The Real Housewife of Santa Monica

March 2012 archive

Israeli Couscous Salad with Pine Nuts & Parsley

You know those days dinner sneaks up on you yet you STILL refuse to boil noodles again? This is the dish for those days…

Wait: isn’t couscous a form of pasta? D’OH!!!! At least some veggies have snuck in here. Or is it sneaked?

You need:

INGREDIENTS:
1 TBSP butter
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 c pine nuts
1/2 c shallots (or onion if you have no shallots), finely chopped
1-1/2 c Israeli couscous
1/2 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 tsp cinnamon)
1 dried bay leaf
1-3/4 c vegetable broth (I used vegetarian chicken flavored bouillon)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 c fresh parsley, minced
1/2 – 1 zucchini, finely chopped (OPTIONAL)
zest of 1/2 lemon
black pepper, to taste
small handful of crumbled feta cheese

NOTE: you can omit the zucchini or substitute any other veg you want to use up: broccoli, carrots, corn, frozen veg, greens (add these just before the broth as they need a shorter cooking time). Just be sure the veg is chopped finely.

This is so easy. I didn’t take pictures of the process as I was in a huge rush to feed the girls.

1. Over medium-low heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add pine nuts & stir until golden brown. WARNING: only a minute or two max! Remove from heat & put aside in a small bowl.

2. Using the same saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute shallots until golden (for about 3-4 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add zucchini or whatever other veg you have on hand! Cook for another minute or two. Add couscous, cinnamon stick and bay leaf, and stir often until couscous browns slightly. Yes, the couscous is uncooked when you first put it in!

3. Add broth, bring to a boil, then simmer covered on low until broth has been absorbed and couscous is tender.

4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, pine nuts, lemon zest & feta. Season with black pepper to taste.

This is REALLY yummy and great the next day!

Maddie is on a high carb diet.

Israeli Couscous Salad with Pine Nuts & Parsley
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2-4
 

Tasty warm salad or side dish! You can adjust the amount of veggie to your liking.
Ingredients
  • INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 TBSP butter
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ c pine nuts
  • ½ c shallots (or onion if you have no shallots), finely chopped
  • 1-1/2 c Israeli couscous
  • ½ cinnamon stick (or ¼ tsp cinnamon)
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1-3/4 c vegetable broth (I used vegetarian chicken flavored bouillon)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ c fresh parsley, minced
  • ½ – 1 zucchini, finely chopped (OPTIONAL)
  • zest of ½ lemon
  • black pepper, to taste
  • small handful of crumbled feta cheese
  • NOTE: you can omit the zucchini or substitute any other veg you want to use up: broccoli, carrots, corn, frozen veg, greens (add these just before the broth as they need a shorter cooking time). Just be sure the veg is chopped finely.

Instructions
  1. Over medium-low heat, melt butter in a large saucepan. Add pine nuts & stir until golden brown. WARNING: only a minute or two max! Remove from heat & put aside in a small bowl.
  2. Using the same saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Saute shallots until golden (for about 3-4 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add zucchini or whatever other veg you have on hand! Cook for another minute or two. Add couscous, cinnamon stick and bay leaf, and stir often until couscous browns slightly. Yes, the couscous is uncooked when you first put it in!
  3. Add broth, bring to a boil, then simmer covered on low until broth has been absorbed and couscous is tender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in parsley, pine nuts, lemon zest & feta. Season with black pepper to taste.

Notes
This would be enough for 2 people as a main dish or 4 as a side. Great for leftovers!

Guess where I got this? The back of the Trader Joe’s package!! I don’t trust these things normally but this is great. I just made a few adjustments.

Chunky Cauliflower Cheddar Soup

Hoo boy – I bought this head of cauliflower at the Farmer’s Market on Wednesday because it was $1.00. I thought I’d roast it and eat it, standing at the counter, while the kids ate their noodles. But then I realized, since I had a loaf of rustic bread all ready to pop into the oven, I better make a soup to go with it.

Last time I did a cauliflower soup, it was a creamy one with cheddar cheese and a potato. Alas, I had no potatoes having used them up in my Gardener’s Pie last week so I checked out another recipe. It was easy! I was able to do this while unloading the dishwasher, helping someone to various art supplies spread far & wide across the house, and picking up all the toys scattered across the backyard.

But I’m glad you didn’t see the kitchen/house afterwards!

