Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad with Goat Cheese

I’ve been thinking about and exploring alternatives to grains recently, generally used in gluten-free diets. Quinoa, known as “the gold of the Incas” and the “mother of all grains”,  is actually a seed. It is very easy to prepare and can be used in salads, as a side dish, and many other ways. Here is a wonderful salad that combines quinoa with wild rice. I’ve had trouble in the past using wild rice, and so now I have a rather large stash of it that I would like to start getting rid of. This recipe makes it easy, since the wild rice is a component part rather than the center of the dish.

Quinoa and Wild Rice Salad with Goat Cheese (adapted from About.com)

What You Need

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 1/2 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
  • 2 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup dates, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

What You Do

  1. Bring quinoa to a boil with 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed. The quinoa should be soft and fluffy and a little chewy.
  2. In a separate pot, bring wild rice to a boil with 2 cups of water. Simmer for 35-40 minutes until rice is soft but chewy. Drain any remaining water.
  3. When the quinoa and wild rice have cooled close to room temperature, mix together with the walnuts, dates, goat cheese and scallions.
  4. Whisk together the walnut oil, vinegar and salt. Drizzle over the salad and stir well.

First Harvest

As many of you know, I am working with students, staff, and faculty at the University of Maryland to start a community garden called the Public Health Garden. Yesterday, we had our first harvest of 5 pounds of cukes and beans.  Here are some photos of the harvest:


So, to celebrate, I took our harvest and made salads to share at our first summer meeting this afternoon.  I made three different salads: green bean salad with pine nuts, broiled three-bean salad, and sweet-and-sour cucumbers with fresh dill.
Here are the green bean recipes:
Broiled Three Bean Salad (adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian)
What You Need
– Red onion, thinly sliced

– 1 clove garlic, minced
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– 1 teaspoon chili powder
– Salt and pepper to taste
– 2 Tablespoons cider vinegar
– 1 pound green beans (I used purple, yellow and green), cut into 2-inch pieces
– 1 can of chickpeas, drained
– 1 can of kidney beans, drained
– 1/4 cup olive oil

What You Do

1. Heat the broiler and adjust the rack so that the pan is 4-5 inches from the heat.
2. Put the onion, garlic, and ginger in a large heatproof bowl and sprinkle with sugar, chili, salt and pepper. Drizzle on the vinegar and toss gently to coat.
3. Spread the green beans on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle lightly with oil. Toss to coat.

4. Broil, shaking the pan occasionally, until they begin to blister (about 5-7 minutes).
5. Add beans to onion mixture and toss to mix. 
6. Spread the chickpeas and kidney beans on the baking sheet and drizzle with oil to coat.
7. Broil until they get brown and the chickpeas are crunchy, about 5 minutes.
8. Add them to the bowl and toss. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
9. Serve cold/chilled.
Green Bean Salad with Pine nuts (adapted from The Essential Vegetarian Cookbook)
What You Need
– 1 pound green beans (I used our garden mix of colors)
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 4 teaspoons lemon juice
– 2 tablespoons pine nuts
– 2/3 cup tomato juice
– 2 cloves garlic
– few drops Tabasco sauce
What You Do
1. Boil green beans for 1 minute.
2. Drain beans and plunge into iced water, drain well.
3. Toss beans with oil and lemon juice.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
5. Spread nuts on a foil covered tray and roast for 5 minutes.
6. Combine tomato juice, garlic, Tabasco in a small pan.
7. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered over low heat for 8 minutes (until reduced by half).
8. Allow to cool then arrange beans on a serving plate, pour tomato mixture over the beans and sprinkle with nuts.
I can’t wait for more delicious treats and plentiful harvests from the garden this season! I’ll be sure to continue to share ways to prepare and enjoy the fruits from the garden.

Thank You Smitten Kitchen: Part 2

I love cauliflower. So, of course, it had to make an appearance at my birthday dinner. Here’s another great one from Smitten Kitchen.

