckwheat cereal, etc.

Cranberry-Peach Pancake Topping:

1 bag of frozen sliced peaches
a good handful of frozen whole cranberries
unsweetened and generally ungooked apple juice or cider
a pinch of salt
1 cinnamon stick
1 mounded TBS of cornstarch + ~1-2 Tbs water, juice to make a slurry
agave nectar to taste

Put frozen peach slices, the cinnamon stick, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan and add apple juice until the peaches are just covered. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until the peaches are almost soft. Add cranberries and simmer a bit longer, or until the skins start to pop. Add agave nectar to taste, then stir in the cornstarch slurry, simmering until thickened to a nice syrup-like consistency.
Remove from heat and remove cinnamon stick. Serve over buttered (oatmeal) pancakes with dollops of Fage Greek yogurt (and walnuts). So freakin' good.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gingered Greens with Tofu

I visited with an old friend soy sauce splattered copy of Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. When the Monster and I first lived together, high up in our little nest in the trees (read: sweetest ever garage apt. in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin), I was totally perplexed by the idea of cooking meat. I didn't know how, it kind of skeezed me out, so I didn't do it. The Monster might grill stuff from time to time with the neighbors, but in our tiny kitchen, nuh-uh. We collected just about all of the Moosewood veggie cookbooks and I used those pretty much exclusively. Oh the days before internet recipe searches...
It's been ages since I'd cracked one open, much less made one of our old standbys. Due to the ease of accessing a vast array of goodness online without a doubt. Tonight, I was feeling nostalgic.
For those old days, in our tiny counterless kitchen, cooking up a tried and true Moosewood recipe for just my sweetie and me.

Gingered Greens and Tofu:
(Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home)

Tofu Marinade:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry (use a drinking sherry...not a salty cooking sherry)
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 Tbs brown sugar (or agave nectar!)

2 cakes of firm tofu (I used an organic brand from Costco that came in a 19 oz was plenty)

2 Tbs canola oil, divided
2 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
6 cups coarsely chopped bok choy, Chinese cabbage, or Swiss Chard, packed (I used two beautiful bunches of Swiss chard...I used to make this with bok choy, but I don't really like it anymore)
Juice of one lime
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
pinch of cayenne, or splash of chili oil

Optional toppings: toasted cashews, gomasio, Sriracha sauce

Put on a pot of long grain brown rice.
Cut the tofu into 1/2" slices, then ~1" squares. I press them at this point between layers of paper toweling and under several heavy baking sheets while I'm getting everything else together (~20 min). The original recipe didn't call for it.
In a small saucepan, bring the marinade ingredients to a boil. Simmer for 1 minute and remove from heat.
Place the squares of tofu in a non-reactive heatproof pan (I use a glass lasagna pan).
Pour the marinade over the tofu squares, sprinkle with one Tbs of oil, and set aside for ~10-40 minutes.
Preheat the broiler on high.
Broil the tofu for 7-8 minutes, until lightly browned; then turn it over with a spatula and brown the other side.
While the tofu broils, heat 1 Tbs of canola oil in a wok or large skillet.
Stir in the ginger and garlic stiring until fragrant (~1 minute).
Add the greens, stirring constantly over high heat until the greens are wilted. When the greens are just tender, add the lime juice, cilantro, and cayenne or chili oil, and remove from heat.
When the tofu is browned, gently toss it with the marinade and the cooked greens, and reheat if necessary. Top with toasted nuts if you like (I totally forgot about these, but did use Gomasio and Sriracha sauce), and serve immediately over brown rice.

Kitchen Sink Pasta

As in it's got a little bit of everything except...
Fridge cleaner meal here, and super tasty to boot, if a little homely in the picture. I had more than half a tub of ricotta left from the omelet cannelloni, so decided to use it up in a pasta dish. I'm afraid the amounts are going to be kind of wishy washy on this one...but basically if it sounds like it might be good in your pasta toss it in!