YOU NEED:

INGREDIENTS:
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2-3 carrots, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1-1/2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped (I only had 1)
2 tsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried parsley flakes)
2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth (I used Vegetarian Chicken Bullion)
2 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 c grated cheddar cheese
4 TBSP butter
2 c whole milk
6 TBSP all purpose flour
OPTIONAL: 1 c half & half

1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until browning, stirring occasionally.

2. Add carrots & celery and cook for another 4 minutes.

I used a red onion because I had it! To me, it made no difference.

Lookit how cute and tinily diced those carrots & celery are.

Tinily?

3. Add the cauliflower & parsley. Hoo boy it’s time for me to get a new parsley plant. I need two going at all times as my poor parsley can’t keep up with the demands placed upon it. This is all I could get!

That “undead” finger is actually my pinky. So photogenic!

I only had one head of cauliflower but next time I’ll use 1-1/2 heads as my soup needed more.

Turn heat way down, cover & cook for about 15 minutes on LOW. Feel free to stir every so often.

4. Add 1 or 1-1/2 quarts of the broth. Save that last 1/2 quart to decide if you need it or not depending on how you like your soup. Heat to boiling, then turn down heat and simmer.

5. Melt butter in a small saucepan. I used the same soup pot I started my soup in until realizing that pot was way too small. So there are a few onions in there. No bigs!

6. Now whisk your milk & flour together. Add that mixture to the melted butter, stirring to combine. **Now here’s an option for you: add 1 c half & half to the white sauce you just made. I didn’t do that b/c I never have half & half in my house.** You will have a thickened sauce. Pour that milk/flour/butter mixture into the soup and stir.

7. Add 2 tsp dijon mustard to the soup as well as 2/3 c grated cheddar cheese. I think mine needed the cheese because I used 1% milk instead of whole milk. If you use whole milk AND half & half, you might want to omit the cheese. Or add it! What, me worry?

Let soup simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt & black pepper to taste!

Serve with rustic bread

& grated cheddar to top.

Thank you.

Bea ate 2 bowls of soup. Btw: who noticed the dog bite on her (camera) left cheek?

 

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 6
 

Hearty, cheesy soup that goes perfectly with a crusty piece of bread on a cold night!
Ingredients
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely diced
  • 1-1/2 heads cauliflower, roughly chopped (I only had 1)
  • 2 tsp fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried parsley flakes)
  • 2 quarts low-sodium vegetable broth (I used Vegetarian Chicken Bullion)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • ⅔ c grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 6 TBSP all purpose flour
  • OPTIONAL: 1 c half & half

Instructions
  1. Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes, until browning, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add carrots & celery and cook for another 4 minutes.
  3. Add the cauliflower & parsley.
  4. Turn heat way down, cover & cook for about 15 minutes on LOW. Feel free to stir every so often.
  5. Add 1 or 1-1/2 quarts of the broth. Save that last ½ quart to decide if you need it or not depending on how you like your soup. Heat to boiling, then turn down heat and simmer.
  6. Melt butter in a small saucepan.
  7. Now whisk your milk & flour together. Add that mixture to the melted butter, stirring to combine. **Now here’s an option for you: add 1 c half & half to the white sauce you just made. (For extra creaminess…)** Regardless of the half & half, you will have a thickened sauce. Pour that milk/flour/butter mixture into the soup and stir.
  8. Add 2 tsp dijon mustard to the soup as well as ⅔ c grated cheddar cheese. I think mine needed the cheese because I used 1% milk instead of whole milk. If you use whole milk AND half & half, you might want to omit the cheese. Or add it! What, me worry?
  9. Let soup simmer for another 15 minutes. Add salt & black pepper to taste!
  10. Serve with rustic bread & grated cheddar to top.

Notes
If soup is too chunky, puree ⅓rd of it using a blender or immersion blender. Be CAREFUL if you use a regular blender as the heat can make it explode out! It never happened to me – it happened to a “friend” of mine.

Adapted from two different recipes at The Pioneer Woman & Annie’s Eats.

Red Cabbage & Carrot Slaw (No Mayo!)

This afternoon I wrestled two tiny heads of red cabbage out of the garden. They’d stayed about the same size for two weeks now so I assumed they were DONE. Since all I had in my cupboard were some carrots, onions and a ginormous bag of CA grown garlic (COSTCO!!! wink wink), I looked on the internets and found this mayo-less slaw. You remember a few weeks ago I posted a mayo-friendly broccoli slaw. G did not like that one. Here’s this one, G. Just for you, Baby!

You need:


Looks like I am plumb out of maple syrup but I had another full one in the cabinet. Also, forgot to put the sesame seeds in the pic.

