This week's Photo Hunt theme is 'fresh'. There are a TON of pictures that I could post but I decided to use some fresh pictures from our last trip to Italy. I have Italy on the mind since I just booked another trip yesterday.
Baba, fresh from the oven, in Naples.
A freshly made pizza in Naples - yes, it was every good as it looks!
A freshly opened bottle of wine at the B and B in Pienza. We opened lots of bottles of wine on this trip. One has to love a country where good wine is every bit as inexpensive as water.
A big plate of fresh pasta with wild boar ragu at La Porta in the tine village of Monticchiello.
Fresh artichokes at the market in Acqui Terme.
Freshly made breakfast served by our friend Diana, owner of the most wonderful B and B we have every stayed in.
Last year, in my attempt to add more whole grains to our diet, I started to play more with an ancient grain called quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah ) is a delicious whole grain that was prized by the Incas for its nutritive value. In fact, it's the only grain that contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa has a nutty flavour with a slightly crunchy texture which I love.
We generally prepare this versatile grain as a side dish, similar to rice or pasta. We have been also known to toss it in soups or cold salads, or to use it as the base for a meatless main dish. Yes, we generally have one or two vegetarian meals a week. Don't fear for me - I bought a 15 lb Prime Rib Roast today (at 3.88 a pound how could I refuse).
We were having Greek Turkey burgers for dinner tonight - when I asked Paul what he wanted with the burgers his first response was 'a quinoa salad'. I thought about buying one but than realized for $6 I pay for a store-bought salad with all sorts of additives I can make a far healthier one! I googled about for 'greek quinoa salad' and found this recipe from homemakers.com.
I should say up front that I didn't follow their recipe which called for a layer of romaine lettuce, cooked quinoa, and then chopped veggies dressed with a lemony vinaigrette on top. I prefer my salad all mixed together so I nixed the lettuce, added some chopped red pepper, and tossed it all together. You'll see from the picture below that I used a tri-colour quinoa that I bought at Trader Joes when we were visiting with our friend Palma in February.
The result was fabulous!!!!!
Greek Quinoa Salad
3 cups (750 mL) hot, low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) quinoa, rinsed 2 tbsp (30 mL) fresh dill, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1/2 cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil 3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt pepper 1 cup (250 mL) grape or cherry tomatoes, halved 1 small English cucumber, unpeeled, roughly chopped 1 small red onion, halved and very thinly sliced 1/2 cup (125 mL) whole black olives (not canned) 1.2 red pepper, chopped 4 oz (125 g) feta cheese, crumbled sprigs of fresh dill for garnish
Heat the chicken (or vegetable) broth in a large saucepan placed over high heat. When it has just come to the boil, add the quinoa and stir well. Allow to return to the boil, then immediately reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. When cooked, transfer mixture to a large, shallow bowl to cool.
Combine the dill, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk to blend well. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Place the tomatoes, cucumber, onion, pepper, and black olives in the bowl with the quinoa and drizzle with the vinaigrette. Crumble the feta over the top. Garnish with fresh dill and serve.
Recently there has been a good deal of press about facebook . . . a young lady in the Philippines was banned from her graduation ceremony for posting a picture of herself dressed provocatively and with a drink . . . a job seeking in the US was told be wouldn't be considered for the position unless he passed over his facebook password so his prospective employer could see his online presence.
I'm not too worried if anyone wants to see my online presence . . . but these people should be!
There are times when I really, really, really worry about the future of the human race!
Before I went away to Philly the weather around here had turned positively tropical. Those who have followed this blog for awhile know that when it gets warm outside I start to grill (actually . . . I grill year around, just a whole lot more when it is warm). One of my favourite things to grill are vegetables - roasting brings out a lovely sweetness from the natural sugars so grilling brings a cool sweetness AND smokiness - a wonderful combination.
This was at the easiest and tastiest asparagus recipe that I have made in a while - even with the crap asparagus we get in from Mexico and Peru at this time of the year. This was definitely easy to make and the sauce was so simple, yet so flavorful! I liked that it didn't require ingredients that I had to run out and buy - everything was in the pantry.
If you're bored with your regular asparagus recipes or you just want to try something exciting and new you'll want to give this a try!
Sesame Grilled Asparagus
Wooden toothpicks or bamboo skewers 1 pound asparagus 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1 clove garlic, minced 2 tablespoons sesame seeds Salt and black pepper
In a shallow pan, soak skewers in cold water for 1 hour, then drain and set aside.
Preheat grill to high. Snap off the woody bases of the asparagus and discard. Skewer 4 or 5 asparagus spears together, using the toothpicks or 2 bamboo skewers, forming a raft shape.
In a small bowl, combine the sesame oil, soy sauce, and garlic and stir with a fork to mix. Brush this mixture on the asparagus rafts on both sides. Season the asparagus with a little salt and lots of pepper.
When ready to cook, place the asparagus rafts on the hot grate and grill until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds as they grill. You can serve the asparagus as rafts or unskewered.
This week's Photo Hunt theme is 'spicy'. Last night I had a great drink at a restaurant here in Philly called the Fork. The drink was named after patriot Paul Revere. It was a wonderful combination os sweet and spicy heat from pepper of all things.
We left the snow behind and headed to California for a long weekend of fun. We shoppedm toured wineries, tasted olive oil, met up with good friends, and ate some wonderful food. I can't wait for slow bowl 2009.