Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Saffron Quinoa with Seasonal Roasted Veggies

This is a light and lovely spring dish from Jill Nussinow, a premier food/veggie educator. See her info/web site at the end of post. These are her words that follow but I heartily concur with her suggested changes to the dish as the different veggies become fresh and available through the season.

Saffron Quinoa with Seasonal Vegetables
Quinoa is one of my favorite gluten-free grains. It looks and tastes beautiful with the saffron added. When eggplant, peppers and tomato are truly in season, use them. In earlier summer, use green beans plus pantry staples of olives and garbanzo beans. Adding fresh herbs at the end always lends a bright flavor note and lots of antioxidants.
  • ¼ cup warm or hot water
  • A pinch of saffron threads
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil (if desired)
  • 1 cup sliced leek or onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sliced snow or sugar snap peas (about 12 medium peas)
  • 1 cup asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 8 medium spears)
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest from an organic lemon
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or sliced or slivered almonds
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley with a bit of chives or dill
  • Drizzle of lemon olive oil or lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Soak the saffron in the ¼ cup of water for at least 5 minutes. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the leek or onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the quinoa and toast it. Add the saffron and the soaking water. Add the broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 12 minutes on the heat. Remove from the heat and add the peas and asparagus. Replace the cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Check to be sure that the quinoa is cooked through (it will have little white rings). Stir and add the lemon zest pine nuts or almonds and herbs. When ready to serve, add the lemon olive oil or lemon juice right before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
  2. Pressure cooking directions: Follow the same directions as above, locking the lid on the pressure cooker and bringing to high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. When it does, carefully open the lid, add the asparagus and peas and put the lid back on for 2 minutes. Stir, add lemon zest, nuts and herbs. 
Yield: 4 servings
Calories per serving: 233
Fat per serving: 6.9g

Servings 4, Calories 233, Fat 6.9g, Carbohydrates 33.9g, Protein 10.3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 297mg, Fiber 5.3g, Sugars 2.8g, WW Pts 6
Note: My method for cooking perfect quinoa every time includes decreasing the amount of water by ¼ cup for each additional cup of grain. For example, when making 2 cups of quinoa, use only 3 ¼ cups liquid on the stove top. When making 3 cups, use 5 cups of liquid.
©2013, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen, http://www.theveggiequeen.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala

This is my version of comfort food - love those rich and pungent Indian spices combined with creamy Yukon Golds and sprightly spring spinach! Recipe from the Vegetarian Times web site .

Yukon Gold and Baby Spinach Masala
Serves 4
30 minutes or fewer
Why Yukon gold potatoes? Because their creamy but firm texture make them a perfect fit for stews, plus the tender skin doesn't need to be peeled. Serve with steamed rice, and a sweet-and-sour chutney, such as Fresh Mango Chutney on vegetariantimes.com.
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into ½-inch cubes (4 cups)
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
  • 2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeño chile,finely chopped (1 Tbs.)
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 13.5-oz. can light coconut milk
  • 1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
  • 1½ tsp. Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
1. Steam potatoes in steamer basket set over simmering water 10 minutes, or until just tender.
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Add steamed potatoes, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, to coat with spices. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.
3. Stir in spinach, garam masala, and 1/4 cup water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Whole-Wheat Shells with Asparagus, Peas, Feta, and Mint

I snitched this recipe from the Vegetarian Times web site. It looks like a delicious spring dish. But if you're making this in the spring when asparagus and peas are fresh, you might not have fresh basil yet. What to do? For Ann Arbor-area folks, you could substitute Kenzoil for the garlic oil and basil - a locally-made, delicious and easy alternative. Oh, and anything's betta with feta, don'tcha think?

Whole-Wheat Shells with Asparagus, Peas, Feta, and Mint
Serves 6
30 minutes or fewer
One large pot of boiling water is all it takes to make a pasta medley full of fresh spring vegetables. Blanching the vegetables in the boiling water also adds flavor to the pasta.
  • 12 oz. whole-wheat pasta shells
  • 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups fresh or frozen baby peas
  • 2 Tbs. garlic oil, such as Garlic Gold
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced (⅓ cup)
  • 1 cup sliced fresh basil
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
  • 3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (¾ cup)
1. Bring large pot of water to a boil. Add asparagus, and cook 4 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Remove asparagus with slotted spoon; transfer to serving bowl.
2. Add pasta to boiling water; cook 5 minutes. Add peas, return water to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 1/4 cup cooking water, and return pasta and peas to pot. Stir in reserved cooking water, asparagus, garlic oil, green onions, basil, mint, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, if desired; transfer back to serving bowl; and sprinkle with feta cheese, if using.