Kitchen Sink Pasta:

1 preternaturally large chicken breast, pounded to ~1/4", salted and peppered, pan sauteed in a little olive oil, and cut into ~1" pieces
~10 oz ricotta cheese
freshly grated Parmesan
freshly grated nutmeg
~10 oz fresh spinach, washed but not dried
2 zucchini, cubed and roasted with a little olive oil and salt at 400 til done.
2 roma tomatoes, cut into 8 pieces each, then roasted at 400 til they start to collapse.
~1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
1 large jarred roasted red pepper, chopped
brown rice elbows, or pasta of your choice
a bowl of the pasta water reserved
~1/4 cup packed torn fresh basil

After all your ingredients have been prepped, cook your pasta as per package instructions, making sure to reserve some of the cooking water.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta and some Parm, freshly grated nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
In the same (still chickeny) pan you cooked the chicken in, add the still damp spinach and cover, cooking ~3-4 minutes, or until tender, then remove from heat.
Add ricotta mixture to spinach in the pan stirring to combine.
You can start to thin with some of the pasta water at this point.
Add the rest of the ingredients including the now cooked noodles until heated through.
Add more water until it's a consistency you're pleased with, adjust seasonings if needed, then enjoy the cheesy goodness.

Curried Golden Chana Dal Soup

This is a delicious, nutritious soup that quasi comes from Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Cookery. My mom made the Curry version of the Golden Lentil Soup when we were down visiting for Easter, so I figured I'd make it when we got home...already knowing it'd be a good one. The recipe in the book calls for red lentils though. My mom, thankfully remembered to tell me that she'd made hers with some chana dal I'd given her, instead of the red lentils. I made my soup with more dal than she did for a slightly thicker soup. We just ate this with some store bought whole wheat naan (usually available in the deli section of the least at HEB in Tx.)

Curried Golden Chana Dal Soup:

2 Tbs unsalted butter, or Earth Balance
1 large chopped TX sweet onion or (~4 cups)
3 tsp mild curry powder
1.5 cups chana dal
4 cups sodium-reduced vegetable stock (I used Kitchen Basics)
2-3 cups water
1/2 cup coconut milk
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
Fage or other Greek yogurt to top (I highly recommend this. It's a really nice contrast to the sweetness of the soup)

Melt the butter over med-high heat in a dutch oven. Saute onions with curry powder until translucent and soft, but not browned...about 10 minutes. Add dal and stir for 1-2 minutes, then add stock and ~2 cups water. Bring to the boil, then half cover the pan and leave to soup to simmer gently for ~50 min. to an hour, or until dal is very tender. Check soup during this time and add more water if you think it's necessary.
When finished cooking stir in coconut milk.
Puree soup with a stick blender, or transfer to a regular blender in batches. Add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a dollop of Fage Greek yogurt.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Fried Okra

I've been lured over to the dark side. Of preparing okra that is. I caved and fried the leftover fresh okra and now our house smells like a greasy spoon restaurant. Worth it? Um, yeah, but I'm pretty sure these don't qualify as a vegetable, no matter what any good self-respecting Southerner tells you.
I used this recipe, but I salted and peppered the okra before dipping it into the egg wash.
I also used the combined flours method. For about 1/2 lb of okra, cut into ~1/4" pieces, I only used one beaten egg. Use your best judgment on the amt. of flour, I just used equal parts flour to cornmeal mixed together.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Okra with Cumin and Coriander

Another recipe from the new cookbook. I think this is my first time ever cooking with okra. The Monster was a trooper, eating it even after having muttered "I don't know about okra...*grumble, grumble* ".
He still wasn't too sure about it after eating his portion, so I saved him from the rest by having it for lunch the next day. I think it was better the next day too.
Alright, now what to do with the half pound of okra I have left in the fridge? A mini batch of pickled okra?? Guess it's either that or fry those suckers up. Not really how we eat anymore...buuuuut, I DO hate to waste food. ;-)

Okra with Cumin and Coriander:
(Rosemary Elliot's Vegetarian Cookery)

1 smallish onion, or half large, chopped
2 Tbs oil
1/2 lb okra, washed, trimmed, but left whole
1 tsp salt
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 Tbs ground coriander
7 fl oz. water
2 tomatoes, chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
chopped cilantro to garnish

Saute the onion in a medium saucepan for 5 minutes, then add okra, salt, cumin, and coriander.
Mix well, then cook gently, uncovered, for 5 minutes.
Add the water, then simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes more, until the okra is tender and most of the water has been absorbed.
Shake the pan, or stir gently from time to time.
Add the tomatoes, check the seasoning, and sprinkle with the chopped cilantro.
Serve hot or warm.

Serves 2 with rice as a main dish, or 4 as part of a curry meal.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Omelette Cannelloni with Italian Tomato Sauce

We went down to my mom's this last weekend, and I walked away with a treat. A new cookbook called Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Cookery. This is the first of three recipes that I bookmarked to try during the car ride home. Hopefully, they'll all be as good as this one was! These omelette cannelloni make a nice light supper paired with a salad, and you'll likely have more sauce leftover for the next time you make it. I reduced the recipe to serve two and my amounts are in parenthesis if you'd like to do the same. I used a small 7 1/2" non-stick frying pan for the omelette "crepes" and a 9" x 6" baking dish for the reduced amount (6 cannelloni). I don't see why you couldn't take a few short cuts with this recipe, like subbing a box of (thawed) frozen chopped spinach for the fresh, and using your favorite store bought marinara if you're short on time.

