Tag Archives: Basil

Greek Quinoa Salad

I meant to post this recipe a while ago (2 months ago, in fact), but clearly life got in the way. Between work and friends and everything else, I have been so busy and have sadly neglected the blog a bit. However, I am back and have cooked a lot in the lapsed time! This means many posts to come. This recipe for Greek Quinoa Salad is the one I made when my girlfriends came over a few months ago for wine night. It is fresh and very herbsious, which I love. It has very fresh notes when you bite into a cucumber or tomato, and a nice tang from the calamatta olives. I highly recommend making a large batch of this: it is great to much on as a snack or bring for lunch throughout the week (and nothing is better than having lunch prepared a week in advanced when you work!).

Greek Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

2 Cucumbers, diced

1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved

Scallions, diced

1 can chick peas

½ cup chopped calamatta olives or black olives

Handful of chopped fresh parsley

Handful of chopped fresh basil

Crumbled feta cheese

2 cup Quinoa

4 cups chicken broth

½ cup Olive oil

½ cup Red wine vinegar

Juice of one lemon

1/8 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp coriander

1/8 tsp turmeric

1/8 tsp paprika

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

Directions:

Mix all vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, set aside.

In a saucepan heat over medium/high a tablespoon of olive oil add the quinoa and a little bit of each of the spices (last 6 ingredients), sautee for about a minute and add the chicken broth and fresh lemon juice. Heat on high, when it comes to a boil, crack the heat down to a simmer and cover the pot (from this point, cook according to your quinoa box’s directions).

While it’s simmering whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil and 1/4 cup of vinegar with salt and pepper (to taste). Pour the dressing over all of the vegetables and mix them together.

When the quinoa is done fluff it with a fork and let cool.

Mix the quinoa in with the vegetables.

To serve: top with the feta cheese

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Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

(adapted from How Sweet It Is)

serves about 8

4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into uniform rounds

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup panko bread crumbs*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil*

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley*

1 teaspoon fresh thyme*

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed*

2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese*

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Place a nonstick wire rack on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl, combine panko, parsley, basil, thyme, parmesan, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix up with your hands to get everything combined.

If you like, peel the sweet potatoes (or not) and slice into rounds about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place in a larger bowl and drizzle with olive oil, then flip around your hands to make sure each piece is coated. Add in panko and herbs, tossing again with your hands and pressing lightly to adhere. Some will stick – some will not. Place potato rounds on the wire rack, and then sprinkle the remaining panko and herbs over the potatoes.

Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until crust is golden and sweet potatoes are soft. After making and serving the potatoes bites, I found that some thicker slices were a bit harder or still had a crunch to them (meaning they were not cooked all the way through). Though I did no try doing this, I think baking the slices of sweet potato for a few minutes before adding the herb and panko mixture would make them perfect. I recommend baking them before adding the mixture because the breadcrumbs crisp up just right in the normal baking time (and you don’t want them burned!).

*In regards to the amount of herbs and bread crumbs for the mixture: You can really play with the amount you use. I followed the recipe as a guideline, but because I was making for a larger crowed I added more as I went based on how much I wanted the sweet potato slices covered.


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Wednesday Wine Night

Earlier this year, a small group of my girlfriends decided we wanted a regular gathering every month or so. Thanks to Jordy, ‘Wednesday Wine Night’ began in the Fall! The idea is simple: every 4-6 weeks a different person in the group would have everyone over, serve wine, and prepare some offerings to snack on. Though I am allergic to wine, and we do not always meet on a Wednesday, this has been a great way to have a relaxing night with girlfriends. This past Monday the group came over to my apartment, which I took as an opportunity to try and wow everyone with my food. The menu consisted of:

  • Homemade sun-dried tomato hummus with veggies
  • Herb crusted sweet potato bites
  • Greek quinoa salad
  • Roasted red pepper pizza with a splash of balsamic
  • Lots and lots of wine & desserts

Thankfully, my wonderful friends loved the meal! I had been nervous about the pizza because it was the first time I used a real pizza pan, but the crust came out perfectly crisp. Everyone enjoyed the sweet potato bites because they were something tasty and different. One of the best compliments to the chef was when a few people asked for the recipes! Most importantly, everyone had a great time with each other chatting about life and nibbling the food.

For now, feast your eyes on some photos from the evening. Recipes to come individually!

Herb Crusted Sweet Potato Bites

Greek Quinoa Salad

Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

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Christmas Dinner

It has become tradition in my house that I cook a Christmas Eve feast. For the past few years I’ve made a variation of the same meal. The main dishes on the menu this year were bruschetta, baked ham with cloves (I used a half butt), roasted garlic smashed potatoes, sauteed string beans with slivered almonds, and a sugar free key lime pie (my father is diabetic). And now, our eyes can feast:

Bruschetta

Roasted Garlic

Sauteed String Beans with Slivered Almonds

Baked Ham with Cloves

Graham Cracker Pie Crust

Slice of Sugar Free Key Lime Pie

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Caprese, Garlic Basil Shrimp, & Orzo

On the menu:

Caprese salad (mozzarella, tomato, basil)

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Orzo

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

The recipes:

Caprese Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 large beefsteak tomatoes
  • Large block of fresh mozzarella
  • A few leaves of fresh basil

Directions:

Slice mozzarella and large tomatoes into even pieces. Layer tomato and mozzarella on plate alternating. Rip some fresh basil leaves and place on top. When eating drizzle some EVOO and fresh black pepper.

Garlic Basil Shrimp

Ingredients:

·   2 tablespoons olive oil

·   1 1/4 pounds large shrimp

(20 to 25 per pound), peeled and deveined

·   3 garlic cloves, minced

·   1/8 teaspoon dried hot red-pepper flakes, or more to taste

·   3/4 cup dry white wine

·   1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

·   1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

·   Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté shrimp, turning over once, until just cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a large bowl.

Add garlic and red pepper flakes to the oil remaining in skillet and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. Stir in basil and tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Return the shrimp to pan and cook just until heated through

From the Food Network website athttp://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/garlic-basil-shrimp-recipe/index.html

Orzo

Buy pre-packaged orzo and follow instructions on box

Roasted green and yellow zucchini

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash zucchini. Cut off both ends and half each zucchini width-wise. Quarter each zucchini length-wise and place on a large baking sheet. Lightly drizzle EVOO over zucchini and season with kosher sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Place in oven and let cook until slightly burned looking (check after 20 minutes until done).

Comments:

This makes a really great dinner. The caprese salad is delicious, easy to make, and really impresses guests. If it is too bland in flavor you can add a dash of balsamic vinegar. The shrimp turned out really great and I love the recipe. I will definitely make this again. However, I didn’t love the orzo. It worked with the shrimp, but pasta would probably be better. Lastly, the zucchini is great because they are very simple to make and super flavorful.

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