Skip to main content

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.

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.

Corn and Heirloom Tomato Salad with Chimichurri

This was an accident waiting to happen… the kind of accident that lots of “needy” veg in the fridge & a pool party in need of a snack brings on.

It must have been that large bunch of parsley just begging to become chimichurri.

Chimichurri wears many hats in my kitchen. A topper for eggs, a dip for bread, a sauce for lamb & salmon… a spoon full of satisfaction can go a long way. The edge of vinegar, garlic & slight heat of crushed red pepper add a delicious dimension to the sweet vegetables.

Use any green vegetable you have on hand. Green beans would be great too. Serve as a side or even better – scoop it up on a chip.

INGREDIENTS

Vegetables

  • 6 ears of Fresh Corn – cooked & kernels removed
  • Bell Peppers – 2 red, yellow or orange
  • Sugar Snap Peas – 3 cups
  • Heirloom Tomatoes – 1 pint, cut in half or quarters

Chimichurri

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, trimmed of thick stems
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried oregano)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS

To make the chimichurri, add the parsley, fresh oregano, and garlic to a food processor and pulse several times. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Drizzle in the olive oil with the food processor running. Stir in the red pepper flakes. Set aside.

Remove the core from the bell peppers and cut into large pieces. Rub the peppers with a little olive oil & bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. They should be slightly soft but still have some crunch. When cool, cut into bite size pieces. Set aside.

Boil the sugar snap peas for 3 minutes. Remove the peas from the hot water and place in a bowl of cold water to stop cooking. Drain. Set aside.

To assemble toss the corn, tomatoes, peas & bell peppers with the chimichurri sauce (you may not need all of it). Adjust seasonings. Serve room temperature.

Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Candied Tomatoes

On a recent trip to Italy I visited a beautiful village in Greve in Chianti named Panzano. This small town with 12 restaurants is a picturesque postcard of Tuscany.

The best restaurant in town, in my American opinion that may not matter too much, is the family owned Cantinetta Sassolini. Apparently all of the locals agree with my #1 rating because it was packed each night I dined. On my first visit for dinner, I ordered a starter of baked cheese with a fava bean sauce. The ricotta & goat cheese was slightly caramelized on the top with that lovely chewy dark cheese flavor. I knew I had to recreate this and found this recipe on Food52.com. The sweet candied tomatoes over the savory cheese are ridiculously good.

More inspiration to come from this lovely restaurant at the top of the hill on the way to the church (after the butcher shop).

INGREDIENTS

For the baked cheese:

  • 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
  • 4 ounces log goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, or leafy herb of your choice
  • generous grinding of black pepper
  • generous sprinkling of kosher salt

For the candied tomatoes:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup vermouth
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, or leafy herb of your choice
  • sea salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. For the baked cheese: Place the ricotta in a colander lined with cheese cloth and leave to drain for about 30 minutes, pressing down to help extract liquid.
  2. Preheat the oven 375 degrees. Brush the inside of a 2 cup baking dish with olive oil.
  3. In the small bowl of a stand mixer, beat the ricotta, goat cheese and egg until smooth. Beat in the herbs (chopped if the leaves are large), a generous amount of pepper and salt. Taste your goat cheese first, saltier cheeses require less additional salt.
  4. Spoon the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed in the center and browning.
  5. Let the cheese cool slightly, then invert it out onto a plate.
  6. For the tomatoes: While the cheese is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then drop in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the skins on the tomatoes start to split. Pull the pan off the flame, add the vermouth and return to the heat. Add the brown sugar and herbs and stir until the sugar is melted. Add a generous pinch of salt. Lower the heat and cook gently until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy coating for the tomatoes. The tomatoes will collapse and some may disintegrate. That’s fine.
  7. When ready to serve, spoon the candied tomatoes over the warm baked cheese and serve with sliced baguette or crostini.
  8. The baked cheese can be prepared a few hours in advance and then baked before serving. It is best served warm, but not necessarily right out of the oven. The tomatoes can be prepared ahead too and gently reheated before serving.

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.

Lime Bulgur Wheat Salad with Cucumbers & Tomatoes

In Texas we’ve been complaining about the heat for months. It’s been a long summer and my kitchen has gotten a big break – I’ve just not felt like cooking (my absence explained). But when my friend Laura brought over this salad a few weeks ago it was decidedly the thing I was going to make and could enjoy eating in 107 degrees. My inspiration will return in the Fall – already have lots of new things I can’t wait to share.

This recipe is based on the traditional tabouleh salad, a popular Middle Eastern side dish containing vegetables, olive oil and spices. There are a few differences – the use of lime and much less parsley, which I prefer. The base of bulgur wheat and the vegetables makes it super nutritious and a perfect summer side. I like to add grilled chicken or shrimp and make it a meal – but it’s a perfect side dish for my Greek Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Yogurt Sauce.

