We're still trying to use up that BIG bag of quinoa that I bought at Costco. It's a good thing that a) it is healthy, b) it is easy to cook, and c) we LOVE it.
One of the world's healthiest foods, quinoa contains a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of protein, making it an increasingly popular food choice for those looking to incorporate "superfoods" into their everyday diets. Gluten-free, wheat-free, and nutrient-packed, quinoa is ideal for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, and/or physically active, as well as for those with gluten intolerance, wheat allergies, and other digestive disorders. But that's not all: You can eat quinoa guiltlessly knowing it's free of cholesterol and trans fats.
It's no wonder that the UN food organization has declared 2013 the year of Qunioa. I shall be spending 2012 using up that bag from Costco and should be ready to buy a new big bag in time to recognize the 'special' year.
This recipe, from Cooking Light, was easy and amazingly fresh tasting. I was grilling up some lamb chops it it was a great side dish to go with them. Quick, easy, healthy, and delicious - what a great combination!
Quinoa with Artichokes and Lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup chopped spring or sweet onion 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme 1 (9-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed 1 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa 1 cup chopped fresh parsley 5 teaspoons grated lemon rind 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and thyme; sauté 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add artichokes; sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Add broth and quinoa; bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 18 minutes or until liquid is completely absorbed.
Remove pan from heat. Stir in parsley, rind, juice, and salt. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Let’s get one thing straight: Buffalo does not have a monopoly on wings. I know that this is a shocking concept for some . . .
In Thailand, you’ll find them glazed with a sweet chili sauce; in Vietnam, they’re seasoned with lemongrass and fish sauce. With this recipe from the good folks at Fine Cooking, several ingredients, including coconut milk, fish sauce, lemongrass, and sweet chili sauce, recreate a bit of that Asian flavor. The look may be unusual, but using a skewer to stretch out your chicken wings increases the amount of exposed skin that can crisp up during cooking, as well as absorb the marinade and smoky flavors from the grill. What’s more, wings on a stick are fun to eat.
I grilled these up for a bit of an Asian inspired meal last week (Paul is enjoying the fact that I am busily trying to use up my vacation days before the end of June. Apparently a day spend cooking results in a better dinner than when I pull it together after the train ride home on a work day . . . go figure.)
Southeast Asian Chicken Wings
3-1/2 lb. large whole chicken wings (12 to 16) 12 to 16 twelve-inch bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk 2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender white core from the bottom third only, coarsely chopped (about 3 Tbs.) 2 medium cloves garlic, coarsely chopped 2 scallions, white parts coarsely chopped, green parts thinly sliced (3 to 4 Tbs.) 2 Thai bird chiles or 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (including seeds) 1/4 cup packed fresh cilantro 3 Tbs. fish sauce 1 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh ginger 1 Tbs. fresh lime juice 1 Tbs. granulated sugar Vegetable oil for the grill 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce (such as Mae Ploy)
Pat the chicken wings dry with paper towels. Thread each wing on a bamboo skewer, starting at the meaty end and ending at the wingtip so that the wing is stretched out as much as possible without ripping the skin. Arrange the wings in a large, shallow dish.
In a blender, purée the coconut milk, lemongrass, garlic, scallion whites, chiles, cilantro, fish sauce, ginger, lime juice, and sugar until smooth. Pour the marinade over the wings, turning to coat evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for direct grilling over medium heat (350°F). When ready to cook, clean the grate with a wire brush and, using tongs, wipe the grate with a paper towel or cloth dipped in oil.
Shake off any excess marinade from the wings and wrap the ends of each skewer with a small piece of aluminum foil to protect them from burning. Grill the wings (covered if using a gas grill), flipping halfway through cooking, until golden-brown on the outside and an instant-read thermometer inserted in a thick part of a wing reads 165°F, 16 to 24 minutes total.
Brush the wings on both sides with the sweet chili sauce and grill until the glaze sizzles, 1 to 2 minutes per side. Transfer the wings to a platter, sprinkle with the scallion greens, and serve.
