Written on April 18, 2013 at 1:33 pm , by Kate Taylor
Hello, it’s Kate from Cookie and Kate here, with a confession: I love quinoa. Why? It’s full of nutrients and nutty flavor, and it cooks quickly. It’s also gluten free, so I can bring it to a potluck and all can enjoy. I’ll admit that it’s not always a good substitution for rice or pasta, but quinoa’s texture and flavor can complement the right dish. This Greek quinoa salad is a perfect example.
If you haven’t tried quinoa before, I’ll share a few notes. Quinoa is a complete protein and is considered a superfood. Lastly, quinoa is not a grain but rather a “pseudocereal” that is actually more closely related to spinach than wheat! When it comes to cooking quinoa, always rinse quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a few minutes to rinse off the saponin, a bitter substance coating the outside layer.
I loved the bright, fresh flavors in this colorful, healthy salad. It’s a simple vegetarian meal that is sure to satisfy. I made a few substitutions to the recipe based on what I had in my kitchen. I used peppery arugula instead of spinach, the first local cherry tomatoes instead of Roma tomatoes and goat cheese instead of feta. I also mixed a big clove of pressed garlic into the warm quinoa, which lent a lot of flavor. I’ve typed up my version of the recipe below.
Greek Quinoa (my way)
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup water
- handful cherry tomatoes, chopped
- several handfuls baby arugula or roughly chopped arugula
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 to 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 to 2 ripe avocados, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 1/3 cup crumbled goat cheese (or feta cheese)
1) In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and water. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Place quinoa in a medium bowl and mix in the pressed garlic.
2) Add tomato, a handful of arugula, and onion to quinoa; stir to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Add to quinoa mixture; toss to coat.
3) Place additional arugula leaves on two to four salad plates. Divide quinoa mixture evenly the beds of arugula. Sprinkle each serving with some of the crumbled cheese, and arrange slices of avocado on the side.
Notes: serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side.
Find BHG’s original recipe for Greek Quinoa.
Written on March 20, 2013 at 8:04 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! Kate from Cookie and Kate here. Spring is quickly approaching, and so is asparagus season! Asparagus at its peak is a delicacy, if you ask me, and I can’t get enough of it during the springtime. It makes its way into salads, sliced into ribbons, as well as stir-fries, frittatas, and any recipe that calls for an assortment of vegetables.
That said, Garlic-Roasted Asparagus is my favorite preparation. Simply roasted asparagus makes a light yet flavorful side dish that can complement any cuisine. In the past, I’ve tried to dress up roasted vegetables with fancy dressings and sauces, but the truth is that they are best with a light coating of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. A squeeze of lemon or dash of soy sauce will kick the flavor up a notch, but roasted peak asparagus hardly needs any help.
For this easy side dish, you’ll need 1 1/2 pounds asparagus, 2 to 3 cloves garlic, some olive oil, salt and pepper and good-sized baking pan. Simply preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stems, slice your cloves of garlic thin, and toss the asparagus in a light coating of olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for 10 to 15 minutes (I roasted mine for a full 15 minutes), until fork-tender. Serve warm.
Written on February 22, 2013 at 8:30 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! Kathryne from Cookie and Kate here. Frittatas are one of my go-to quick, clean-out-the-fridge meals, so they seemed the perfect subject for my latest Better Cook post. As long as you have some eggs, milk, cheese and vegetables, you can whip up a frittata for breakfast, brunch or dinner in no time! Slices of frittata also make great leftovers, too, whether served warm or cold.
I based my frittata off BHG’s “Anything Frittata” recipe, but in the spirit of the “anything” frittata, I used the Greek-style ingredients I had on hand. I also halved the recipe, using 4 eggs and 1/4 cup milk, and cooked the frittata in an 8-inch pan. Other ingredients included a big handful of chopped fresh spinach, sliced Kalamata olives and roasted red pepper, chopped shallot and crumbled goat cheese.
To make a frittata, simply whisk together eggs with a splash of milk or half and half and a dash of salt, pepper and maybe some dried herbs. Chop up your vegetables, shred the cheese, and start cooking.
Preheat your broiler and put an appropriately sized, oven-proof skillet on the stove over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil or a big pat of butter. Cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, then pour the egg mixture on top. At this point, I just use a spatula to push the curds to the middle as they set, cooking for a few minutes, then I top the eggs with cheese and put the whole pan in the oven for a few more minutes, until the frittata is fully set. Slice and serve!
Once you have the basic method down, frittatas are basically foolproof. Here are a few more tips to help make sure your frittata turns out fantastic:
1) Use quality eggs. My eggs came from a local farm; they are better for you and taste better, too.
2) Most recipes will tell you to use a non-stick skillet, but I have better luck with a well-seasoned cast iron skillet. Cast iron skillets are non-toxic, too, and you don’t have to worry about scratching them—just slice and serve right from the pan.
3) Top the egg mixture with cheese right before you put it in the oven. Melted, golden cheese on top is extra delicious.
4) If you aren’t in a rush to eat, try preheating your oven to 350 degrees and letting the frittata bake for longer instead of using the broil setting. I think it produces a creamier texture. And don’t skip the splash of milk!
5) For a simple side, roast fingerling potatoes while you’re working on your frittata. Just scrub the potatoes and pat dry, then toss with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt. Bake until the potatoes are easily pierced through with a fork (about 25 to 30 minutes).
