Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Eating more super-grain salads is a resolution of ours for this year.  We got the idea when walking by the salad bar at Whole Foods and realizing that there are a million interesting possibilities with new kinds of whole grains.  And by "new," I mean ancient, as many of these grains have been around for a long time and are now making their comeback.  A lot is said about their healthiness, but I am more after their different-ness and the culinary possibilities.  There is a long list of grains to try: quinoa, amaranth, spelt, farro, wheatberry, all kinds of barley, red, brown, or black rice, the list goes on and on...and they make great salads.  We tried this one for quinoa and it's quite good for a one-bowl meal.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I don't get enough Korean food.  I tried going to Woo Lae Oak in Tyson's but I think the sticker shock prevented me from fully enjoying my meal.  I have been waiting to try this place out in Annandale, but in the mean time maybe I can make some simple, tasty bits on my own.  This recipe for bibimbap, essentially rice with vegetables, comes from   My favorite part about bibimbap is the sesame oil, especially on the wilted spinach, and I will confess adding a little sugar to the mix makes it irresistible.  Shown here, I omitted the ground beef and the kosari - you can essentially put in whatever you want once you catch on to the flavor theme.  I prefer fresh shitakes and would actually increase the amount of them.  Store the cooked veggies in the fridge and you can cook up rice and have a meal in no time when you get home from work.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

100th Post Brunch!

Today I am celebrating my 100th post!  That has got to be some kind of milestone when my previous attempts at blogging usually amounted to about three posts before I got tired and gave up. 

This picture is another four-element brunch happily shared with friends.  If you remember the formula, I have got one egg thing, one salad, one fruit thing, and one baked good.  These are omelets (with roasted red pepper and cheese, I think, and made the Julia Child way where you shake the pan like crazy), salad with herbed baked goat cheese rounds, fresh grapefruit, and banana bread.  Winter is citrus season... eat all the grapefruit you can while it's red and sweet.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Turkey Shepard's Pie

Shepard's Pie is a great recipe to improvise and that's what we did for this one.  The basic concept is simple and a winter classic: a ground meat base (traditionally lamb) with mashed potatoes on top.  Assuming you can brown meat and have a mashed potato recipe you can take this in whatever direction you want.  The twist with what you are seeing here is that we used ground turkey - the same grind-your-own turkey thighs that I use in the turkey burger recipe.  It's got the juiciness and flavor that make this taste special.  Make your base with the meat, onions, salt, and pepper, then throw in some veggies.  Peas and carrots shown here.  For the potato, I think yukon golds are probably your best bet, but go with what you like.  For the top, Parmesan or Gruyere work nicely.  Brown the whole thing in the oven for a few minutes.  If you have oven proof bowls this would make nice individual servings as well.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Waffles, Waffles, Waffles


I love our waffle maker.  Tell me this does not look like a Shel Silverstein poem illustration!  Piles of waffles this high do exist.  This bounty is of banana waffles - banana mixed into the batter, that is.  As much as that sounds great I think this is one of those recipes where you just have to concede that messing with the basic recipe just doesn't come out as good.  What happens is the bananas make the waffle taste undercooked no matter how long you cook it.  The texture of the hot banana matches undercooked waffle a little too closely.  Go with bananas on top. 


How do two people eat all those waffles?  Lunch that day was toasted waffle Monte Cristos!


There are a million waffle recipes out there.  Experiment.  These are a yeasted recipe that seems to have come out particularly well.   The one trend I have noticed so far is that it is worth it to mix the night before and let the yeast do its work.  As usual, it takes a little planning ahead, but the execution in the morning is a lot easier, and the waffles are fluffier and get the "right" texture.  And you'll have time to make the scrambled eggs and beet greens you can see on the side.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dal Makhani

Those of you who know dal makhani probably won't recognize it here- it's normally dark brown.  That's because it uses the whole urad dal - I only had the peeled kind in my pantry so I get yellow.   And you can see that the cumin seeds are a bit overdone.  But my, my is it tasty.  Manjula's recipe is here.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sabudana Khichdi (Spicy Tapioca)

Manjula helped me find a recipe for these dried tapioca balls that I found.  Think small versions of the balls found in pearl tea.  These were not as rubbery as the large kind - but toothsome.  They get soaked to soften them, then stir-fried with typical indian spices, peas, and peanuts for crunch.  I like it as a quick tasty snack.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Vinegar Glossed Chicken

Snowpocalyse victims: Do you have any chicken?  Any random leftover corn meal in the pantry?  This recipe, originally from the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn is a good warming winter meal.  I was attracted by the "vinegar gloss" which seemed interesting.  In practice, it took a bit longer than I expected to reduce the liquid, but the result was quite tasty.

I used a whole chicken and broke it down into eight pieces, but you can use whatever you want - I recommend rediscovering the thighs.  Thighs are cheap, tasty, and hard to overcook, but they do require some extra attention to trimming since they are often sold with a lot of excess skin and fat.  As for polenta - you can get by with most cornmeals - I find that you pay a lot more if it is labeled "polenta."  Items labeled polenta are often coarser grains which can be nice, but you can find coarser grain corn meals as well.  It's so easy you don't need to bother with the tubes.