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Red quinoa salad with cucumber, tomato & arugula

I haven’t exactly been “burger free” since my last post… but this salad is satisfying, packed with nutrition & proves healthy food can taste almost better than a burger. It’s also gluten free & vegetarian.

I’ve never made a quinoa salad but I’ve tasted plenty. The good ones seem to have very flavorful dressings, texture and the right balance of savory and sweet. This recipe has a Mediterranean flair and minus the olives is very similar to a greek salad. I threw in some dried sour cherries but feel free to use any dried cherry, cranberry or craisin.

Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

For the dressing

  • 1/4 cup lime juice (or any citrus fruit you have)
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste

For the salad

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 Persian cucumbers, cut in half & sliced into half moons (or 1 english cucumber)
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1/2 cup dried sour cherries (or cranberries, craisins, etc)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1/4 cup pistachios

DIRECTIONS

In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 17 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk olive oil with lime juice, vinegar & agave nectar. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add all of the salad ingredients, except for the feta & pistachio. Add cooled quinoa. Add the dressing and toss to coat.

Top with crumbled feta & pistachios before serving.

Spiced chickpeas & fresh vegetable salad

Lots of chopping I know… but lots of satisfaction at the end. I promise. Try a little greek yogurt drizzled on top – it’s delicious!

INGREDIENTS

  • 14 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 small cucumbers (10 oz)
  • 2 large tomatoes (10.5oz)
  • 8-1/2 ounces radishes
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and ribs removed
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and 1/4″ dice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, coarsely chopped
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 2 tablespoons juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Greek yogurt (optional)
  • salt and black pepper

DIRECTIONS

Cut the cucumber, tomato, radish, and pepper into 2/3-inch dice; cut the onion into 1/4-inch dice. Mix everything together in a bowl with the cilantro and parsley.

In a jar or sealable container, mix 5 tablespoons of the olive oil, the lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, and sugar and mix well to form a dressing, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly. (Take care when dressing the salad. I found I only needed about half of the dressing).

Mix together the cardamom, allspice, cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and spread on a plate. Toss the cooked chickpeas in the spice mixture in a few batches to coat well. Heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and lightly fry the chickpeas for 2 to 3 minutes, gently shaking the pan so they cook evenly and don’t stick. Keep warm.

Serve this salad on a plate, in a large circle with the warm spiced chickpeas on top. You can drizzle some Greek yogurt on top to make the salad creamy.

Sweet potatoes with maple curry yogurt

The new Yotam Ottolenghi cookbook, Jerusalem, is stunning. I’ve made it through the first few sections and love the history of the recipes and family influence that permeates his meaningful food.

On my last visit to his restaurant in London I had an amazing salad with curried yogurt. I can’t even remember what the yogurt was on top of… but I’ve not forgotten the delicious combination. The cold & fragrant yogurt on top of the warm sweet potatoes will not disappoint.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 sweet potatoes, skin on, cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 shallots, sliced lengthwise
  • olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • salt

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the sweet potatoes and shallots with enough olive oil to coat and put on a baking sheet. Spread out evenly. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden. When warm, sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.

Mix the yogurt, curry powder and maple syrup all together in a bowl.

To serve, place the sweet potatoes on a plate and spoon some of the yogurt in the middle. Top with chives and pistachios. Serve room temperature or slightly warm.

Serves 4.

Sweet Potato Galettes

Another Ottolenghi masterpiece. I’m continually amazed at his combinations of flavor & texture. Bonus – it looks impressive and is super easy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons crème fraîche (can substitute sour cream)
  • 3 1/3 ounces goats cheese
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 medium hot chili, sliced thinly in rings
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 2 tsp chopped parsley

