Monthly Archives: January 2012

Refreshing Citrus Quinoa

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Citrus Quinoa

Quinoa is a nice change of pace from rice, and I like that it is a ‘complete protein’ food.  A friend sent me this recipe for Citrus Quinoa a year ago, but when she recently couldn’t find the recipe and went into a mild panic, I knew I had to try it.  It is bright and refreshing with the zest of lemon, lime, and orange, and the honey is amazing with all this citrus.  I decided to add the juice of the orange I had zested, and also reserved some of the zest to sprinkle on at the end.

I used Ancient Harvest Quinoa in this recipe, as you can buy it pre-rinsed.

Slow Cooker Attempt #1

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Slow Cooker Potato Rosemary Soup

There have been several crock pot cooking pages popping up on Facebook lately, and the Rosemary Potato Soup recipe finally motivated me enough to dust off my old slow cooker and give it a whirl.  I followed the recipe exactly, except at the end, where instead of adding extra rosemary, I drizzled on a little rosemary olive oil (more on this in a later post) and parmesan cheese.  The flavors were great, but I found the texture to be a bit gluey (like a cross between soup and mashed potatoes?) — perhaps because my slow cooker does not have a “low” setting.  I will be heating up the leftover soup with extra stock to thin it out.  But given I haven’t used the appliance in many years, and because my daughter Samantha was quite happy with the meal (potatoes and rosemary are two of her favorite things), I will chalk this up as a crock pot learning experience.  Now, I’m off to put up some wallpaper with that extra soup.

Have Anchovies, Will Cook

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Caesar Salad with Garlic and Herb Croutons

I love a good steakhouse-style caesar salad.  And buttery homemade croutons just seal the deal.  My wonderful sister-in-law gave me Allison Fishman’s cookbook, “You Can Trust a Skinny Cook” for Christmas, and I have since been drooling over her Caesar Salad with Garlic and Herb Croutons recipe and contemplating whether I’m willing to try cooking with anchovies.  I finally decided that anchovy paste was a do-able starting point.  It took me several shopping trips to actually find anchovy paste, so now I was really ready to try out this recipe.  It was worth the wait — absolutely amazing caesar dressing with all the fresh garlic and parmesan, and equally amazing garlicky croutons.

Heavenly Tomatoes

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Heavenly Villagio Mini San Marzanos

San Marzano tomatoes are such a treat. More expensive than standard canned tomatoes, they are known for being very sweet. I had never seen fresh San Marzanos until this week, when I found these gorgeous Heavenly Villagio Mini San Marzanos at Central Market. They are bigger than grape tomatoes but smaller than plum tomatoes, in the shape of miniature pears.

While delicious raw, I didn’t find they tasted that different from my favorite cherub tomatoes, but they did have fewer seeds. Cooking the tomatoes definitely brought out the sweetness — I used them sliced on a pizza, and then tried roasting them in the oven with garlic and basil-infused olive oil before tossing with ravioli. I will be seeking these out again when it is time to make panzanella salad in the summer!

San Marzano & Chicken Pizza

Ravioli with Roasted San Marzanos & Garlic

More Carrots for Breakfast Please

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Cinnamon-Carrot Muffins

Confession:  I love to bake with vegetables.  This doesn’t always thrill my kids, but the Cinnamon-Carrot Muffins from Whole Living magazine are a new favorite.  I decided to make them for Lauren, my four-year old carrot-lover, but my older daughter gobbled them up too.  The muffins are reasonable in terms of sugar, and two cups of grated carrots really boost the health factor.  And if you grate the carrots by hand like I did, you will get an unexpected arm workout as a bonus.

A Healthier Fried Rice

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Fried Brown Rice with Edamame

Fried Brown Rice with Edamame was a super-easy and quick dinner and made for great leftovers (who doesn’t love leftover Chinese food?).  You start with a bag of cooked brown rice and add healthy pre-packed produce like coleslaw mix and shelled edamame.  It was literally ready in 5 minutes, so it’s hard to even count this as “cooking”.  I found the spice level a bit low, so next time I’ll double the chili-garlic sauce.  And spicy shrimp would be a fantastic addition.

A Linguine By Any Other Name…

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Linguine Vongole

Would be bucatini — my new love.  I have eaten this variety of pasta in Italian restaurants, but had not seen it in the grocery store until recently.  It is part of the new-ish Giada De Laurentiis line at Target, and it is fantastic.  It’s like a very thick spaghetti with a hole running through the middle, so you can imagine the delight of my children when they discovered how much of a mess they could create while eating this food.  I used this bucatini when trying out my second recipe of 2012 — Allison Fishman’s Linguine Vongole from her book, “You Can Trust a Skinny Cook”.  It is a simple and wonderful clam sauce over pasta.  You simply cannot go wrong with garlic, olive oil, and white wine.  Period.