Quinoa Bake with Roasted Vegetables and Beef

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quinoa Bake with Roasted Vegetables and Beef

Quinoa is the weirdest ingredient I have ever cooked with! It starts out the texture and consistency of couscous, but once it cooks it kind of separates.

It has a nutty flavor which is slightly sweet and yummy. It paired nicely with the beef and the roasted vegetables really enhanced the flavor. I had never tasted quinoa until this dish. I frequently heard about it on health food shows and in diet books and stuff--it's supposed to be really good for you.

So, I've been wanting to try it for a while. I'll admit, I'm pleasantly surprised by it. It's not a common ingredient, although, I do think I'll be making it more often and finding more way to dress it up and more things to pair it with. This dish was simply roasted tomatoes, roasted red onions, roasted red peppers, fried beef that was then roasted and roasted garlic.

I cooked the quinoa on the stove like rice or couscous and then forked through some tomato paste before adding the roasted ingredients and mixing. Simple, easy, and delicious! Perfect for the middle of a long week when you're tired and want something quick and tasty that it's not going to be fattening! Look out for the next entry where I discuss what quinoa is in detail, it's properties and what makes it so good for you. :)


Pistachios

Friday, September 24, 2010

Name: Pistachio
Genre: Nut
Nickname: The Green Almond

Pistachios are the coolest nuts on the planet. They come in traffic light colors: red, green & beige (which is kind of like yellow). As a kid, I remember going to this particular mall in Fayetteville with my mom. This mall has a snack stand in the middle and my mom would buy loads of pistachios in bright red shells. She'd eat them on the way home, her fingers stained red. It was always so fascinating to me but, simultaneously, I think I was afraid of them. For a while I thought they were dipped in blood.

Roasted butternut squash & beef risotto with toasted pecans

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash and Beef Risotto with Toasted Pecans


In yesterday's entry, I was all "Yay Fall!" & expelling copious amounts of autumnal glee. Today, I'm just a meager few steps short of rolling in the leaves & slipping on a sweater for a hayride. :)

Following my autumn-flavored "cakies" of the previous entry, I decided to really up the ante & welcome the season with arms wide open. To the left there, that thing you've been ogling & probably salivating a little bit for is my roasted butternut squash & beef risotto with toasted pecans. Mmmm.

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip "Cakies" with Walnuts and Pecans

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cakies with Walnuts and Pecans

Here in England, Fall is definitely on its way. The leaves are changing and falling from tree branches with excited abandon, pumpkins and other squashes are appearing in abundance in the produce sections of grocery stores and on a number of occasions, I have been dressed in boots and a scarf. :)

Nothing signifies Fall to me in terms of food like the warmth of cinnamon, nutmeg and oatmeal. That is what inspired these would-be cookies.

Yesterday, in my kitchen in socked feet, I combined brown sugar, sifted all-purpose flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, two beaten eggs, milk and butter with oatmeal, chocolate chips and crumbles of pecans and walnuts and traces of nutmeg and cinnamon to make these monstrously delicious "cakies" as they've been dubbed in my house. These cookies are sightly doughy and moist, the way any baked goodies should be. The butter gives them a rich flavor and the nutmeg and cinnamon combine to warm the back of the throat, conjuring memories of home and safety. Ultimately, these are the perfect comfort cookies. They are thick and hearty and absolutely beg to be paired with cold milk or warmed coffee or cocoa. Every inch of these cookies screams Fall and everything that goes along with it: chilly nights wrapped in blankets, reading by a fire, a Saturday morning football game, falling leaves, Thanksgiving ... it's all just around the corner and these are the cookies you want to introduce you to all that homeyness.

Roast Pork with Crackling and Vegetables

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Roast Pork with Crackling and Vegetables

Roast pork shoulder with crackling and vegetables. This dish turned out at lot better than I had expected.

With fingers crossed, I stood at my kitchen counter, rubbing olive oil and rosemary into the uncooked pork, taking care not to rub any onto the skin of the pork. Instead, I scored the skin and smeared it with salt.

I let the pork roast for about 45 minutes to an hour and opened the oven door, impressed that I had actually made crackling!

In the future, though, I think I will remove the crackling from the pork, cut it into strips and roast it separately, to ensure that it is crackly on all side and that the flavors and the technique are not masked by the overall dish. Accompanying, you have lightly steamed green beans, roast potatoes and rosemary and honey carrots with a spritz of orange juice and zest. Yummy! 

Plum & Ginger Beef Stirfry on a Bed of Szechaun Rice

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Plum & Ginger Beef Stirfy with Szechaun Rice

This is going to be a quick entry, just photos. If people are interested, I can come back & post the recipe. I'm rushing against the clock to get a project completed for my M(F)A program & sent off to be published so it'll be back by the due date.
Nevertheless, here's the plum & ginger beef stirfry on a bed of Szechaun rice:

Oh yes, Project Food Blog post coming soon!

Green Bean & Basil Risotto with a Poached Egg

Friday, September 10, 2010

Green Bean and Basil Risotto with Poached Egg

Inspired by the Waste Not Want Not cookbook & a general need to reduce my carbon footprint & to use less & to reuse more, I've been on a don't-throw-away-anything-reusable kick.
Such was my mood yesterday around lunchtime when I was trying to figure out what to have. Normally, my boyfriend comes home & we have lunch together, but he had a previous engagement & since I was to spend the entire day inside working on an M(F)A project, I didn't want to run out and get anything.
So, after a rummage in my cupboard & fridge, I noticed that I had leftover risotto rice, enough for one person, half an onion, and a handful of green beans that needed using. Naturally, a green bean risotto & basil risotto was what I came up with, topped with Parmesan and a poached egg.

Orange Crusted Lamb Cutlets

Monday, September 6, 2010


Orange Crusted Lamb Cutlets

This is one of the times where I found a recipe and wasn't impressed by it. On a scale of one-to-ten, it's a two. Maybe a one and a half, but definitely not more than a two. It was just ... plain and unradical and unextraordinary. So, at the least, I thought I would post the photos, because, it at least looks good. :) It didn't taste horrible, don't get me wrong, but there wasn't anything outstanding. It was lamb, with citrus. Basic.