Monday, March 24, 2008

Indian Spiced Quinoa Salad

Indian Spiced Quinoa Salad

Garam Masala is one of my favorite spice combinations and it goes perfectly with the nuttiness of Quinoa. I recommend purchasing a bottle of Garam Masala because it can transform grains, veggies and meats into a wonderful dish. This salad can be served warm, room temp or cold. This also makes plenty for leftovers.

2 cups Quinoa
4 cups water
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
3 stalks of celery diced small
1 red pepper diced small
1 cup red onion diced small
1/2 cup slivered toasted almonds (optional)

Rinse the quinoa and drain in a mesh colander. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the quinoa and stir constantly for 10 minutes or until all the moisture evaporates. The quinoa should be fragrant, dry and golden.

Combine 3 cupes of water with the garam masala and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Cover and turn heat to low. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. Do not stir.

Heat the sesame oil in a grage skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, red pepper and red onion and the last teaspoon of garam masala. Saute until the vegetables are tender about 3 minutes.

Combine the vegetable mixer with the quinoa. Serve hot, room temp or cold.

Makes 4 cups.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Hearts of Palm Salad

Hearts of Palm Salad

This is a quick and easy recipe to make for lunch.

1 (14 oz) can Diced Hearts of Palm
1/2 chopped red pepper
1/4 cup fresh Parsley
1/2 lemon juiced
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and enjoy!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Bison Meatballs with Garam Masala

Bison Meatballs with Garam Masala

One very popular low-fat, high-flavor substitute for ground meats like beef and lamb is ground buffalo. In Colorado, we are very fortunate to be exposed to buffalo and most if not all the grocery stores. People outside of Colorado, with the exception of Montana and Wyoming, are a usually a bit surprised that buffalo/bison meat is a great way to get your daily dose of low-fat protein and iron.

This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe for Lamb Koftas. It's simple, quick and contains one of my favorite spice combinations - Garam Masala. The Garam Masala I used is from the Savory Spice Shop on 15th and Platte in Denver. If you don't have this spice in your cabinet here is a quick recipe:

2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons coriander seeds

2 tablespoons cardamom seeds
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
1 (3-inch) stick cinnamon, broken up
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon grated whole nutmeg


Put the cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, cinnamon, and cloves in a dry heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the spices, stirring occasionally, until they turn several shades darker and give off a sweet smoky aroma, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.

Working in batches if necessary, transfer the mixture to a spice mill or coffee grinder and grind to a powder. Stir in the nutmeg. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

I serve the meatballs with Fage Greek Yogurt. I have recently discovered this stuff and I am highly addicted to it. I've been making these meatballs for a few years and before I discovered the Greek Yogurt I was just dipping them in dijon mustard, another one of my condiment addictions.....

There are a few different ways to make/serve these meatballs. Either you can make them like patties and eat them with the recommended dips or if you have some pita pockets, make the meatballs a bit smaller and put them in the pockets with the greek yogurt.

Bison Meatballs

  • 2 small garlic cloves
  • 1 piece (1 inch) peeled fresh ginger, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or mint)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coarse salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 12 ounces ground buffalo
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • Fage Greek Yogurt
  • 6 pita pockets
Put the garlic, ginger and onion in a food processor and pulse until chopped. Add the parsley or mint, garam masala, salt and pepper. Process until everything is combines, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg and buffalo and process until fully combined. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and flatten into patties.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil. When hot add the meatballs in batches - approximately 4 at a time. Cook 3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towel lined plate to drain.

Insert toothpicks into each meatball if not using the pita. Or stuff 2 meatballs in a pita pocket top with yogurt and enjoy.

Makes 16 meatballs.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sangria Spritzer

Sangria Spritzer

Yes, a recipe for a drink! The other night I had some girlfriends over for drinks and birthday cake for my good friend Molly. Of course, EVERYONE brought a bottle of wine. So I was left with a so-so bottle of red. I am not a fan of cheap red wine. I like a good red. So I was racking my brain trying to think of what to do with this Yellow Tail Shiraz. Then I thought, hey I have 2 ripe, juicy grapefruits and some seltzer. A combo sangria - spritzer came to be!

This recipe makes 2 batches and will serve 8 glasses in an 8-oz. low-ball glass.

Note - I'm not a big sweets person so you can add more sugar for a sweeter drink. Also, if you don't like grapefruit or have oranges on hand use those instead.

4 cups cheap red wine - I recommend Yellowtail Shiraz
2 large pink grapefruits
1 large lime
1/4 c. sugar (for a sweeter drink make it 1/2 cup)
24 oz. lime seltzer - I recommend Blue Sky Lime (I'm addicted to the stuff)
Lime slices for garnish

In a blender put 2 cups red wine. Add juice from one grapefruit and 1/2 lime. Add 1/8 cup of the sugar. Add about 1 cup of ice. Give the blender a whirl. Line up 4 - 8 oz. glasses filled with ice and a 1/2 a can of seltzer to each glass. Then pour the blended concoction into each glass and enjoy.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos


1/4 cup fresh lime juice, (juice of 2 limes)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp cumin powder

1 Tbsp chili powder

1/2 Tbsp oregano

1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

1 1/2 pounds halibut steaks, (four steaks)

4 flour tortillas, 10-inch diameter)

2 cups black beans, canned, or made from scratch

1 cup salsa

1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

16 oz. sour cream


In a large zip-lock plastic bag or dish with cover, combine lime juice, oil, cumin, chili powder, oregano and pepper; stir well. Add fish to lime marinade and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Prepare grill (medium-high heat) and oil the rack so fish will not stick. Place fish on the hot grill and cook 4–5 minutes per side or until fish flakes easily when teated with a fork.

