It’s been awhile–yet again–since I’ve posted a roundup of recipes created for Ancient Harvest; I’ve been busy with some really fun ones in the works! Won’t bore you with blather; here are a few of the latest, with love. 🙂
Turkey Quinoa Meatballs with Korean BBQ Sauce: I was really happy with these, and that means a lot when you consider how rarely I eat meat! The sauce makes the meal for me, with a tangy Asian zing, but these lean meatballs are deliciously easygoing, and great with marinara, sweet and sour, or whatever you want to go with.
Gluten-Free Apricot Quinoa Shortcakes: Easy to make, easier to change up with any fruits, or even savory toppings. Pretty served as dessert, but wholesome enough for snacks.
Roasted Endive, Quinoa and Apricot Salad: Sweet surprise–roasted endive tastes like candy! Kind of like the way fennel does, but without the aniseed notes. That’s all I need to say. 🙂
Lentil and Mushroom Quinoa Burgers: These patties are deceptively uncomplicated, and they’re adult and toddler-approved! Cook a sweet potato in advance, use canned lentils if you wish…there are lots of shortcuts that make assembly on the day simple and fuss-free. Plus, there are so many variations waiting to be explored.
Happy weekend! 🙂
So a whole bunch of recipes for Ancient Harvest have been posted, and I haven’t had time to share the links! Rather than let this become like the email that doesn’t ever get sent because it’s not thorough enough though, I’m taking the approach that a text is better than silence. Here you go, quick links, a little description:
Kale, fennel and citrus quinoa salad: If you haven’t tried roasted fennel, do! It’s like vegetable candy. The sliced almonds really round out the flavors and textures.
Nicoise salad with ancient grains: Ancient Harvest’s Sea Salt & Herb Culinary Ancient Grains blend is PERFECT as a base for the gorgeous array of colors and quality ingredients. This was really fun to photograph (and eat/share).
Lentil bolognese: I LOVE this. It’s going to be a serious go-to. So easy to assemble, hearty and versatile. Easy to add to and re-purpose as soup or stew later in the week, and just the right touch of heat!
Mexican chocolate quinoa pudding: Fudgy and so meltaway good warm. Delicious chilled, too…and EASY.
Maple cinnamon quinoa granola: Have I already shared this link? Either way, it’s become my favorite granola to make.
Spinach salad with quinoa, pomegranate and persimmons: Beautiful and luscious, but I think we’re wandering into repeat territory now for sure, so going to quit with the commentary, except to say
Asian sesame ginger macaroni salad has become another favorite standby–can be quickly made, prepped ahead, done in stages, changed up to suit your mood…also love
“Snail mail” equivalent soon! 🙂
Sweet and sour isn’t exactly the right description for this week. More like bittersweet. It’s always like that, a little, at the end of the school year. The eagerly anticipated commencement of summer break comes with a warm and reluctant letting go that is as surprising as it is regular. Only it’s never felt so pronounced and poignant as this year.
Wednesday afternoon at 5pm, Steph and I had pretty much boxed and packed out the entire classroom; everything had to come off the walls, out of cupboards and drawers, and be generally removed in preparation for a major renovation at the school this summer. It was such a preoccupying project, at such a busy time, the string of weeks preceding felt like nothing less than whirlwind. It didn’t dawn on me until Janis signed off for packing duties how much security I’d been drawing from the distraction. Suddenly it hit with startling force, I’m looking ahead to a yearlong teaching leave, and I have no structure, no surefire expectations, and no clue what to do with a baby. It’s not a swimming-against-the-current feeling, more like treading water in a fog.
But as usual, I’m rambling. The real point of this post–mostly–is this strawberry vinaigrette. As much as this week felt bittersweet, this dressing from Eating Well is beautifully balanced in sweet and tart. I tried it because I wanted to, but the timing was hastened because I needed something to give one of the fabulous school secretaries, Veronica. Who, by the way, is one of the most comfortingly wonderful people ever, and who, bafflingly, does not seem to overly care for chocolate or coffee, making tokens of appreciation more of a challenge. She does, however, love salad.
