Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kale & Quinoa

As a working mom, I’m currently obsessed with trying to find quick, easy, healthy meals that my husband and I can share with our daughter (who is turning 1 next week and no, I don’t want to talk about it). Quick and easy, because my wonderful husband cooks dinner after putting E to bed so that we can eat when I get home. I stumbled upon One Hungry Mama and after browsing around for a bit, settled on very simple and tasty sounding One Pot Quinoa and Kale Pilaf. It takes about 20 minutes to make, since you can prep each step while the previous is cooking. It tastes best hot, but is still tasty cold. It could also work as a room-temp side at a BBQ or picnic. For E we left the nuts and cheese out, tossed everything and put some aside for her, simply because we’re holding off on introducing those foods to her for the time being.

One Pot Kale and Quinoa Pilaf, barely adapted from Food52
serves 2-4
(can be shared with kids 6+ mos)*

2 c salted water
1 c quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed, ribs removed and chopped into 1″ pieces
zest of 1 lemon
juice of 1 lemon, divided
1 Tbsp walnut oil (you can substitute another nut oil or olive oil)
1/4 cup crumbed feta cheese
3 Tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 scallions, chopped (green and white parts)
salt and pepper

1. Bring salted water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.

2. Add kale to the pot, piling the leaves on top of the quinoa. Cover and simmer for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, leaving the covered pot on the stove. Allow the kale and quinoa to steam for another 5 minutes. It’s done when all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa and kale are tender. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, add a little bit of water and steam longer.

3. In the meantime, in a large serving bowl combine lemon zest, half of the lemon juice, oil, feta, pine nuts and scallions.

4. Fluff the quinoa and kale pilaf and add it to the bowl with the zest, juice, oil and other ingredients. Toss to combine. Add remaining lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. Serve!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Homemade Iced Mocha

While I've been a noted devotee of Starbucks for, at this point, probably more than half of my life, it's recently become a full-on addiction. I found out that if you register a Starbucks gift card online, you get all these discounts and freebies and other rewards. That marketing gimmick worked like a charm; I now go to Starbucks more often than I ever have before.

In an effort to save a little money, I found an iced mocha recipe at


A few notes:
  1. The amount of chocolate called for looks alarmingly low, but take my word for it and trust the recipe (the brown sugar makes up for it).
  2. The coffee needs to be a little stronger than usual in order for the taste to come through. I use a French press and let the grounds steep a bit longer. If you use a filter, you'll want to scoop in more grounds.
  3. I substitute almond milk to cut down on my dairy intake, and it works fine. I'm sure soy would work just as well.


When you're looking for a cold coffee fix this summer, give this recipe a try and save a little money. (Don't worry, Starbucks will survive.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wine of the Week - Brown Estate 2009 Zinfandel


Another zinfandel, which -- I can't help it -- remains my favorite grape.  Take my pro-zinfandel bias into consideration whenever I write about it.

I should mention up front that I neglected to take any notes while drinking this wine.  Sometimes you just need to relax and enjoy a wine with friends and loved ones, and not worry about what you're going to say in your blog later.

This was a beautiful wine that set a perfect tone for an evening of conversation.  Bold and flavorful, smooth and round.  My friend noted the gentle nature of the buzz this wine gave, and I agree.  There's more to managing your high than just taking modest sips.  The wine maker did a great job balancing the taste with the alcohol.  They complemented each other perfectly.

For taste and overall experience, I highly recommend this wine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Eggplant Parm

I was a horrible vegetarian. I didn't like mushrooms, squash, zucchini, or eggplant. I've been working on that I love them all - except those evil evil mushrooms. We will never be friends...

Anyhow, Here's my take on a classic Italian veggie dish:

1 large eggplant
Olive oil
1/2 cup cornmeal
Dried oregano
Fresh basil
Parmesan cheese
Cooked pasta and sauce

1. Cook pasta according to package instructions.
2. Slice eggplant lengthwise about 1/4 inch. On a plate, combine cornmeal and oregano. Coat each side of the eggplant in in mix.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Cook eggplant until slightly browned on each side.
4. Lay eggplant on top of pasta and top with the rest of the ingredients.
And enjoy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wine of the Week - Rosa Regale Acqui 2010 Sparkling Dolce Red


This is a hotel wine.  But hey, those are worth paying attention to too.  You gotta know what to drink while you're on the road.

This wine is a people-pleaser.  Sugary, with flavors of strawberries and raspberries.  It has a floral finish, with a bit of grape skin bitterness.  Nice and simple, but I like it.

7% alcohol

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pasta Primavera

A super easy, and surprisingly filling, pasta dish from VegNews.

Olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp lemon juice
8 oz pasta of choice
2 small yellow squash, cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 medium orange pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 cups broccoli florets
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh basil, torn

1. Cook pasta to package directions. Add squash and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 3 minutes. Drain.
2. Stir in rest of the ingredients. Heat until tomatoes are warm. Top with favorite cheese.

It's that simple!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tomato basil crustless quiche

Recently I took a stab at an old recipe of mine but changed the ingredients up a bit. Here's my new take on the old Tomato quiche:

3 eggs
1 large tomato, cut into 1/4" slices
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 2/3 cup milk
6 tbsp sherry
Fresh basil

1. Place tomato slices on a paper towel to soak up moisture
2. In a small bowl, combine the cheese and garlic.
3. In a pie pan, layer ingredients, starting from the bottom: 1 1/2 cups Cheese, onion, tomatoes, basil leaves, 1/2 cup cheese.
4. In a large bowl, mix tofu, sherry, milk and sprinkled pepper. Add as top layer to the pie.
5. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Lower temp to 350° and bake for another 30 minutes. Let cool before serving.