November 6, 2013
We eat quinoa like it’s going out of style in the summer. Now it’s finally fall (I don’t know about where you live, but in Chicago I thought summer was never going to end!), and I wasn’t ready to give up my go-to dinner starter, but I’m definitely not in the mood for more salads. So this week I tested out a couple of quinoa side dishes (or in one case we ate it as the main dish with a poached egg on top) that were amazing! They’re based on a recipe in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines for quinoa hash, which is where I got the idea for the poached egg. These would be great also as side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner! Especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in your family, as quinoa has a good amount of protein and can be eaten as a main dish. I served the beet-sweet potato one with roasted chicken, and it was delicious as a weekend meal.
I see Aunt Suzy and I are on the same wavelength…her latest post is very similar to mine, with forbidden rice instead of quinoa. Can’t wait to try that one out, too! There are numerous combinations of things that you can toss with the cooked quinoa; these are just the two that I have made so far.
Aunt Suzy says . . .
We are on the same wavelength! I almost put in my post that I thought the forbidden rice dish could be made with red or black quinoa! I can’t wait to try these.
Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and sliced thinly
1 sweet potato
2-3 beets with greens, greens rinsed thoroughly and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/2″ chunks and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on 1/2 of a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil. Peel and chop beets into 1/2 chunks, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt and spread on other half baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, stirring halfway through, taking care not to mix beets and potatoes.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté leeks and thyme for about 2 minutes, until they have softened. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa and veggies are done. Toss quinoa, roasted veggies, and leek mixture together in a large bowl with orange zest. Add salt and pepper if needed.
Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts
1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
Cook quinoa according to package directions.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until tender, stirring about halfway through.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. You may want to add a little more oil to the pan by pushing the veggies to the side and adding it (I found the pan got a bit dry and added another tablespoon). Stir in oregano. Turn off heat. Combine quinoa with roasted veggies and Brussels sprouts mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
October 25, 2013
Aunt Suzy says . . .
When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it – after all, I had the exact amount of Forbidden Black Rice sitting in my cupboard from a whirl with a so-so recipe this summer. Even though I didn’t like the previous dish, I was introduced to the unusual floral flavor and wonderful mouth appeal of this new-to-me rice variety. This blend of favorite ingredients and flavors looked like a can’t-miss. In addition to the squash and pecans, I added another seasonal favorite, good old Brussels. It only occurred to me after making it, that it’s perfect for Halloween with it’s black and orange color scheme. Whether you make this as part of a Halloween spread or for dinner as a side to roast something (we served with roast chicken), I know you’ll enjoy.
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)
1 pound small Brussels sprouts, bottoms removed and cut in half (about 3 cups)
Olive oil for roasting
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or a combo
2 shallots, peeled and minced
1 1/2 cups forbidden black rice
2 1/2 cups water
Zest of 1 orange
1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped
Salt and Pepper
Roast the vegetables:
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place the squash cubes on the foil and toss to coat with the oil. Roast for 15 min, stir and roast for another 5-10 min. Remove from oven and turn out onto a platter. Do the same for the Brussels sprouts, but roast for 10 min, stir and roast for another 5-10 min. Turn out onto a platter.
Cook the rice:
Rinse the rice thoroughly in a mesh sieve and set aside to drain. Set a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and/or olive oil and heat till bubbling or shimmering if using oil. Add the shallot and saute for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the water and 1 teaspoon salt,. Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until water is completely absorbed. Let stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Assemble the dish:
In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, the roasted vegetables, the orange zest and thyme. Stir to combine. Add the pecans and stir again until just combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.
NOTES ON INGREDIENTS: The original recipe did not call for the Brussels sprouts, so if these aren’t a favorite for you, they can be omitted. Black rice is available in both bulk and packaged at our local co-op, so if you have a co-op or health food store locally you can check there. I highly recommend seeking it out. It’s available online directly from Lotus Foods. Short grain brown rice or one of the black or rice blends from Lundberg could be a good substitute.