Traveling to 24 countries, from Greenland, Chad, and Japan to Germany, Guatemala, and the United States, Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio photographed 30 families accompanied by a careful display of a week's worth of food. Chronicling the enormous differences in eating habits between industrial and developing countries, each section includes a family portrait, along with their groceries, and a listing of how much was spent in each food group. In the tradition of MATERIAL WORLD, this timely, fascinating photography book illustrates not only the growth of fast food consumption worldwide, but also the transformation of diets across the planet. One notes that except where poverty is the most extreme, packaged cookies and candies have gripped the world as have soft drinks, primarily coca-colas. I found it both encouraging that there is so much local food culture left in the world, and deeply depressing that our processed food culture has spread so far and wide. If you look closely at the types of food being purchased you can see the difference between "eating to live" and "living to eat."
Meet the The Manzo family of Sicily. Their weekly expenditure is 214.36 Euros or $260.11. Note the copious amount of bread. Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07. United States: The Revis family of North Carolina (I hope most American families eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less junk food than this family.)Food expenditure for one week $341.98 Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09. Note the profusion of fruits & vegetables. Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27 Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53 Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo Food expenditure for one week: $31.55 Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03. This feeds a family of 11! Remarkable. Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23. No comment. Kuwait: The Al Haggan family of Kuwait City Food expenditure for one week: 63.63 dinar or $221.45. Most foodstuffs in this State is subsidized. Mongolia: The Batsuuri family of Ulaanbaatar Food expenditure for one week: 41,985.85 togrogs or $40.06 China: The Dong family of Beijing Food expenditure for one week: 1,233.76 Yuan or $175 Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
I had two large ham steaks in the freezer that had been there for a long time. I had originally bought them in the US where they really know how to smoke ham properly - sorry, but we just don't do hams as well in Canada but I am willing to be convinced.
Anyway. Back to the tale. Two large ham steaks, long time in the freezer. There we were. Due to their shape and size, everytime I went to rearrange or find something in the freezer they caused an avalanche. Last week said avalanche almost resulted in a frozen 10 lb prime rib roast landing on my toe! It was then that I decided it was time to cook these babies.
I looked a for a recipe in my grilling books but none of them called out to me. Searching on the internet I found this one somewhere - I can't tell where because I can't find it again (which can sometimes be the problem with the internet), I recall that the original poster had based the recipe on one from Bon Appetit magazine for a peach glazed ham. She subbed in apricot jelly instead of the peach preserves that Bon Appetit called for and used it on ham steaks which she grilled to great success.
I decided to change things up even more . . . with a jalapeno that had been cluttering up the veggie drawer for awhile I decided to add another dimension to the sauce. As it was it would be an interesting mix of sweet and peppery bite from the black pepper . . . I decided to add in the heat from a jalapeno.
The result was amazing! We both really enjoyed the glaze - a wonderful sweet/savoury/spicy blend that had the taste buds singing. The grilling caramelized the sauce perfectly on the ham.
I'll certainly be making this again - I bet it would go well on pork chops, pork tenderloin, chicken, or even duck.
Grilled Ham Steaks with Apricot Jalapeno Glaze
1/4 cup apricot preserves 1 tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice 2 teaspoons coarse-grained Dijon mustard 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1 jalapeno pepper, chopped (leave the seeds in if you want more heat!) 1 8-to 10-ounce boneless ham steak (about 1/2 inch thick)1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
Heat a grill pan over high heat. Combine preserves, ginger lime juice, mustard and lime peel in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until preserves melt.
Sprinkle both sides of ham with pepper; press lightly so that pepper adheres.
Brush ham with some of glaze.
Grill ham until heated through, lightly browned and beginning to crisp at edges, brushing occasionally with more glaze, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer ham to plates and brush with any remaining glaze and serve.
This week's Photo Hunt theme is 'hot'. I note that next week is Flash . . . Hot Flash . . . Sandi, Sandi, Sandi.
It's been record breaking hot here the past week. My friend Palma, who lives in Palm Desert, had no sympathy for me though - she needs to wear oven mitts to drive her car at this time of year!
This is the pizza oven owned by the Full of Life Flatbread restaurant in Los Olivos, California. They catered the party we attended in Santa Barbara wine country in February. This oven gets up to 700 degrees and cooks an amazing pizza in minutes.
