Monday, April 30, 2012

Vegetable Quinoa Salad

This is a delicious salad that I've made several times now, most recently for a luncheon that I catered.  It paired well with this Watermelon and Citrus Salad with Mint, is perfect for a protein-packed light lunch or dinner, and is also quite good on top of hummus in a pita!

We love it.  I found this and other fabulous recipes compiled in Alisa's FREE eCookbook, Smart School Time Recipes. The recipe is by Marta of Yummy Veggies, and it is a keeper!  My changes are below, in italics.  Incidentally, I quadrupled (or perhaps quintupled??, I've forgotten now) this recipe, and I believe it would have served almost 50 people!  The original recipe says that it serves 4, but with all the vegetables I'd say it serves more.  You decide.  Anyway, the leftovers keep well, so it doesn't matter!

~~~Picture soon!~~~

Yummy Veggie Quinoa Salad

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed (I mince)
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water (or vegetable broth and omit chicken-like seasoning)
1 tablespoon chicken-like seasoning (I found this weird, Vegan wet-sand-like bouillon called "Not Chick'n" and used 1 cube per 2 cups water)
1 cup edamame (soy beans, usually frozen, you'll need to shell them, but if you can find frozen mukimame they're already shelled!)
1 cup frozen corn
1 red onion (I omitted this)
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 to 3 carrots, diced

juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro (optional, but don't use dried)*I omit this
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional, I prefer flat Italian parsley)
1 teaspoon sea salt

Add the 1 tablespoon of olive oil, garlic and dried quinoa to a nonstick skillet (that has a lid).  Allow to brown on medium-high heat for about 2 to 5 minutes.  Add water and chicken-like seasoning and turn to high.  Once it boils, turn heat down and cover.  Allow to cook about 15 minutes (this time keeps the quinoa a bit al dente).  You can add the shelled edamame and corn when you have about 7 minutes left.  Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and remove lid, allowing it to cool.

*I'm not sure if it was the quantity of quinoa I was cooking, but I did need to add about 10 minutes to the cooking time, and even then there was a lot of liquid left...*

Meanwhile, chop up the fresh vegetables and set aside.  Marta likes the vegetables small, and I agree, maybe the size of a kernel of corn, but you can decide how you like it best.  Mix up the dressing (I use a jar with a lid) and set aside.  Once quinoa is cool, toss all together and serve.

*This keeps so well in the refrigerator that it can be prepared a day in advance.  To serve, I garnished with a few sprigs of Italian parsley.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Watermelon and Citrus Salad with Mint

I chose to add this salad to the menu when I had been asked to cater a luncheon.  It seemed like a natural, refreshing fit with the other foods we had chosen.  I decided to try it out in advance, at a brunch after my mil's birthday party.  It was a smashing success!  The salad is so deliciously unexpected and truly beautiful, with colorful fruit and citrus Dijon vinaigrette, everyone loved it!

And again at the luncheon, I've been told that people have been raving about it for days.  So here's the recipe.  It comes from The Bon Appetit Cookbook: Fast Easy Fresh, which so far I highly recommend.  

Isn't this beautiful?  The second time I chopped the watermelon smaller, probably about a 1/2" dice.  Still looks fabulous!  I doubled the recipe both times I made it, using an entire watermelon, and it easily feeds 25+ people as a side dish.  I used mint that I harvested from my garden.  Also, the recipe recommends serving this as individual salads, which would be great, but I think it's much more impressive on a huge platter.  Use a set of salad tongs to serve from a platter.

You can make the dressing a day or two in advance, and I chopped the watermelon, sliced the oranges and onion and washed and trimmed the watercress the night before.  Just store each ingredient of the salad in a separate container until ready to assemble.


Watermelon and Citrus Salad with Mint
 (the book says 6 servings, but I think it would serve more)
"Whole grain mustard is an especially good way to add both flavor and texture to a vinaigrette, but regular Dijon works nicely, too."

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

2 large bunches watercress, thick stems trimmed (I just used kitchen scissors to remove about halfway up the stems)
4 cups 3/4-inch pieces seedless watermelon
4 oranges, peel and white pith removed, each cut into 6 rounds (if the oranges were larger, I cut them into 8 rounds each)
4 thin red onion slices, cut in half and separated
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint

Whisk first 5 ingredients in a small bowl to blend.  Gradually whisk in oil.  Season dressing with salt and pepper.  *(I just measured the dressing ingredients, including olive oil, right into a small jar with a lid.  Stored in the refrigerator until a couple hours before serving, then shook up and poured on the salad!)

MAKE AHEAD:  The dressing can be made 1 day ahead.  Cover and chill.  Bring to room temperature and rewhisk (or shake well!) before using.

Scatter watercress on platter (or divide among 6 plates).  Top watercress on platter or on each plate with watermelon pieces, orange rounds, onion slices and mint (dividing equally if dividing).  Drizzle salad with dressing and serve.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Taste & Create Partner List

It's that time again! Here is the T&C partner list for April! Please remember to submit your creations to Nicole's Taste & Create website by April 24th, 2012!

If you have any questions or problems, check out the How it Works page, or please feel free to email
me at cowgirlmin07 [at] gmail [dot] com. Sorry the list is so small, I'm assuming everyone is busy? Referrals welcome!

Have you heard of Taste & Create? It's a monthly food blog event in which participants are randomly paired off, and must choose and create a recipe from their partner's blog. It is great fun! A picture of everyone's creation and a brief "review" gets posted on the Taste & Create website, linking back to your own blog post. Your photo and link will also be featured on Taste & Create's new facebook page!

If you'd would like to sign up for the NEXT event, please email me by the 8th of the month. You'll be randomly paired with another food blogger, and the fun will begin! And if you know of anyone else who might like to be included, please let them know about our event!

Can't wait to see what you all create!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hash Brown Casserole

Throw together this simple casserole. Then, while it is in the oven, make a tossed green salad and slice some strawberries to make a nice, no-stress spring lunch or dinner. Or, make the casserole and serve it for breakfast with scrambled eggs and sliced strawberries.

Hash Brown Casserole
Serves 8

1 26-ounce bag hash browns
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup minced onion or shallots
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup milk or half-and-half
1/2 cup vegetable, chicken, ham, or beef broth
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. Combine hash browns, shredded cheese, onion, and garlic in a large bowl.
2. In a small bowl, combine milk, broth, melted butter, salt, and pepper.
3. Pour liquid over hash-brown mixture and stir to combine.
4. Spoon hash-brown mixture into a lightly greased 9x13-inch baking dish.
5. Bake in 425°F oven for one hour, stirring at least twice to insure thorough cooking. After baking for one hour, casserole should be golden brown on top. Let sit 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

NOTE: Diced ham or sliced black olives can be added. Recipe is quick and easy to throw together or to make ahead. Leftovers are even better than original.
Blog Widget by LinkWithin