Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (22) wm

Quinoa is an ancient grain from the Andean region of South American, including Peru.  While my husband and I were in Peru last month we actually didn’t eat any quinoa – our guide for the Choquequirao trek said that most of the quinoa is exported out of the country and what remains is expensive.  While at home in Colorado we eat a lot of quinoa, mainly in salads because it’s not so great on its own.  This is a quick and easy salad, perfect for those warm nights.

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (3) wm

Serves 4-6

time: roughly 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked quinoa, cooked per package directions

cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/2  orange bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced in bite-size pieces

green onion, sliced thinly

cucumber, peeled and sliced in bite-size pieces

kalamata olives, sliced in half

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

black pepper

kosher salt

feta cheese

pine nuts

 

Directions:

1) Cook the quinoa according to the package instructions – remove from heat and let cool.

2) After washing the vegetables cut them and set aside on the cutting board.   Slice the kalamata olives in half.

3) In a serving bowl combine the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper and salt.  Stir, and add additional olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper or salt if needed.

4) Toast the pine nuts to a golden brown.

5) Add the quinoa and vegetables to the olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture and stir well to combine.

6) Top with the toasted pine nuts and feta cheese (if you won’t be eating all of the quinoa salad just add the pine nuts and feta cheese to each plate).

 

 

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (40) wm

Quinoa Salad with Tomatoes, Feta, Bell Pepper & Pine Nuts  (6) wm

Tomato & Feta Toasts

tomato and feta toasts (1) WM

I cannot believe how amazing this salad / toast was.  In fact, I want one right now.  I’m pretty much drooling.  This recipe will be a go-to summer salad recipe.  See, there are so many amazing ways to eat your veggies!

prep/total time: approximately 20-25 minutes

 tomato and feta toasts (2) WM

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme

handful basil leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

sliced tomato or cherry tomatoes

1 English cucumber, thinly sliced

1 bell pepper, diced

1 lemon, juiced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

freshly ground black pepper

pinch of kosher salt

feta cheese, crumbled

goat cheese, crumbled

toasted French bread, 2 slices each person

handful pine nuts, toasted

handful of arugula per person

Directions:

1. Chop, slice, and grate all needed ingredients.

2. Mix the olive oil, pepper and salt together, stir in the chopped, sliced, grated ingredients.  Gently fold in the crumbled cheeses.  Let stand for 10 minutes.

3. Slice and toast the bread.

4. Toast a handful of pine nuts – careful not to burn, you only want them golden brown.

5. Place a handful of washed arugula on each plate.

6. Place the toast on the sides of the plate.  Arrange the cucumber on the bed of arugula, and scoop out the cheese and olive oil mixture on top of the toasts and arugula.  Enjoy!

tomato and feta toasts (3) WM

Fettuccine with pesto, mint, pistachios, and tomatoes

This recipe was awesome!  I had never thought of adding pistachios and mint to a pesto dish before.

pesto pistachio (1) WM

prep time: approximately 10 minutes

cooking time: approximately 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

1 box fettuccine (or fresh fettuccine)

1 pound shrimp, raw

handful of fresh mint leaves

1-2 cups prepared pesto

1/4 cup shelled pistachios (I could only find salt & pepper pistachios which I was hesitant about, but they were amazing!)

cherry tomatoes

salt & pepper to taste

fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese if desired

Directions:

1. Boil the fettuccine noodles until al dente – approximately 10-12 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, slice the cherry tomatoes, wash the mint leaves, shell the pistachios and grate the cheese.  Boil the shelled shrimp – once the water has come to a boil drop the shrimp in the water and cook for approximately 5-7 minutes (until pink).

3. Once the noodles are done, drain and stir in the pesto sauce.  Stir in the tomatoes and cooked shrimp.

4. Dish out the noodles with tomatoes and shrimp and sprinkle the mint leaves, pistachios and cheese on top.  Enjoy with a nice side salad.

pesto pistachio (2) WM

Grilled Chicken with Paprika Rub & Spicy Apple Glaze

Paprika Rub & Spicy Apple Glaze (4) WM

This recipe takes 2 prep days, but is well worth it!

chicken & corn:

a combination of chicken, however much you like – the brine, rub and glaze makes a lot!

corn on the cob, husks removed

for the brine:

2 quarts water

1/2 cup kosher salt

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon pickling spice

1/4 teaspoon peppercorns

for the smoked paprika rub:

3 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon salt

4 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

for the spicy apple glaze:

3 cups apple cider

1 cup cider vinegar

1 cup applesauce

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4cup light brown sugar

1/4cup thinly sliced fresh ginger

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 vanilla bean, split

6 cardamom pods

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 teaspoons allspice

1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

¼ teaspoon salt Paprika Rub & Spicy Apple Glaze (2) WMDirections:

1. On the first night: Prepare the brine by combine all of the ingredients in a pot and bringing the water to a boil.  Once the water has cooled add a few trays of ice cubes, then add the chicken pieces.  Cover tightly and refrigerate over night.

2. On the second night: Remove the chicken from the brine and toss out the brine.  Paper towel dry the chicken and place on one layer on a plate – place the plate of chicken, uncovered, in the refrigerator being sure that the raw chicken isn’t touching anything else.  Refrigerate over night.

