Monthly Archives: November 2010

quinoa salad with green goddess dressing…

Simple and satisfying.  I believe that quinoa just happens to be mother nature’s perfect creation; the Inca had cultivated this seed and referred to it as “chisaya mama” or “the mother of all grains”.   Quinoa is a seed but is also a complete protein, hearty with a nutty essence, wholesome but exotic. This salad balances the light texture of the quinoa with the crunch of the snap peas and pop of the pepitas.  The pickled carrots are inspired by a lovely family dinner we had in Utah…some how they just kept appearing and reappearing on my plate…and I ate every last one of them. And nothing says earthy goodness like a good goddess dressing. If you want to save on time and rather not make a dressing, Annie’s goddess dressing is delightful with this salad.

quinoa salad with green goddess dressing…


1 ½ cup Inca red quinoa

3 cups water/or broth (if not serving with dressing)

1 cup sugar snap peas, thinly cut on bias

½  cup opal basil (regular basil works just fine)

½ cup green onion, thinly sliced

¼ cup pepitas, toasted

½ cup dried cherries

pickled carrots:

2 small carrots, cut into matchsticks

½ cup distilled white vinegar

1 tsp kosher salt

¼ cup sugar


1 avocado

2 heaping tbs tahini

¼ cup plain yogurt or sour cream

1 clove garlic, minced

1-2 tbs freshly chopped parsley

juice of ½ lemon (plus more for finishing if needed)

2 tbs apple cider vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

For pickling liquid, mix together vinegar, salt, and sugar, stir until salt and sugar are completely dissolved. Marinate carrots in pickling liquid for at least ½ hour. For dressing, put all ingredients into blender and keep adding more lemon juice and/or cider vinegar until you create a nice thick liquid. Add salt and pepper last to taste. Prepare quinoa per package directions.  Or, if you bought in bulk, the ration is usually 2:1 water/broth to quinoa. Let cool.  Rinse and prep vegetables.  Mix in peas, basil, green onion, and cherries.  Top with toasted pepitas and pickled carrots.  Serve with a dollop of dressing.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Mushroom and sage risotto with Asiago cheese…

We woke up this morning to the sound of ice pelting our windows, and the rooftops and grass covered in white. Under normal circumstances I would have wanted to stay in bed all day. Just thinking about snow makes me cold, and my thin Californian blood has not thickened in the 8 or so years that I have lived in Connecticut.  However, I found this cold sleet rather inspiring and cozy in our little home this morning.  This is the time of year I go nuts for baking, so I bought myself a magazine with endless holiday cookie recipes…so keep your eyes open my friends for care packages…’tis the season.  I also wanted something rich, warm, and comforting for dinner.  Something you can curl up and eat under a blanket, but still elegant and makes you think of the crisp change in season. Julia Child said, “You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients”. That is precisely what this dish is, simple and flavorful; texturally and aromatically fall.  Risotto is also one of those dishes that takes patience and forces attention to texture and smell. It is one of my favorite dishes to cook…but maybe it is just a little out there to find stirring rice over a warm flame comforting, with the smell of wafting sage.

Mushroom and sage risotto with Asiago cheese…

10-12 crimini mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 medium shallot, minced

2 small cloves garlic, minced

1 ½ tbs fresh sage, minced

1 tsp dried rubbed sage

¼ cup shredded Asiago cheese

2 cups Arborio rice

6-8 cups vegetable broth/bullion

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs unsalted butter

salt and pepper

Prep the mushrooms. Heat broth/bullion in a medium saucepan, set aside and keep on a low simmer.  In a separate large saucepan, heat olive oil and butter. Add shallots and garlic, cook over medium heat until translucent.  Add mushrooms and fresh sage, cook until tender. Then add rice.  Completely coat the rice with butter/oil mixture, and stir regularly until rice is lightly toasted.  Then begin to add vegetable broth one ladle full at a time. Stirring regularly in between until fully absorbed by the rice. You may not use all the broth.  Keep stirring and adding broth until rice is tender and creamy.  Stir in dried sage, Asiago cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

Eat together, toast to each other, and share!


Root salad with goat cheese…

Sadly in Connecticut, the farmer’s markets all close down around the end of October.  Urban Oaks, however is a CSA that can actually be visited the entire year round.  The farm is right in the middle of a pretty rough area of town. Right past the projects there are acres of greenhouses filled with cold weather goodies. They had everything I needed for this salad, and a hot cup of coffee and a fresh sage cornbread muffin as well.

This salad is elegant and simple.  I served it with a creamy mushroom and sage risotto, but it is hearty enough to stand on its own as a main dish.  I served it warm, and I think that added to what this dish was intended to convey; wholesome, hearty, harvest, for a rainy fall dinner.

I used a mild goat cheese, but feta would be lovely too. Or, if you are not a fan of goat cheese in general, some thick Parmesan flakes would work nicely.

Root salad with goat cheese…

2 red beets

2 golden beets

1 bunch baby organic carrots

1 small garlic clove, minced

goat cheese

olive oil

2 tsp Herbes de Provence

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. To prep vegetables, scrub carrots (no need to peel if they are new carrots, the skin is so tender), and twist off tops, leaving a little green for presentation. Scrub beets and twist off tops.  After beets are clean, rub with olive oil, salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence. Wrap in tin foil.  Make sure to wrap red and golden beets separately so the colors do not bleed. Place beets in the oven, and roast for 20-30 minutes, until a firm fork tender.  Remove and let cool.  While beets are roasting, in a medium pan, heat 1 tbs olive oil and then add carrots, garlic, salt, pepper, and Herbes de Provence.  Cook carrots until firm fork tender. Once beets are cool, peel, and slice into 1/4 inch thick coins.

Stack salad, top with a generous amount of goat cheese, a little finishing oil, salt and pepper.

Cook together, toast to each other, and share!