Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

Meatless Monday: Warm Red Quinoa Salad

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Okay, so quinoa may not be the first thing to come to mind for a romantic Valentine’s dinner, but what better day to think about heart health? This warm and hearty salad is loaded with super foods — broccoli for vitamins A & K (and lowering cholesterol), dried cranberries for antioxidants, walnuts for healthy omega-3s, and the aforementioned quinoa, a source of protein. And, it’s naturally red. To go totally vegan, substitute sauteed tofu for the feta. This would also make a nice side dish to some wild salmon. Happy *Heart* Day!

Recipe: Warm Red Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Cranberries & Walnuts


  • 1 cup red quinoa (rinsed*)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pound broccoli, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese, cubed (optional)


  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar
  • squirt of lemon juice

Instructions: In saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add quinoa, stirring to coat with the oil and cook for 1 minute, continuing to stir. Add water, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.

While the quinoa cooks, whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside. Heat dry skillet over medium low heat and toast walnuts, stirring frequently, for about 4 minutes. Remove walnuts from pan and set aside. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and shallot to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots begin to brown. Add broccoli and water, cover and cook until broccoli is tender — about 5 minutes. Uncover, add cranberries and remove from heat.

Combine quinoa, broccoli, walnuts and vinaigrette and toss gently to combine. Add feta, if using, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings.

* Note: I used pre-rinsed quinoa in this recipe. If your quinoa is not pre-rinsed, rinse it in a fine mesh colander and let drain for several minutes before cooking.

quinoa broccoli feta cranberries

Feeding Baby: Broccoli’s not recommended until baby is well established on solid foods as it is harder to digest. For babies 8+ months, pull out a few pieces of the cooked broccoli, a spoonful of quinoa and puree with a little water as needed to reach the desired consistency. (The boy is in a no-mingling-of-flavors phase, so the above is his salad, deconstructed. This is also ideal for serving finger-feeding toddlers.)

(And just so you don’t think I’m a total Valentine’s scrooge — here’s our dessert: black and pink cookies …

black and pinks

Banana Pecan Coffee Cake (and a blizzard)

Monday, December 21st, 2009

I haven’t had much time in the kitchen lately, as you might have guessed by my lack of posting. After a long and stressful month, I desparately needed some therapeutic time in the kitchen, breathing in the sweet fragrance of butter and sugar creaming in the KitchenAid. So I was thrilled when I heard there was snow in the forecast for the weekend, and sent the boy and husband to brave the mass hysteria at the grocery store Friday night to stock up on all the snowstorm-in-DC essentials: butter, sugar, flour, orange juice. I didn’t realize just how much snow was in the forecast until I finally paid attention to the weatherman Friday evening, and heard the predictions of a foot or two of snow.  Thus far in my son’s three years, he’s seen maybe a cumulative six inches over his lifetime. Clearly, this was going to be the perfect weekend for quality baking and family time.

Sure enough, we woke to quite a bit of snow Saturday morning, with steady snowfall throughout the day. The boy was so excited he ran out in a t-shirt and his Uggs (a.k.a. “cozy boots”) to start shoveling off the porch. I lured him back inside with the promise of breakfast cake, and started my weekend of baking with this sweet banana pecan coffee cake. Perfect fuel for a day of shoveling, snow ball tossing and snow angel making. (And stay tuned to see what else we baked.)

Recipe: Banana Pecan Coffee Cake
adapted from That’s My Home


1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 bananas)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon milk

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a Bundt pan and set aside. In a food processor, chop pecans with sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. In mixer bowl, cream sugar and butter until smooth. Add eggs, mashed bananas and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and sour cream, mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Add to mixer bowl and mix on low until just blended. Spread a light layer of the nut mixture in the bottom of the pan. Add 1/2 of the batter, spreading evenly over the nuts. Sprinkle remaining nut mixture over the batter, then top with remaining batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until top is lightly browned. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then invert pan and place cake on a cooling rack. Whisk together powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract and milk until smooth (add more milk if needed to make a thin glaze). Use a spoon to drizzle glaze over cake. Let stand a few minutes for the glaze to set, and enjoy!

Treats: Pistachio Parmigiano Cheese Straws

Friday, December 26th, 2008

On the second day of Christmas…

a la Eric Ripert

Happy Boxing Day!

Ginger Soy Shrimp Fusili

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

This was an easy pasta dish made easier with a few Trader Joe’s favorites – cooked, peeled frozen shrimp and Ginger Soy Broth, plus my own prepped and frozen broccoli and garlic scape pesto from last week. I also used TJ’s flax seed pasta to fulfill my Whole Grains Challenge quota for the day. (OK, so it was 1 of 3 meals, but every small step counts, right?)


  • 1/2 bag flax seed fusili
  • 3 c ginger soy broth (added to water to boil pasta)
  • 1 c frozen broccoli
  • 1 bag shrimp, thawed and tails removed
  • 2 T garlic scape pesto* (or whatever kind you have on hand)
  • 1/2 T olive oil
  • 1 t roasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 c cashews

Instructions: I added the 3 c of ginger soy broth to the pasta water. Cook pasta as instructed, adding broccoli for final 2 minutes. Reserve cooking water for later. Heat pesto and oils in skillet over medium heat. Add shrimp and cook just a couple minutes, about 3-4, adding cashews for final minute. Toss with cooked pasta, broccoli, and about 1/4 c of the pasta water. Enjoy!

* Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto

Take one bunch of garlic scapes (3-4) and chop into 1 inch pieces. Add to food processor with 1/4 c olive oil, 1/4 c nuts of your choice (I used cashews, pecans and pistachios are also great), and 1/4 c parmiaggano cheese. Chop till fine. This is pretty potent, so use with care!

Toddler Notes: I believe this was the first time we really served shrimp to the toddler. He wasn’t interested the first night, but ate one bite the second. He ate all his broccoli first and then stole every last piece off the husband’s plate, before getting to the noodles. Hooray for broccoli!

Submitted to Presto Pasta Nights, created by Once Upon a Feast and hosted this week by Closet Cooking.