Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And it flew by....

Thanksgiving snuck up on me. In fact, so did December. This is the first Thanksgiving that i haven't been working in... well, I can't exactly remember. So I really have no excuse for being so surprised that it will be here tomorrow. If you are starting to stress for me, no fear, I will be spending the holiday at my in law's with many Aunt's, Uncle's and cousins. They always travel with food, luckily it's good.
Off the subject, I spent the weekend in East Lansing, home of Michigan State, my Alma Mater. My dear friend and I watched the State game ( barely pulled it off, but hey, they did!)ate lots of incredible food and enjoyed each other's company. When you live four hours apart, you have to enjoy every moment. We were college roommates, and I am the proud godmother to her youngest son.
Back to the incredible food... The restaurant we took my 11 year old son to was a place that has been there for years.Beggar's Banquet on Abbott. However, I never went there when I lived in East Lansing. How could this be? I remember the reputation bestowed upon them as a place to drink wine. I love wine now, not so much then, maybe that is why. This past Friday was my first time at Beggar's for dinner, and I was surprised to see they had chicken salad that was featured in Bon Appetit. Okay, you have my attention. The sandwich consisted of roasted chicken breast blended with walnuts, dried cherries, scallions, celery, and mayo. I immediately thought how perfect this would be for leftover turkey the day after Thanksgiving.
Substitute turkey for chicken, cranberries for the dried cherries. Celery left over, check and if not scallions then whatever other onion type item you have on hand.
Now the day after Thanksgiving meal is planned as well. Hope this helps considering I have blown past Thanksgiving and already landed at the day after!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Crazy Easy Falafel - Meat Free Monday

I first tried falafel in Royal Oak, MI many years ago. I was immediately hooked. The flavors are rich and strong, so you never miss the meat. This is one dish that you will wonder how it can taste so good and be good for you too.

2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas)- mash beans lightly with a fork
1/2 small onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon curry
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 fresh lemon- squeeze for juice

serve with flat bread or stuff in pita's

Combine garbanzo beans, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, curry, coriander and cayenne in a oven safe dish. Mix until all ingredients are combined evenly. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil, mix. Place in oven at 350 for 20 minutes.
Squeeze juice over mixture,serve warm with stuffed in pita pockets a side salad and hummus. Could also serve with flat bread.

Cook's note: Traditionally falafel is fried, but I baked the mixture in this recipe. Also, many recipes call for putting the beans in a food processor which I eliminated as well. You may place the entire mixture in a food processor and blend until grainy if you prefer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Meat Free Monday- Quinoa

I am bringing you a recipe that is packed full of deliciousness and is really good for you too. This recipe was highlighted on 'The Next Food Network Star'. A competition that involved incorporating cereal into a dish, this was the outcome. An adaption of Aarti's recipe, I substituted a few of the ingredients and combined the last step. This is so darn delicious that I just know you are going to love it!
Quinoa is the base of this dish, pronounced 'KEEN WA', this is the most nutritious of all grains. High in fiber, good source of iron, contains 8 of the essential amino acids and is naturally gluten free. Can you believe I am still talking about one food? The ancient Incas ate quinoa as their primary staple in South America. You will love the delicate nutty flavor and you will be amazed at the ease with which it takes to prepare.
1 cup quinoa, cooked ( To cook quinoa use 2 cups water, bring to a boil, add 1 cup quinoa, bring to boil again, cover and cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. Take off heat, fluff and let stand.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 shallots, sliced thin
3 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh cranberries (or thawed frozen)
Sea salt and black pepper
1/2 All bran cereal
1 1/2 cup fresh spinach chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Cook quinoa, refer to directions at the top.
In a large saute pan, warm olive oil. Add shallots, garlic, curry powder and cinnamon. Stir and cook until shallots are browning. Stir in cranberries. Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, add in chopped spinach. Turn off heat, stir ingredients. Add in All bran cereal, stir again. Spinach will wilt.
Whisk together lemon juice, brown sugar and olive oil. Pour over quinoa. Stir well.
Serve warm pilaf in pita pockets.