Omelette Cannelloni:
(Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Cookery)

1 lb of baby spinach (~10 oz)
8 oz ricotta cheese (5 oz whole milk ricotta)
3 oz Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, divided (I used 1 oz mixed into spinach, and grated who knows how much on top)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
4 eggs (I used 3, and added garlic powder and 2 large fresh torn basil leaves in with the s and p)
a little olive oil
1 quantity of Italian Tomato Sauce (recipe follows, I had plenty left over and froze it for next round of making this, would also make good soup thinned slightly with more broth)

Preheat oven to 350.
Wash spinach, then put it into a saucepan with just the water clinging to its leaves.
Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until tender.
Drain well, squeezing the water out after it's cooled a bit, and chop finely.
In a bowl, mix ricotta cheese, half of the Parmesan, nutmeg, salt and pepper. When combined, add the spinach in and mix well. Taste for seasoning then set aside.
Whisk eggs with a Tbs. of water, salt, pepper, fresh torn basil if you want, and a touch of garlic powder.
Brush a small frying pan generously with olive oil and heat.
Pour a little of the egg mixture- just enough to make a thin, crepe-like omelette, and cook for a few seconds until it is set.
Transfer to a plate.
Continue cooking the "crepes" until you have 8 (my 3 eggs made 6) brushing more oil into pan when necessary.
Lightly oil a shallow baking dish.
Divide spinach mixture into 8 equal parts (6) within the bowl...just so your cannelloni are mostly the same size.
Scoop one portion of spinach down the middle of an omelette and roll up like an enchilada.
Place in baking dish and continue the process until you've used up all the spinach and omelettes.
Pour some tomato sauce down the center of the cannelloni, without covering them completely on their ends.
Sprinkle with the rest of the grated Parmesan and bake for 25-30 minutes, to heat through and brown a bit on top.
You can heat more sauce and serve with the cannelloni, but I didn't find this necessary.
If you have some fresh basil, tear some to sprinkle over the top of the dish.

Italian Tomato Sauce:
(Rose Elliot's Vegetarian Cookery)

I think this would be a great recipe to double and store in 1-2 cup increments in the freezer.

1 onion, peeled and chopped (I used 3/4 of a large sweet onion)
1 celery stick, finely chopped
1 carrot, scraped and finely chopped
2 Tbs olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes with liquid
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil (I didn't have any dried, so just used fresh in the omelettes instead)
1 bay leaf
5 oz dark vegetable stock, red wine, or water (used veggie stock...not broth)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Saute the onion, celery, and carrot in a medium saucepan for 10 minutes, until soft but not browned.
Add the garlic, tomatoes, basil, oregano, bay leaf, and the liquid of your choice.
Cook gently for ~25 minutes, or until the tomatoes have reduced and there isn't much liquid in the pan.
Remove the bay leaf.
Puree half the batch at a time in a blender.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, and if needed you can add a bit more liquid to thin if desired (I didn't).

Monday, April 6, 2009

Smothered Yellow Squash with Basil

Smothering is a Cajun cooking term that refers to browning anything from meat to vegetables in oil, then braising it in a small amount of liquid, tightly covered, until tender. It makes a nice, quick side vegetable and makes great use of soon to be plentiful squash and basil.

Smothered Yellow Squash with Basil:
(Gourmet Magazine)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 lb medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1/2 cup water (I used chicken broth and it was super yummy)

1/4+ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

~1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then add half of squash and sauté, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
Transfer browned squash to a bowl, then heat remaining tablespoon oil and sauté remaining squash in same manner.
Return squash in bowl to skillet. Add garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, 1 minute. Add water/broth, salt, and pepper and simmer briskly, covered, until squash is tender and most of liquid is evaporated, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in basil.

Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Quinoa Salad

I used the rest of the Orange-Pomegranate Dressing from yesterday's beet salad between baked tofu and this quinoa salad. The baked tofu was made in this manner, I just subbed ~1/2 cup of the dressing for all the other ingredients I normally use, plus some kosher salt and garlic powder sprinkled on top (next time I'd add more lemon too...or something zingy). The salad is from Cooking Light, only they make theirs with couscous...which you could most certainly do too. I just like the high protein content of quinoa, and didn't want any wheat in this meal. I also pulled out the last of the pinenuts and feta to top it off, because what isn't better with cheeeeese?

