Saturday, July 31, 2010

Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Mixed Greens

I recently completed a cleanse. The program that I did had these amazing recipes in the back of the book and today I am sharing my FAVORITE with you!!!! I like it best with the Organic Red Quinoa from Trader Joe's but regular quinoa works as well. This salad is fresh and light but surprisingly filling and satisfying! Enjoy!!!

Quinoa Salad with Chicken and Mixed Greens
Serves 2

2 cups cooked quinoa
2- 4 oz. chicken breasts, roasted & sliced
1/4 c. currants
1/4 c. chopped almonds
1/2 c. diced carrots
1/4 c. chopped mint
1/4 c. scallions, cut thinly
1/4 c. chopped parsley
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. agave syrup
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 c. olive oil
4 cups salad greens

1. Put all ingredients except chicken and salad greens in a bowl, and toss together with quinoa, adjust seasoning to taste.
2. Make a bed with half of the greens on a plate, mound half of the quinoa mix on top and then top with half of the chicken.
3. Eat!!!!

Want to know what in the heck quinoa is? Here you go:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Olive Oil Bread

On Sunday night I "needed" hamburger buns for the turkey burgers I was making. I had nothing in the house that resembled bread so I broke out my Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook and cracked open the yeast bread section. Eureka! The recipe for the Olive Oil Bread sounded perfect and fairly simple as far as yeast breads go. The results were these unbelievably dreamy rolls...spongy and perfectly yeasty with a slightly crusty crunch on the outside. I made four rolls but they were HUGE! I'd recommend making eight to have the perfect sized bun for your burgers!

Olive Oil Bread or Burger Buns

4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
2 pkg. dry yeast
2 c. water, warm but not hot
3/4 c. good quality olive oil
1 tbsp. coarse salt
Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, yeast, water and olive oil; stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the bread hook. Add the salt,and mix to combine on a low speed. Raise the speed to medium and beat until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still sticky, about 3 minutes.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead it for 1 minute, then transfer to a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Lt rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450F. Return the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Fold in the dough by folding the bottom third up, the top third down, the right and left sides into the middle. If making rolls, divide into 8 equal pieces. Shape into rounds. Place on a greased & cornmealed baking sheet. Allow to rest until it is slightly puffed, about 30 minutes.

With a sharp knife or razor, make four slashes on the top of each roll/loaf to form a square. Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 35 minutes for 1 loaf or about 25 minutes for rolls.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Banana-Nut Bread

Last night I baked the best banana bread I have ever made! Luckily, I was able to control myself and eat only one muffin, but it was definitely a struggle! Go get some bananas because you are gonna want to whip this up!

Banana-Nut Bread

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
2 c. sugar
1 1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. vanilla extract (YES! Tablespoons!)
1 1/2 c. mashed, ripe bananas (about 3 medium)
1 c. shredded coconut
1 c. chopped hazelnuts (you could use pecans or walnuts)
1/2 c. buttermilk (I used whole milk and 1 tsp. cider vinegar)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Coat two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans with butter or cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, and vegetable oil on medium-low speed until combined. Beat in the flour mixture. Add the vanilla, banana, coconut, nuts and buttermilk, and beat just to combine.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Remove loaves from pans and let cool completely...if you can wait that long!

Next Martha recipe...Fennel and Golden-Raisin Scones! YUM!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Chocolate-Pecan Gelato

The gelato is at last basking in the freezer in all of its glory! Here is the glorious ready to make an utter disaster out of your kitchen!

Chocolate-Pecan Gelato (adapted from Williams-Sonoma Ice Cream cookbook)
Makes about 1 qt. (I quadrupled the recipe and added time to the cooking and it turned out great!)

Pecan Paste:

3/4 c. raw pecans, you can roast them if you want a bolder nut flavor
1 tbsp. canola oil
1 tbsp sugar
Pinch of salt


Nut paste
3 c. whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. sugar
Pinch of salt
4.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Make the pecan paste by combining the nuts, oil, sugar and salt in a food processor. Process until a thick paste forms, about 2 minutes. You should have about 1/3 c. of paste.

In a heavy 2-qt. saucepan, combine the milk and nut paste. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil.

Meanwhile, combine the egg yolks, cream, sugar, and salt in a bowl. Whisk until smooth and the sugar begins to dissolve. Remove the milk mixture from the heat. Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, 4-6 minutes. Do not let the custard boil.

Put the chopped chocolate in heatproof bowl and pour the hot custard over it. Stir until smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water. Stir occasionally until cool. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly on the surface of the custard. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer the gelato to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 3 days, before serving.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Muffin Report & My Secret Love Affair

Recipe #2 has been made and "tested"! The cranberry-zucchini muffins are divine! They are super easy to mix up and they are that perfect balance of healthy and dessert! My only dilemma was trying to find cranberries at this time of year. Luckily, the lovely Kaija had some frozen so I was saved! I think that I'm going to try them with dried cranberries or even dried blueberries. The pockets of hot berry burned my little mouth!

And now for my secret love affair...

Ok ladies and gentlemen. I have a confession to make. I am a dyed in the wool butter fan. I hate all things "fake"...meaning anything manufactured or created in a lab. This especially applies to my baking supplies. I have been known to use upwards of 10 pounds of butter for a single Thanksgiving meal. I am pretty hardcore! I recently purchased some cooking spray with flour (gasp, shock, horror!) in order to make it easier to grease the foil that I put my homemade marshmallows on. It is GENIUS! Every single nook and cranny was covered and the marshmallows were still delicious! So last night I wanted to roast some chicken on lemon slices but I didn't want everything to I busted out my cooking spray and coated the pan. Once again, GENIUS! Even the caramelized lemon juice came off the pan as if it were butter! So, I am here to say that I am newly in love with cooking spray. Please don't think less of me ;)

My chicken was a dream come true and super easy to make! I paired it with some sauteed zucchini with garlic. Here's the recipe for you to try out:

Lemon Baked Chicken

1 Meyer lemon
2 chicken breasts (leave the skin on for'll be juicier!)
Montreal Chicken seasoning
Old Bay Seasoning
Salt & Pepper to taste
Cooking Spray w/Flour

Heat oven to 350F. Spray your favorite casserole dish with cooking spray w/flour. Slice the Meyer lemon and lay slices on the bottom of the dish.

Sprinkle seasonings over the chicken breasts and rub in (use the Montreal Chicken seasoning most liberally.) Lay the chicken on top of the lemon slices. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Serves 2.

I am off to the store to get supplies for the ice cream for the 4th! I can't wait!!!!