Bulgur wheat is a natural whole grain food that is quick cooking and very nutritious. It’s high in fiber, rich in B vitamins and has fewer calories, less fat, 4 times the folate and more than twice the fiber of brown rice. It’s nutty flavor is perfect in this Mediterranean inspired salad.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bunches flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 large English cucumber (or 2 medium garden variety), peeled, seeded & diced
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup wheat bulgur (fine)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 tomatoes, seeded & chopped
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

DIRECTIONS

In a medium bowl add the wheat bulgur and lime juice. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and layer as follows:

1. Cucumber
2. Salt
3. Onion, cumin, coriander & parsley

Refrigerate for 2 hours then remove and add 1/2 cup olive oil. Stir to combine. Add tomatoes and feta and mix all together.

Serve as a side dish or make it a meal by adding grilled chicken or shrimp.

Spring Vegetable Pasta

Like TV shows, there are very few cooking magazines I can commit to. Fine Cooking being the only magazine I’ve subscribed to in years. But new competition is now coming in the mail. Cooks Illustrated is a no-frills, no-color magazine with a test kitchen that tirelessly perfects techniques until they are sure the recipe is a perfect one, for this using the best appliances with warranty plans where you can cover multiple devices like blenders, microwave or kitchens.

This recipe is uber creative in that it mimics the techniques of a creamy risotto, but with a pasta. The stock is super flavored from the asparagus and leek trimmings that would typically be thrown in the trash. Full of fresh flavor and no cream!

A special thanks to my best friend Jen in NY for the subscription… you will love this recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 leeks, white and light green parts washed and cut into ½ inch slices; dark green leaves chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, tough ends removed and chopped; remainder sliced into ½ inch pieces
  • 2 cups frozen peas
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons minced chives
  • 2 tablespoons minced parsley
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 6 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb Campanelle or other pasta
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 oz grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 oz grated asiago cheese

DIRECTIONS

Prep the broth – place the chopped leek and asparagus scraps, ½ of the garlic, 1 cup of the peas, the broth, and the water into a saucepan. Turn to high heat; bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain broth through a mesh strainer, pushing on the solids with a spoon to get as much liquid and flavor as possible. You should have about 5 cups of liquid. If you have less, add some water to bring the total volume to 5 cups. Discard the solids from the strainer and return the broth to the saucepan. Keep on low heat.

Prep the vegetables – heat 2 Tb of the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and some salt. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the asparagus to the pot and cook for another 4 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and the pepper flakes and cook for about a minute. Add the peas and cook for another minute. Transfer all of the vegetables to a plate and allow to sit – uncovered – while you prepare the pasta.

Cook the pasta – wipe out the dutch oven, return to medium heat, and add the remaining oil. Add the dry pasta and cook for about 5 minutes (until pasta is beginning to brown) stirring constantly. Add the wine and continue cooking (and stirring) until the wine is absorbed. Add the warm broth and turn heat to medium high. Bring the pot to a boil. Continue cooking and stirring until liquid is absorbed and pasta is cooked. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, 1/2 of the parmesan, asiago, cooked vegetables, half of the chives, half of the parsley, and all of the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Garnish with the remaining herbs and parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Roasted Vegetable Soup

New Years Eve a few years back I decided to have a small get together. I had big platters of roasted vegetables and red pepper dip to spread on baguettes. The next day I threw the leftovers into a pot and made soup. It was fantastic and has been added to the “keepers” pile.

Roasting any vegetable brings out the sweetness and richness of a vegetable and is my favorite method for cooking vegetables (try brussel sprouts!). This soup is a pot full of health (yes, even with the bacon and cream). Vegetarian, low fat, low calorie, tons of vitamins (see nutrition info below). Most importantly it is very satisfying and flavorful. I like to top mine with a little sour cream or shredded parmesan (or both).

For you eaters who want the meat‚ add some kielbasa.

Nutrition Information (Serving Size 1.5 cups): Calories: 134, Fat: 6.8g, Carb: 15g, Sugars: 5g, Protein: 5g

INGREDIENTS

  • Bacon, 2 slices cut into lardons
  • Yellow Onion, 1 medium diced
  • Olive Oil
  • Cauliflower, 1 head chopped into large pieces
  • Broccoli, 1 bag or 2 heads cut into florets
  • Baby carrots, small bag
  • Zucchini, 3 sliced lengthwise
  • Cherry tomatoes, 1 pint
  • Roasted garlic, 3 cloves
  • Tomato Paste, 6 tablespoons
  • Chicken Stock, 6 cups
  • Bay leaves, 3 whole
  • Thyme, 4 sprigs or 1 teaspoon dried
  • Half and Half, 1/4 – 1/2 cup
  • Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

*Use any combination of vegetables you have on hand. I’ve used asparagus and bell peppers in the past.

