Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I'm healthy now, I eat quinoa. 

This is very similar to the phrase I repeated to myself one time trying to convince myself that did indeed like yogurt. 

Yogurt is still a little strange and occasionally makes me gag... but quinoa is extremely delicious AND healthy. Who would have thought? 

Since buying a monster bag of quinoa at Costco I have hardly been adventurous though. This is due to the simple fact that the first recipe I made was incredible. A mediterranean quinoa salad - delicious olives, cucumber, lowfat feta, and a little blast of olive oil and lemon to give the whole thing flavor and a smooth texture. Add the fact that it's super healthy and I'm sold. 

I pulled the recipe from here.


1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups sliced (small) tomatoes - I've used Campari, Grape, and the tasty yellow small ones
1 cup sliced kalamata olives
1 cucumber quartered and sliced
3/4 cup crumbled (lowfat, nonfat, or regular)
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, juice of
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste


Cook the quinoa! It's just like rice. 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, bring to a boil, minimize the heat, let it simmer until the water is evaporated, set aside for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork.

Chop all the veggies and add them to the quinoa with the cheese and seasonings. 

Drizzle oil and lemon juice over the top - mix it up and serve.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Semolina and Gruyere Quenelles with Tomato Sauce

Learning about new food is always exciting. Before this I could not have told you what a quenelle was, and if asked, I would have told you incorrectly what semolina was.

Quenelle: Oval shaped dumpling traditionally made of pureed meat or fish.
Semolina: A coarsely ground flour from durum wheat (extra protein, extra gluten)

Now, this was not the easiest thing to make. There's a sauce to make, the dough needs to be made and then chilled, and the formed logs have to be boiled before they're baked. That said, it was real tasty.

Recipe from Vegetarian Times - March 2011 from Chef Raymond Blanc

1 1/2 cup whole milk
4 tbsp butter
3/4 cup semolina flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
5 oz finely grated gruyere cheese + more for sprinkling

Bring milk and butter to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir in flours and cook 2-3 minutes. Be ready with a whisk to avoid chunks.
Take it off the heat and add the egg, egg yolk, and cheese.
Spread the mixture on a baking sheet, cover it, cool it for 2 hours.

In those 2 hours...

Tomato Sauce
3 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/3 cup tomato puree
2 sprigs thyme

Heat the oil in a pan on medium heat.
Add garlic and onion. Saute until softened.
Add everything else. Cook 7 to 8 minutes.
Add 2 cups water and salt and pepper if necessary. Cook 5 minutes.
Hit the food processor and puree this stuff.

Now, time to deal with the cooled quenelles.

Heat the oven to 350.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a simmer.
Split the dough into 8 equal parts and roll them into 4 inch logs on a well floured surface. Add some muscle to make sure they stick together
Slide the cheesy goodness logs into the simmering water. They're going to sink.
It should take about 8 minutes until they rise - use a slotted spoon to grab them and put them on a paper towel lined plate.

Finally... the mix!

8 inch square pan. Add 4 cups of the tomato sauce.
Add the quenelles in whatever way makes the most sense.
Sprinkle some extra cheese over the top.
Bake 20 minutes. Serve.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Burgers Continue... The Reuben Burger

I actually made this a while ago, but haven't gotten around to posting it... or anything else lately. so here it goes.

To me, nothing could be easier to decide to make after I thought of the idea.

Corned beef = Amazing
Reuben sandwiches = Amazing
Burgers = Heroic

Answer: Reuben burger.

I didn't feel like taking the time to corn my own beef, so I simply stopped by safeway and got a big slab of corned brisket. I took it home and washed all the seasonings off, chopped it into 1/2 inch cubes, mostly froze them, grinded them, and then formed 1/2 lb patties. This whole process, and the way I cooked it, was pretty much the same as the pub burger. There are a certain changes that had to be made though.

- Do not salt the meat before cooking, the meat is certainly salty enough
- I topped the burger with sourkraut and then a nice swiss cheese.
- I served it in between two slice of rye bread and added a delicious russian dressing - recipe here.

1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup ketchup (gross but necessary)
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp grated onion
1 tbsp horse radish
1/2 lemon, juice
1/4 tsp chili sauce
1/4 tsp paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Mix it up!

