A place for me to share my love for all things cooking, wine and Bento.  The research for this blog is going to continually be grueling my friends.... ;)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Two New Healthy Recipes For The Season

Monday's are usually my day off. I either clean bathrooms, cook or organize the house.  Today I'm doing quite a bit of cooking to make up for a few days of us being under the weather, and for the sake of using some great produce I got before we got feeling bad.  Tuesday is the day I get the new Tally Farms produce box, so by today, I like to have used up all of the last one.

Part of today will be just a new twist on the recipe seen in my last post. First however, I want to share a recipe I came up with this time last year when asparagus started showing up on the produce shelves.  I personally like the thin tender asparagus especially when cooked this way because they don't require as much cooking time.  The tomatoes don't get pulverized waiting for their buddies to catch up.
So this is :
2 bunches of thin tender asparagus cut to lengths you prefer. These are about one inch
1 lb Pear or Cherry tomatoes whole
EVOO to taste
Salt to taste
Garlic Powder to taste
Zest of half a lemon
Squeeze juice of half a lemon

Toss it all up till coated and spread in a baking pan.  Place in oven at 350* for about 30 min, more or less depending on your texture preference and the thickness of your veggies.  Just taste along the way and you will find your sweet spot.

Once cooked they should not look too much different.  As you can see, some of my tomatoes have not made it but that's fine.

Let cool and then place in a large mixing bowl.

While that cools, you need to cook your quinoa.  Quinoa is a highly nutrition packed "grain" from South America known for it's low glycemic index and high protein   It's actually the seed of a plant in the Swiss chard and spinach family so I'm told.  It cooks just like rice only quicker and it has to be rinsed to remove a powdery layer that will make it taste bitter if not rinsed.

I prefer to rinse mine in 1/2 cup segments, thus the 1/2 cup measure that remains in my quinoa bucket.  That way, I feel I get it rinsed more thoroughly   Sorry, I took the picture of the sifter after sifting...not such a glorious capture but for your benefit to see what I use.

Another huge flavor enhancer for quinoa is to cook it i n chicken broth.  I usually have some TJ's around but when I don't I always have a wonderful fresh bullion. 
For my pan of veggies, I cooked up 1 and 1/2 cup quinoa with 3 cups of broth.  Like I said, it measures just like rice in solid to liquid ratio.
You don't have to stand right over it if you get it to a good simmer but check it now and then to be sure it does not burn.  The above picture is about half way there.

Once the liquid is mostly absorbed, I turn off the heat and put a lid on the pot.  I walk away for five minutes and come back to a nice fluffy quinoa.

Add that to your bowl of roasted veggies and either do one of things... place in a dish and top with feta..

Some kind of toasted almonds.....

..and drizzle with EVOO before serving it up warm.  OR you can let it cool, then add the feta, and the almonds, toss to mix and fridge for later.  It's quite good at room temp or a little cool.  Drizzle a little EVOO on if you like before enjoying.  Mmmm...I love this dish. I'm having it for lunch as I write!  Look out!  Those lightly roasted tomatoes will burst in your mouth!!

Quinoa with roasted tomatoes and asparagus....DONE.
SO, to wrap up the rest of that:
1 and 1/2 cup quinoa
3 Cups Chicken Broth
Cook till liquid absorbs at a simmer, heat off, cover and let set five min
Feta crumbles to taste
Almond slivers to taste
EVOO ...you got it...good job....TO TASTE!  (Can you tell I'm not very scientific!?)

SO!  On to recipe two for today.  My last post told of a wonderful quiche recipe I found to use up the lovely leeks and broccoli in my Talley Farms produce box lately.  They are in season and everywhere!!  This time I took the quiche mixture and baked them inside slices of honey ham for quick breakfasts, healthy protein snacks, or bento lunches for the kids and Rick.  I sure hope there are a few left for me too. This allows a low carb quiche on the go.

Don't worry, if the egg spills outside of the ham a bit, pretty is not everything.

I also baked a few in flattened out biscuit dough for those who need a little more carb burst.

You should have seen the pan on the biscuit ones though!  As the dough cooks, it pushes the mixture up and since it's not set yet, a bit of it spills over.   Don't over fill them...I kinda did and they made a bit of a mess.  They still came out good though so I'm not sad at all. Cut them out, take a picture (or not) and don't look at the mess till later lol.  
The only variation from the recipe was that this time I used diced turkey ham instead of bacon.  We don't buy bacon a lot and the ham is just as tasty in here.  I also did not add the butter recommended in the quiche recipe and I think it was fine without all that fat.  The cheddar cheese adds enough and I cooked the veggies in EVOO.  So refer to this post for that mixture.  You could easily play around with it and add or take a way many things in your egg base.