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Quinoa Tabouleh

2 Aug

I came across this recipe while doing some research for a friend and sent it on to a few others that I thought would enjoy it. One of those fabulous ladies made it for a group of us and it was a huge hit. It’s not your typical tabouleh; but, to me, flavor is more important than tradition and accuracy in this case. It has feta – how can you argue with a healthy, whole grain dish that incorporates such salty, lovely goodness?

Additionally, this is somewhat of a quinoa redemption dish for me. My first try at making quinoa yielded less than wonderful results. I suspect that I didn’t cook the quinoa enough my first go ‘round and instead of a light, fluffy side dish that pops a little when you bite into it, I took a bite and…well, it was crunchy. Like I said, less than ideal. With this dish, though, it came out exactly as it should have. Just remember: rinse the quinoa first and use a 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain. Once you’ve added the quinoa to the boiling liquid, let the entire thing come back up to a boil before you put the lid on and let it simmer for at least 15 minutes (or until the liquid has evaporated).

Serves 4 (with leftovers)


1 c quinoa
2 c water or vegetable broth
½ ts salt
½ red onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cucumber, cut to bite-sized pieces
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
8 oz feta, crumbled
juice 1 lemon
black pepper to taste

1. Rinse the quinoa and cook according to the instructions on the package. When finished, transfer the quinoa to a bowl and put in the fridge to cool for 30-45 minutes.
2. Cover the diced onion with a pinch of salt and water. Leave the onion to soak while the rest of the ingredients are prepped.
3. In a bowl, combine the garlic, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley and feta. Drain the onions and add to the mixture.
4. Combine all the ingredients. Add the lemon juice and black pepper to taste.

Optional – you can add a little sesame oil to the salad for a nutty flavor.

Simple Bruschetta

2 Aug

Since it was a holiday here yesterday, the husband and I decided to put together a big, easy, fresh dinner. Popped into the market and found fresh Ontario corn, ciabatta bread, beautiful heirloom tomatoes and delicious, well-marbled steaks. The initial plan for the tomato was to simply slice and drizzle with a really good balsamic that we save for this kind of meal, sea salt and pepper. Since we had the ciabatta, though, I decided to make up a simple bruschetta. Good plan, lemme tell ya.

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1 large tomato, medium dice  (just smaller than bite-size)
1/4 red onion, finely diced
1/4 c fresh parsley, finely diced
2 tb extra virgin olive oil (the best you’ve got!)
1 tb good balsamic vinegar
Sea or Kosher salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1 Ciabatta bread


1. In a medium bowl, combine tomato, onion, parsley, olive oil, balsamic and pepper. Stir and allow to sit 10 – 15 minutes.
2. Slice ciabatta lengthwise  and toast or place in a 350-degree oven to warm and crisp up for a few minutes.
3. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and add the salt to the tomato mixture.
4. Spoon the tomato mixture over the bun.



Sunshine Salad

22 Jun

This recipe comes from a little Mexican cookbook that’s been kicking around the apartment for years, but we really only started using it recently. I sent this recipe to a friend of mine a couple of months ago and she raved about it.  We decided to make it for Father’s Day and after a couple of bites, I understood why she’d liked it so much: it’s fresh, it’s simple and it’s kind of addictive. So much so that we made it again the next day…

Serves 4, as a side dish.


1 c pineapple (1 can)
1 avocado, diced
1 1/2 c corn (or 1 14oz can)
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1 – 2 green onions, sliced
2 oranges, peeled & sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 ts black pepper


1. Assemble all ingredients in medium-large bowl.
2. Refrigerate for at least one hour.
3. …Eat.

Black Bean and Mango Salad

20 Jun

We made this salad up for Father’s Day and it was most definitely a hit! It can be done pretty quickly and makes a great summer dish. Add corn to it for a little more bulk, if you like.

Serves 4.


1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 mango, peeled & cubed
1 red pepper, cubed
2 green onions, sliced
1/4 c fresh lime juice
2 tb vegetable oil
1 tb soy sauce
1/2 ts red pepper flakes – optional, but add a nice kick
2 tb cilantro, chopped


1. In a medium bowl, combine beans, mango red pepper and green onions.
2. Whisk together lime juice, oil and red pepper flakes. Pour over the bean mixture and toss.
3. Add in cilantro and toss again.

And, really? That’s it. Crazy simple, but incredibly delicious and healthy!

Cornbread Dressing

31 Dec

J made this both at Thanksgiving and at Christmas and it was gobbled up quickly on both holidays.  It makes a nice alternative to the traditional dressing – just something a little different! This recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, a book that gets a fair bit of use in our house. This is a two-step process so first I’ll lay out the recipe for the cornbread, then on to the dressing it is.

Serves 8.

Southern Cornbread


1 tb butter/bacon fat
1 3/4 c  cornmeal
1 tb sugar
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda
1 ts salt
2 eggs
2 c buttermilk


1. Preheat your oven to 450F and coat a 9″ cast iron pan or 8″ glass baking dish with the butter/bacon fat. Place the pan or dish in the oven until the fat smokes. The hotter the better as that’s what gives you a great crust.
2. Whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until they are foamy. Whisk in the buttermilk.
4.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.  Remove your pan from the oven and add all the batter at once.
5. Bake until top has browned and the centre feels firm when pressed, roughly 20 – 25 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and cool completely.

Cornbread Dressing


1/3 c butter, unsalted
2 c onions, chopped
1 c celery, chopped
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c parsley, minced
1 ts dried sage OR 1 tb fresh sage, minced
3/4 ts salt
1/2 ts black pepper
1/2 – 1 c chicken stock
2 eggs*


1. Crumble the cornbread into bite-sized cubes with your hands.
2. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat and add butter.
3. Throw in onions, celery, peppers, garlic and cook til softened – roughly 5 minutes.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley, sage, salt and pepper.
5. Add the bread cubes and toss til well combined.
6. Stir in the stock until the dressing is moist, but not packed together.
7. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
*8. (Only do this step if you are NOT stuffing the bird.) Beat the two eggs and add to the mixture.
9.  Preheat your oven to 350F. Spoon the dressing into the bird OR moisten with additional stock and bake separately until the internal temperature reaches 165F, approx. 30 minutes.

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