Garlic Mushroom Quinoa

June 2, 2016

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I was motivated to create this post because of a work potluck. This is also reason enough to post a recipe.

Quinoa is one of my most favorite dishes to make.  I’ve made so many variations over the years, I’ve lost count, but I always come back to this version-  Earthy and savoury.  Adding a dash of dill gives it a “zing”, for lack of a better term.  Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, approves so I can’t be too far off. Let’s see how it pans out at work.  Give it a try.  Let me know what you think. 

3 cups slices baby Bella Mushrooms
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of thyme
3 tblsp of unsalted butter (1 tblsp as needed)
1 cup of quinoa
3 cups of vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of dill (optional)

In a large sauce pan sautee mushrooms, shallot, garlic, butter and thyme over medium heat, covered for 10 mins. Uncover, stir and reduce heat to low until ingredients softened. Remove from heat, set aside.

While your sauteeing, prepare 3 cups vegetable broth ( of your choosing ) over medium heat. Bring to slight simmer, stir remove from heat, set aside.

Bring veggie mixture back up to temp over medium heat, and add quinoa carefully stirring. If you need more butter, add one tablespoon.  Continue to stir ingredients carefully over medium heat, making sure to scrap the bottom of the pan as to avoid sticking.  The key is to toast the quinoa, not burn it. You will notice a slight popping and browning. It’s perfectly OK. Once ingredients have been properly mixed, reduce heat to low. Slowly pour in vegetable broth. Be careful, as there may be splash.  Bring heat back to medium and then to boil. Cover reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 mins.

Remove from heat, uncover and add salt and pepper to taste. A pinch of dill is optional for more flavor. Fluff with a fork. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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WeRideOut

Goals, get some!

Today, I vow to go on a spending diet.  A spending diet requires that I reduce unnecessary spending, while making gains.  I am only to spend money if ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY includes the following:

  1. Rent
  2. Bills
  3. Sam Winchester Things (Cat Food, Cat Treats, Emergencies)
  4. Human Things (Groceries, Self-Maintenance, Emergencies)
  5. 1 – 2 Records per week (Music is the answer)

This list is rigid.  I have to stick to it.  The thing is, I don’t want to put too many constraints on myself. Constraints or unnattainable goal setting  can lead to not following-through.  In two weeks I start my “traveling about” time; an overnight in The Emerald and a weekender in The Rose.  That said, I need to make sure that I have monies in place with little to no worry.  Little to no worry means Bills paid on time, Savings accruing funds all while Traveling and experiencing life and people.

The next catch to this is……I have to blog about it everyday.  Well, this is actually a dual requirement.  While, I probably won’t go on a tangent about how I didn’t go get donuts this morning (saved $2.50), I’ll probably get back to my original programming….music, recipes, ramblings….I think this “goals thing” will be a ramble :).  Here’s to sticking to it.

The Quick Buttermilk Biscuit

November 24, 2013

....this non-yeast biscuit is sure to be a hit this holiday season!

….this non-yeast biscuit is sure to be a hit this holiday season!

It’s that time of year again, where the temp begins to fall, the days run shorter and I cannot seem to stay out of the kitchen. I don’t get home to family as often as I should, so I try to bring the family holiday cooking my way, with my own spin.

This go-around, I’m caught in a baking spiral. One day, a cranberry coffee cake sprang from the oven, the next there were sweet potato muffins, the next a sweet potato pie and all in-between, biscuits began marching throughout my apartment. Yes, biscuits. I couldn’t stop making them and why not? This recipe is easy to manage and who can’t resist the smell of baking buttermilk biscuits direct from the oven.

Now don’t fret, as the title says, this is a quick recipe. I emphasize the word “quick” as also meaning relatively “easy”. This kind of biscuit uses baking powder (instead of yeast) in order to reach the process of leavening. Go on, give it a try. This will truly come in handy during the holidays for sure. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 cups of flour
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of garlic powder (optional)
3 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of baking soda
6 tbsps of unsalted butter
7/8 cup of buttermilk (just bit shy of a cup)

Preparation

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2) Place all dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together. Add butter in pieces to dry ingredients. Begin mixing butter with dry ingredients using either your hands or a wooden spoon until butter is evenly distributed. As a tip, make sure the butter is cold but not too cold. Take the amount of butter you wish to use out of the fridge prior to its use. This allows the butter to soften a bit and still retain its temperature/shape for proper use in baking.

