Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Goat Cheese Quinoa with Spinach and Pine Nuts

It was one of those days when very little went according to plan and I was *this* close to letting the pizza man handle dinner...

but then I remembered the gorgeous okra and corn on the cob just bought two days ago at the farmers market.  I needed a dinner that incorporated both these purchases.

Oh, and there's that partial bag of spinach I need to use or lose... and that goat cheese I bought with no real plan for its use (I love the stuff and can't help myself sometimes) ... this meal was clearly meant to come together.

Paired with oven-roasted okra and corn on the cob with Old Bay seasoned butter, this was an easy, and delicious, dinner:

1c quinoa, cooked according to pkg. directions
1 TBSP olive oil
3 TBSP pine nuts, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2c spinach leaves, rough chopped
2 TBSP goat cheese, crumbled

1.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

2.  Add pine nuts and garlic, cooking 1 - 2 minutes, until lightly toasted.

3.  Add cooked quinoa and spinach, cooking and stirring occasionally until quinoa is heated through and spinach is wilted.

4.  Remove from heat and fold in cheese.

5.  Garnish with additional 1 TBSP pine nuts and serve warm.

Yields 2 generous portions.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Julia Child's Cream of Spinach Soup

The first female celebrity chef would have been 102 today so it's fitting to showcase this simple but decadent soup.

My husband has been fighting a cold bug for the last few days and I thought a nice, hot soup would soothe his sore throat.  Why spinach?  Honestly, I had a bag of spinach I needed to use fairly soon or lose forever.

I opened Mastering the Art of French Cooking to page 43 where I found a recipe for Potage Creme d'Epinards (Cream of Spinach Soup) described in the book as, "...a lovely soup, and perfect for an important dinner."  Sounded good to me so I decided to give it a try and the resulting soup was a definite winner!

Side note: I love the way this recipe is written..."enrichment butter," "off heat" etc. - so charming.

Here's Mrs. Child's exact recipe, in case you don't have the book:

1/3 cup minced green onions, or yellow onions
3 Tbsp butter
3-4 packed cups of fresh spinach cut into chiffonade (thin slices)
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp flour (I used 5 Tbsp total for a thicker soup, your preference)
5 1/2 cups boiling white stock or chicken broth
2 eggs yolks
1/2 cup whipping cream
1-2 Tbsp butter

1. Cook the onions slowly in the butter in a covered saucepan for 5 to 10 minutes, until tender and translucent but not browned.

2. Stir in spinach and salt, cover, and cook slowly for about 5 minutes or until the leaves are tender and wilted.

3. Sprinkle in the flour and stir over moderate heat for 3 minutes.

4. Off heat, beat in the boiling stock. Simmer for 5 minutes. *If not to be served immediately, set aside uncovered. Reheat to simmer before proceeding.

5. Blend the yolks and cream in the mixing bowl. Beat a cupful of hot soup into them by driblets. Gradually beat in the rest of the soup in a thin stream. Return soup to saucepan and stir over moderate heat for a minute or two to peach the egg yolks, but do not bring the soup to a simmer. Off heat, stir in the enrichment butter a tablespoon at a time.

I made the usual vegetarian and vegan substitutes for all but the egg yolks:

This recipe is not complicated but I still had lots of help.  My littlest chef-in-training takes her job very seriously.  :)


Serve hot with garlic bread.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Spicy and Savory Thousand Island Dressing

Trust me, once you make this for yourself, you won't ever want to go back to that sugary sweet stuff in a bottle!  It's super easy to throw together and absolutely perfect for Reuben sandwiches.

1/2c mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise)
1/4c ketchup
1 TBSP dill pickle relish
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp chili powder

1.  Stir everything together in a small mixing bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.

Good stuff!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Meatless Muffuletta

I love muffulettas!  There is just something about the briny olives and cheesy combo that I find dangerously addicting.

The original plan with this recipe was to try adding a little fresh oregano but when I went to the garden, I discovered someone had eaten every bit of what used to be a rather large plant - all the way down to the ground!  Herbs are disappearing like crazy this year and we haven't caught the culprit yet.  So, no oregano, but still delicious.

1c kalamata olives
1c green olives
3 cloves garlic
1/2c fresh basil
1/4c olive oil
4 slices provolone
4 slices mozzarella
medium size Italian bread round

1.  In a food processor, add kalamata olives, green olives, garlic cloves, fresh basil, and olive oil.  Chop to a chunky texture.  Refrigerate for an hour or two, or until ready to use (within 24 hours).

2.  Slice Italian round lengthwise and layer alternating olive salad and cheeses.

3.  Place in a 350° oven for a few minutes; just enough to soften the cheese.  Cut into quarters and serve.


The olive salad is also yummy for snacking with crackers!


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