I'd like one of these . . .
Actually, I'd like one of those wonderful pizzas too! MMMMM
We'd never been to a tailgate party so we weren't sure what to expect - no, to my American friends, we Canucks just don't do tailgates the way you do south of the border. I googled a bit and this is what I discovered:
The New Vintage Festival is a time of growth and rebirth among Niagara’s 18,000 acres of lush vineyards – a testament to the rich soil and unique climate of the region.
Experience the beginning of a new season in the vineyard as we celebrate the efforts from vineyard to farm and winemaker to chef.
The TD Tailgate Party will take place amongst the vines at Hughes Vineyards, home of the Grape King, where Niagara’s celebrated winemakers will tell their Cool Climate Story and local chefs will present the bounty from our own backyard.
The tastings and culinary extravaganzas will entice your inner gourmand. It promises to be an unforgettable solstice evening.
Join Dairy Farmers of Canada as they present fine Canadian cheeses. Eight Niagara chefs will create superb summer recipes featuring the finest produce and meats from local growers. Not only is the fare fresh, but we all reduce our carbon footprint when we enjoy locally produced foods and wines.
This year, in addition to over 30 of the region’s top wineries, the Black Spurs will entertain you with their own brand of roots rock and alternative country, with influences ranging from the Kinks to Johnny Cash and Blue Rodeo. The stage is set for a casual backyard event with friends, old and new.
30 wineries . . . 8 area chefs preparing food for us all . . . live music in the vineyard . . . finally a party we could truly LOVE!
The festival organizers had arranged shuttle busses for us. We loaded up on the bus and headed to the vineyard. When we got there were were greeted with a glass of freshly made lemonade to recover from the journey and later an empty wine glass to start sipping.
From that point on one just cut loose and enjoyed oneself . . .
You can tell by this collection of pics that it was a BLAST! We're already looking forward to next year's tailgate soiree . . .
. . .or I finally use up the last of the buttermilk I bought a few weeks ago . . .
Why is it that all milks and creams come in small sizes BUT buttermilk? ARGH I still had a carton of buttermilk in the refrigerator and I was determined to use it up before it went bad. I also went crazy at the market last week buying strawberries and rhubarb. There are times I wonder if I should be allowed in the market unsupervised since I always come back with WAY more than I need.
We wait so long for fresh strawberries here in Ontario so that when they arrive I can't help myself. Of all the fruits I think strawberries are the biggest argument in favour of local, fresh, and ripe or NOTHING!
I had made buttermilk pancakes last weel with strawberries so that was out. I had planned a cobbler but that never happened. I googled 'strawberry rhubarb buttermilk' and some interesting sounding treats popped onto the screen.
I ended up selecting a recipe and then played around with it . . . because that is what I do. *smile* I added some cinnamon to the batter and wanted a bit of a crunchy topping. I also cut back on the sugar. The results were brilliant!
So brilliant that I may need to buy more buttermilk so I can make these again . . .
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins with Walnut Struesel
8 tbls. unsalted butter 1 cup sugar 1/2 tsp. salt 2 large eggs 2 cups AP flour (+ 1 tbls. for fruit) 2 tsp. baking powder ½ tsp cinnamon 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 cup strawberries, sliced 1 cup rhubarb, finely chopped ½ cup chopped walnuts ¼ cup brown sugar ½ tsp cinnamon
Place paper liners in your muffin pan and preheat the oven to 375F.
Prepare the fruit. Rinse, hull, and cut strawberries into small pieces. For rhubarb, cut off any ugly ends and using a paring knife, peel off tough strings. Cut into small, 1 inch pieces. Toss the fruit with 1 tbls. of flour and ½ tsp of cinnamon..
Cut the butter into pieces and, using an electric mixer, cream with the sugar and salt until it is light and fluffy.
Continue to beat and add eggs, one at a time.
Add flour and baking powder. Add buttermilk.
Fold in the fruit.
Spoon into the muffin cups.
Combine the brown sugar, chopped walnuts, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle over the top of the muffins.
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.