Thursday, July 26, 2012

Strawberry-Orange Spinach Salad

This is based off of a recipe I found a while ago, but by know I have adjusted it into what I like to think of as my own creation. This is a great summertime salad - sweet, fresh, and delicious.

This is enough to serve about four people as a side

Strawberry-Orange Spinach Salad

Four large handfuls of baby spinach
One medium/large orange
8 to 10 good sized strawberries
1/3 C thinly sliced red cabbage (about a fist-sized chunk before slicing)
1/3 C sliced almonds
1/4 C freshly shredded cheese (I use Parmesan)

These measurements are total estimates - I usually just pour in about what look right.

3 Tbs white wine vinegar
3 Tbs orange juice
2 tsp dijon mustard (maybe a Tbs)
~ 1 Tbs olive oil

Combine all of the ingredients in a salad shaker bottle or a shallow bowl. Shake or whisk to combine, then taste and adjust as needed.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Leek and Zucchini Fritatta

This recipe hits the sport every time. It is one of my Mom's favorites - as well as mine - and we have it just about every time my dad, who doesn't like eggs, is gone for dinner. The secret is the leeks. Not only do they add great flavor to the dish, the kitchen smells delicious the entire time it cooks.

Serves 4

Leek and Zucchini Fritatta

Adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook

2 large leeks, thinly sliced and thoroughly washed*
2 medium/small zucchini, cut into matchstick pieces
2 cloves garlic, minced

5 eggs
1/2 C mixture of shredded Swiss and Parmesan cheese
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Butter and olive oil for cooking

*Leeks are usually really grimy and have dirt stuck between each layer. To wash, slice the leek cross-wise and then put the pieces into a large bowl of water. Let them soak for about 5 minutes, working them around with your fingers so that the dirt is released. Drain and rinse in a strainer.

Heat some olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook for about five minutes, until they begin to soften. Turn the heat as low as possible, cover the leeks, and cook for about another ten minutes. Add the zucchini and garlic then cover again and cook for another 10 minutes - or until the zucchinni is tender. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, carefully scraping all the yummy bits, and wipe out the skillet

Whisk the eggs together and mix in the cheeses and season well with salt and pepper. Put about a tablespoon of butter into the skillet over medium-low heat. When bubbling, add the vegetable mixture back into the pan and spread it around evenly. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over it, tilting the pan so that the egg works into the cracks and evenly spreads throughout the skillet. 

Cook the fritatta on the stove for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the egdes are fully set and the center is almost there (it's not quite ready in the picture to the right). Next, move it to the broiler for about four minutes, until it bubbles up and turns beautifully golden brown (as shown below).

Let the skillet cool a bit, then cut into wedges and enjoy with toast, fresh vegetables, and a salad!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Kale and Quinoa Cakes with Dijon Yogurt Sauce

I got this recipe online, from Joy The Baker. It was great, similar to my other post, 
Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, but this one has a few tweaks that make it unique. Also, I made up the sauce and it tasted pretty delicious dolloped on top!

4 eggs, beaten
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
~ 3 C chopped kale

1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 C sun-dried tomatoes (vacuum packed), chopped
1/3 C chopped fresh parsley
1 C fresh bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs water

Olive oil for cooking

First, rinse the quinoa then bring it to a boil in a sauce pan with the water and a bit of salt. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Little "tails" will emerge from the grains as it cooks. 

Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in another sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook them slowly until the are tender and translucent. Add the garlic for one minutes, then add the kale and stir until the leaves have all wilted and appear moist. Remove from the heat and stir the quinoa in, then allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
(this can be done quickly in the fidge or freezer)

When cool, add the sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, bread crumbs, salt, and pepper. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl then add them and 1 Tbs water to the quinoa mixture, thoroughly moistening it.

Heat a thin layer of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Form heaping spoonfuls of the patty mixture into balls, then drop them into the pan and use a spatula to flatten them into cakes. Cook them about four minutes on each side, till they are crispy and golden brown. If you do them in batches, you may need to add a bit of olive oil periodically to keep the pan nice and slick.

When done, remove them from the skillet and drain on paper towels. Serve with any sauce you like - maybe a squeeze of lemon, a bit of Dijon mustard - but I would recommend trying out my recipe below.


Dijon Yogurt Sauce

My made up, original creation

This is about as easy as it gets...I like to think I worked hard to make this one up, but really, it's nothing. I'm honestly not sure what my measurements were but adjust yours to taste. You coul try adding a splash of lemon or some savory seed or spice, but I thought it was tasty just like this!

