Monthly Archives: February 2012

Quinoa-Kale-Roasted Veggie Salad with Hummus Dressing

I’ve mentioned before that recreating meals I eat at restaurants isn’t really my thing. There happen to be a few exceptions to this rule: If the meal is uber healthy; if it’s so delicious I find myself dreaming about it (true story); or if I can’t get it where I live. If it satisfies all of those conditions? Well, then I’ve got to find a way to recreate it in my own kitchen.

Simply put, this meal had to happen.

While visiting L.A. earlier this month I wanted to try some of their super crunchy raw/vegan places. (Yes, this is my idea of fun.) Fortunately, my dear friend Katie was more than game for fulfilling this mission and she had just the place in mind: Cafe Gratitude. We went there for lunch my very first day and to put it lightly it blew my mind. (And not just because we saw four celebs.) Cafe Gratitude is so completely awesome and yet entirely absurd. Why don’t we start with the names of the menu options? I ordered a drink called I am Gorgeous–a blend of lemon, kale juice, agave, and sparkling water. When the server brought it to the table he told me I was gorgeous. Sketchy? Nah. If I had ordered the I Am Rejuvenated, I Am Divine, or I Am Cool he would have told me I was all of those things, too. (Some days I like to think that he’d be right.)

For lunch I was fortified. And by that I mean I ordered a bowl of sauteed zucchini, kale, and quinoa, topped with a garlic-tahini sauce, a.k.a. I Am Fortified. Again: Mind. Blown. The ingredients were so darn simple, and yet the sum of the parts was so incredibly delicious and filling. Before I took my very first bite I already knew that this was something I’d have to make at home.

Since zucchini isn’t in season in Chicago in February, I decided to sub in roasted broccoli and cauliflower. (If the cauliflower looks highlighter yellow that’s because it is–I added a sprinkle of turmeric for an additional healthy kick and that’s what happened.)

Instead of regular quinoa, I picked up a bag of tricolor–a blend of red, black, and golden quinoa–from Trader Joe’s. As you know, I have a well-established obsession with kale. While I usually buy it by the bunch, I grabbed a container of the pre-cut kind from Whole Foods since I knew I was going to have a hectic week ahead of me. I also got to use my brand-new steamer basket (how have I lived this long without one?) for the first time to steam the kale.

Let’s talk about the dressing shall we? Now, if I had a nickel for every time I said “this salad needs some hummus dressing” I’d be a very poor woman. But after making this recipe I realized that I should have been saying that for years. So absolutely delicious! In truth, the dressing was pretty much an accident. I found a recipe for lemon tahini dressing online and attempted to make it. I followed the recipe with a few tweaks, tasted it, decided I nailed it, and then decided it needed something else: Chickpeas. So I added a can of drained/rinsed chickpeas and blended everything together. The result: A dressing that’s ever so slightly thinner than typical hummus (though the perfect creamy consistency) and with a few different flavors than regular ol’ hummus (such as a hint of dried oregano and the umami goodness of Bragg’s Aminos.) Once incorporated into the salad, the hummus dressing becomes almost as much a part of the meal as the broccoli and other components. So. Freaking. Good. And so satisfying, too. You could even say I was fortified.

Quinoa-Kale-Roasted Veggie Salad with Hummus Dressing
Serves: A LOT (about 6 to 8 meals in total)

Quinoa-Kale-Roasted Veggie Salad

2 stalks broccoli
1 head cauliflower
8 oz package kale (or about 2-3 bunches)
1 cup quinoa
olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Rinse broccoli and cauliflower. Remove stems and cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces. Place on two separate baking sheets (one for broccoli one for cauliflower.) Drizzle olive oil on both. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both. To the cauliflower add 1 tsp turmeric. Toss to coat evenly. Place baking sheets in oven. Roast until broccoli and cauliflower begin to brown (about 20 minutes for broccoli and 25 minutes for cauliflower.)

