Quinoa Salad

In the grain family Quinoa is a rock-star. Full of protein, and other nutrients that keep your lungs breathing and your heart beating. It’s also gluten free, an added bonus for those with celiacs disease, or gluten sensitivity.

It’s an ancient grain, which basically means that it can trace it’s beginnings back to ancient times.

One last thing, it’s got this great texture when you chew it, it feels like it’s popping.

This quinoa salad was inspired by a salad that they make at my work.

It’s been 80 degrees and sunny here in California, summery even though it’s the middle of the winter. This was perfect for our fake summer night.  I made it with Curried Chicken and it was great.

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Ingredients:

1 c. Quinoa (cooked and cooled, I put it in the freezer for a few minutes and it did the trick)

1/2 c. Cucumber, peeled and seeded

1/4 c. red bell pepper

1/4 c. green onion

1/2 c. grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 c. carrot, cut into pieces

Dressing:

the juice of one lemon

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

3 Tbs. apple cider vinegar

a sprinkle of salt and pepper

Mix the quinoa and all of the veggies together in a bowl. In a small bowl, mix the dressing together. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix to combine.

Hide somewhere that only you know about, because otherwise everyone and their Mother will eat it before you get any.

 

 

 

 

Red Beans and Rice

It has always been a dream of mine to travel to New Orleans. I love food and New Orleans has a unique food scene that I have always wanted to experience. With mardi gras just around the cornder,  breaking out something a little Creole was perfect.

Red beans and rice is a very traditional New Orleans dish, originally cooked on Mondays while the family did laundry. Aviary Photo_130994569405066261Because it didn’t need to be watched over closely, and cooked all day long, it was something that could be started in the morning and be done in time for dinner.

I got my recipe from The New Orleans Cookbook by Rima and Richard Collins written in 1975 and published by Knopf, the same publishers that published Mastering the Art of French Cooking!! I got it in a secondhand book store, and so far I love it.

I had to get a little creative because the recipe calls for pickled pork, which I could not find anywhere. So I used salt pork instead. To remove some of the extra salt I boiled it for 45 minutes before adding it to the pot.  I also didn’t add the salt that the recipe called for and the seasoning turned out perfect.

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Ingredients:

2 lb. dried red kidney beans, soaked overnight in cold water to cover (I used 3 cans of kidney beans, with no added salt. That’s what I had on hand, but I wish I hadn’t put them in the pot from the beginning because they kind of disintegrated)

2 c. chopped onions

1/2 c. thinly sliced green onion tops(scallion)

1 1/3 Tbs. minced garlic

2 Tbs. minced parsley

1 lb. baked (not smoked!) ham, cut into 1-inch cubes

1 lb. pickled pork, cut into chunks

1 large ham bone, with some meat on it, sawed into 4- to 5-inch lengths (I probably had one 5- to 6- inch bone that was cut into 1 inch pieces)

1 Tbs. salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

1/8 tsp. cayenne

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper (I used about half a fresh jalapeno, seeded and minced)

2 whole bay leaves broken into quarters

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/8 tsp. dried basil

enough cold water to cover all of the ingredients in the pot

boiled rice

  1. drain the soaked beans, and put them, along with all of the other ingredients into a large pot.
  2. cover with cold water
  3. bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, let it cook at a simmer, uncovered, for 3 hours or until it gets thick and the beans are tender.
  4. stir it every half hour
  5. ladle over rice. yum.

I let mine cook for 3 hours covered and then wondered why none of the water was evaporating so that it could thicken up… another hour and and half later without the cover and it thickened right up.

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