Saturday, June 27, 2015

Quinoa, Beet, and Arugula Salad


I ran across this wonderful quinoa salad while looking for a home for some leftover arugula.  It delicious, healthy, and beautiful (and would look fabulous on your Christmas table).

I do loves me roasted beets and so this was a wonderful excuse to pick up a big batch.  The original recipe (http://allrecipes.com/search/default.aspx?qt=k&wt=quinoa%2c%20beet%2c%20and%20arugula%20salad&rt=r&origin=Home%20Page) instructs you to slice and them steam the beets, but I find it easier to bake them like you would a russet potato.  I had some mighty big ones, so I baked them at 350F for about 70 minutes.  Obviously less if you are using smaller beets.  Or take a look at the original recipe and steam them as directed if only cooking one or two small beets.

Also, the recipe calls for red quinoa, but regular quinoa will taste no differently.  But the red does add to the bright colors of the salad.

Goat cheese is added to lend a luscious creaminess to the earthy quinoa and peppery arugula.  I halved this recipe.

QUINOA, BEET, and ARUGULA SALAD (6 servings)

1/2 pound beets
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 cup EVOO
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp minced fresh garlic
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 green onions, sliced
3 oz arugula, chopped
5 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Cut the ends off of the beets.  Wrap in aluminum foil.  Bake in oven at a temperature you would as if baking a potato.  Check at about 45 minutes and every 10 minutes after until a sharp knife goes in and out easily.  Remove from oven, unwrap and let cool to room temp. Peel and dice.

Bring quinoa and 2 cups water in a saucepan over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, whisk olive oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, garlic, S&P together in a large bowl.

Remove quinoa from heat, then immediately add half of the vinegar dressing while fluffing the quinoa with a fork; reserve remaining dressing.  Cover and refrigerate quinoa until cool, at least 1 hour.

Stir green onions, arugula, goat cheese, beets, and remaining dressing into cooled quinoa mixture.  Toss lightly before servings.

Recipe Source: www.allrecipes.com



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fiery Fish Tacos with Crunchy Corn Salsa


Fish or shrimp tacos....always a great summer dish and so many variations with just about any salsa combination you could imagine.  I loved the crunch of the jicama and the wonderful addition of arugula.  And, still, the incredible summer sweet corn bonanza continues!  Sweet corn cut right of the cob....so crunchy.

This original recipe calls for a seasoning of S&P and a bit of cayenne, I substituted Southwest seasoning found in the spice aisle.  It also calls for sour cream, but Jim doesn't like that so I substituted guacamole.  Or use both.  I served these with a side dish of refried beans and Spanish rice.  Also, this recommends using two corn tortillas per tacos, not one.  Absolutely do this.  There is no way a single tortilla would not have disintegrated.  Or, you could use one soft corn and one hard corn tortilla (I use some of the refried beans to "glue" them together.)  Or if you prefer flour tortillas, use those.

FIERY FISH TACOS with CRUNCH CORN SALSA (6 servings)

6 (4 oz) tilapia (or other mild, white fish) fillets
1 cup fresh corn kernels, cut off of the cob
1 cup peeled and diced jicama
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 to 1 cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves, optional (or substitute a bit of chopped parsley for color)
1 1/2 cups packed baby arugula leaves
1 lime, zested and juiced (2 Tbsp juice)
24 (6") corn tortillas, warmed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 to 2 tsp cayenne, to taste, optional
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 cup sour cream, optional
guacamole, optional

Preheat a grill on high.  Lightly oil grate.

Mix together corn, jicama, red onion, bell pepper, cilantro, arugula, and lime zest and juice in a bowl.  Toss to combine.

Make 12 stacks of 2 tortillas each.

Combine S&P and cayenne (or any seasoning you're using).  Slice fish fillets lengthwise between thinner and thicker halves,  Brush with oil and sprinkle with spice mixture.  Grill thicker halves until just cooked through, 3 minutes per side. 

Grill thinner halves 1 1/2 minutes per side.  Top each taco with half a fillet, 2 tsp sour cream and/or guacamole, and 1/4 cup salsa.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fiery-Fish-Tacos-with-Crunchy-Corn-Salsa/Detail.aspx?event8=1&prop24=SR_Title&e11=fiery%20fish%20tacos%20with%20crunchy%20corn%20salsa&e8=Quick%20Search&event10=1&e7=Home%20Page&soid=sr_results_p1i1

Monday, June 22, 2015

Creamy Horseradish Pork



Thank you (again) Publix!  They have some wonderful recipes, and easy, too (see http://www.publix.com/recipes-planning).

