Thursday, February 18, 2010

Quinoa "Taco" Salad

My friend and I take turns making dinner each week. She usually makes something really tasty on Tuesday  and I always beg her for the recipe! I usually get creative (which can be interesting sometimes) on Thursday. Well I was clicking through food gawkers (you've never been? Oh its so fantastic you'll want to make it your homepage!) food gawker and I stumbled upon this recipe: "here" by Katie Goodman.

Anyone new to quinoa? here is some great info on it. Quick health notes: fiber (aids digestion), protein (building block of the entire body!), magnesium (bone, heart, and muscle health), phosphorus (bone health), and manganese (antioxidant, bone, reproductive health).

Lets just say this Thursday's dinner was a huge success!!!!
I used Katie's photo as well, my camera is not the best so if I don't have natural light (like the pics on my previous posts) the food tends to look very yellow. I'm more of a chef than a photographer so I need to keep practicing in that area.

This dish packs a lot of flavor and is very nutritious!! I did make a few changes to the origonal recipe:
  1. I cooked my quinoa in canned diced tomatoes instead of water. (I was lucky and had tomotoes that my parents had grown in their garden and bottled).
  2. I also mixed basil in with the Spinach-Cilantro mix.
  3. I cooked my own black beans and mixed 1/2 cup of salsa with them.
  4. I threw a few dashes of turmeric in my dish as well. It has some excellent health benefits.
Here is the Origonal by Katie Goodman:
•1 cup quinoa
•1 red onion, chopped
•3 cloves garlic, minced
•half a red bell pepper, chopped
•half a green bell pepper, chopped
•half a yellow bell pepper, chopped
•1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
•1/2 teaspoon oregano
•1-2 teaspoons chili powder, depending heat preferences
•dash cayenne pepper
•1 -15 ounce can black beans, drained
•3/4 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
•2 limes
•salt and pepper, to taste
•6-8 ounces baby spinach
•1 bunch cilantro
•1/3 cup feta cheese
•1 avocado, diced
Cook the quinoa according to package instructions. (I cooked mine in diced tomatoes instead of water)
Meanwhile, swirl a bit of olive oil in a saute pan. Heat oil over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for 3-5 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cayenne and peppers and saute an additional 2 minutes.
Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans(I mixed some salsa with mine), tomatoes, and the juice of 1 lime. Stir in quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill.

Roughly cut baby spinach into strips like you would shred iceberg lettuce for tacos. Remove about 1 cup of cilantro leaves from the bunch, rinse and pat dry, and toss with the spinach (I also included some basil). Divide spinach and cilantro mixture evenly among 4 salad plates. Top each plate with a scoop of the quinoa salad.
Top each salad with your choice of cheese (feta was divine and I'll be sticking to it!) and diced avocado. Cut the remaining lime into slices to garnish the plates.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Spicy Salsa!

I love summer for many reasons but one that stands out is that it is salsa time! We like ours hot but you can always add less jalapenos if you need the heat toned down.
The key to salsa is to have everything the same size. Whether you are going for a chunkier salsa or a smooth blend. Just make sure when you dice the ingredients stay consistant.

Spicy Garden Salsa
6 large tomatoes, dice 3 and puree 3 in blender/food processor
1 yellow bell pepper
1 orange bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
3-6 jalapenos seeded
1 small red onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste!

Corn Tortillas!!

Tacos are a favorite around here. The fresh veggies, black beans, and of course we like them spicy!!! Fresh food is a must at our house so grabbing store bought tortillas just doesn't taste the same as hot from the griddle. Mine are simple and healthy, plus cooking them makes the house smell delightful!

Corn Tortillas
First mix together for about 3 minutes, or until it becomes a dough ball:

2 cups Bob's Red Mill Masa Harina (I'm looking into grinding my own because the fresher the better!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/8 cups water

I use a pancake griddle and get it heated up on medium heat. You can also use a skillet.
Then separate the dough into 16-20 equally sized pieces and roll into balls. Cover with plastic wrap so they don't dry out as your roll and cook them.
Grab a bag (not plastic wrap it sticks together, a bread bag works just cut it open) or two sheets of wax paper. Put a ball in the middle of one half of the bag and fold the other half over. I push a heavy bowl down ontop (one that has a flath bottom) to flatten out the ball. Then I proceed to roll out my tortilla. I have a granite rolling pin so it rolls out fast!
Gently pull the plastic off the top of the tortilla and flip it over and pull off the other plastic.
Quickly flop the tortilla onto the griddle or skillet. Once you begin to see some bubbles appear, take yoru spatula and flip it over and let it cook on the other side. Once the other side is a little brown just remove it from the burner. I place mine in a 1 1/2 quart souffle dish and put the lid on to keep the heat in. It's the perfect size!