3.  On the third day, an hour before grilling mix all of the rub ingredients together and rub onto the chicken.

4. Bring a large pot of water to boil and once the water is boiling place the corn in the water and let boil for 35-45 minutes.

5. While the rub is sitting on the chicken and the grill is starting prepare the spicy apple glaze.  Combine all of the ingredients in a 6-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar.  Once the mixture has come to a boil reduce the heat to medium and cool until it is reduced to about 1 cup and has a glaze consistency, which will be about 35 minutes.  After the sauce is a glaze consistency remove the pan from the heat and strain the through a fine-mesh colander into a bowl.  Discard the solids.  Set the glaze aside.

6. Once the grill is ready, place the chicken on the grill and sear on each side for about 2 minutes.  Then, brush some of the spicy apple glaze on the side facing up on all of the chicken pieces; flip over and glaze the other side.  Continue doing this for several times until several layers of glaze are on both sides of the chicken.  You want the glaze to get nice and crispy.  Move the pieces of the chicken to the outer perimeter of the grill, place the corn in the middle and lightly brush a thin layer of glaze on the entire ear of corn.  Cover and cook for about 10 minutes each side.

Paprika Rub & Spicy Apple Glaze (3) WM

7. Remove the corn and chicken once the chicken is cooked through.  Serve with a side salad or the vinegar based cole slaw with cranberries (or another one of my salads!)

Paprika Rub & Spicy Apple Glaze (1) WM

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

strawberry rhubard pie (2) WM

Fruit pies equal summer in my book, and especially strawberry rhubarb.  It was a treat when I was a kid to have a strawberry rhubarb pie from Marie Calendar’s – now that I love to bake I just make them myself!  They are super easy to make and don’t require too many ingredients.

2 containers of strawberries

4 stalks of rhubarbs

2 tablespoons minute Tapioca

1 teaspoon Ball Fruit-Fresh Produce Protector

2 sheets of crust

1 egg, beaten

Directions:

1. Wash and de-stem the strawberries then slice, slice the rhubarb into chunks, place both into a bowl.

2. Stir the minute Tapioca and the produce protector into the strawberries and rhubarb.

3. Place one sheet of crust onto the bottom of a pie pan allowing the edges to hang over slightly; pour the pie mixture on top of the crust.  Gently place the top crust over the pie mixture and pinch the top and bottom layers of crust together.

4. Cut slits into the center of the crust and then brush the beaten egg over the entire crust.

5. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 60 minutes until golden brown.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!

strawberry rhubard pie (1) WM

strawberry rhubard pie (3) WM

salted caramel tres leches cake

salted caramel tres leches WM

The first time that I had tres leches cake was at my aunt’s house in Seattle, I have been using the same recipe my cousin used for years – this time I modified it by adding salted caramel.

Ingredients for the tres leches cake:
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions for the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour one 9×13 inch baking pan.
2. Sift flour and baking powder together and set aside.
3. Cream butter or margarine and 1 cup of the sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, beat well.
4. Add the flour mixture to the butter or margarine mixture 2 tablespoons at a time, mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes. Pierce cake several times with a fork.
6. Combine the whole milk, evaporated milk, and condensed milk together. Pour over the top of the cooled cake.
7. Pour the warm salted caramel over the cooled cake.
8. Whip whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 cup of the sugar together until thick. Spread over the top of cake. Be sure and keep cake refrigerated.

Ingredients for the Salted Caramel

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 4 tablespoon butter
  • 7 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt

Directions for the Salted Caramel:

1. Add the sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat.  Stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Use a spoon to remove any crystals that form on the side.

2. Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat to high.  Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving  – do not stir the mixture directly.  The mixture will start to bubble after a minute.

3. As the mixture darkens to a medium amber color, approximately 5-7 minutes, add the butter, heavy cream and kosher salt to saucepan.  The mixture will bubble wildly.  Whisk to combine.

A note: even if the heat is on high the sugar might start to clump and not be liquidy (mine turned from clear liquid to clumps) – don’t worry!  Just begin to whisk the sugar so it all becomes hot again.  If you wait too long you’ll have to chop up the sugar clumps with a wooden spoon.  I turned the heat down to low during this declumping process so the caramel wouldn’t burn.  This clumping didn’t happen the first time I made caramel but it has all of the subsequent times for some reason.  After the sugar is clear liquid again (no clumps) it will start to turn that beautiful amber color, then you can add the butter, heavy cream and salt DO NOT add these ingredients when the sugar is still clumpy and before the sugar has turned into the amber color of caramel.

Ham & Cheese Puff

ham & cheese puff (3) WMI made this for a brunch – it had three types of cheese so of course it was great!

Ingredients:

1/4 pound Gruyere cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 pound Manchego cheese, thinly sliced

1/4 pound applewood smoked cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

1 pound sliced ham

2 sheets puff pastry, barely thawed

1-3 tablespoons dijon mustard

1 large egg, beaten

Directions:

1. Carefully unroll both sheets of the puff pastry – place one on a parchment paper lined cooking sheet and set the other one aside.

2. Spread a thin layer of the dijon mustard on the puff pastry on the cooking sheet.

3. Layer the cheese and ham making sure to mix up the cheese.

4. Place the second puff pastry sheet on top of the ham and cheese, press the edges of both puff pastry sheets together.

5. With a cooking brush, brush the beaten egg all over the top of the puff pastry.

6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes.

ham & cheese puff (2) WM