In the end, I would say that the burger was better than a good reuben, but not nearly as good as the best. Perhaps it's a way of standardizing. One thing is for certain though, it was tender, juicy, and absolutely loaded with flavor. Well... I suppose that's 3 things.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fat Kid Day in NYC

I recently spent two days in New York City. The two days were actually one full day and two half days. The full day I spent most of my time eating. That and walking to the next place that I would be eating. Here is a rundown of some of the awesome treats I had. The counting of calories is not allowed.

Started the day off with a quality New York bagel from Nussbum and Wu. They also had Stumptown Coffee, a nice little touch.
Got myself together and headed off. I needed a pickle. The spot to go was The Pickle Guys. You stroll into a small downstairs room filled with barrels of pickles and make your selection. Doesn't seem too fancy until you finally bite into them. I tried some of a full sour, half sour, and a spicy sour. Before I left I asked the helpful picklesmith what the one other thing I needed to try was. He handed me a piece of pickled pineapple. Holy shit was he right, seriously devine. Sweet, tangy, just perfect. Once outside I gave all the others a shot. The spicy sour was the champion in my book, with full sour coming in second and the half sour the odd pickle out.

From there the quest was Katz's Deli. We started walking out there and what just happened to be in the way? A rather famous cupcake place that makes most of their stuff vegan/gluten free/artificial sugar free. Babycakes! We split the Red Velvet cake a little later at a Starbucks. 

More than anything, I got the strong flavor of coconut. There's delicious sweetness with a slightly gritty texture. Not a favorite, but certainly something awesome to happen upon. 

From there we kept walking and were at the famous deli in no time. The walls are covered in pictures of every celebrity. The counter has like 6 stations to order at. I went to all of the wrong ones before I made it to the right one. I attempted to order 1/8 lb of both Pastrami and Corned Beef. The guy quickly cut up a 1/3 lb off Pastrami and asked "good?" At nearly $30/lb it wasn't that good. I took the pastrami and didn't get to try it's non-smoked companion. That said... oh my god was it delicious. So tender, loaded with flavor, piping hot... just incredible.

Some strolling around Chinatown, gawking at knockoff purses on canal street, and some other seeing of sights and it was lunchtime. I can't say I was exactly hungry, so good thing there was an hour long wait to order and a nice park to stand in for the wait. The place is Shake Shack. Something of a burger legend and I got to try it. 

Double Shake Burger. Shroom Burger (Not mine, still amazing though). Cheese Fries. Fair Shake (Not very good).

A little bit of hamburger heaven. Thick and juicy. Fantastic bun. Wonderful flavor. Easily bests its National Chain rivals.

Cheese fries with a tasty little american and cheddar blend on them.

At this point it becomes a solo adventure and I head over to Eatily. This is Mario Batale's grocery store filled with everything delicious and expensive. I wondered around for probably an hour just looking at the deli - with 8 different types of proscuitto, the meat department - with Pat LaFrieda cuts, the vegetable department - with CRAZY things like white eggplant, and the vinegar zone - with the most expensive vinegar EVER. 

The bottle is 3.4 oz. 
I then stumbled upon a cool little collection of street vendors. With no room for real food, I did the next best thing... dessert. I walked up to the guy with a big block of ice and he turned it into shave ice. Too bad it wasn't very good. 

Some time shopping, some time moving, some time sitting, and it was time to head out for dinner. The spot was a strange place at the end of a subway line in Flushing, NY. It was, humorously enough, a mall food court - the Flushing Mall Food Court. A mall food court where no one spoke english, we were cut in line constantly, vegetarian food was extremely rare, and when it was found... we weren't quite sure it was actually vegetarian. I got the special form a place that I just learned was named Lanzhou Noodle. I thought the place was actually just called hand pulled noodles. Anyways, it had good fresh noodles, some cut of beef, a pork rib, and a fried egg in it. I later had some mediocre scallion pancake and deep fried pumpkin cake in a second attempt to find vegetarian food. Finished it off with a crazy ice cream crepe type thing. All very fun, but it was time to leave. 

And there you have it, a day of gluttony in NYC.