Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mango Quinoa Salad

Thank you to Tiara for this delicious and very healthy recipe!
How to cook quinoa: to avoid a bitter taste, be sure soak the quinoa in water for about 15 minutes then drain through a fine sieve.  It's 1 1/4 c. liquid to 1 c. uncooked quinoa, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.  You can use either water or broth, the broth will give it more flavor.
I've made this with peaches in place of the mango with fair results.

2 c. cooked quinoa at room temperature, or chilled
1 14 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 medium mango, peeld and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, sliced
1/2 c. cooked edamame beans (removed from pod)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1-2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, beans, edamame and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth and pour over salad.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

Thai Peanut Salad

Thank you to my friend Tiara for this wonderful recipe!
The recipe calls for red leaf lettuce, but I like it made with broccoli slaw (sometimes called rainbow slaw) that you can find premade in the produce section.  If you use the broccoli slaw, omit the cabbage and carrots. The peanut sauce is a little spicey so play with the porportions of the peanut sauce to vinaigrette to get the right heat/flavor you are looking for.

Red leaf lettuce
Purple cabbage
Sliced carrots
Red bell pepper, sliced
Honey roasted peanuts
Shredded or sliced roasted chicken

1/3 c. Thai peanut sauce (found in the ethnic food section of the grocery store)
2/3 c. Red wine vinaigrette

Combine the dressing ingredients well and toss over the salad.

Ham and Spinach Quiche

Adam said this is the best quiche he's ever had.  I thought it was tastey too.  The kids were not the biggest fans, but ate it anyway.  They also don't love pie (whose kids are these anyway?!), so maybe I shouldn't have told them it was egg pie, I might have ruined the experience before it even began.
I didn't have a deep dish pie crust, so I made 2 regular 9" pies.

1/2 c. butter
3 cloves garlic
1 small onion, chopped
1 (10 oz) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (4.5 oz) can mushrooms, drained
1 (6 oz) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 (8 oz) package shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1 (9 inch) unbaked deep dish pie crust
1 c. chopped ham
4 eggs
1 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute garlic and onion in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.  Stir in spinach, mushrooms, feta, ham and 1/2 c. cheddar cheese.  Season with salt and pepper.  Spoon into pie crust.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk.  Pour into pie crust, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture.
Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center.  Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Salted Caramel Pecan Ice Cream

When we were in Paris 4 years ago I had the most amazing caramel I've ever had in my life, it was buttery, sweet and had fleur de sel in it, which gave it a little bit of saltiness, it was indecently awesome. I bought a jar and brought it back I admit I did cry a little when it was gone. I tried to look on line at the company`s website to see if they would ship it to me, it was that good. I would have paid for the overseas shipping, no questions asked. So, when I first saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. The original recipe does not call for pecans, but I think they are the perfect touch. You can leave them out if you would like. This recipe would be heavenly over a warm brownie.
This ice cream is incredibly smooth and delicious, but highly annoying to make.
 Here are my tips:
Use the biggest saucepan you have for melting the sugar. I used a 10-inch pan and it took a really long time to melt -- forty five minutes! Forty-five minutes of stirring and swirling got really old -- really fast.
Really wait until the sugar is turning liquid before starting to swirl. I jumped the gun a little bit and ended up with big sugar chunks I had to break (read: chisel) apart.
My caramel seized when I added the cream, I'd even heated it up to try to avoid this, but my efforts did not work. But if you keep stirring it will eventually start to turn liquid. I did, however, have to fish out about 3/4 c. of melted sugar that would not incorporate into the cream.
My ice cream was a little too salty. I didn't have any flaky sea salt, just regular sea salt. I'm not sure if having the flaky variety would have made it less salty. (I do like salt, but it just seemed a little off.) The next time I make this I'll try adding a little less sea salt.

For the Caramel:
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. flaky sea salt

For the Ice Cream Base:
1 c. whole milk
4 large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted

For the Caramel:
Heat the sugar in a dry, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Stir with a fork to heat the sugar evenly.  Once it starts to melt, stop stirring and start swirl the pan to melt the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. 
Carefully (it will splatter) add the heavy cream; cook, stirring until the sugar has fully incorproated.  Transfer to a heat proof bowl and stir in the sea salt.

For the Ice Cream Base:
Heat the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Prepace an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.  Set a strainer over the smaller bowl; set aside.
In a seperate bowl, whisk the eggs yolks and sugar until they are pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved.  Very slowly pour the heated milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.  Pour back into the orginal pan.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice until cool.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate thoroughly (preferably over night).

Follow your ice cream maker's instructions on chilling the freezer bowl.  Pour the ice cream base, vanilla, and caramel into your chilled bowl and freeze according to directions.  When ice cream is about 5 minutes from frozen, add the pecans until well incorporated.