While fish is cooking, wrap tortillas in foil and place on grill to heat.

Place black beans in a microwave-safe dish, cover and heat in the microwave.

When fish is done, place it in a dish and flake with a fork. Assemble tacos by spooning beans into the center of each tortilla, add flaked halibut and top with cheese and salsa.

Broiler option: Preheat oven broiler, coat broiler pan with vegetable oil spray and broil fish 4–5 minutes per side.

Re: white sauce I use sour cream with a bit of lime juice.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Shrimp Dumplings - Har Gow

Steaming dumplings in a bamboo steamer is perhaps one of the most satisfying cooking experiences not to mention the healthiest. In the past 4 years I've gone through 2 bamboo steamers. This shrimp dumpling recipe is terrific, traditionally called Har Gow, if you are out for a Dim Sum brunch. The recipe I posted here calls for a 1/2 lb. of shrimp and makes about 36 dumplings. If you don't want to make that many, you can refrigerate the dumpling mix and use it the next day. A quick note - you can use a regular veggie/rice steamer however it doesn't cook as well and the dumplings tend to stick to the steamer. It is very important to line the bamboo steamer with cabbage or lettuce leaves so the do not stick to the steamer. The dipping sauce is delicious and tangy, recipe follows however any prepared sauce already in the refrigerator works well too.

Shrimp Dumplings - Har Gow

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon fresh chopped ginger
1/2 pound Raw shrimp, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup Chopped white onion
1 large Carrot, chopped fine
1 cup Chopped green cabbage
1/2 cup sliced mushroom caps,
1/2 teaspoon Dry chili pepper flakes
2 tablespoons Sesame oil
1/4 cup Low sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons Rice wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pk Wonton wrappers
1 egg white (optional)

In large skillet or a wok heat the canola oil until hot. Add the garlic and ginger, saute 1 minute then add onion and carrot stir fry 1 minute until flavors release. Add the shrimp, cabbage and mushrooms and quickly stir fry while combining the ingredients stir fry until shrimp turns pink and cabbage is wilting about 5 minutes. Add the pepper flakes, sesame oil, soy sauce, and vinegar and, adjust the seasoning and remove from heat and set aside to cool. When the mixture is cool begin making the dumplings by laying out one wonton, brush the edge with water or egg white, put 1 teaspoon of the filling into the middle and fold the edges over on the diagonal to form a packet. Line the bamboo steamer with cabbage leaves. Set dumplings in steamer, do not allow the dumplings to touch or they will stick. To cook the finished dumplings, bring water to a boil in a large skillet in which the bamboo steamer basket may be nestled. When the water is boiling, insert the basket with the dumplings and steam for 8 minutes or until fully cooked. The dough will change color and texture when cooked. Serve with tangy mustard dip.

Tangy Mustard Dipping Sauce

1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon red chili paste, such as Thai Kitchen
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
3/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Combine the first 3 ingredients until mixed. Then blend the remaining ingredients and combine both until smooth. Let sit for 30 - 45 minutes to allow flavors to meld. Leftover can be kept in the refrigerator for 2 - 3 weeks. Makes 1 cup.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Cauliflower Marranca Madness

Cauliflower Marranca Madness

The other night I was wondering what to do with a big head of cauliflower. I flipped through the Moosewood Cookwood and found this awesome recipe. I changed it a bit to incorporate the block of pepper jack cheese.

1 cup long-grain brown rice

2 cups water

2 cups mushrooms, fresh -- sliced

1 large yellow onion -- finely chopped

2 tbsp olive oil

1 whole lemon

1 large head of cauliflower -- cut florets & stems

1/2 cup chicken or vegetable broth

1 teaspoon dried basil

2 garlic cloves -- crushed

1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper -- to taste

2 cups pepper jack cheese -- shredded

Combine rice with water in a rice steamer. Let steam for 45 minutes or until rice is cooked.

While rice is cooking, in a large skillet over medium heat saute mushrooms and onions in olive oil and juice of one lemon. Set aside.

Heat another large skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add cauliflower and basil. As it heats up, add broth and stir quickly until broth is absorbed. Add salt and black pepper to taste. Saute for about 8 minutes or until cauliflower softens.

Combine cauliflower with cooked rice and onion/mushroom mixture in a 9 x 13 casserole dish, mixing thoroughly. Layer entire top evenly with pepper jack cheese.

Bake covered at 350 degrees for 30 minutes - until cheese melts. Remove cover and bake 5 - 10 minutes more until cheese browns slightly. Serve immediately.