Farmer's Market Quinoa Sauté

I actually can't take any credit for this recipe, and have to give it all to the lovely Kristin of Iowa Girl Eats -- a really great and healthy blog that my dear friend Greta introduced me to. It's always nice to find some new and interesting ways to use quinoa, and the lemon-honey dressing on this recipe is wonderful. The only changes I made to Kristin's recipe were using carrots in place of zucchini and goat cheese instead of feta (my personal preference). It made an excellent dinner (and lunch the next day), and is incredibly healthy to boot. You can find the recipe here

Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots

As the weather keeps getting warmer, I find myself craving salads. A. and I are trying to eat a bit healthier, and beets are one of my favorite vegetables -- their earthy, sweet taste and vibrant color makes them perfect for spring salads. Since the famer's market doesn't have zucchini and summery produce quite yet, I will content myself with beets, goat cheese, and crispy fried shallots. Enjoy this simple salad as a first course, or alone with a glass of rosé (like I did).  Beet Salad with Crispy Shallots (serves 2)

2 large, or 4 small beets

2 tablespoons + teaspoon olive oil, divided

1 large shallot, very thinly sliced

8 oz. mixed greens

2 oz. goat cheese, crumbled

For dressing:

1 teaspoon whole-grain mustard

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon chopped shallots

Pinch brown sugar

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop ends off of beets, and place on a sheet of tinfoil. Drizzle with teaspoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place another sheet of tinfoil over them, crimping at the edges to form a sort of packet. Roast until a fork goes into the beets smoothly, about 45 minutes. Let cool.

Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until crispy, being careful not to let them burn, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain on a paper towel.

Mix dressing ingredients in a small glass or jar, whisking well to combine. Place greens on a plate, add beets and goat cheese. Sprinkle shallots over, then drizzle dressing evenly. Serve immediately. 



Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese

I confess, I had never eaten quinoa until a couple of years. And I feel kind of bad every time I eat it since its new popularity in the US has made the price skyrocket in places that use it as a dietary staple like South America. However, I still love it. With more flavor and texture than rice, not to mention health benefits, you can make an entire meal by mixing it with a few vegetables. And of course, a dash (or a whole log) of goat cheese. Which clearly makes everything better. Quinoa with Squash, Apples, and Goat Cheese (serves 4-6)

1 large butternut or kabocha squash, halved and seeds removed

1 apple, cored and cut into 1/2 in pieces

1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups chicken broth

2 oz goat cheese, crumbled

Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast until very tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft and beginning to brown at the edges, about 8 minutes. Stir in quinoa and broth, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil. reduce heat to simmer, and cook, covered, until quinoa has absorbed broth, about 15 minutes.

When squash is done, cut off the skin and cube into one inch pieces. Toss with squash, then add apples and walnuts. Season with salt and pepper, then top with goat cheese.