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Monday, August 15, 2011

Mango Quinoa Salad

I had a vision of quinoa and mango's to go with my Citrus BBQ Pork Kabobs. I did some online snooping and found a recipe: I doubled the servings and made some changes. I used Purslane instead of cilantro, because it's what I had from my CSA. Purslane is considered a weed, but is a hub of nutrients. Instead of pulling it and tossing it out of your garden, harvest it and use it in the same ways you use spinach and other light greens. It has a very mild lemon flavor. Discard stems (or save for stocks), and use leaves and flowers. Here's my version of a Mango Quinoa salad with Purslane..

Mango Quinoa Salad
1/2 C dried blackbeans
3 C broth
1" piece of Kelp/Kombu (helps make the beans less gassy & cooks them faster)
1 C quinoa
1 1/2 C water
1 large scallion, sliced
1 bunch of purslane, chopped
1 mango, diced
1/2 C orange juice
4 T apple cider vinegar
4 T walnut oil
1/2 t salt
pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight if you can. If not, start beans about 3 hours before the rest of the recipe. Place beans in stock with Kelp/Kombu, cover and bring to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer until tender (but not mushy so they can withstand being mixed into a salad). Once beans are done, strain and rinse then set aside. In saucepan add quinoa and water, cover and bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes. While that's cooking, whisk cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper, orange juice and purslane. Add in beans, scallions and mango and stir thoroughly. When quinoa is done, add that and mix. Refrigerate and serve at room temp or cold.

Citrus BBQ Pork & Veg Kabobs

Our family has been trying to include more sustainable meat in our diets, but have found that after being vegetarian for so long, our likes and dislikes of certain meats are very distinct. Last night was a home-run! I bought some local pork chops and cubed them up for kabobs. Mixed with a yummy quinoa salad (recipe to follow), these were a huge hit with the hubby & the kids.

Citrus BBQ Pork & Veg Kabobs
1 lb pork (not ground), fat cut off and cubed
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced
12 crimini mushrooms, stems removed
1 C BBQ sauce (and some for basting)
1/2 C orange juice (I had fresh squeezed
2 T honey
12 kabob sticks, soaked in water so they don't burn

Whisk the BBQ sauce, orange juice and honey until thoroughly mixed - then add pork to it and marinate for 2 hours at least. Once kabob sticks have soaked and pork is marinated (always discard meat marinade immediately - do not use for anything else), it's time to put together the kabobs by adding the zucchini, summer squash, pork and mushrooms. Mine went: pork, zucchini, pork, summer squash, zucchini, pork, summer squash, mushroom. Once the kabobs are made, either preheat broiler or grill. Place kabobs on broiling pan (for oven method), or directly on the grill and baste with BBQ sauce. Cook about 5 minutes, flip, baste and cook another 5 minutes. Meat should be cooked through and vegetables should be soft, but still retain a crunch to them.

Serve immediately with rice, quinoa, potatoes or just a salad.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini

It's that time of year where we're filling up on zucchini's and summer squash, lots of basil, and tons of spinach. I decided to combine them all to make a yummy summery meal that even the kids would like. I'm a big fan of winter stuffed squash meals, with rice and beans and thick heavy sauces. But since it's summer, I didn't want to make anything too heavy. I searched through the fridge and found some ricotta cheese that was just screaming to be used with the big fat zucchini I had gotten.

Green on Green
2 large zucchini, halved and seeds scooped out
1 16oz container of ricotta cheese
1/4 C parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
4 T chopped fresh basil
1/2 C chopped spinach
2 T butter
1/3 C bread crumbs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450. Prepare zucchini and set inside baking dish, cut side up. In a mixing bowl add ricotta, basil, spinach, and nutritional yeast and mix thoroughly - if you did it in a food processor it would be best, but don't overwork the ricotta and make it runny. Add salt and pepper to the mixture and spoon into zucchini halves. Melt butter in a skillet and add bread crumbs. Cook over medium heat until starting to brown just a bit. Sprinkle over zucchini. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until zucchini is cooked, but not soft. You want it to still have a bit of snap to it to compliment the gooey cheesiness of the filling. Serve warm with pasta and a salad.