Thinking just four strawberries would make for a paltry present, I went and quadrupled the recipe…yielding 2 1/2 very good-sized jars of dressing, to give you a general idea. Luckily, this saucy little condiment is not one to tire of easily. It’s great with spinach and any combination of fruit and nuts, maybe a little goat cheese, or with grilled chicken. Even better, we had it this week with all of these, adding cubes of yogurt-marinated grilled chicken (another easy winner from my Dinner: A Love Story cookbook) to spinach, thinly sliced red onion, sliced strawberries, sliced almonds, and crumbled goat cheese tossed with dressing. Yum.
Yesterday late afternoon, we (finally) went to Target to start officially putting items on a registry. Already tired and overwhelmed from a solid chunk of house and baby organizing, I did toss a tiny bit of sourness into the week when it took a full 30 minutes to log on to our registry, and when thereafter I realized anew how little I know about what we really need, and are in store for. But then I remember that it’s all part of the big picture, that being the tiny growing person who is tickling my ribs these days with increasing persistence. And that’s sweet.
For 6 servings
- 4 strawberries
- 1 spring onion/scallion
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1/2 teaspoon whole grain mustard
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon agave nectar or honey (optional)
- 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 1 minced clove of garlic
- 2 tsp salt
- Juice from two lemons
- 1 good squeeze of honey
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- A very healthy dose of black pepper
Whisk ingredients together until emulsified. Then, pour into Ziploc storage bag, drop in the chicken, shake to coat, and seal. Put in refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours. When grill is ready (and oiled), cook about 3-4 minutes a side until flesh is firm but not rock hard.
I’ve had a little bit of a posting drought the past almost-two weeks, and have been feeling guilty about it. Not that anyone’s been on tenterhooks waiting for a post, or our meal routines have been affected in the slightest by failing to record. Only I consider myself a fairly faithful, though not frequent, poster, and it’s about commitment.
True, I’ve been really distracted. We’re in the throes of year-end school and its countless assessments, plus there’s a bonus push to get everything in the classroom, boxed up by the last day in preparation for a massive asbestos abatement. Then there are a couple of extended writing projects, and all the baby stuff we should be doing, planning, or at least thinking about in the background.
But the real issue beneath the indolence was, I was all set to tell you about the incredible, lavish dinner Dave treated me to for my birthday the other week at the Flagstaff House. It wasn’t exactly frugal, and I took in so many calories I was still full two days later. The service was so attentive it was at times embarrassing, and of course I had no recipe to share from it. Nevertheless, I took lots of pictures, because everything was beautiful, and how often does a girl get a happy birthday sugar sculpture to take home as a souvenir from dinner?
The problem was, two days after the fact I hadn’t written up the details of our most likely never-to-be-repeated hedonistic excursion, and two days later was Boston. Needless to say, that was sobering. I kept thinking about friends who live there, or were running; about my Dad cheering us near the finish in 2011; about all the moms and dads, babies and small children rooting for their loved ones, made vulnerable targets as much as or more than the runners crossing that finish line. Has the world always been embattled by so much evil and hatred, or have we become increasingly angry, crazy, and possibly bored, to enact such atrocities?
Last week, pretty much any blog post I could personally come up with seemed plain frivolous and pointless. I couldn’t imagine being eloquent enough to deserve to occupy even an infinitesimal amount of cyberspace, not even a nearly invisible, mundane little speck of it. Now, life has regained its sense of normalcy, despite the background of disaster that is the daily news, and I’m back to admitting I’m just weird and enjoy keeping records of things that we eat, haven’t gotten written down, and may want to repeat.
But I told myself if I was going to post, at least make it something comforting, maybe even nostalgic. So we’re having chicken nuggets.
This reminds me of my grandma’s breaded chicken, which to my mom’s frustration was always “so much better” at Grandma’s house. She used plenty of bread crumbs and served it over white, buttery rice. We’re not using bread crumbs, and are pairing with salad. Baked sweet potato fries would be awesome, too…if I felt like making them. I started with this delicious “Picnic-fried chicken” recipe from Eating Well, and made some changes; mainly, I used chicken tenders, swapped out the whole wheat flour for oats and flax, and added in an egg.
