Red Quinoa with Feta & Sundried Tomatoes

Here it is again everyone! QUINOA!!! Woo Hoo!! While in Whole Foods last weekend I wanted to get some more quinoa. Looking in the bulk aisle for it I came across the regular white/beige quinoa. And sitting right next to it was this beautiful red quinoa! Didn’t even know it existed. Then again I didn’t know quinoa existed until a few months ago. I checked the nutritional information and it had almost double the fiber of the regular kind! Sold! I bought a half pound of the stuff,  just in case we didn’t like it. I should have bought more! It is so much tastier than the regular. It had a little crunch to it and a nutty taste as well. I then searched online for a different recipe than I made last time.  I found a great one on the Cooking Books blog. She had gotten it from a cookbook called The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook by Tosca Reno and adapted it to her taste. I again adapted it to my taste.  It called for cilantro and I left it out (My husband isn’t a fan unless it’s in salsa or guacamole) and vegetable broth. I had chicken broth and used that. The recipe called for 8 sun-dried tomatoes, cut up. I found it needed more. So next time I will add more. I think about ¼ cup will do it. I liked how much feta cheese she said to put in, “as much as you’d like”. Ok, sounds good to me! Sounds good to my husband! I think it was about ½ cup in total, could be more though. I didn’t measure. But one thing I should have done was cut the recipe in half. It made a lot of quinoa for two people. We do have leftovers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

2 minced shallots (you can use a small onion or even a few green onions if you don’t have shallots)

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 cups vegetable broth (or any broth you have), or water

1 cup dried red quinoa

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (you can adjust to your taste)

1 teaspoon salt

fresh ground black pepper

½ cup (or so) of crumbled low-fat feta cheese (adjust to your taste)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the tomatoes, shallots and garlic. Saute for 3-5 minutes until the shallots are soft.

2. Add the broth/stock and bring to a boil. Add the red quinoa and cayenne pepper. Stir and bring back to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Or until all the liquid is fully absorbed. (It took longer than 30 minutes on my stove, so keep an eye on it after 30 minutes)

3. Stir in salt and pepper and feta cheese. Serve hot or cold. Make sure you mix in the feta good so it melts a bit! Yum…

Makes 4-6 servings as a side dish.

Homemade “Boursin” Cheese

Years ago I discovered Boursin Cheese. But that little container (only 5.2 ounces!) can be very expensive. I haven’t bought it in years because of that. It would also be gone in minutes because there isn’t much to it. This recipe may not give you a huge amount either (8 ounces at least) but you can also double the recipe and use lighter ingredients as well to save some calories and fat. It’s a cream cheese base so use the light cream cheese. I will not use fat-free cream cheese because I feel that it really loses all it’s flavor when you take away ALL the fat. But that’s just me. It’s up to you and what you wish. If calories are no object then by all means use the full fat version of cream cheese in the recipe. Another great thing about this recipe is that all the herbs and spices in it are very common and I would think most of us have them all on hand in our pantries. This recipe actually comes from The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast Inn. I had stayed there many years ago. The Inn is in Cape May, New Jersey and was a wonderful place, not far from the water. So give this a try and remember to make it the night before. It’s better that way, trust me! The spread itself is mild and is accented nicely by the crushed peppercorns. It’s a great spread with crackers during cocktail hour!

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon dried basil

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

freshly ground black peppercorns

DIRECTIONS:

1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

2. Shape into a ball or log and roll in crushed black peppercorns or place in a serving dish and sprinkle generously with coarsely crushed black peppercorns. Or just serve it in a decorative serving bowl! Your choice!

3. Best if refrigerated at least overnight before serving.

Makes 1 cup

Seafood & Cream Cheese Wontons

I have eaten many wontons in my life. But I have never made them myself. Well after I saw the recipe on Budget Bytes for Lobster & Cream Cheese Wontons I thought I should give it a try! How hard could it be! HA! It actually wasn’t that hard. The hard part was getting the hang of the wontons! First I put too much filling and it oozed out all over. What a mess. Then I put too little filling. And finally I think I got it right. Though my husband said it needed more filling. Next time I will improve. Promise! I found the wonton wrappers in the produce department near the organic stuff. They only had one size so that’s what I got. I also used light cream cheese, as usual. I have to say even though they were weird shapes, they did come out pretty tasty! I served them to my neighbors at the monthly “Girls Happy Hour” we have. They were a hit. The leftovers were gone that night when my husband got home. I served them with a teryiaki sauce for dipping. These little guys are so tasty and they are only lightly pan-fried to crisp and brown them a little bit. No deep-frying involved! And of course I added garlic to the recipe as well as some ginger.

INGREDIENTS:

8 ounces light cream cheese, softened

8 ounces Imitation crab or lobster meat (of use the real stuff if you can afford it!)

1 large egg

2-3 scallions, chopped

1 package wonton wrappers

½ teaspoon Sriracha Hot Sauce (In the asian food section)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ginger

Cooking Spray

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese, green onion, egg, Sriracha sauce, garlic and ginger. When it’s mixed well add the crabmeat breaking up the chunks as you mix them in.

