Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Dear Friend

I have a dear friend who's name is Becky. She has opened her house to us many times and welcomed us in as if we were part of her family. She is so generous and giving to everyone around her. Recently she did all of the food for not one, but two of my sister's bridal showers. The first was themed "Get in the Moodie for Cookin' with a Foodie." It was such a good time. We had lunch and, then, a Chopped competition. We were divided into 4 teams and given a basket with mystery ingredients. My team got bacon, asparagus, large flake coconut, and dates. Other teams had shrimp, fish, or scallops as their protein.
Overall, the afternoon was delightful but so was the food! Here are two of Becky's recipes for you to enjoy!{Roasted Beet Salad}
Arugula (mostly)
Spring Greens
Red & Yellow Beets, Roasted (recipe follows)
Goat Cheese (really creamy, from Whole Foods)
small amount of Red Onion

To Roast Beets:
Scrub beets really well. Cut in half if they are large, they should easily fit within a 9x13 pan. Sprinkle around 1 onion that was quartered. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Drizzle with a little maple syrup, salt and pepper, and toss. Turn red beets, flat side up - yellow beets, flat side down. (Each color should be roasted seperately.) Sprinkle each one with brown sugar. Tightly cover with foil and roast at 350 degrees for 1 hour. No peeking. Cool and peel just prior to using.

Fresh Basil Vinaigrette
In a blender, combine:
1 C white basalmice vinegar
1/4 C agave nectar
1/4 C really good honey
1/2 of a cooked yellow beet
a good handful of fresh basil
a good handful of fresh parsley
1/3 C white onion
juice of 2 limes, and a little zest
Blend until really smooth. And, add:
a couple pinches of italian seasoning (roll it around in your fingers first, so that it is very fine)
a couple grinds (1/4 tsp) salt and pepper
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 Tbsp (to start) pistachios
Blend, again. Slowly drizzle in 1 C of good olive oil while blender is running. Taste and adjust.
{Homemade Rolls or Bread}
Mix together and proof for 10 minutes:
1 package of yeast
1 C warm water
2 tsp sugar
In a large bowl combine:
3 beaten eggs
1/2 C really soft butter
Mix together, and add 1/2 C sugar. Mix again.
Add yeast mixture, mix with a wooden spoon. Stir in:
4 ½ C flour
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together with a wooden spoon for about 7-8 minutes. Becky said, “Mix until you are is really tired.” Cover with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Let rise in the bowl until truly doubled.
Punch down and shape into rolls (Becky does crescents). Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise until “almost double.” Bake at 350 degrees, and begin checking right around 10 minutes.
For bread: Shape loaves and place in well-buttered pan. Place in the fridge, until you are ready to bake them. Take out and let them rise to double. Bake at 350 degrees, and begin checking around 25 minutes – until golden brown.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Quinoa Makes Me Happy

I, recently, had a quinoa salad at a playdate that was so yummy, I decided to give it another go at home. Previously, quinoa didn't fly in our house. Maybe, because the first recipe I tried didn't mention rinsing the quinoa to wash away the bitter taste.
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY: You must wash quinoa before you cook it, or it will be extremely bitter and no one will want to eat it!
My first attempt, was a Southwest Quinoa Salad. Next up, I'm thinking Greek, or really any flavor combination you may like. Quinoa is a very versatile grain that could even be substituted for rice in a lot of dishes.

{Southwest Quinoa Salad}
adapted from this recipe
1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed well and drained
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 can (15 oz.) reduced-sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed, or drained canned corn
1/3 red bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons red onion, finely minced
salt & pepper, to taste
avocado, sliced or diced

Rinse quinoa well. Bring quinoa, 1 C of water and a pinch of salt to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes, or until water is absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, mix together lime juice, oil and cumin. Whisk to combine. Add in slightly cooled quinoa and remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with butter lettuce for wrapping, or in a bowl. Top each serving with fresh avocado.


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