June 9, 2013
I love pesto, but I’ve been wanting to try new things besides basil pesto. This kale pesto is really yummy, and can be used in a number of ways: on a sandwich, in an egg scramble, on chicken or fish, on pizza (which we did the night after we had it on pasta…yum!), or, of course, on pasta. This recipe is enough to cover a pound of pasta, plus extra for other things on later days. It really freezes well, too!
1 bunch kale, stems removed
1/3 cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts
1 clove garlic
zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup or more olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to boil, add kale and boil for about 30 seconds. Immediately drain kale and run cold water over it to cool it off. Squeeze off excess water and put in food processor, along with nuts, garlic, lemon juice and zest, salt and pepper. Process for about 30 seconds, until its all ground to a fine meal. Scrape down the sides and pulse a few more times. With the processor running, add the olive oil in a steady stream. Scrape down the sides again, taste, and add more olive oil if needed (and salt and pepper), and pulse a few more times. The consistency isn’t as creamy as basil pesto, and I found that I needed more olive oil than with basil pesto. I think I used almost 1/3 cup.
If making pasta, cook your desired type of noodle to al dente and place it in a large bowl, reserving some of the pasta water. Add about half the pesto to the pasta, and combine thoroughly, adding up to 1/2 cup pasta water as needed. Serve immediately, topping with parmesan cheese, and maybe a little toasted walnuts for garnish. It’s also really good with some halved cherry tomatoes stirred in.
September 4, 2012
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I’ve wanted to make oven roasted tomatoes for a couple of years, but never got around to it. My brother John made some recently which spurred me into taking the plunge. In addition to asking friends and family for recipes and tips, I looked at several online to get a picture for various approaches. There are a lot of recipes out there, but with only slight differences in cooking temps, times and methods. There are two definite camps, however, when it comes to seasoning. One camp uses only salt and pepper and the other adds herbs and garlic. So, always one to see for myself and draw conclusions, I made a batch of each. The results were great in both cases! I have already used the plain in ratatouille in place of some of the fresh tomatoes, and we had the seasoned ones on pizza last night (yum!). I look forward to making more while it’s still tomato season and to experimenting further with both types for appetizers and in sauces and pastas.
I used 10 Roma tomatoes in each batch, but you can use as many tomatoes as you’d like and regular garden tomatoes as well as Romas. My hunch is that if the tomatoes are very juicy, squeezing out some of the juice would aid in the carmelization, but I can’t say for sure.
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Preheat oven to 375°. Have handy baking dishes or jelly roll pans.
Plum (or regular) tomatoes, cut in half (or quarters for very large tomatoes)
Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
Optional seasoning: oregano, thyme, chopped garlic
Place tomatoes, cut side up, in a baking dish or jelly roll pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper and seasoning of your choice. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until tomatoes start to carmelize. Remove from oven, cool slightly and then remove to a platter to cool completely. Once cooled, remove the skins – they will slip off very easily. These will keep several days in the fridge or you can freeze using freezer bags or containers. I hope to freeze a few packs of these because I can picture how fabulous it would be to get a hit of summer in January!
Be judicious about the amount of salt. I used about a teaspoon of kosher salt on the plain tomatoes and felt they were too salty.
I used just oregano and thyme for the seasoned version, but I think rosemary and basil would also be good.
Don’t be daunted by what the pans look like after! I soaked these for about 30 minutes in very hot water and dish washing liquid and they wiped clean easily – no elbow grease required! I used a Pyrex dish and a Le Creuset cast iron lasagna pan. Both worked, but I think the Pyrex had a slight edge in terms of results.
February 13, 2012
Aunt Suzy says . . .