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350.

On large sheet pans toss vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast for 20-30 minutes. The tender vegetables may take a shorter amount of time so keep your eye on them. Remove from oven and set aside.

Preheat large soup pot over medium heat. Add 1 tsp. olive oil and bacon and cook until bacon is brown and crispy. Remove bacon to drain on paper towel and set aside.
Add onion to pot and saute until translucent.

While onion is sauteing, puree 1/2 of the roasted vegetables in a food processor until very fine. Add to onion mixture. Pulse the remaining vegetables in the food processor into larger chunks. Add to the pot with the roasted garlic. Add tomato paste, crushed red pepper, salt and black pepper to the vegetable mix and cook until tomato paste is brown. Add chicken stock, bay leaves and thyme and stir to combine.

Cook for 20 minutes** on low heat. Add the half and half and cook for an additional 10 minutes.

Serve with parmesan toast on top of soup.

** This can be cooked up to an hour‚ but more stock may need to be added.

Vegetable Thai Red Curry

I do love a spicy curry on a cold night and this one couldn’t be easier. I decided to go vegetarian as I served this with grilled steaks (marinated in soy, pineapple juice & garlic). You can use any combination of vegetables and throw in some chicken if you want a one-pot meal.

This was inspired by a red curry I recently had in Montreal at ChuChai that was so aromatic with kaffir lime leaves. What a pity that “no one has them” in Dallas. I will order them online so this tragedy doesn’t replay. If you are lucky enough to have a stash of these lime leaves – omit the lime juice and use a lime leaf when simmering.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 14oz. can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Thai red curry paste (I like Mae Ploy Thai Red Curry Paste)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 potatoes
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded & cut into wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 4 ounces crimini mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 3/4 cup bamboo shoots, drained
  • 1 small can pineapple chunks, drained
  • Juice of one lime
  • Handful of Thai basil leaves

DIRECTIONS

Do not shake the can of coconut milk. Open the can and skim off the “cream” on top (roughly the top 1/3 of the can) and add it to a Dutch oven or large pan.

The first step is to “fry” the curry paste in the coconut cream. Add the paste to the coconut cream in the pan, stir and cook this over medium heat until the oils separate from the paste (about 5 minutes). Slowly, it will begin to cook down into a thick paste, then finally the aromatic oils will begin to separate from the paste. After you see the oil, add the chopped onion and cook the onion for about 1 minute.

Add the remainder of the can of coconut milk. Bring this to a boil then lower to a simmer. Add fish sauce and palm sugar and stir to combine. Add vegetables (except tomatoes) and cover the pot and simmer gently for about 20 – 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. I the last 5-10 minutes of cooking, add tomato wedges. When finished cooking, stir in the lime juice. Stir in a big handful of Thai basil leaves that are torn in half.

Serve with rice.

Vegetable and Hummus Pizza with Greek Vinaigrette

The one thing I always have in the refrigerator: hummus. I love it with pretzels and it’s usually a snack that can be devoured quickly. As much as I love it I do get tired of it after several days of walk by dipping. I was at my favorite Mediterranean market in Dallas, World Foods, buying my stock of olives and feta and checking out the baked goods swimming in honey. I noticed a big pile of fresh whole wheat Naan* and this pizza was born.

I have to say it was everything I thought it would be. Don’t skip the vinaigrette drizzle over top and on the veggies. The acid from the vinegar is a perfect compliment to the creamy hummus.

*Naan is an Indian flatbread and is thinner than most pita. Pita would also work fine in this recipe – use what you can find!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Indian Naan or pita
  • 2 tablespoons hummus (any flavor)
  • 6 Kalamata olives, pitted and cut into large chunks
  • 1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4 slices lengthwise
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into medium squares
  • 1 ounce Feta, crumbled
  • 1 teaspoon toasted pine nuts

For the vinaigrette:

  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced shallot
  • 1/2 teaspoon Greek oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

DIRECTIONS

For the vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight-fitting lid, then add the oil and shake to mix well. Add 2-3 tablespoons to a medium bowl to toss the veggies in.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place Naan or Pita directly on rack and bake for 5-10 minutes until bread is crispy. It will not be baked again, so make sure to get the crunch you desire. I like mine crispy so I bake it closer to 10 minutes.

Heat medium skillet and add 1 tablespoon olive oil. Season zucchini with salt and pepper and cook for 1-2-minutes on each side, until al dente. Remove and add to bowl with dressing.

Add bell peppers to the same pan and cook until slightly charred. Toss in the same bowl with the dressing and zucchini.

To assemble pizza: Spread hummus on to cooled crust. Layer zucchini in a single layer over the hummus. Sprinkle bell peppers, olives and feta over zucchini. Top with toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of the vinaigrette.

https://www.barbieinablender.org