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Fill a big pot with several inches of water. Bring to a boil. Place steamer basket filled with kale into pot. Cover and cook until kale wilts–about 2 to 3 minutes. (You may need to do this in a few batches.) Remove steamer basket from pot, remove kale from basket to a bowl, and toss with a sprinkle of salt.

Hummus Dressing (makes about 1.5 cups)
1/4 cup tahini
3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
Juice of 2 lemons
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Kosher salt
Pepper to taste
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp warm water
1 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or use soy sauce instead)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Process/blend until smooth. Add additional water or olive oil if you want a thinner texture.

To assemble: Place all ingredients in a bowl and use tongs to combine.

Banana-Date Smoothie

According to Greenfield family lore, my grandparents met at a party where my grandma, holding a platter of assorted dried fruits, offered my grandpa a date. “How’s Friday?” he asked. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Although I’ve always been grateful that my grandma didn’t offer my grandpa a prune instead, I’ve never been a big fan of the fruit that introduced my grandparents. Until now. This smoothie is unbelievable. It’s light, refreshing, and perfectly sweet. And if you have texture issues with dates (guilty!) they’re not a problem here because they completely break down in the blender * and combine with the other ingredients. The health writer in me wants to let you know that this smoothie would make an ideal post-workout drink because it offers a great balance of protein and carbs, which is important for muscle recovery. It would also be a fantastic option if you’re trying to go easy on dessert since it’s sweet enough to satisfy a sugar craving, but contains all good-for-you ingredients. (I imagine you could add some raw cacao for a chocolatey hit, too.)

No matter when you enjoy it, go ahead and drink up–guilt-free.

Date Shake
Serves 2

1 ripe banana, sliced
1 cup almond milk
6 whole pitted dates
3-5 handfuls of ice

Place all ingredients in the blender. Cover and blend until smooth. Adjust ice to obtain desired consistency (less ice = more shake, more ice = more smoothie.)

*I highly recommend a high-tech blender such as a VitaMix. Standard blenders may not be powerful enough to break down the dates and ice completely and I’d feel really bad if I broke your blender.

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew (Slow Cooker)

I always thought that if you weren’t dining out for Valentine’s Day you should cook something with meat. What better way to show your love than with a thick, juicy pan-seared ribeye or boozy beef bourguignon? But as V-Day rolled around the idea of meat became less and less appealing to me. I had just returned from a week in L.A. where many of my meals were light and summery (think: fish tacos, mussels, giant kale, veggie, and quinoa salads, and especially daily fro-yo!) and the idea of beef just seemed…heavy. Plus, I wanted to show myself a little love that day and make it to a yoga class, which meant I didn’t have all evening to cook. There’s also the fact that since Robert would likely be working until 9 or 10 pm slaying accounting dragons I’d probably be dining alone (I can’t wait that late to eat!) So as much as I wanted to whip up something spectacular, I also wanted to be practical and make a meal we’d both enjoy that wouldn’t be too heavy and would provide ample leftovers that we could continue eating throughout the week.

Two things came to mind: Make it spicy (his fave) and use the slow cooker. I browsed through my slow cooker cookbook and landed on this recipe. Done. The heroes in this dish aren’t the main ingredients (chicken, corn, and black beans), but the things you add at the end: Chipotle chiles in adobo, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. Without them you’d have a pretty great chicken stew that’s similar to a chili. However, those garnishes brighten the flavors and the chiles lend a smoky depth.

While this meal is no beef stroganoff (a serious contender when I was recipe hunting) I’m pretty sure neither of us were disappointed. And in case I had any doubt, Robert’s text the next night at 10:15 pm when he got home from work and heated up dinner (“Best. Leftovers. Ever.”) was pretty high praise from a guy who loves leftovers.

Tex-Mex Chicken Stew
Serves 6 to 8

2 onions, minced
2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and minced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp chili powder
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Salt and pepper
2 cups frozen corn
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
Canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce (I used 2 chiles, minced) plus 2 Tbsp adobo sauce
Fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime

Add onions, jalapenos, garlic, tomato paste, oil, and chili powder to a microwave-safe bowl (such as glass). Microwave in 1.5-minute intervals, stirring after each one, for a total of about 6 minutes, until onions are softened. Add to slow cooker.