I think these are delicious. Admittedly, even if they weren’t quite, I’d probably some kind of happy in them. Almost anything that has even a vague kind of kinship with homey breaded chicken like my grandmother’s seems wrapped in love. That’s how she made us feel. I guess leaving a legacy doesn’t have to be dramatic. Thank goodness for that.
- 2 cup nonfat buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Approximately 1 pound skinless chicken tenders
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 2 tablespoons flaxmeal/ground flaxseeds
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- dash salt
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Whisk buttermilk, mustard and garlic in a shallow dish until well blended. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or for up to 8 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a food processor, grind oats with flaxmeal, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper to combine. Remove to a bowl or dish and mix in sesame seeds.
- Place egg in a low dish. Shaking off excess marinade, place one or two pieces of chicken at a time in the egg and then coat with the oat mixture. Place the chicken on the baking sheet, prepared with cooking spray. Liberally spray the chicken pieces with additional cooking spray.
- Bake the chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 30 minutes, turning once, gently.
It’s clear from the photos alone that I wasn’t planning to post this recipe. In case there’s any doubt, yes, they were taken with my phone, on a random, last minute whim. Then the recipe itself is awfully similar to quinoa-stuffed zucchini, and could only be improved nutritionally by actually subbing in quinoa. In fact, there’s really nothing original or noteworthy to share, I just wanted to record it in the recipe log, because I do like eggplant. And meals that come in edible boats, generally.
The other thing I couldn’t keep to myself is, I’ve been reveling a bit in the renewed recognition that rice is nice. After avoiding it for awhile, I’m glad we’re friends again…if it’s ever fair to call something you eat your friend (which reminds, me, has anyone seen the new show, Hannibal? Thoughts?). White rice and its empty calories went a long time ago. But then there was a period when health news was rife with rice bad news. Namely, how it may be loaded with arsenic.
No question in anyone’s mind, arsenic is very, very bad for you. For the simple reason, it’s poison and cancer-causing and it can kill you. Apparently, rice, being grown in lots of water, absorbs this toxin more easily than other plants, although they can be contaminated, too. Arsenic exists naturally in soil and water, but we’ve made the situation worse, and in our poor, trampled, pesticide-ridden, polluted world, the water supply is frighteningly fragile. What’s more, brown rice (you know, the healthy one) contains on average more arsenic than white.
Turns out (and you probably know this already), wild rice is technically a grass, not a grain. It’s nutrient-dense, and contains significantly lower levels of arsenic. Fortunately too, we can still cautiously enjoy whatever our rice preference, cautiously being in moderation. I learned from many a blog and article that cooking it like pasta, boiling in lots of water and double-rinsing, can reduce potential arsenic levels. Recipes like these, where even a slightly overcooked, glutinous quality only increases the sense of comfort food, work especially well with this technique.
We can’t live consumed by fear–and there’s too much Scary in the world to allow ourselves to go there–but at least we can inform ourselves as best we can, and take some kind of action. Big steps usually start with baby steps. Even things like cooking rice like pasta, yes?
Wild rice and sausage stuffed eggplant
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 pound lean ground sausage
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1-2 medium sized eggplant (you’ll have enough stuffing for two, but the extra filling makes great leftovers mixed with additional vege!)
- 1 1/2 cups chopped spinach or kale
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 red pepper, chopped
- fresh basil (about 1/4 cup, torn)
- salt and pepper to taste
- *optional: 1/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella or fresh mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Rinse rice and cook like pasta, in plenty of boiling water. Drain, and rinse again.
- Wash eggplant and slice down the center; scoop out the soft flesh where the seeds are and set aside on a baking sheet.
- In a large skillet, brown sausage 1 tsp olive oil. Add spinach or kale, onion, and pepper and continue to heat until vegetables are tender . Add rice. Season with basil, salt and pepper and stir to combine.
- Stuff eggplant halves with the meat-vegetable mixture.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and top or sprinkle with cheese, if using.