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins for 35-45 minutes. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and cut into thin slices. Or you can microwave for about 5 minutes-8 minutes and save some time!
  2. Roll out the puff pastry slightly and cut into 4 equal rectangles and prick them all over with a fork. Put the rectangles on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or greaseproof paper and leave to rest in the fridge for half an hour.
  3. Take them out and brush with the beaten egg. Spread a tablespoon layer of soured cream on the pastries, leaving a 5mm border around the edge.
  4. Arrange the potato slices on the pastry on top of the cream.
  5. Crumble on the goats cheese, sprinkle on the seeds and chilli and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the underneath is golden brown.
  7. While they are cooking, mix the olive oil, garlic, parsley and a pinch of salt. Brush this over the galettes when they come out of the oven. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Balsamic Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta & Blue Cheese

Our Thanksgiving Feast included these crunchy, salty & sweet morsels. There wasn’t much leftover, but what wasn’t gobbled up for lunch my sister and I polished off the next morning for breakfast. Cold.

They are that good.

Make them for Christmas or heck for go crazy and make them for breakfast with some scrambled eggs.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 pound pancetta, cut into small cubes (or bacon)
  • 3 pounds Brussels sprouts, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons firmly-packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of blue cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Cook the pancetta until crisp in a large skillet. Remove using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels. Reserve 1/4 cup drippings in the skillet.

Combine the Brussels sprouts, olive oil and salt in a large bowl. Place the sprouts on the prepared baking sheet and bake until tender, about 20 minutes.

Add the vinegar, brown sugar and mustard to the reserved bacon drippings in the skillet. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture is reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Pour the mixture over the sprouts, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with the bacon & blue cheese Serve immediately.

Serves 10.

Asparagus with Bacon, Shallots and Pine Nuts

What a great side dish for the holidays. Fast, delicious and so addictive. Use bacon, use pancetta, use a different nut. Drizzle with a little meyer lemon olive oil if you have it on hand. You can’t mess this one up.

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 ounces bacon or pancetta, cut into 3/8 inch to 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 pound asparagus, woody ends trimmed and sliced into 2 inch pieces on the bias
  • 2 large shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

In a large non-stick pan, sauté bacon or pancetta, stirring frequently, over medium heat, until crisp and lightly golden.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to pan. Add asparagus pieces and shallot and sauté until asparagus is tender crisp, about 3-4 minutes.

Add garlic, lemon and orange zest and toasted pine nuts and sauté for about 1 minute, until fragrant. Season to taste with freshly ground pepper and salt and serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Chargrilled Broccoli with Chili & Garlic

Another Ottolenghi win… simple ingredients and delicious leftover!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 heads of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 mild red chilies (Fresno), thinly sliced
  • coarse sea salt
  • black pepper
  • lemon slices (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Separate the broccoli into florets and blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes – don’t be tempted to cook longer! Remove immediately to a bowl of ice water, then drain and leave to dry completely.

Once the broccoli is dry, toss with 1/2 cup of the olive oil and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Place a grill pan on high heat and leave for 5 minutes until smoking hot (or grill on your outdoor grill). Grill the broccoli in batches on the hot pan, turning to get lovely char marks on all sides.

While the broccoli is cooking, place the remaining oil in a small saucepan together with the garlic and chilies and cook on a medium heat until the garlic begins to turn golden brown. Be careful not to let the garlic and chilli burn – they will continue cooking in the hot oil even when off heat.

Pour the garlic and chili oil over the hot broccoli and toss well. Season to taste and toss in lemon wedges. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Chargrilled Cauliflower with Tomato, Dill & Capers

 On my most recent trip to London I came across a foodies paradise – Ottolenghi. When I walked in the front door my eye didn’t know where to look first! Beautiful floating layers of salads, whole grains, breads and OH MY desserts had my mouth watering. This cauliflower salad is a perfect example of why Ottoleghi is so successful – he brings bright and satisfying flavors to the simplest of vegetables.