Enjoy! And don’t miss BHG’s “Anything Frittata” recipe.
Written on January 23, 2013 at 8:00 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! Kathryne from Cookie and Kate here. If you are on the hunt for a Super Bowl snack with incredible flavor and redeeming nutritional properties, these Rosemary Roasted Nuts are it! This recipe is proof that sometimes a little butter and sugar go a long way.
The recipe is as simple as can be. First, you transform an assortment of raw nuts into fragrant, toasty nuts during a brief stint in the oven. Then, you melt some butter and mix in some herbs, spices, sugar and salt. Once you combine the nuts with a trifecta of salty-sweet-spicy flavors, they become truly irresistible.
BHG’s recipe for Rosemary Roasted Nuts is pretty much foolproof, but I have a few cooking notes to share now that I’ve made a batch. For starters, buy quality, raw nuts from stores with a high turnover rate (those bagged nuts in average grocery stores are almost always turning rancid). Freshly toasted nuts are infinitely better than store-bought roasted nuts. Feel free to change up the nut varieties, but beware that very small nuts may toast more quickly than larger nuts while they’re in the oven.
Don’t try to brown the butter with the sugar and spices; mine got a little clumpy, but it was absolutely delicious nonetheless. Lastly, I added a final sprinkle of sea salt after tossing the nuts with the butter spice mixture, which transformed the nuts from really good to woah.
- 1 1/2 cups whole unblanched almonds
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts and/or pecans
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 2 tablespoons finely snipped fresh rosemary
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a 15x10x1-inch baking pan, mix together all of the nuts. Bake about 12 minutes or until toasted, stirring halfway.
- In a small bowl combine rosemary, brown sugar, salt, and cayenne pepper. Stir in melted butter. Drizzle butter mixture over nuts, tossing gently to coat. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve warm or cooled to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
Find BHG’s original recipe for Rosemary Roasted Nuts here.
Written on December 27, 2012 at 10:27 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! Kate from Cookie and Kate here. I’m excited to share this restorative miso soup today, which is a perfectly simple, hot one-pot meal. It’s light but filling, which is just the kind of meal I’m craving on these chilly days when I’m feeling overstuffed from all the holidays feasts.
Miso is on my short list of “magic ingredients,” right up there with various vinegars and flaky finishing salts. Miso is most often made of fermented soy beans, and it adds a delicious umami flavor to Japanese-style dishes. It comes in several different colors; white being the most mild in flavor and the darker red, yellow and black colors have more intense, complex flavors. So far, I have only experimented with white miso, and it adds a delicious “je ne sais quoi” factor to Asian dishes. It really made this simple soup go from ordinary to something special.
Once miso hit my radar, I was surprised to discover that it is relatively easy to find at grocery stores. Look for it in the refrigerated section (typically near the tofu). It also lasts for a few months in the refrigerator, so I don’t worry about it going bad.
For this soup recipe, I followed BHG’s Asian Chicken Noodle Soup recipe, making it vegetarian with a couple of simple substitutions. I used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and extra-firm tofu instead of chicken, which I chopped into small, bite-sized strips. I also added a carrot that I sliced into ribbons using my vegetable peeler, and spiced up the final result with some sriracha. I hope you’ll give it a try soon!
Written on November 28, 2012 at 7:28 am , by Kate Taylor
Hello! I’m Kate of Cookie and Kate, where I share simple, fresh vegetarian recipes. I hope you got your fill of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving because I have a delightfully different cold weather dessert to share. This Apple Cranberry Crisp is neither too sweet nor too heavy. If you get a hankering for a lighter dessert to tide you over until the decadent Christmas desserts arrive, this is it.
To tell you the truth, I’m not much of a baker. The sheer thought of attempting pie crust and layered cakes makes me whimper. I do, however, love crisps and crumbles, because they are genuinely foolproof and don’t require any special equipment. Although they may not be as beautiful as their pie cousins, the truth is that they taste just as good.
I couldn’t resist this crisp recipe in particular because it contains fresh cranberries. I adore cranberries for their tart yet sweet flavor, and because they add vibrant pops of color to otherwise drab dishes. Unlike summer berries, which are wonderful in their raw state, cranberries need to be cooked in order to develop their irresistible sweetness. I am always looking for an excuse to fire up the stove or oven during the winter, so I appreciate cranberries for obliging. I really have no desire for strawberries and blueberries in the winter; it’s all about the cranberries!
I made a few simple modifications to this recipe to enhance its flavor and nutrition profile. For starters, I sweetened the apple and cranberry mixture with honey instead of granulated sugar and added two tablespoons of chopped candied ginger for extra kick. I also used old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking oats (since that’s what I had on hand) and whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose flour.
I used real butter in place of margarine, but next time, I’ll add an extra tablespoon or two. The recipe calls for very little butter as it is and I probably just didn’t cut it in well enough, but I felt like the crisp would have benefitted from a bit more fat and moisture. Regardless, this crisp was absolutely delicious, especially for breakfast the next day! I served mine with Greek yogurt, but if I had had ice cream in the freezer, I would have reached for that instead. Some cold, creamy ice cream would balance out the tart cranberries nicely.
If you happen to have apples and cranberries on hand, you could enjoy this crisp in just under an hour. If you’re wondering how many apples yields 5 cups of chopped apples, you’ll only need 2 large to 3 medium. Here’s the recipe!