Posts tagged food
Posts tagged food
(Adapted) Power Foods: Southwestern quinoa with cilantro and avocado
After my last “resolution update”, I decided that I needed to be more adventurous with our meals at home. I combed through “Power Foods” and found several healthy recipes that didn’t require a thousand ingredients and that Mr. B would also eat.
We’ve been really into spicy, hearty food on Sunday’s (our typical “cooking day”), thus the “quinoa and corn salad with toasted pumpkin seeds” won for recipe numero uno. Except that I omitted the pumpkin seeds (because I forgot to add them to my Peapod order) and I thought it was rather bland half way through the process and added in a lot more cilantro than it called for, as well as Ricky Bayless’ seasoning sauces (again, Chef Bayless FTW). Essentially, I created my own southwestern quinoa…and it was delicious! For some added protein, I topped mine with seared tuna and Mr. B’s with lime-marinated chicken. Not to mention a heap of avocado (we keep bags of them on hand).
My adapted recipe is fairly simple (although I do give credit to Power Foods since it was their idea in the first place). Sautee a red, yellow and orange bell pepper with cumin and chili powder. Add in half of a red onion plus two jalapenos (if you like heat). Cook one cup of quinoa as directed and add in the veggies, black beans, corn, seasoning sauce and cilantro. Serve with chicken (or tuna) and several slices of avocado. Then get out your margarita machine (I highly recommend the Jimmy Buffet “Margaritaville” version)and crank out several pitchers. I like mine rimmed with salt…
I got tagged in a “state 5 random facts about yourself” today. I could tell you that I met my husband on a bus, that I’m afraid of heights, that I never had to wear braces on my teeth as an adolescent and that I love college football, but those are all boring (except the meeting my husband part; that was fun, of course).
One additional random thing about me is that I love Iron Chef type cooking shows where the contestants are given 4 specific ingredients and have to whip up a delicious meal. So much so that I sometimes play a version at home. I try to see what dinner I can create based on the contents of my fridge right before an urgent grocery store run is needed (otherwise known as Wednesday night…).
Tonight’s “random” dinner actually wasn’t bad! I threw kale, onions, fingerling potatoes and yellow tomatoes into a quick stir fry with olive oil and spices and finished with a dusting of parm. Little B wasn’t crazy about this particular “game”, but a side of chicken meatballs made it a winner.
I clearly didn’t think this through…
Our effort to cook more at home translates to me practically living at the grocery store. I scoured Smitten Kitchen today (based on one of my favorite Tumblr mom’s suggestions) and found several mouth watering recipes that I wanted to (or at least attempt to) make in the next few days. I then bundled Little B up and set out to tackle two different stores (both located near the North Avenue/Sheffield mayhem) to get exactly what we needed.
Here’s the thing. Taking a one year old on an afternoon full of errands (to not one, but two grocery stores no less) is suicide. A basic rookie mistake. It’s too much time to expect them to cooperate. He actually got bored while sitting in the cart, reached into our mound of perishables and bit into a tomato. Then there was the screaming that ensued when he couldn’t have the entire row of baby vitamins (those marketers really know how to get you with those colorful Sesame Street characters on the box). I thought he would nap a bit on the way home, but instead of shut eye, I caught some definite side eye (seen from the rear view mirror, of course).
As a consolation prize, I let him have ten extra minutes in the bath, read him a new book and allowed him to watch Cars 2 right before bed (mom guilt is real).
On the bright side, the fridge is stocked for the weekend, allowing me to throw together this SBLT (salmon, bacon, lettuce and tomato). But sub the lettuce for pea shoots because I saw them and wanted to find a way to use them…and yes, the same tomato that Little B bit into. I had to buy it! Not pictured is a side of Little B’s sweet potato tater tots from TJ’s. Those things are effing delicious and will be the only reason I go back to the store anytime soon.
In my latest “Parents”* magazine there is an article about foods to try with picky eaters. For the first time (like, ever), Little B likes the majority of them (except for pomegranate seeds. No way I’m introducing that. I’ll be finding those for weeks).
He recently discovered cuties and goes bananas for them (pun intended). He hasn’t quite comprehended that the skin is not edible, but he loves to carry them around the house for a few minutes and then hold it out for me to peel. He ate two entire cuties today! With the impending flu season (and apparent epidemic), I will peel and peel until his little heart is content!
Speaking of things that are not edible, he also is partial to my toiletries. Deodorant, shampoo and my glycolic acid toner to name a few. I get the attraction; they do smell sweet and delicious (well, except for the toner. I don’t get that one). But seriously? I really don’t want to call poison control this week. We have child locks on everything, but somehow he makes his way into my make up drawer and pulls out “prize” after “prize.” Now, where is the Parents mag article on avoiding this when I need it?
*Yes, I subscribe and reach for it in times of parenting desperation…although it usually just makes me feel like I’m a bad parent because I allow Little B to watch a little tv and I’m not doing arts and crafts all day.
This weekend was all about getting back into the swing of things (inextricably proving that we can follow through with our resolutions). Returning to Bar Method, organizing Little B’s mountain of toys and taking our Christmas decorations down, searching for homes and lots in the burbs (more on that later), reconnecting with friends over sushi and cooking on Sundays (ahem, getting back in the kitchen). It’s all too easy to get in the habit of ordering out, especially when it’s freezing outside and a trip to the store is beyond annoying.