3) Next, with a wooden spoon begin to slowly stir in buttermilk until the mixture starts to take shape. At this stage, don’t be afraid to get hands-on. With your hands, begin working the dough and kneading it, finally rolling it into a ball. Need a bit more moisture? keep about of 1/4 of a cup of extra milk near. Too much moisture? Keep 1/4 cup of extra flour near. Add accordingly as you see fit. The dough should hold up pretty firm and should not be sticky or too dry.

4) Take dough and roll out (rolling pin preferred or an unopened wine bottle will do the trick) onto a clean surface lightly dusted with flour. Once rolled out, cut circles using dough cutter or the mouth of a clean glass.

5) Place cut dough onto a baking sheet (non-greased, mind you). Re-roll, re-cut and repeat step 5 for any leftover dough.

6) Bake for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown….I usually smell the biscuits and notice the golden brown well before I think of the time! Hint: They make for excellent breakfast sandwiches!

Curry Lentils with chopped Spinach and Greek Yogurt

Hello and we are back. After a much needed sabbatical from all things domestic and somewhat stifling, we have returned to keep this little train going. As the seasons begin to change here in the lovely Pacific Northwest, there becomes a need for comfort food. I’d even go further to say, it’s just not a need but a requirement. The leaves begin to change their color, the wind becomes a bit more brisk and the sun begins to take its leave much earlier in the day. Tis the season for “crockery” and man-oh-man is this a nice recipe to break in the ole slow cooker. Enjoy!

Ingredients

2 1/2 cups of lentils, washed and drained
2 carrots sliced about 1/2 inch (bite size)
2 celery stalks sliced about 1/2 inch (bite size)
8 cups of salt-free vegetable stock
3 crushed cardamom pods
4 tsps of curry powder
1 tsp of sea salt
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
2 cups of chopped spinach
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

Preparation

Place all ingredients in your crockpot except for tomatoes, spinach and yogurt. These items will be added close to the end of the cooking time and final serving presentation, but we’ll get to that later. Set crockpot to low and let slow cook for 7-8 hours. Make sure to stir all ingredients well in pot to allow for even distribution of natural flavors, herbs and spices. About 10-20 minutes before your dish is complete, stir in diced tomatoes and let slow cook for another 10 minutes, making sure, once again, to stir all ingredients together to marry the flavors. Once done, distribute in bowls (don’t forget to remove any left over bay leaves or cardamom pods) and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a garnish of chopped spinach. This dish will warm and tantalize your taste buds and may have you going back for seconds! Fall is upon us…go forth with your crockpot!

Gluten-free moist strawberry goodness

Over the course of 4-5 months now, we’ve adopted a meatless and somewhat gluten-free diet. One area of concern in choosing this new way of eating was the loss of flavor. Is it possible to successfully exchange certain ingredients without compromising the result? Let’s be honest here, using new ingredients in order to make delicious versions of your favorite recipes can be very intimidating and oftentimes daunting. I happen to have a sweet tooth, so this becomes even more of a challenge. DAK (real names not used here) ran across a recipe for a gluten-free strawberry swirl cake and of course we made a few adjustments and changes. The cake is not only amazing, but super moist and extremely yummy. You honestly can’t have just one slice. Topped with no-fat Greek yogurt and a bit of strawberry swirl glaze…I have no words. Sometimes gluten-free desserts ain’t all that bad. Enjoy!