INGREDIENTS:
Slaw
1/2 a red cabbage (I used a whole one since my cabbages were so teeny tiny), sliced thin
2 medium carrots, shredded (I used 4 small ones)
1 small onion, sliced thin
3 green onions, sliced
Dressing
2-1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 TBSP crushed red pepper (OR hot chili paste)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp salt
2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust anything to your wildest desires! It will be kind of thick due to the sesame seeds. Yum!

2. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle 3/4ths of the dressing over it and toss to coat. Add more if desired!

3. Let your slaw sit for about 15 minutes before serving if you have the time!

TASTY!!!

Red Cabbage & Carrot Slaw (No Mayo!)
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4
 

For the non mayo lovers in your house/party – a refreshing, slaw with some ZING!!
Ingredients
  • Slaw
  • ½ a red cabbage (I used a whole one since my cabbages were so teeny tiny), sliced thin
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded (I used 4 small ones)
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • Dressing
  • 2-1/2 TBSP rice vinegar
  • 1 TBSP maple syrup (or agave or ½ TBSP brown sugar)
  • 1 TBSP crushed red pepper (OR hot chili paste)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP toasted sesame seeds

Instructions
  1. Whisk together the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Taste and adjust anything to your wildest desires!
  2. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Drizzle ¾ths of the dressing over it and toss to coat. Add more if desired!
  3. Let your slaw sit for about 15 minutes before serving if you have the time!

Slightly adapted from Korean American Mommy.

Quinoa Cakes

Yesterday a friend from my Rochester days put something on Facebook about quinoa. I was all, “BINGO! That’s what I can make for dinner tonight!”  Thanks, Gretchen! This recipe’s for you.

By the way, I tried baking these then I tried pan frying them. Guess which was better? You already know.

My kids are all up in my _____ right now since Jack & Patsy left and Bea decided to quit napping. Not only that, but I find myself their unwitting hostage every night until around 9:30PM when I can finally make my escape…to a sinkful of dirty dishes. Hooray.

Anyway, trying to cook or blog or even eat properly these days is taking some doing. Or not doing and just baking these beauties in the toaster oven:

Mmmmmm, Costco, where have you been all my life?

Whoops – I digress. While I DID finally break down and get a Costco membership, I only made these once – last Saturday since we had a lot of college basketball to watch. The girls loved them. I actually heard this line come out of his mouth that same day, “Finish your cheese stick so you can have a Thin Mint.” My brother knows what I’m talking about here.

Well, anyway, yesterday I made these quinoa cakes. You know, the subject of this post?

For your NON cheese stick days.

G ate like 6 of them last night. No kidding.

Here’s what you need:

and this:

INGREDIENTS:
2.5 c cooked quinoa
4 large eggs, beaten (I used egg replacer – 0 cholesterol!!!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c finely chopped fresh chives (I used parsley b/c I didn’t have any chives)
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 c bread crumbs
water, if needed
1 TBSP olive oil
OPTIONAL: 1 handful zucchini, finely chopped (or whatever else you might have!)

1. Make your quinoa first. People: don’t be like me. Read the directions. You need 2.5 c COOKED quinoa. That’s a whole lot less uncooked quinoa. According to the package I used, 1 cup uncooked quinoa makes about 4 cups cooked quinoa. I decided to make that much since it’s easy to measure. Also, I know quinoa makes good leftovers and one of Gretchen’s friends mentioned eating sort of as oatmeal for breakfast.

Here’s what it looks like when it’s cooked:

2. Measure out 2.5 c of the quinoa into a large bowl. Add parsley, onion, zucchini (optional), cheese & garlic.

3. Add the bread crumbs, combine well & let rest for a few minutes.

Btw: I use egg replacer instead of eggs most of the time and it has a ton of benefits:
- NO cholesterol.
- NO chance of salmonella. Especially because you are forming them with your hands.
- NO problem if you thought you had eggs and don’t!

4. Form patties with your *clean* hands. If they’re too wet, add some breadcrumbs. If they’re too dry, add a little water until you get a good malleable patty that is easy to work with but stays together.

5. Heat the oil in a non-stick skillet to medium-low. Cook the patties on each side, covered, for about 7-10 minutes, or until browned on both sides. I push down on the patties with a spatula to ensure the cook all the way through.

Look Mom! I cut out a triangle!

I served it with a simple green salad & my favorite hot sauce.