Quinoa Salad:
(adapted from Cooking Light)

just shy of 2 cups organic vegetable broth
1 cup uncooked quinoa (well rinsed if it doesn't come rinsed, if you bought it in bulk then it doesn't)
1 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup chopped green onions (I used red onion, since my green onions were slimerrific!)
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
1/2 cup diced tomato (I added this to the top of each serving so it wouldn't get mushy in the leftovers)
~1/2 cup Pomegranate-Orange Dressing
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Optional toppings:
toasted pinenuts, or walnuts

Cook quinoa as per package instructions. Let cool.
Mix all other ingredients together (leaving out the tomato if you'll have leftovers) adding quinoa when it's cooled somewhat. Top each serving with tomato, feta and pinenuts.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Pomegranate Dressing

I'm embarrassed to say that this is the first time I've EVER used the beet greens along with the beets. Usually they get lopped off and tossed, albeit with a twinge of guilt. No more! Who knew that they were so lovely...especially when boiled for 2 short minutes, then doused in the following dressing.
My new fave, Newflower Market here in Austin has great prices on wonderful produce. So after loading up on 2 bunches of organic beets (with their tops!) for 3 bucks, I came home and fired up my oven. I brought this to book club last night and as usually happens when I do that, forgot to take a picture. I've taken one of the leftovers, but know that it's much prettier the day you make it...greens are more green, less melding of colors, etc. It might sound like a lot of work, but it can be done in stages when you have the time. I roasted the beets the day before, and the dressing could certainly have been made the day before.

Roasted Beet Salad with Orange-Pomegranate Dressing:

2 bunches of beets with nice healthy looking tops (I used red and golden beets)
olive oil, salt and pepper

Heat oven to 400. Wash, dry and trim beets not flush with the beet, but leaving about 1/4 inch of the stems. Individually wrap each beet in a square of foil after having lightly oiled, salt and peppered them. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and roast for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and just leave them in there while you do other things...make the dressing, wash/chop the beet greens, watch Dr. Oz play with brains on Oprah (or READ ZOMBIE BOOKS!) Just checking to see if you were still with me. Eventually, pull the beets out of the oven and let 'em cool on the counter.

Orange-Pomegrante Dressing:
(adapted slightly from a Cooking Light recipe)

1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary (please tell me you have this weed in your yard and aren't going to pay 3 bucks for a wee sprig)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
(the original recipe calls for 1 tsp brown sugar, I subbed 1 tsp agave nectar, but will nix next time, as everything else would have been plenty sweet I think. Use your own judgement)
1/4 cup extravirgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except oil, stirring with a whisk. Gradually add oil, whisking constantly until well combined. (If you have an immersion blender...mix all ingredients except for orange zest, rosemary, and oil. Add oil while blending on low, then stir in the zest and rosemary at the end with a fork.)
This makes a nice amount of dressing that is great used in a couscous salad, with orange and mint, as a marinade for dark meat chicken, salmon, or tofu (which I'm trying tonight), roasted veggies...any number of things I'd expect. All this said, since you're going to have some leftover and it will keep for up to 5 days tightly covered in the refrigerator.

2 bunches of roasted beets, peeled and cut into 8 wedges each.
beet greens from 2 bunches of beets, stems removed then washed and chopped
1/2 of a fist-sized (unless you have huge paws!) red onion, sliced very thinly
2 large oranges, cut into supremes
~1/2 cup or more Orange- Pomegranate dressing
feta (I probably used about 2 ounces)
toasted pine nuts...toast in the pot you're gonna boil the beet greens in so you don't have to wash two things :-)

Bring a sauce pan of water to the boil, add chopped beet greens and cook for 2 minutes. Drain greens, cool a bit, then squeeze out any extra liquid.

Cut off both tail ends of your oranges, set them on one of the flat ends and cut the skin off each, making sure to remove all the membrane. Now, holding the orange in one palm, carefully cut out the segments of orange, along either side of the membrane between each. Continue until you've cut them all out. These are your "supremes". Add them to a largish bowl.

Add the beet wedges, thinly sliced red onion, and 1/2 cup(+) dressing to the oranges and toss gently. Cover and let sit out at room temp for 1 hour. Mine sat out for at least 2 hours before it got eaten. Before serving, toss again in the dressing, crumble feta over the top, and finally sprinkle with toasted pinenuts.