With the brisk temps, we were craving something warm and made this BBQ chicken, red bean and corn country chowder. Yes, we made a Rachel Ray recipe (I’ll let that soak in a minute). I’m not a huge fan of Ray Ray’s, but I came across this recipe a few months ago and it was tasty, so I thought I would try it again. Yep. Still works (I may have had two bowls…). Chunky BBQ chicken, tons of fresh veggies, smokey bacon and a hint of heat - all topped with avocado, cheese and a few more crumbles of bacon. With all of the bacon, this won’t do any good for my cholesterol, but we did make it ourselves. Baby steps, right?
A few years ago, Mr. B and I were hosting a brunch for friends. We wanted it to be casual enough where our guests felt that they could get up and get seconds whenever they wanted, but also wanted to feel special. Hence, we came up with our “company breakfast egg bake” (in Barefoot Contessa speak). It’s probably the easiest egg dish I’ve ever made and everyone raves about it (if I’m being honest). So much so, that my mom has adopted the recipe and serves it on Christmas morning and other special occasions. This past Christmas day was no exception. Served alongside two potato hashes (one Idaho potato and one sweet potato) and a big bowl of fresh berries, it was a perfect for a morning of lounging (and watching Little B tear into gifts).
Here’s how you throw it together:
Take one carton of eggs and beat together. Add a bit of cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook maple sausage (if you can’t find maple, add a bit of maple syrup to regular sausage) in a skillet until browned. Add cooked sausage and sliced button or crimini mushrooms to eggs and pour into a baking dish. Top with white cheddar, chives and an Italian seasoning blend. Bake until eggs are set and cheese is melted at 350 for 35 minutes. Enjoy!
Eater Chicago recently surveyed food critics, writers and a few professional eaters (how do I land that job?) on their favorite 2012 restaurants and meals. While I’m in agreement with a few (Balena and GT Fish and Oyster), I also think Ada Street, Trencherman and Nellcote (if not for the decor alone) should be added to the list. Carriage House and Storefront are also some of my new neighborhood favs that deserve a little more attention.
In reading the list, I also realized that I’m missing out on some great spots like Au Cheval (not sure if it’s really my type of food, but I’ll try anything once), Grace (headed there in a few weeks!), Boarding House and goosefoot (I’ve canceled several reservations unfortunately…kicking myself).
While we’re on the topic, I’m super excited to see what Next has in store for our taste buds this season (in particular, the Hunt!)…
What did you love in 2012?
Given Friday’s tragic events, it was difficult to get excited about our weekend activities. But I decided to embrace the “hug your kids a little tighter today” sentiment seen on so many blogs, FB postings, tweets, etc. and do just that, making this weekend a great one.
SAW: We had dinner with friends on Friday at GEB. Graham Elliot was there poking around the kitchen, so we caught him for a photo op. Most of the chefs that I have met IRL have been either conceited or unsociable, but not this guy. He was thrilled to meet his patrons and chat about everything from the food to the awesome music playing (I tried to make some requests, but I think our waiter could tell the wine was talking…)
DID: Saturday was for a birthday party at Kid City (this is a new-to-me spot that I will definitely be going back to with Little B). Little B did not leave the Thomas the Train table…even for cake and ice cream. Guess what Santa will now be bringing to one lucky little man?
Many peppermint mochas were enjoyed later in the afternoon as we watched holiday movies and wrapped the last of our gifts. That definitely helped put us in the Christmas spirit.
CONSUMED: Family brunch with Santa at Medinah CC was so much fun for Little B and his cousin. Legoland, a bouncy castle, face painters, balloon artists and, of course, Santa! Little B didn’t know where to go first. He settled on Legoland with a stop at the balloon artist for a dog that he carried around for the next hour or so.
We finished up the day with Christmas Part One with my in-laws. Little B loved unwrapping gifts (while I munched on my FIL’s amazing g-free biscotti…so good)! So much so that he continued to do so with ours underneath our tree when we got home. We’ll try to save them for another week, but not sure they will last…
As I watched my son unwrap gifts and light up with excitement, I had this horrible looming thought that so many families in Newton would not be able to do the same. My heart goes out to each and every one of those parents (and to those of the teachers that are true heroes). Being a parent is an extraordinary role that we are privileged to play. Having that taken away out of nowhere by a senseless act is despicable, and frankly, inconceivable. I cuddled Little B as much as possible this past weekend (more so than usual, which is borderline suffocation). I’m sure you did the same. We are pulling for you, Newton.
A tale of two beets
If you are looking for a super easy appetizer idea for an upcoming holiday party, perhaps this beet-inspired dish will do the trick?
Burrata with beets and honey
Influenced by recent visits to both Balena and RPM Italian, this is one of my new go-to starters. I never thought to pair burrata with beets, but with a drizzle of honey (and a few pistachios courtesy of RPM or a handful of arugula and celery root via Balena), the flavors are perfect. Plus, the red (beets), green (arugula and/or pistachios) and white (burrata) colors are definitely festive this time of year.
For a cocktail party at home, I would arrange roasted red and golden beets (striped, too, if you can find them), burrata cheese, arugula and pistachio nuts separated on a chic cutting board (for the “rustic” effect). Provide small serving plates and honey alongside so that guests can make their own. Encourage them to taste with some freshly cracked pepper. Enjoy!
Just in case you were wondering, here is the official Thanksgiving Feast beet salad:
Roasted beets (courtesy of Chef Chris)
Perfectly paired with a fried turkey and Frank Family Chardonnay…