Ingredients

Cake
2 cups white or brown rice flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tblsp gluten-free baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1 cup strawberry swirl (2 cups frozen berries and 2/3 cup sugar, reduced by 1/4 to 1/3)
2 eggs
1/2 cup no fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup canola oil

Strawberry Swirl
2 cups frozen strawberries
2/3 cups of sugar

Preparation

Simmer strawberries and sugar until reduced by 1/4 to 1/3. Cool. In a medium mixing bowl, sift or whisk all dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. In a separate medium mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla paste, oil, 1 cup swirl and yogurt, and combine with the dry ingredients, set bowl aside. Pour the cake batter into a greased (or use cooking spray) 9-inch round spring-form cake pan. Pour 1/2 cup swirl on top of batter. Swirl in with butter knife. Bake at 400 F (approximately 200 C) for 30-35 minutes, until center of cake springs back when touched, or tooth-pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean and allow to set and cool. Slice, add a dollop of no fat Greek yogurt and drizzle remaining strawberry swirl. Serve it up. Deliciously moist!

...you seriously can't just have one slice of this deliciousness

4 cheeses and earthy black truffle oil...yummy!

I made this dish for a Thanksgiving gathering in 2010. I kept meaning to post the recipe and in all honesty with the holidays, it completely slipped my mind. The other day my cousin asked for a Mac & Cheese recipe and I immediately remembered what I had forgotten – Doh! Black Truffle Macaroni & Cheese. I found this recipe some time ago and as always tend to change up the steps to suit my own tastes. I combined four cheeses (which includes the complexity of blue cheese), bechamel sauce and the earthy depths of black truffle oil. I have not been so lucky as to get my hands on a real truffle as I understand they are extremely expensive but the oil has always done me quite well. So give this recipe a whirl if you are so inclined. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 ounces (2 cups) dry elbow macaroni
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded American cheese
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Cheddar
4 ounces (1 cup) shredded Swiss cheese
Up to 2 ounces ( 1/2 cup) crumbled blue cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Tabasco
1 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bread crumbs
Black truffle oil, to taste

Preparation

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, melt the butter, then whisk in the flour, stirring for several minutes to “cook” the flour and eliminate its raw taste. Slowly pour in the milk and cream, whisking constantly. Next add grated nutmeg and whisky until evenly distributed. Bring the sauce to a simmer while whisking regularly so it does not stick. Simmer for 30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

While the sauce is simmering, cook the macaroni according to package directions until al dente. Run cold water over the pasta to stop its cooking, drain and set aside.

When the sauce is ready, remove it from the heat and stir in the cheeses, Worcestershire, Tabasco and a bit more of black truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir over medium-low heat to warm the dish through. Pour into an oven-proof dish and top with bread crumbs a bit more cheese if you like and drizzle a bit of truffle oil on top. Broil until golden brown. Lightly drizzle with black truffle oil and serve it up!

Note: You may have noticed that I drizzle a lot of truffle oil. You don’t need much actually, I just like the earthy taste of it. Use it to your taste.
Bonus: This dish tastes even better the next day because all of the flavors will have married quite nicely!

Power Packed Oatmeal

March 3, 2011

a bowl of power packed breakfast oats

Oatmeal is a fairly easy and nutritious breakfast to make, though depending on how it’s prepared will result in how good and nutritious it is. One could make an extremely watery bland bowl or a bowl with so much sugar that it might as well be a candy bar. This easy recipe takes regular rolled oats (fiber) and combines them with walnuts (omega 3’s), dried apricots (fiber), blue berries (antioxidants), and flax seed (omega 3’s) to create a power packed breakfast worthy of trying, adopting and adapting. A bit of vanilla bean paste is used to add to the deliciousness. Don’t like apricots? Try other dried fruits like raisins, currants or cranberries.

Ingredients

1 cup of regular rolled oats
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste or extract
1/4 cup of rough chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup of frozen blueberries
1 tsp of ground flaxseed

Preparation

In a medium sauce pan add 1 cup of water and 1 cinnamon stick and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to medium and add oats and stir for about one minute. Add vanilla bean paste, dried apricots and walnuts and continue to stir until oats until water is reduced and oats have cooked thoroughly. Oats should be easy to stir, not stiff. Turn off heat and immediately portion out your oatmeal in to a bowl. Top oats with blueberries, flaxseed and serve. An easy, low sugar, power packed and delicious bowl of oatmeal makes for a great way to start your day.