We're not big beef/pork eaters here, but when something is on a really good sale, I'll pick something up.  I had a pork tenderloin to use in my freezer-emptying challenge.  Loving horseradish and mustard, I saw this recipe and had to try it.  

One of my problems with pork is that it is so usually so dry.  Not this one.  You don't even need a knife.  It is so moist and tender.

A note: The tenderloins we get are generally 2 one-pound tenderloins packaged together and so when I get them home, I'll separate them and freeze them separately (since I generally cook for just two).  

CREAMY HORSERADISH PORK (4 servings)

1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 Tbsp prepared horseradish
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, optional (or a lesser amount)
1 Tbsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp half-and-half

Cut pork into 1" thick medallions; season with S&P (wash hands).  Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Place oil in pan, them add pork in single layer; cook 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned.  Remove pork from pan.

Add broth to pan and butter to a boil.  Whisk in horseradish, mustard, and red pepper (if using); cook 3-4 minutes or until slightly reduced.  Meanwhile, chop chives.

Remove pan from heat; whisk in butter, half-and-half, and chives.  Return pork to pan and reduce to low; cook 1-2 more minutes or until pork is 145F.  Serve.

Recipe Source: http://www.publix.com/recipes-planning/aprons-simple-meals/creamy-horseradish-pork-with-sauteed-brussels-sprouts



Friday, June 19, 2015

Roasted Shrimp Salad


This is probably my #1 favorite (and most often prepared) summer entree salad.  I've been making this for years and it's one of the few things I look forward to in the summer.  I first ran across this Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa) recipe when I stumbled on an article about roasting shrimp.  Since then, it's about the only way I'll cook shrimp (outside of a sauteeing recipe).  Roasting the shrimp gives it so much flavor and only takes a couple of minutes (be sure to watch it....you don't want overcooked, rubbery shrimp).

Also, the original recipe calls for using freshly squeezed orange juice and zest, but you could probably use lemon or lime.  I've never tried it, though, because I just love the orange flavor with the shrimp.  And I'm really lucky this year, my herb garden is growing like wild fire!  I've never had this much dill and I'm lovin' it.

I've reduced the original recipe down to serve just two, but you can see the original recipe here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-shrimp-salad-recipe.html.  Also, I used smaller 26/30 shrimp taking about 3 minutes to roast.  If you used a different sized shrimp, be sure to adjust the cooking times accordingly.  And I use less than 1/2 of the original dressing, so I've cut the mayo amount in half.

ROASTED SHRIMP SALAD (2 servings)

12 oz uncooked shrimp, shelled (I use 26/30 size)
EVOO
Black pepper
1/2 Tbsp orange zest, about 1 orange
1 Tbsp freshly-squeezed orange juice (zest the orange first, and then juice)
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp fresh chopped fill
1 Tbsp capers, drained
1 Tbsp small-minced red onion

Preheat oven to 400F.

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with pepper (I omit the salt because the shrimp is salty enough for me).

Place them on a sheet pan (cover with aluminum foil for easier cleanup).  Depending on size, roast the shrimp (26/30s take about 3 minutes....larger 12/15s may take 6-8 minutes, smaller shrimp would take less time).  Allow to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the may, zest, juice, vinegar and S&P to taste.  Add cooled shrimp and toss.  Add the dill, capers, and red onion and toss well.  The flavors will improve if you allow the salad to sit at room temp for 30 minutes.  Otherwise, chill then serve at room temp.

Recipe Source:  Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Summer Orange Salad


Oops-a-mickey!  Camera problems.....I loaded a couple of new photos and somehow they didn't transfer to my photo gallery.  I have just a couple of more go-to summer dishes that I rely on all season (over and over again!) to post then I can get back to some new stuff.

This is a fabulous side salad to serve with just about any grilled dish.....fish, chicken, or whatever you like.  It's a really simple, few ingredient salad which I always have everything on hand (make the almonds ahead of time....enough to last for the summer....and keep them in the freezer.  The dressing will also keep for months.)  I serve this at least once a week during these dreadful hot, humid summer nights.  Keep a can of mandarins on hand and you should be set to go.

