Greek Quinoa Salad

This recipe is a cross between a Greek salad and a quinoa-based tabbouleh. I found some quinoa in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods that is a blend of white, red, and black quinoa. Very pretty! Fresh herbs are essential to this dish.  You could use all parsley or a mix of what you have on hand.  I used parsley, cilantro, and mint. Once again, I did not measure anything so my measurements here are approximate.

1 cup quinoa
1 cup minced fresh parsley or mixed herbs
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1/2 cup garlic oil
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
juice of 1 juicy lemon

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Dump it into a large bowl and let it cool to room temperature. You should have approximately 3 cups of cooked quinoa.  When cool, add the herbs, cucumber, olives, and feta. Combine the lemon juice, vinegar, and garlic oil.  Gently toss the salad with the dressing and serve.  If you want to make it in advance, store the undressed salad in the fridge until it’s time to eat. Dress it right before serving.

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Cucumber and Meyer Lemon Salsa Fresca

Meyer lemons seem to be a mellow variety of lemon, still quite tart but not so pucker-inducing as regular lemons.  I found a small  bag at my super market.  I grated the zest off of them to use in Lemon Salt with Fennel and Chili. Then I removed all pith and membranes and kept the flesh to make this salsa. It was delicious on grilled chicken skewers.  I doubt it would keep very long, so make it right before you use it.  My measurements are approximate; I didn’t really measure anything.

3/4 cup chopped Meyer lemon flesh
1/2 cup chopped, peeled & seeded cucumber
1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro
1 minced fresh Serrano chili (or to taste)
1/4 cup chopped scallion greens
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste

Combine first 5 ingredients.  Add a little sugar, mix thoroughly and taste.  You want to balance the sour of the lemon and the sweet of the sugar. If it is still too tart, add a little more sugar. Add salt to taste.

Roasted Carrots, Parsnips, and Meyer Lemon

Another inspiration from epicurious.com.  The original recipe calls for 20 cloves of garlic.  I left the garlic out entirely and it was still a very tasty dish.  I happened upon a small bag of Meyer lemons at my supermarket;  I think the recipe would work well with any thin skinned lemon.  You need a roasting pan large enough to hold all of the vegetables in a single layer.

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/8-inch-thick slices
1 Meyer lemon, halved lengthwise, cut crosswise into 1/8-inch-thick slices, seeds removed
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375F.   Toss all of the ingredients together in a large roasting pan.  Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes.  Stir all of the vegetables around and roast another 20 minutes or until cooked through and browned.

Grilled Spiced Flank Steak

If you can tolerate a wee bit, add a small piece of fresh garlic to this recipe.  I can use about a quarter of one clove.  This recipe came from epicurious.com.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 lb flank steak

Combine the first 6 ingredients and any fresh garlic that you are using.  With the back of a fork, mash it all together into a paste.  Rub the paste on both sides of the steak and marinate it, refrigerated, for a good 8 hours.  Light the grill and oil the grill grate.  Grill the steak to your desired level of done. Remove from the heat and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  Slice thinly across the grain.

Stir Fried Shrimp and Carrots

This is a slightly modified variation of a recipe from a recent issue of Fine Cooking magazine.  I used Sriracha hot sauce, which does contain garlic.  You could swap it out for some red pepper flakes if you need to.  Have some fresh garlic oil ready for this.

1 1/2 Tablespoons fish sauce
juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon Sriracha (or to taste)
1 Tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

2 Tablespoons garlic oil
12 ounces carrots, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick

1 lb. deveined, peeled shrimp, halved lengthwise
1 bunch scallions, green parts only, cut into 1 inch segments

2 Tablespoons minced fresh lemongrass OR 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh red chile (I used serrano)

3 Tablespoons toasted sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.   Heat the garlic oil in a large skillet and add the carrots.  Sizzle the carrots in the oil for a good 5 minutes until brown spots start to form.  Shove the carrots to one side of the pan and add the shrimp and scallions.  Stir fry them until the shrimp are almost done.  Toss in the lemongrass and fresh chile and quickly stir fry all of the ingredients, including the carrots, for another minute.  Add the reserved sauce ingredients and stir briefly. Remove from heat and top with almonds and cilantro.  Serve over rice.

Emeril’s Green Dressing

When I make a salad, I usually toss some vinegar and oil on it and call it dressed. Recently, I was looking for something to use as a dip and I remembered this dressing from Emeril Lagasse’s cookbook Louisiana Real & Rustic.  Steep some garlic in olive oil before preparing the dressing.

1/2 cup chopped green scallion tops
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup garlic oil

Combine first 7 ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until almost smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and continue to process until the dressing is thick.  Best used within 24 hours.