This roasted cauliflower is not only delicious, it’s good for you! In a prelude to the original recipe, it states “The turmeric, white peppercorns and coriander seeds are beneficial to the respiratory and circulatory systems; the kumquat, with its sour and bitter tastes, warms the chest and eases coughs.” And I will say that the shallot I used was hot, hot, hot, – adding to the overall warming effect. Served with these Indian-spiced chicken burgers, which made for a great meal. A French Pinot Gris was a perfect match for the spices of these two dishes.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
One 3-pound head of cauliflower, cored and separated into 1-inch florets
1 medium shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
4 kumquats, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Preheat the oven to 400°.
In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, spices, salt, garlic and crushed red pepper.
Place the cauliflower on a large foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the cauliflower with the olive oil mixture and toss to coat. Roast for 20-25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender. Check and stir after 15 minutes. Scrape the cauliflower into a serving bowl. Add the sliced shallot, kumquats and cilantro and toss well. Can be served hot, warm or room temperature.
October 16, 2011
Aunt Suzy says . . .
I love stocking my freezer this time of year with goodies made from the abundant produce available. One of my favorites is ratatouille. It freezes well and there’s nothing like thawing and heating up a batch in the dead of winter to get a hit of late summer goodness! I’ve made ratatouille for this purpose for many years, but I wasn’t ever 100% satisfied with the results. While the flavor was always delicious, the end product was mushier than I like. A few years ago I was talking with friend Kristi Mattson about making ratatouille – she has a big garden and was also making some for the freezer. She shared her method of roasting some of the vegetables before putting them in the pot to cook the ratatouille. This was the solution to getting both outstanding flavor and texture. The ingredients are the same, but this method makes a big difference! In addition to serving this as a side dish to grilled salmon or roast/grilled chicken, we love tossing it with pasta with a generous sprinkling of parmesan cheese!
Olive oil for tossing with each vegetable
5 medium bell peppers, mixed colors, cut in 1-inch squares (I used 2 red, one orange and 2 green)
6-7 small-medium zucchini and/or yellow squash cut in 1-inch cubes
7-8 small-medium eggplants, cut in 1-inch cubes
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil, for sauteing
5 medium onions, cut in 1-inch chunks (I like a mix of red and yellow)
6-10 garlic cloves, minced (depending on size)
20-ish plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (totaling 4-5 cups after chopping)
1/3-1/2 cup fresh oregano, chopped (I particularly like Greek oregano in this recipe)
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
Fresh basil and/or parsley, chopped, for serving
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. You will roast the bell peppers, zucchini/yellow squash and eggplant. First, toss each vegetable lightly with olive oil and turn into a foil-lined jelly-roll or large roasting pan. Roast for about 12-17 min, stirring half-way through. The vegetables will be done when they are just starting to show a few browned spots. (I found that I needed 2 pans for the eggplant and 1 pan each for the peppers and zucchini with the above quantities.) Turn onto a large platter or oblong glass baking dish. Set aside and cool.
In large stockpot or dutch oven, heat the olive oil and sauté the onion until beginning to brown, about 10 or so min on med-high heat. Add the garlic, oregano and thyme and sauté until fragrant, about a minute. Add the roasted peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and the tomatoes and their juices. Stir just to combine.
Bring all to a bubble, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Take the lid off the pan, turn up heat slightly and simmer, uncovered, for an additional 30-45 minutes, until the liquid reduces. During this time, check every 10 minutes to make sure the bottom layer is not burning. Stir a little, but don’t over-stir in order to preserve the shape of each vegetable. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Right before serving, stir in the basil and parsley. If freezing, omit the basil and parsley step and put in containers and place in the freezer.
When using later after thawing, stir in a gremolata of the following, right before serving.
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh basil and/or parsley, 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest, 1-2 finely minced cloves of garlic. Adjust amounts to how much ratatouille you have. This can be used even when not freezing – it brightens the flavor but is especially fabulous when using frozen/thawed ratatouille.
COOK’S NOTES: This method is a 3-4 hour project, but is definitely worth the time. The quantities given made a little under 4 quarts finished product. This is a recipe where you can definitely adjust the quantities to your taste or need for amounts.