 

5.0 from 1 reviews

Quinoa Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Main
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2-4
 

Delicious cakes made of the super (protein rich) grain!
Ingredients
  • 2.5 c cooked quinoa
  • 4 large eggs, beaten (I used egg replacer – 0 cholesterol!!!)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ⅓ c finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • ⅓ c grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • water, if needed
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • OPTIONAL: 1 handful zucchini, finely chopped (or whatever else you might have!)

Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa (follow package directions.) Cool to room temperature in a large bowl.
  2. Add eggs & salt to quinoa. Then add onion, garlic, parsley (or chives), cheese and zucchini. Combine well.
  3. Add bread crumbs and let absorb for a few minutes.
  4. Form patties with your hands.
  5. Heat oil on medium-low in a large non-stick skillet. Cook patties for about 7-10 minutes (or until browned) on each side. It helps to press down on the patties with a spatula to ensure they cook through.
  6. Serve with a green salad & hot sauce!

Notes
If you can, make the patties to order! The quinoa mixture keeps well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator so you aren’t forced to cook them all at once. These are tasty, tasty, tasty!!

 

Ever so slightly adapted from Super Natural Every Day

How to Make Greek Yogurt

Here it is!

This is SO easy. I started it with some Greek Yogurt I had.

 

I wanted to do this for a while because I am sick of throwing away all those little half eaten yogurt cups. This way I can control the serving size and use a lot less packaging. Also, I just wanted to try it!

Here’s all you need to get it started:

YOU NEED:
2 quarts milk (I used whole milk but you can try 1 or 2% if that’s all you have)
1 fine mesh strainer
1 candy thermometer (oops mine isn’t in the picture – we had it from deep frying a turkey a while ago)
cheesecloth/coffee filters or thick paper towels (I had the coffee filters)
2 teaspoons of plain yogurt (this will be your starter)

This is so easy! I recommend starting this an hour or two before you go to bed. Then the yogurt can incubate while you sleep…

1. Heat 2 quarts of milk (on medium-high heat) in a pot to 180 degrees F. Stir occasionally.

2. When temperature reaches 180, remove from heat and let cool down to between 110 and 120 degrees. Stir occasionally as it’s cooling. When it’s between those two temps, add the 2 teaspoons of yogurt whisking to combine.

3. Turn oven on for about a minute – just to take the chill out.

4. Pour milk into large bowl, cover with a heavy plate or lid and place in oven. Leave for 8-12 hours.

5. When you take it out, strain it into the mesh colander lined with cheesecloth, coffee filters or THICK paper towels. Do this over a shallow pan or bowl with a lip as the whey will drain out of your yogurt. Place this draining contraption in your refrigerator for a few hours, or until it seems to have stopped dripping. Honestly, I didn’t have room in my fridge so I just strained it on the counter for an hour (I think!) and then I poured the yogurt into a large plastic container, whisked it to combine & stored it in the fridge.

OPTIONS: add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract and/or honey or just toss fresh fruit on top. I love it with honey!

Making your own yogurt is soooo yummy! You can use it to replace sour cream or to cut the heat on spicy dishes. Think of all the plastic yogurt containers you save AND all the chemicals & added sugar you and your kids are not getting.

How to Make Greek Yogurt
Author: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4-6
 

Make your own yogurt with NO special equipment! Great for toppings on spicy meals, baked potatoes, in smoothies, baking & just as a snack.
Ingredients
  • 2 quarts milk (1%, 2% or whole)
  • a fine mesh strainer
  • cheesecloth, coffee filters OR thick paper towels
  • candy thermometer (or any kitchen therm. that can measure liquids to 180 degrees safely)

Instructions
  1. Heat milk to 180 degrees F over medium heat.
  2. Take milk off heat and allow to cool.
  3. When milk cools to between 110 and 120 degrees, whisk in 2 teaspoons of plain yogurt.
  4. Turn oven on for about a minute just to take the chill out.
  5. Pour milk into oven safe bowl with lid (I used a ceramic plate as a lid) and allow to “incubate” for 8-12 hours.
  6. Line mesh strainer with the cheesecloth/coffee filters or paper towels and rest over a shallow pan. Pour yogurt into strainer and allow to drain for a few hours or until it’s done draining. The liquid that ends up in the pan is your “whey” which you can use or discard.
  7. Pour strained yogurt into a lidded container for the refrigerator.

Notes
Yogurt will be good in refrigerator for about a week. Add a couple of teaspoons of vanilla extract if you plan to serve it with fruit etc. Add honey to taste or fresh fruit. YUM!

 

Source: Annie’s Eats



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