Roasted Vegetables and Quinoa

Plate of Roasted Vegetables on QuinoaMy version of healthy eating is a bit twisted. Moderation and I are not the best of friends. So, when I need a spell of healthy eating, there have to be a few treasures in the mix, like goat cheese and dried cherries. They make almost anything tasty. These roasted vegetables do not really need to be gilded in that fashion, but it is always a nice little contrast addition…cold and creamy meet warm vegetables. I have been in healthy mode for the most part this month, with the notable exception of my time in South Carolina. I’m staying away from my beloved bread for a bit. I’m drinking giant green smoothies. No desserts for a while. Thanks heavens the kids’ birthdays are coming up so I will “have to” make a cake. I do so love my sugar and white flour. But, let’s just say I’m benefiting from a spell of greens and beans.

I never get tired of roasted vegetables, though. Here, I have taken roasted vegetables and tossed them with a lightly sweetened vinaigrette. Then I make it a meal by serving it on top of a mound of quinoa. Actually, the dish shown above is a mix I found of quinoa, buckwheat and millet. There are some wonderful quinoa pilaf recipes out there which have additions like mint and nuts, but I’ve kept this simple because it is essentially a quick little meal. Brown rice or any other grain would work fine, too. The final joyful turn is throwing a little handful of goat cheese and dried cherries on top.

… 

Read More »

Broccoli Salad

Broccoli Salad LeadThis is a great summer salad. There are a million like it out there. I’ve always wanted to make a broccoli salad. I kept putting it off, thinking I needed to find the perfect recipe. In fact, I already had the bones of this recipe right under my nose. This is, for all intents and purposes, my Aunt Jane’s broccoli salad recipes. It is one of the tried and true family formulas that came pouring in when I asked my family to help me put together a family cookbook several years ago. I often thumb through it when I need a burst of inspiration. Somehow it always sends me in a good direction. It has never failed to leave me smiling, regardless of whether I cook from it that day or not. It is my grandmother’s kitchen hidden in stained, beloved pages.

I think of this as a tea room salad, or a picnic salad. It is definitely a classic, though I’ve modified it a bit from the traditional recipe. I took Jane’s recipe and played with it a bit and this is where I landed. I love it and I will be making it for ages. You should know that most substitutions here are merely ones caused by the current inventory of my pantry and freezer. For instance, Jane calls for raisins but I have dried cherries in my freezer that our friends Pat and Bubba gave us last year after returning from a trip to Michigan. Jane uses yogurt in her dressing, but I had only sour cream on hand. Most of these broccoli salad recipes call for sunflower seeds, but I had only slivered almonds. So I toasted them and called them preordained. Use what you have. But, never skip the bacon.

… 

Read More »

Sweet Potatoes with Greens

Garam Masala Sweet Potatoes LeadSometimes Linda Maturey, not necessity, is the mother of invention. Recently she was in my kitchen sampling a sweet potato dish which contained Garam Masala. The savory and fragrant tones of the spice mix were causing her to envision the recipe as something grander than just sweet potatoes. And though very simple, these potatoes are very good all by themselves. But she was right. Then she suggested that they would be fantastic with some sort of greens mounded on top, and I have thought of little else since.

During the intervening time I tested a recipe for Edible Dallas & Fort Worth which featured Swiss chard. I am ashamed to say that I had never cooked with Swiss chard prior to that. The red spines of the greens were so beautiful that I wanted to play with them in another context. In my opinion, greens are always better when they’re cooked with a little bit of bacon or salt pork and that is how I arrived at the topping for these sweet potatoes. My sister-in-law, Val, sat in the kitchen and tinkered with this dish and decided that it is delightful.
… 

Read More »

Sausage and Artichoke Dressing (Stuffing)

Thanksgiving is about the people and not the food. And some of my best ones have included canned peas, cranberry jelly shaped like a can, and pumpkin pie picked up 3 for $10 at the grocery store. Why? Because I loved the people I was with and love makes food taste good. No amount of effort or fancy ingredients can make otherwise great food taste good on Thanksgiving if you are spending the day with jerks. Insist on a good day, even if that means it’s just you, a TV dinner on a TV tray, and the Cowboys game. My family has always had really nice, jubilant, silly, pot-luck types of gatherings…but I hear about some doozies. And, I have the ability to do the cook-all-day-martyr-routine, which let’s face it, is pretty unappealing for everyone involved.

But, my hope for you is that you are planning a nice, peaceful Thanksgiving (allowances for bone-crushing backyard football games, or course), whatever form it takes. I’ve said it before, I’d rather have Thanksgiving at Luby’s with people I love (and I know from experience that they do a pretty darned good to-go Thanksgiving) than a “gourmet” meal with people who aren’t being nice to each other.  But, if you are cooking, and cooking for people you love, you might want to add this stuffing to your list of Thanksgiving contenders.

… 

Read More »

Esquites

I have been forbidden by my family to cook another dish involving limes for the foreseeable future, so enjoy this while you can. I’ve been going a bit overboard. I can admit that. But, before the ban, each and every member of my family expressed great love for this.

My trip to Mexico did not help the lime matter at all. This is a recipe for one of the best things we ate on our Late Night Taco Tour in Mexico City. Two men working a cart were turning out whole ears of corn slathered in mayonnaise, queso fresco and chili powder. And, they were also creating the same thing, essentially, in cups. It is called esquites.  This is the essence of simple food, but it is wonderful. Did I lose you at corn slathered in mayonnaise? Don’t be that way. You love Artichoke and Green Chile dip. That is, I hope, a safe assumption. So why not extend the love to a corn dish. This, by the way, has less mayo than the artichoke concoction.

I use this as a side dish, or a kind of warm salad. It is a snack, essentially. But it would also make a great dip. It is similar to this Corn with Sea Salt and Basil that my friend Tina told me about, and in fact she is the person who told me that if I liked the Corn with Sea Salt and Basil, I really needed to try esquites someday. Well, it is someday…and I love it.

… 

Read More »

Last updated by at .