Cauliflower Salad (from Smitten Kitchen)

What You Need
– 1 small firm head cauliflower, about 12 ounces
– 1 hard-cooked egg
– 2 scallions, including an inch of the greens, thinly sliced
– 1 cup diced celery heart with leaves
– 1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
– 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
– 12 pimiento-stuffed Spanish green olives, halved
– 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
– 1/2 cup parsley leaves
– 1 or 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
– salt and freshly milled pepper
– 1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar or aged red wine vinegar
– 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

What You Do
1. Pound the garlic with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a mortar until it breaks down into a puree.
2. Smash the hard-cooked egg yolk with the garlic and salt.
3. Combine the garlic, vinegar, yolk and mustard in a small bowl, then whisk in the oil and season with pepper.
3. Taste and correct the balance (dressing should be on the tart side).
4. Slice off very thin slices of cauliflower, working your way around the head. Quarter then thinly slice the cauliflower. Be sure to include the stalks, too, peeled and thinly sliced.
2. Dice the egg white and toss it with the vegetables, olives, capers, and parsley. Add the vinaigrette and toss again.

Broccoli Salad

Yay! Friday. Today, I made a yummy vegetarian broccoli salad. The recipe is nice and you hardly miss the bacon!

Broccoli Salad (Adapted from allrecipes.com)

What You Need
– 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into bite size pieces
– 1/2 cup raisins
– 1 small red onion, chopped
– 2 tablespoons white sugar
– 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
– 3/4 cup mayonnaise
– 1 cup sunflower seeds (I used less because I didn’t have enough)
– 1/2 cup walnuts

What You Do
1. In a salad bowl, toss together broccoli, raisins, walnuts and red onions.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the white sugar, vinegar and mayonnaise.
3. Pour over broccoli mixture and toss to coat.
4. Add on the sunflower seeds.
4. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

Election Night Caesar Salad

As you can tell, I’m obsessed with Smitten Kitchen these days. Along with her description of cauliflower soup, she had a recipe for Deb’s Caesar Salad Dressing. So, I decided to try it! Caesar Salad is a great comfort food for me!

Caesar Salad (dressing adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

What You Need
– 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
– 1 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
– 1 small garlic clove, minced
– 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/2 teaspoon capers
– 1/4 teaspoon horseradish
– 1 head romaine lettuce, chopped
– Garlic croutons
– 1-2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

(Note: her recipe calls for 1 oil packed anchovy fillet, finely chopped. I didn’t have any and probably would avoid this anyway, so my roommate and I added the capers and horseradish to compensate)

What You Do
1. First make the dressing by whisking all ingredients (except olive oil) together.
2. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil.
3. Season with salt and pepper. (Note that the dressing can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature and re-whisk before using.)
4. Prep croutons.
5. Toss lettuce, dressing, croutons, and cheese together.


Kale Salad (The Start of Thanksgiving Menu Planning)

As many of you know, I love Thanksgiving Dinner and I especially love the month prior to Thanksgiving when I spend time menu planning and debating about turkeys. Well, the turkey question has been solved for this year. We are sticking with Goffle Road Poultry Farm located in Wyckoff, NJ (very close to my mother’s house).

With the arrival of the November Food and Wine Magazine, I have started plotting and planning recipes to try out in anticipation of Thanksgiving. Here is a great one tried last week: Kale and Apple salad. While I loved my fall salad I’ve used the last couple years, this is a great twist, with tasty kale! I’m thinking this will have a place at this year’s Thanksgiving table.

Kale and Apple Salad (adapted from Food and Wine)

What You Need
– 2 cups pecans
– 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
– Kosher salt
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
– 2 tablespoons caper brine (from a jar of capers)
– 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
– Freshly ground black pepper
– 2 apples, cut into matchsticks (the recipe calls for Granny Smith)
– 1 large head radicchio, shredded (we didn’t use this, but I will next time!)
– One 8-ounce bunch kale—stems discarded, leaves finely shredded
– 3 tablespoons snipped chives (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)
– 1 tablespoon chopped tarragon (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)
– 2 ounces shaved pecorino (we didn’t use this, but I will next time)

What You Do
So, here is how the recipe asks you to prepare the pecans:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
2. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water.
3. Transfer to a sieve and shake out the water.
3. In another bowl, whisk the confectioners’ sugar, cayenne and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.
4. Add the pecans and toss.
5. Transfer to a sieve and shake off the excess coating.
6. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.

Here is how I did it. I’m going to try their way next time and see which one is best for Thanksgiving:
1. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a pan.
2. Add 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar and melt.
3. Add and toss pecans for 1 minutes.
4. Arrange coated pecans on parchment paper until cool.

