Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mexi-Quinoa Salad

I'm going to credit this recipe with the fact that this is the first time I have actually enjoyed eating quinoa. I make it every now and then because I know it is healthy but have never REALLY loved it.  I also tried a new method of rinsing the quinoa. When you forget the rinse step, you know it!  The quinoa tastes nasty and soapy in my opinion.   In the past I rinsed uncooked quinoa in a strainer.  I would run water over it and mix it up with my fingers.  This time, I soaked the uncooked quinoa in cold water for 3 minutes and then strained it. 

I served this quinoa salad as a side dish to some grilled chicken and sautéed rapini but it could easy be a main. It also makes a great lunch to take to work. I think the key with this recipe (and why I loved this quinoa) is that:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pita Pizza with Kale Pesto

Another great use for those frozen kale pesto cubes. Makes for a unique alternative to tomato sauce on a pita pizza. I topped mine with sautéed onion, mushroom, and spinach.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Crispy Zucchini Spears

I went to the Hamilton Food and Drink fest this weekend with some friends. We had four free tickets come our way and I had never been so figured what the heck.  Once inside the show you have to buy tokens that you can redeem for food and drink.   I read online that most items were between 2-7 tokens. 

Let's rewind a few hours to when our friends came over.  I figuring hitting to up this show on an empty stomach would be bad idea.  Firstly, because I would be on my way to drunkville in no time and second, I get grumpy when hungry.  The thought of being ravenous and waiting in huge line for a meatball or spring roll was not appealing.   I made a few apps at home including these Crispy Zucchini Spears.   So, the food and drink show ended at 10pm and after enjoying wine and snacks until 8:30 at home we figured we should head over.  We thought 12 tokens each would be good number to buy once inside the show (given I read that some items might be 7 tickets).  After visiting a few winery booths we quickly realized that most drinks were between 1 and 2 tokens.  We were enjoying ourselves sampling and snacking until we realized it was 9:45 and we had about 6 tokens left each.  Go time.  We made it our mission to use all those tokens in the last 15 minutes.  Seemed like a great idea in the moment..morning after not so much.  On a more mature note, the show was really neat and we think we will go back next year...but earlier.  The most interesting thing I tried was a Green Apple beer from Nicklebrook Brewery.  I imagine it would be a great beer to enjoy on a patio this summer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Big Boss Dijon Salad Dressing

This is my first post inspired by my recent to trip to Paris and Menton (a town on the French Riviera).  Before you go thinking I am J. Lo here jetting off to the Riviera, we did a home exchange 3 years ago where people came to stay at our place for 2 weeks and we stayed at thier place in Menton for one week.  We were owed a week and cashed in over March break holiday.  A trip report complete with pics is in the works.

I find that when I travel, after a few days away from home, I am craving vegatables.  Brocolli stir fry and carrots with dip run through my thoughts.  Don't get me wrong I love a good French baguette.  When travelling with my girlfriends after university I would buy one for myself almost each day.  Luckily we were walking alot which counteracted the baguette obsession:)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Kale Pesto Sauce

Egg noodle tagliatelle with garlicy pesto sauce, mushrooms and chicken is pasta heaven for me.
Now, given that I am not a fan of cheese or cream sauces, I find store bought pesto sauces never suit my tastes. I found a recipe a few years back for an easy, basic pesto and it has been my go to. For a few years the Hamilton Farmers Market had a stall where they would sell huge bunches of basil for two bucks. I would stock up, make a bunch of sauce and freeze it. Unfortunately, said stall no longer exists. So this leaves the options of buying basil at the grocery store (can be pricey) or growing my own. Grow my own, sounds easy...not so! I have tried to grow basil for the past two summers with no success. A colleague at work, who is a gardening guru, has since filled me in that pinching the flowers off the plant is the key to big leaves. Crossing my fingers that this summer, third time will be a charm.

I decided to give my go to recipe a whirl with another leafy green...kale. Another twist was using walnuts instead of pine nuts (also pretty steep in the price department). Are you getting the hint that I am kinda cheap? Friends say frugal which is a nice way of putting it ;)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Coconut Caramel Corn

I love popcorn. I have it at least twice each week as my evening snack. Usually I air pop and go with a tiny bit of butter and salt. Sometimes, I dash some Chili Lime Franks Red Hot sauce on. Other times, I'll satisfy a chip craving and use salt and balsamic vinegar.

My dad is a ninja at the stove popping method. It really does taste so much better. I tried it once and made serious mess of my pot. To this day the bottom it is still stained slightly black with burnt on popcorn.

Tonight I was feeling like dessert but had baked cookies a few nights earlier. I baked them to send to my sister and after much container decorating and parcel taping, they turned out to get delivered to the wrong address! I'm sure some stranger....albeit a lucky stranger... in Missisauga is enjoying my peanut butter chocolate chip cookies as I type. This is where my caramel corn idea comes in. I pretty much took the sticky portion of my energy bar recipe (brown rice syrup, brown sugar, salt and vanilla), drizzled that over air popped popcorn, and mixed in the coconut.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Rookie Mistake

While getting a blog post ready last night I accidentally deleted the Stuffed Poblano Peppers and the Blueberry Cranberry Spelt Muffins recipes.  Arghhh.  I was in Starbucks when I realized what I had done. I dropped a few "F" bombs inside my may have slipped out under my breath.

Crispy Horseradish Potatoes

As promised, this is one of those side dishes that accompanied my roast chicken Oscar night fiasco. I was telling people at work about these potatoes and have already been asked for the recipe. A colleague of mine made them this week (minus the horseradish) as comfort food for her sick kids. Horseradish is a pretty "grown up" taste but I think it is what makes this recipe.

Kevin and I leave on Saturday for a March break trip to a town called Menton. Menton is just outside of Nice on the French Riviera. We did a home exchange a few years ago and have one week "banked" at this condo in France. We are cashing in. As of now the weather looks fantastic for strolling, sipping cappuccinos in the morning and wine in the evening...ok maybe afternoon too...we're on vacay after all!  I've scouted out some local specialities and hope to bring back some interesting recipe ideas...Nicois salad anyone?