SUMMER ORANGE SALAD (serves 2)

Salad:
1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
thinly sliced or chopped red onion (to taste)
mandarin oranges (I had an 11 oz can, but only used half and saved the other half in the frig for the next batch)

Sugared Almonds:
6 oz slivered almonds
4-5 Tbsp sugar

Dressing:
1 tsp grated orange peel
1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or use the juice from the can of mandarin oranges)
1 Tbsp Good Seasonings Dry Italian Dressing mix
3/4 to 1 cup canola oil
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar

Heat a large non-stick saute pan on medium heat (I used #6 on my smooth-top stove) until hot.  Add almonds and sugar and stir continuously until sugar melts.  I poured mine onto some Reynold's Non-Stick Aluminum Paper (you can use regular aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray).  Let cool.  You will not need all of these almonds for 2 servings.  Put remaining almonds in a humidity-free container and store in the fridge or freezer.

Combine dressing ingredients.  Whisk or shake until combined.

Toss diced lettuce, onions, oranges, and almonds.  Dress with dressing.  If using as an entree salad, sliced some grilled chicken and fan it out. 

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Panzanella


I still can't believe this is one of my favorite go-to summer dinners.  I'm not a big fan of sweet peppers, but once when I worked at a restaurant in Minnesota, the owner made this one of her specials (an Ina Garten "The Barefoot Contessa" recipe).  When I came in the next morning, I had a couple of bites and couldn't believe how much I loved it!  Ten years later, I'm still making it, usually a couple of times of month during the summer.  It's a beautiful, healthy, light dinner to make when Jim has been out working in the hot, humid yard all day long.

Personally, there are three ingredients that are most important to me:  a good baguette (I always use Panera since it's available coast-to-coast and you can always count on its uniformity), pickling cucumbers (versus regular large cucumbers), since they are sweeter, crisper, and don't have those chewy seeds in those big honkin' cukes stores tend to stock, and grape tomatoes, since they have the traditional tomato flavor and available year-around.

One other thing, I tend to buy the packages of mini sweet peppers (you can find them at Aldi's for much less than at your local grocer) and so you don't have to spend a small fortune on one red, one orange, and one yellow pepper.  Just kinda figure out how many small peppers might equal one regular-sized one.  This is a real "guesstimate."  Adjust the ingredients to your liking.

PANZANELLA (4 entree servings)


Croutons:
Cube one baguette.  In Dutch oven, add olive oil to coat the bottom and add kosher salt.  Add bread cubes (you may need to do several batches) and continue to stir until croutons are browned.

Salad:
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
5-6 pickling cucumbers (I strip 3-4 strips of the peel off, then cut the cuke into 4 lengthwise cuts, then dice) or 1 diced English cucumber
1 red, orange, and yellow sweet pepper, diced
2 semi-thick slices of red onion, diced
about 20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp capers

Vinaigrette:
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
3 Tbsp champagne or white wine vinegar
1/2 cup EVOO
S&P

When ready to serve, mix all of the vegetables with the croutons and vinaigrette. 

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/panzanella-recipe.html

Friday, June 12, 2015

Capellini Pomodoro


This is a knock-off of an Olive Garden menu item we used to order when we lived in Florida.  We tried it in a couple of other states and it was never as good, so I came up with this recipe that was like the original.

A great summertime pasta dish and oh-so-quick-and-easy!  It's not a hearty pasta dish since you'll use angel hair pasta with just a few ingredients, including some fresh basil from your herb garden.

Serve it with a Caesar salad and a baguette for a perfect light dinner on a hot summer night.

CAPELLINI POMODORO (4 servings)

8 to 12 oz angel-hair pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 (14.5 oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup onion, diced small, or more to taste
1-2 tsp minced fresh garlic
chopped fresh basil, to taste
EVOO
salt, optional
Parmesan or Asiago cheese, grated

Saute onions until they begin to soften.  At about the last minute, add garlic and stir until fragrant.  Add tomatoes and basil.  Heat throughout.

Drizzle cooked pasta with olive oil and salt to taste.  Top pasta with tomato mixture.  Add grated cheese.