I can’t get my nose out of his cookbook so expect lots more from Ottolenghi on The Fifth Tine.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon French whole grain mustard
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 2 pounds)
  • 20 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A good handful of arugula
  • 1 tablespoon dill, chopped
  • sea salt
  • pepper

DIRECTIONS

You can make the dressing in a food processor or by hand (we used the processor). Mix together the capers, mustard, garlic, vinegar and some salt and pepper. Whisk vigorously or run the machine while adding half the oil in a slow trickle. You should get a thick, creamy dressing. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Add the cauliflower to a large pan of boiling salted water and simmer for just 3 minutes. Drain and run under a cold tap to stop it cooking further. Leave in the colander to dry well, then put it in a mixing bowl with the rest of the olive oil and some seasoning. Toss well.

Heat a ridged griddle pan over the highest possible heat and leave it for 5 minutes or until it is really hot. Grill the cauliflower in batches – don’t over-crowd the pan. Keep turning until they are nicely charred all over and transfer to a bowl. While the cauliflower is still hot, add the dressing, dill, spinach and tomatoes. Stir together, taste and adjust seasoning again.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Truffle Brie Macaroni & Cheese

I’m not a huge fan of the traditional comfort foods… mashed potatoes & gravy, pot roast and meatloaf are easy to resist. For me, comfort food is creamy lemon & pea risotto, beef bourguignon and cannelloni!

When my sweet friend (also fabulous baker & fierce soccer player), Marisa, was recovering from ACL surgery she requested comfort food. So I made what has to be the #1 Comfort Food: Macaroni & Cheese. I’ve since changed my mind about this favorite dish – add some truffle brie to macaroni and cheese and I’ll eat it. Happily.

If you can’t find the truffle brie substitute regular brie and add some truffle oil.

INGREDIENTS

For the breadcrumbs:

  • 1/2 loaf ciabatta bread (or any bread you have on hand)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the cheese & pasta:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 ounces Marscapone cheese (or cream cheese)
  • 1 pound grated Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 pound grated Monterrey Jack
  • 4 ounces Black Truffle Brie OR 4 ounces plain Brie + 3 T truffle oil
  • 1 pound cavatappi pasta (or elbow)

DIRECTIONS

For the breadcrumbs: Cube your bread into medium size squares and put it in the food processor for a couple pulses. Melt 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tbsp oil in large skillet overt medium heat. Add garlic and saute for about 1 minute. Add bread crumbs to skillet an stir until crumbs are slightly toasted – about 5 minuets. Set aside.

For the cheese & pasta: Cook the pasta 2 minutes LESS than the al dente package directions. Please salt your water very well so the pasta has flavor. Drain and set aside.

In a large saucepan heat butter and olive oil until melted over medium high heat. Next, whisk your flour into the butter and cook for about 2-3 minutes. Slowly add cream and milk whisking in between to make sure there are no lumps. Bring mixture to a simmer and whisk until desired thickness (close to pancake batter). Remove from heat. Add grated cheese & marscapone and mix until melted. Season with salt & pepper. If using truffle oil – add this to the cheese mixture.

Stir in drained, cooked pasta to the cheese mixture. Transfer to a baking dish and top with sliced brie cheese & then sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Grilled Corn on the Cob with Maple-Chipotle Glaze

I can’t imagine going back to regular corn after tasting this sweet and spicy combo. My dad has a fail proof microwave method (no dealing with pesky silks) and then I grill it afterwards to get the brown charred kernels.

I have to believe this would also be incredible slathered on salmon!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 ears fresh corn (husks on for cooking)

DIRECTIONS

Bring first 5 ingredients to simmer in heavy small saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until glaze is reduced to 3/4 cup, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. (Glaze can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

This is my Dads quick microwave corn method – and it’s a huge success. Keep husks and silks on the corn. Cut the bottom and top off the corn. For each ear of corn, add 3 minutes to the total time. 6 ears of corn will cook a total of 18 minutes. Place corn in microwave and cook for 9 minutes. Turn corn over and cook another 9 minutes. (You can prepare the corn up to this point and wait to clean until ready to grill with the glaze). Remove the husks and silks.

Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Brush corn with some of glaze. Grill until lightly charred in spots, turning frequently. Transfer corn to platter. Brush corn with remaining glaze. Sprinkle generously with salt and serve.