Category Archives: meal ideas

Baked Chicken over Red Quinoa and Asparagus, Dandelion and Fennel Salad

I’ve turned into a quinoa lover and I might as well grow my armpit hair. Did I just say that? :o)

Nothing against armpit hair but I have everything against not discovering quinoa, its tiny pearls that release a nutty and grainy flavor to the bite. They are versatile and may be used as a substitute for rice. Its low glycemic index even allows unlimited consumption in some diets. To top it all off, it’s an excellent source of vegan protein, lysine, calcium, phosphorus, and iron. That is hard to beat in a grain.

Red quinoa (keen-wah) has South American origins, the Incans considering it ‘the mother of all grains’ and regarding it highly enough that it threatened European colonizers who prohibited its cultivation and ordered the Incans to grow wheat instead. Seriously. (More quinoa info here).

Red Quinoa and Asparagus
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup asparagus stems cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1 teaspoon olive oil
Salt to taste

Prepare quinoa by boiling 1 cup water then adding the quinoa. Turn the heat down for 15 minutes, adding asparagus in the last 3.Quinoa is cooked when it turns slightly transparent and the tails become visible. Season with salt and olive oil.

Baked Chicken

4 lean chicken pieces (I like Murray’s Organic, the pieces are small and tasty)
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper

Marinate chicken in lemon juice, salt and pepper overnight. Pat dry and arrange in a greased baking dish and bake in a pre-heated oven at 400C for 45 minutes, then brown in broiler for 3-5 minutes.

Dandelion Leaves and Fennel Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

1/2 medium fennel bulb, slivered
1 bunch dandelion leaves, cut into salad pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Ground pepper

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, sugar, sald and pepper to make lemon vinaigrette. Toss with fennel and dandelion and serve promptly.

Truffled Pumpkin Ravioli, Rapini with Red Pepper Flakes

I know it’s cheating. How dare I use pre-made ravioli and then have the audacity to write about it in my blog? Because I can, and because it’s good!

Rising Moon Organic Ravioli (Food Coop, ~$3) is a neatly packaged meal for two on those evenings you need a quick dinner without succumbing to take-out. That doesn’t mean it has to be tasteless and devoid of imagination.

I steamed the rapini (broccoli rabe) in water with a teaspoon of salt (this breaks the bitterness), drained it and mixed in lemon juice and olive oil, then sprinkled pepper flakes.

We cooked the ravioli according to package instructions, and added a secret ingredient that makes most things divine: truffle oil!

Plated nicely this was a nice meal over even nicer conversation.I definitely loved the little firm pillows of squash love.


In Vermont, We Ate

President’s Weekend marks the annual ski trip we take with friends, the word “ski” used loosely as this is really more a showcase of food and drink.This year’s group was not that big, just two couples and a baby, so we were able to have the luxury of cooking in small batches as opposed to the usual stock pot designed to serve ten or more.

Shakshuka AKA Delicious – Eggs poached in tomato, chickpeas, feta.

Aside from good Vermont snow we shared a lot of genuine conversation not usually afforded by bigger groups. Oh, and the food!

Here is the spread (more photos and recipes when you click the caption links):

Baked Bronzino (click for recipe)

Short Rib Adobo (click for recipe)

Steamed Choysum with Sauteed Ginger

Adobo Fried Rice and Sauteed Eggs (click for recipe)
Kale Salad (click for recipe)

More sopressata, grape tomatoes, cheese.

Vietnamese Summer Rolls (click for recipe)

Beef Nilaga (click for recipe)

Filipino Cuisine 101: Lumpia, Munggo, Adobo, Talong, Ube

“What should we feed them?” I asked about our next door neighbors we invited over for dinner. It was our first time having them over, and if we’ve never fed someone before, we try to gauge the kind of people we are about to feed. Do they seem picky? Are they are adventurous enough to not wrinkle their nose at the mention of fish sauce? We had an idea but were uncertain. So as a precaution, I asked about any dietary restrictions. 
“None. Chef’s choice. Thanks for asking!” was the reply. That was music to our ears, so we decided on what it was going to be: Filipino Cuisine 101. 
What happened to the dinner? Our neighbors confessed that they’ve secretly enjoyed the cooking aromas coming from our door every night. They ate heartily, and those are the kinds of eaters I love to feed. Now we can move past 101 and maybe on over to 102 or another foreign cuisine. 
For now we’ll present the basics.  The captions link to each dish’s recipe. Enjoy!
Lumpiang Toge (Fried Bean Sprout Spring Roll)
Recipe and photos here.
 Ginisang Munggo (Mung Bean Soup)
Recipe and photos here.

Crispy Pork Belly Adobo.  
Recipe and photos here.
“Inihaw” Na Talong (Grilled Eggplant). 
Recipe and photos here.
Main Course: Adobo and Eggplant
Baked Ube (Purple Yam) and Vanilla Ice Cream.
Recipe and photos here.

Crispy Salmon Fish Tacos

Dinner under thirty minutes? Try something that pretty much just needs a few minutes’ cooking and some assembly. 
This fish taco contains crispy pan fried salmon fillet, tomatoes, caramelized onions, red cabbage, cilantro, and cheese.
Boneless salmon fillets. Have I told you about the little known fish and seafood section of Fresh Direct? I’ll elaborate soon in another post.

In a small pan, saute one medium yellow onion in olive oil until soft.
Beat one egg in a bowl and set aside. Pour some panko onto a plate.
Dip the fish in egg, making sure to soak all sides.
Dip the fish in panko until completely covered. 
Pan fry in olive oil on medium heat for about 3 minutes on each side.
Sear skin on high for one minute to make it crispy.
Here we have two crispy salmon fillets, whole wheat tortillas and 
Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam cheese.
I also chopped up some red cabbage and cilantro.
Sauteed onions, chopped tomatoes and lime.
Fillings and wraps, Greek yogurt.
We were going to try this Conchy Joe’s Hot Pepper Sauce from the Bahamas 
but sadly lost the battle. I used Frank Red Hot Chili Lime instead.
Smear some yogurt on a tortilla.
Put a piece of salmon, making sure to get some crispy skin!
Break it up into pieces with a fork.
Add your desired fillings.
Squeeze some lime juice and dash some hot sauce.
And you’re done! Light, healthy and a perfect combination of flavor and crunch.
Need I say it’s pretty too?  Delicioso! 
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