2. Working on a pastry board or cutting board work in groups of about 6 wontons at a time. Have a small bowl of water to help seal the edges of the wrappers. Place about 1 teaspoon of the filling in the center of each wonton square. Using your fingers, wet the wrapper all along the edges on all 4 sides. Fold the wrapper over diagonally to form a triangle and pinch the edges to seal. Using more water if needed. Try to get as much air out of the center as possible and fold over the corners to wrap. If this doesn’t work, just fold or crimp the edges to seal as best you can. The shape doesn’t matter.

3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Working in groups of 8-10 wontons, drop them into the boiling water and remove once they begin to float (about 3 minutes). Place the boiled wontons on a cooling rack or large platter to drain. The wontons will look nice and transparent. Don’t put them on paper towels. They will stick to them if you do!

4. When you have all the wontons boiled and drained, heat a large non-stick skillet that has been sprayed with cooking spray, over medium-high heat. When the skillet is nice and hot, place about 8-10 wontons (depends on how many you can fit without overcrowding)in at a time. Cook on each side until they are golden brown, crispy and blistering a little in some spots. If you need more spray in the pan use as you go along. I had to add several times. This will crisp up the wontons nicely.

5. Serve warm with your choice of dipping sauce. Teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, ponzu sauce all work nice. Even have some hot chinese mustard or extra Sriracha sauce if you want! I also had leftover filling so I added some chopped celery and we made a spread for crackers with it! Delicious!

Makes about 32 wontons.

Garlic Roasted Garbanzo Beans

First of all I would like to thank CC Recipe for this incredibly delicious snack! She had three different types of roasted garbanzos and I attempted the garlic ones today. OMG! I could sit there and eat the entire batch on my own, no problem! Like she said they reminded me of corn nuts (yes they still sell those) and I had a really bad experience with corn nuts before I moved to Florida. Lost half of a molar! While at the Pindar Harvest Fest on Long Island! (My cousin Linda will vouch that I was less than calm about the incident!) So no more corn nuts. I do think I could have roasted these another 5 minutes but they still came out incredible. I changed the recipe slightly by adding more garlic powder, because I am obsessed love garlic! I also added some garlic salt when I took them out of the oven. I am also salt obsessed. I admit it, I am a Salt Monster. Anyway, they are so good. I am making a double batch next time and they are so good for you too. Oh one other thing I changed was I used soy flour instead of regular flour (my husband is carb obsessed). More fiber this way too so it’s all good. I have a few more recipes from CC Recipe that I am going to try. Awesome stuff!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans

salt and pepper

¼ cup soy flour (or regular)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF.

2. Drain the garbanzo beans and gently pat dry. Let sit on paper towels for 20 minutes or until they are mostly dry. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

3. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, and garlic powder. Add garbanzo beans and toss lightly to coat. Shake off any excess flour.

4. Lay garbanzo beans in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and bake 25-35 minutes. Check on them and shake the baking sheet every 10 minutes or so. I stirred them up each time. When they are done they will be golden brown and crunchy. (Not break your teeth crunchy though! ) Just keep an eye on them the last 10 minutes or so that they don’t burn.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Well according to the calendar Fall is officially here. I’m sure it’s cooler in some part of the country! It’s actually cooler here in Florida too! Ok it’s 83 degrees (it’s after 5pm here), but it was close to 90 not too long ago! It’s cooler! Really! Anyway…Before I get into the recipe, I am wondering if this bothers anyone else besides me. There are some stores who have Christmas decorations out already! No joke! Last Saturday we were in BJ’s Wholesale Club and there they were! Christmas decorations, trees, lights, etc! Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas! It’s my favorite holiday but NOT IN SEPTEMBER!!! I can deal with the Halloween decorations in August just before school starts but this is so wrong! Maybe it’s just me. For me, the Christmas season starts with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and not until I see Santa on his sleigh! Then I can begin the madness  celebration! Ok, now that I’ve vented here’s the recipe for today.

Pumpkin Pie Martini! There are quite a few recipes and variations on this but I found this one to be very tasty. A few years ago our local paper had a recipe for a pumpkin pie martini and it called for Pumpkin Schnapps. Let me just say this, it was nowhere to be found. And pretty much every local liquor store had people coming in asking for it since they’d seen the recipe! I ended up ordering online from DaVinci Syrups. They have every flavor you can think of in a syrup. So I ordered a bottle and we used that. But since then we’ve found Pumpkin Liqueur. (My husband also has another recipe he uses but I can’t find it right now. )

This recipe today is actually from the Skyline Bar & Grill, atop the Hilton Americas-Houston in Houston, TX. It was in their online edition several years ago.

INGREDIENTS:

1 ounce vanilla vodka

2 ounces pumpkin schnapps/liqueur

1 ounce Frangelico

1 ounce Bailey’s

2 ounces cream

Nutmeg, cinnamon or all-spice for garnish

cinnamon stick for garnish (optional)

crushed graham crackers for rims (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

In a shaker with ice add all ingredients. Shake well and pour into chilled martini glasses. Sprinkle with nutmeg, cinnamon or all-spice.

Makes 2 martinis

**If you use pumpkin flavored syrup instead of the liqueur add a little more of the other ingredients and add 1 ounce of the flavored syrup. Adjust as needed!

***Found my husband’s recipe: Basically the same just leave out the Bailey’s and Frangelico. Less calories this way too! Your decision!