Thursday, April 12, 2012

Quinoa: Day 2 with Yellow and Red

Yet another successful quinoa recipe today. Actually two, but the first one was just thrown together with random foods I had in the fridge. 

It did not get photographed but had quinoa (of course, duh), sweet potato (leftover from yesterday), black beans, cilantro, tomato paste, smoked paprika, cayenne and s + p. Admittedly, I was a little embarrassed to eat it in front of my coworkers today because it kinda looked like a mess. Regardless though, it was tasty, for sure, just not the most photogenic food ever made. 

The quinoa dish for dinner, though, was (semi) photogenic, and tasty. WIN.

Quinoa Caprese Salad
((serves 1))

1/2 C bocconcini or fresh mozzarella
1 medium tomato
1/2 C cooked quinoa
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T basil
S + P

1. Prepare the fresh mozzarella like this.  And if you're using the cheese in the large ball, cut into bite size pieces.
2. Chop tomatoes into bite size pieces and toss with tomatoes, olive oil and season to taste with s + p.
3. Pour the balsamic vinegar into a saute pan over medium high heat and reduce until thick, about 5 minutes.
4. Mix mozzarella with tomatoes and quinoa and drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
5. Enjoy!

I was lucky enough to find some great looking tomatoes at the market earlier this week. Usually tomatoes don't taste like anything until the summer. The ones I found were labeled "heirloom" so I knew they had to be excellent. Fortunately, I was right, this time. 


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quinoa: Day 1 with Green and Orange

Everyone knows about how great quinoa is...ancient grain eaten by the Incans (not actually cause it's a seed), lots of protein, fiber-rich, gluten-free, bla bla bla. 

My opinion is that it's just okay. Millet actually tastes way better, if you ask me. 

Anyway, I made a huge batch of quinoa on Monday to eat from all week. So far it's worked out well but today's creation was exceptionally delicious. And I wanted to share because I am so generous. 

So many colors here it hurst my eyes. So many textures and flavors going on. Sweet and chewy cranberries, creamy sweet potatoes, crisp, green broccoli and asparagus, quinoa pop, slightly spicy black pepper. If only I had been thinking. Chopped almonds would have been the finishing amazingness. Yep. That's a word. I was missing that crunch from nuts. Bummerrr.

Sweet Potato and Vegetable Quinoa
((serves 1))

1/2 C cooked quinoa
1-2 T orange juice
1 small sweet potato
handful of asparagus
handful of broccoli
1-2 T dried cranberries

garnish: chopped fresh parsley, chopped almond, parmesan cheese

1. Heat water and set up steamer basket.*
2. Peel and cut sweet potato into 1 inch cubes. Cut asparagus and broccoli into small pieces, too. 
3. Toss the sweet potatoes in the basket, sprinkle with salt and steam for ~8 minutes, covered. Remove. 
4. Toss in the broccoli and asparagus with the cranberries, sprinkle with salt and steam for ~4 minutes, covered.**
5. While the broccoli and asparagus cook, toss the quinoa with the orange juice and mash about half the sweet potato into the quinoa, leaving some chunks whole. 
6. When veggies are done, toss with quinoa + sweet potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish if desired. 
7. Plate up and chomp!

*I recently bought a steamer basket. Go buy one. It was the BEST PURCHASE EVER. Well, with the exception of my Cuisinart food processor, of course. 

**The cooking times here are a sliiightly estimated since I rarely time anything or measure anything, either. I'll just say, cook potatoes until tender and the green veggies until tender-crisp. OR to your liking. I won't (I WILL) judge you if you overcook your greens until they're not really green anymore, instead they're mushy and gray...... that is your choice. 

This makes a perfect side dish or you could add some more protein and make it a meal. Diced cooked chicken, white beans, poached egg even???? Go for it. 

And of course adjust the recipe to feed more. Double, triple, quadruple, quintuple, sextuple, septuple, octuple, noncuple, decuple....uhhhh, you get the idea.

Enjoy color!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Honey + Peanuts

How fun is it to make  someone a gift?? Way better than purchasing one, if you ask me. I have a friend that likes honey roasted peanuts and loves crunchy peanut butter. 

Why not combine the two?!?! I can think of no reason not to. 

Chunky Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

2 lbs of roasted UNsalted peanuts
2 T honey
3/4 t fine salt

1. Process 1.5 pounds of the peanuts in the food processor. 
2. Once smooth, add salt and honey. Process and taste. Adjust honey and salt to taste. 
3. Pour in the remaining half pound of peanuts and pulse until chunkiness is to your liking. 
4. Scrape the food processor cleaning making sure to get every last drop. 

After pouring into jar I may have licked the blade. 
Risky? Yes. 
Worth it? Absolutely. 

Only part I would change was the color of this peanut butter. It's too pale. Maybe I'll try roasting the peanuts myself next time to get a deeper color.

close up. 

The perfection that was this peanut butter really has me thinking about starting a food business one day...........