Then, make the dressing:
1. Whisk in the olive oil, vinegar, caper brine and maple syrup and season the dressing with salt and black pepper.

And finally, assemble the salad:
1. Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino and toss. Mound the salad on plates, garnish with the pecans and serve.

Cucumber Salad

This was the biggest surprise from the cook out. I saw it online when looking for menu ideas for the day. Since I am so obsessed with pickles, I couldn’t resist. But, I didn’t know how others would react to the dish. Everyone loved it (it was one of my mom’s favorite dishes of the week). We are even making it again for Yom Kippur Breakfast.

Sweet-and-Sour Cucumbers with Fresh Dill (from Bon Appetit)

What You Need
-2 English hothouse cucumbers (1 1/2 pounds total), unpeeled, very thinly sliced
-1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
-1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
-1/4 cup finely chopped fresh dill
-3 tablespoons sugar
-1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

What You Do
1. Place cucumber slices in colander.
2. Sprinkle with salt; toss to coat.
3. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Meanwhile, for dressing, stir vinegar, dill, sugar, and pepper in large bowl until sugar is dissolved.
5. Drain cucumbers well; pat dry.
6. Add cucumbers to dressing and stir to blend.
7. Refrigerate at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours; serve cold.


Labor Day Potato Salad

This potato salad was delicious. Try it out for a fall cookout!

Potato and Pea Salad with Chive Aioli (from Bon Appetit)

What You Need:
-3 pounds small red-skinned new potatoes, unpeeled
-3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
-3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
-1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
-1 cup mayonnaise
-6 tablespoons chopped fresh chives (from the garden!)
-1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
-2 garlic cloves, pressed
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (this gives it a little kick!)

What You Do:
1. Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 25 minutes.
2. Drain; cool.
3. Cut potatoes into quarters.
4. Transfer to large bowl; add vinegar and toss to coat. Mix in celery and peas.
5. Whisk mayonnaise, 5 tablespoons chives, mustard, garlic, and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend.
6. Add to potato mixture and toss.
7. Season generously with salt and pepper.
8. Cover and chill at least 1 hour to allow flavors to blend.

NOTE: Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon chives and serve.

White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad

I just moved into a new house this weekend up in Berwyn Heights MD (near College Park). It has been very hectic with the packing, moving, unpacking, cleaning and cleaning. I haven’t had any chance to cook. But, I was able to get the to Takoma Park Food Co-op this afternoon to get the ingredients to make this wonderful white bean salad. It was the first thing I made in my new house.

White Bean and Grape Tomato Salad (adapted from Bon Appetit)

What You Need

– 2 15-ounce cans white kidney beans, rinsed, drained
– 2 1/2 cups halved grape tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or cherry tomatoes
– 2/3 cup diced red onion
– 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (I couldn’t find dill, so I used basil)
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
– 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
– 2 garlic cloves, pressed

What You Do

1. Toss all ingredients in large bowl.
2. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Let marinate at room temperature 1 hour.
4. Cover and chill.
5. Bring salad to room temperature before serving.

I am so excited to share pictures, plans, and news about my new yard and garden, as well as all the delicious food I plan to prepare in my new kitchen.

I’m off to start googling nearby farmers markets.

Eggplant Salad

Here is a recipe from Thanksgiving for an eggplant salad/spread. It is delicious and was prepared by a family friend. One of my mother’s friends got the recipe and wrote it down. I’m hoping to see if it turns out as well when I prepare it:

Eggplant Salad

What You Need:
– l large or 2 medium eggplants
– 1 small onion
– 3 cloves of garlic
– 1 Tbs Vinegar
– 1 – 2 Tbs olive oil
– Sea salt

What You Do:
1. Fork your eggplants in a couple of places to put some holes in them.
2. Wrap the eggplant(s) in tin foil.
2. Cook eggplants in oven for about one hour. (Anthony says “Cook for one hour on a low flame directly on the “burner” and keep turning to avoid burning– but I think this can be done in the oven)
3. When it is done (soft) rinse in cold water and scoop out the insides and mix by hand or in a blender and set aside.
4. Take the onion, the cloves of garlic, the vinegar and the olive oil and put in a blender.
5. Blend till smooth.
6. Add the eggplant and salt to taste.

Best served next day.

Still to come… turkey, stuffing, and dessert! Just waiting on some details from my mom!