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Quinoa, Beets and Orange

For as often as we eat quinoa, I realized it has a relatively small presence on the blog.  I’d say at least once a week (if not more) quinoa will show up in some form for lunch or dinner – or breakfast on occasion.  So when my aunt emailed me asking for a more ideas on how to use the protein-packed seed, I picked up my camera and snapped a few pics of the lunch I was making right when she wrote.

And no surpise that it was a quinoa salad.

beets-quinoa-and-tofu

If you aren’t familiar with this ancient ingredient, although it seems like a grain, it is actually a chenopod and is related to beets and spinach.  It is also one of the few plant-based foods that is a complete protein, so it a great thing to incorporate into meals that don’t contain meat (which everyone can use a few of, carnivore or not :)).

For this version, I roasted beets in my new favorite way.  Instead of peeling the beets after they are cooked (and HOT and messy), just quickly run a vegetable peeler around the root before roasting.  A quick cut, a small douse of olive oil, salt and pepper, and a sprinkling of fresh herbs (if you have any handy) and pop them into a 400ºF oven and roast for about 30-40 minutes, flipping them once during that time.

Roasting Beets

roasted-beets

Hello – why are all beets not roasted like that??? You know those good crusty nubs that form on the edges of anything you roast?  Well, now beets finally have that!  Old method of individually wrapping unpeeled beets in foil – g’bye!

After that, I just tossed in a segmented orange (I used a blood orange because it it January and I love them), some pan-roasted tofu (again, new method there – non-stick skillet is MANDATORY, requires almost no oil!!), some lettuce, and a quick bit of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper.  Since the beets and tofu were seasoned during cooking, it didn’t take too much more.

I know this is hardly a recipe, but I love getting new ideas for how to keep simple and inexpensive meals from getting boring, and I think this one fits the bill nicely!

Let me know your favorite things to pair with quinoa!

Quinoa and beet salad

As we already discussed, there is no real recipe here, so I am not going to write up non-exsitant dressing proportions, but here is how to cook quinoa if you are not familiar with it.

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strawberry and orange with ricotta

The Art of Simple Food really is that – an art.  I am constantly delighted and surprised when simple foods, prepared simply become much more than a sum of their parts.

After I made that lasagna, I had a sweet tooth and a basket full of strawberries, so I decided to skim through Alice Water’s book again (since it was out) and see what looked good.  I knew I wanted something easy – no baking or making, just really one step more than eating them plain.  I also wanted more than just letting them macerate in their own juices or tossing them in some balsamic – both great preperations, don’t get me wrong, but they weren’t wowing me that night.

Alice, not surprisingly, had the answer.

strawberry and orange

Marinate sliced strawberries in fresh orange juice.

Thank goodness the woman has been winning awards for years.  So simple and and obvious combination once you read it, but I can’t say I would have ever done it on my own.

I had two blood oranges in the fruit bowl that needed to be used, so I used the juice from those and sliced up some strawberries.  The recipe suggests adding a bit of sugar too, but I didn’t think it was necessary.  After letting it marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, I poured the strawberries and juice over a bit of ricotta that I still had on hand and it was a d.i.v.i.n.e. combination.

It would also be great with greek yogurt, vanilla ice cream, or just plain and served cold. In fact, plain and cold is what the book recommends.

I think now, regardless of the preparation, any time I make things with strawberries, I may have to add a bit of orange.

strawberries in orange juice

strawberries in orange juice with ricotta

spice coated rack of lamb

Farmer’s markets, restaurants, magazines, the weather, walking around, other blogs, friends, parties – while this could be a list of my favorite things, in fact it is a (wholly incomprehensive) list of where I get ideas for this site. But when chatting with B the other day, I let it be known that he could make requests.  Many things on here are spur of the moment, what’s in the fridge kind of posts, but occasionally there are go-to-the-store-with-an-idea in mind type of thing too.  And I let him know that I am always open to suggestions for those.

And in about 2.5 seconds he answered lamb.

spice coated rack of lamb

I think he loves it because:

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citrus-cured-salmon

I love leftovers.  I can eat soup for days.  Just about any meat can make a mean meal on day two. Mac and cheese, yes please. But fish – no thanks. Underwater creatures just don’t hold the same appeal to me when reheated, repurposed or redone.

So when I saw that I had a bit more salmon than I knew we would eat for dinner, I didn’t cook it. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a quick citrus salt cure on wrightfood when I was scoping foodblogsearch.com for info on fish in parchment. And once I popped those packets in the oven, I zested up some lemons and oranges, mixed some sugar and salt and had my first go at home cured salmon.

citruscuredsalmonsteps

Knowing that the piece I was using was teeny-tiny (I cut off the thinner side from the salmon that I was using for the papillotes so it would all cook evenly), I wouldn’t feel terrible if it all went awry and I had to toss it.

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jeweltonedglassesandvases

Once the holiday decor comes down, things can look a bit bare.  It’s nice – in a clean, uncluttered way – but also almost lonely. And in the cold, the flowers aren’t exactly blooming to liven things up that way.

Instead, try taking a just a few simple blooms or branches, separating them out, and let the vases be focal point.  I gathered a few tulips in champagne glasses and loved the fresh take.  And then I saw this picture and thought the colored vessel was really what January needs.

My way to do it though utilizes things you may already have on hand … things like colored glasses and barware, votive holders, pitchers, even shot glasses.  Of course vases and bud vases work too, but get creative and mix things up.

Jewel and fire tones will warm and brighten even the dreariest of days.

firetonedglassesandvases

Do you think things look empty after the holidays?  Or are you thankful for the clean, calm look of the decorations boxed back up?


For resources:

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Cranberry Orange Ginger Granita

Doesn’t that just look inviting? I saw this cranberry sorbet and thought that I definitely wanted to make something for Thanksgiving as a bit of a palate cleanser. Something after the turkey, but before settling into pie. Since we all know you need a break between the two.

And ginger and orange are my favorite combos with cranberry, so I thought that would make a great granita – something simple to enjoy with some Processco – almost as a digestif.

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ABOUT

Martha Stewart I am not -
I have no intention of
whittling my own table
and can handle a martini
like nobody's business -
but I do have lots of
great ideas on cooking,
entertaining, and living
that I want to share with you.

Together, perhaps we can find
ways to have a bit more fun!

Contact:
info{at}caitlindentino{dot}com

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