Stir broth and tomatoes into slow cooker. Season chicken with salt and pepper and place in slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours until chicken is tender.

Transfer chicken to cutting board. Allow it to cool slightly and then shred using two forks. Stir corn and beans into slow cooker and cook on high for about 10 minutes. Add shredded chicken, chipotles, chipotle sauce, and allow to heat through–about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon stew into bowls. Garnish with chopped cilantro and squeeze of a slice of lime.

Turkey Meatloaf & Whipped Potatoes

I know what you’re thinking. Meatloaf? Really Paige? What is it, 1953? No, no it isn’t. But this isn’t your mother’s meatloaf. Or your grandmother’s. Or the one in Wedding Crashers. (Ma!) This stuff is delicious–packed with flavor thanks to savory sauteed onions and a sweet topping of ketchup. (It wouldn’t be meatloaf without it.) Not only did I make and eat meatloaf, but I served it at a dinner party of eight. That’s how much I trusted its crowd-pleasing abilities.

If you had asked me just a few months ago whether I had any interest in cooking or consuming meatloaf I would have said absolutely not. For starters, there’s the name. Must it be so descriptive? But my sister made it over the holiday, and from my first bite I was hooked. So totally comforting, and yet surprisingly light (credit the turkey meat) and tasty.

Yet the loaf (sorry) wasn’t the only star of this meal. I discovered a brand-new way of making mashed potatoes and I’m never going back to any other method. The secret is using the KitchenAid mixer. I stumbled upon a recipe in Cook’s Country just last week that suggested using the mixer and this meal was the perfect opportunity to give it a whirl. So here’s the gist of how you make these light-as-air whipped potatoes. (Full recipe is below.) Basically, you peel, boil, and drain the potatoes per usual. While they’re boiling you melt butter in milk in a saucepan on the stove. The potatoes go into the mixer with the whisk attachment. You start on low speed until they look like regular mashed potatoes. Then you slowly stream in the milk-butter mixture. Once that’s combined you blast the mixer to high and let the thing go to town, whipping its little heart out, for two to three minutes. The result: Perfectly fluffy taters with minimal effort. I served the loaf and potatoes alongside my current favorite green, sauteed haricots verts with shallots. (I doubled the original recipe.)

All puns aside, this meatloaf is an ideal dinner-party staple since most of the prep work can be done ahead of time and requires no effort or attention once it goes into the oven. And if nothing else, it definitely gives people something to talk about.

Turkey Meatloaf
Serves 8-10

2 large yellow onions, chopped
Olive oil
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
5 pounds ground turkey (I asked the butcher to do 3/4 of it breast and the rest dark meat for added flavor, but for the lightest version you can do all white meat.)
1 1/2 cups plain bread crumbs
3 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a saute pan over medium heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until the onion becomes translucent, but not brown–about 15 minutes. Add Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato sauce. Mix until combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Using your hands, combine turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well. Shape into two perpendicular rectangular loaves on a foil-lined baking sheet. Liberally top both loaves with ketchup and spread evenly. Bake for 1.5 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.

Source: Barefoot Contessa

Whipped (Mashed) Potatoes
Serves 8-10

4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
salt & pepper

Place potatoes into a large pot and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil on the stove. Boil until potatoes are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat butter and milk on medium-low heat on the stove until butter is melted. Whisk to combine. Keep warm until ready to use.

Once potatoes are cooked, drain in a colander. Return potatoes to pot and mix with a wooden spoon until potatoes are dried. Add potatoes to bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Begin on low speed until potatoes are mashed, about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and butter mixture until combined. Increase speed to high and whip until potatoes are light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Whip just a few seconds until incorporated throughout.

Source: Cook’s Country¬†