Mix about 1 C of plain Greek yogurt (or strained regular yogurt) with about 2 tsp Dijon mustard and stir is together. Viola!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Black Bean and Butternut Soup

Photo of my very own bowl of soup

This recipe is from another one of my favorite food blogs - Sprouted Kitchen

You can find the recipe at the link at the bottom of this post, here are a few tips and comments about the dish:

She says to be careful with the cayenne pepper - which is good advice - but I only did one pinch and it could have used a bit more spice. I, someone who is not particularly fond or capable of super spicy food, actually decided to add a few drops of Sriracha to my bowl. Next time, I will pump up the cayenne. 

I would most definitely recommend a few pulses with the immersion blender once the soup is done. It really gives it a nice hearty stew-like feel. Don't overdo it though, you still want some whole beans and nice chunks of squash.

You DEFINITELY want the avocado and cilantro to garnish. The avocado adds a nice cool, creamy touch (plus I just love it) and the cilantro gives it a fresh burst of flavor. I also put some shredded cheddar cheese on top - and of course the tortilla crispies.


Monday, July 16, 2012

Huevos Rancheros (SK)

This recipe is came from the usual: Smitten Kitchen. I used her methods to cook the tortilla and egg, then followed her advice to top them with whatever Tex-Mex ingredients sounded good. I added fresh corn, and will share a few things I plan to do next time.

I made this for my mom and I, so I made three tortillas. Adjust the amounts for the number of people you have to serve!

Huevos Rancheros 

Adapted from

3 small corn tortillas
3 large eggs

One medium tomato, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 handful  fresh cilantro, chopped
dash of olive oil
few shakes of salt

1 C cooked  black beans, warmed (or some from a can)
1 ear of corn
~ 1/2 C shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 an avocado, mashed, to serve
sour cream to serve
lime wedges to serve

We thought this could use a little more of a "kick". A dash of Sriracha or hot sauce on top would do the trick. 
Next time, I want to try sauteing some finely chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a little olive oil so add the the assortment of toppings.
 A dash of cumin and/or chili powder may liven it up a bit too.Prepare and assemble all of your condiments before you start to cook the tortillas - you will want to eat them fresh!

First, combine the diced tomato, garlic, cilantro, olive oil, and salt in a bowl to make a fresh salsa. Allow it to sit a while in the fridge so that the flavors meld nicely.

Next, pull the husk away from the corn but don't pull them completely off. Remove the strings, then replace the husks back around the ear of corn. Pop it in the microwave for about two minutes (more time if you are doing more than one ear). Using metal tongs, rotate the corn over an open flame on the stove so that the kernels begin to blacken. You know an area is cooked when you hear it start to pop. (If you do not have a gas stove or access to an open flame, feel free to cook your corn any way. Worst case, use canned)

Heat a little olive oil or butter in a large skillet or on a griddle on medium heat. Place the tortillas on the griddle and cook, about five minutes, until the undersides are golden brown and the tortillas are beginning to curl. Flip them and sprinkle a bit of cheddar onto the tops. Next, carefully crack an egg onto the top of each tortilla. You may want to do this one at a time because you might need to hold the yoke in place until it begins to set. Don't worry if some egg spills off, just push it back on top.

When the egg is about half cooked, slowly flip the tortilla over - hopefully capturing the yoke beneath it. Cook it on this side until the egg is done to your satisfaction - I like mine well done, so I pressed the tortillas with a spatula and cooked the yoke through. Feel free to take it off soon to get more of a "runny" yoke.

Finished product - an egg coated corn tortilla. Yum!

Serve the egg tortillas topped with any combination of the toppings. Squeezing a wedge of lime on top is highly recommended! Enjoy!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Olive, Artichoke, and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade

I made this recipe the other night as a side dish with a Mediterranean meal including pita bread, hummus, and Greek Lentil Salad. I just had some of the ingredients lying around, so I Googled a recipe, got some ideas, and just made it up. It would be good served on toasted french bread as bruschetta, but we had it on warm pita bread spread with hummus. There was also some leftover, so tonight I mixed it into the tossed green salad we had with dinner to add a little spark of flavor - that worked great as well!

Olive, Artichoke, and Roasted Red Pepper Tapenade
Based very loosely off a recipe from

~ 1/2 black olives
~ 1 C loosely packed artichoke hearts (Mine were marinated in a jar)
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C nuts (i did almonds and pecans)
small handful of chopped parsley 

Put everything in a blender or food processor. Pulse until very finely chopped - almost a paste. Season with salt and pepper and add more lemon or olive oil to taste.

Spread on pita, french bread, or crackers (or endless other things) and enjoy! 

Oh, P.S. - it looks a little unappetizing (like vomit, to be frank) but it tastes great. I may try to work on adding a few other ingredients to change the color profile.