A Vegetable Salad

Last Sunday we picked up a raw vegetable salad at a local market. It was really good and after a close look I realized how easy it would be to make! Tonight I tried to recreate it without following an actual recipe and its pretty much the exact same thing we bought last weekend.

This is basically a relish tray as a salad, with a quinoa like quality. Its a great way to use up the vegetables in the bottom of the refrigerator at the end of the week! I’d recommend using broccoli or cauliflower as a base and then whatever else you’d like. You’ll also need some sort of dressing, again, whatever you would normally prefer on a relish tray or in a salad would be perfect. The one we bought in the store came with ranch, tonight we used sesame ginger vinaigrette.

I used broccoli, cabbage, bell pepper, carrots, onion, and leftover grilled corn kernels. All you have to do is throw it all in the food processor. The green onions I just sliced and threw in, the corn, I also just threw in.

Here is the texture you will be going for, my broccoli base:

All Done!

Grilled Balsamic Portabello Mushroom Burgers

I really am not a huge mushroom fan so for years I have avoided any sort of burger with a giant mushroom in place of the meat. But when one of my sisters made a delicious marinade for mushrooms and grilled them, and they were really, really good, I thought maybe it was time to try a portabello (is it portabello or portabella?) burger. I used her marinade, another sister’s hamburger recipe, and a complete stranger’s bun recipe to make this.

If you are at all concerned about having to eat an enormous vegetable when what you really want is beef, please trust me, you will love it. It doesn’t feel like its missing meat, its not a chore to eat for you non veggie lovers. Its delicious. It is so juicy and wonderful, I could honestly eat these every day.

One important tip, when it comes to cleaning the mushrooms, do not just rinse them in water before attempting to remove the gills. I did this on my first try, the mushroom soaked up all the water and turned to mush in my hands as I tried to scrape off the gills. Instead, remove the gills with a spoon before washing them. To wash them, I used a wet paper towel and gently wiped them clean to keep the mushrooms from acting like a sponge and soaking up a ton of water.

Despite these tips, I still hate cleaning the mushrooms. I feel clumsy and like I am mutilating it. The gills are edible but will give the finished burger an ugly color. If there is a better way to clean and remove the gills, I would love to hear! But in the very end, after marinading in a dark marinade and then being grilled, they really don’t look like I did a terrible job cleaning them. But still, I am unhappy with how they look before they go in the ziplock bag, so I’d really love to hear from you if I am doing it wrong.

For the marinade:

  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
  • 1/3 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/3 tsp. pepper
  • 4 portabello mushrooms, cleaned and gills removed

Note my clumsy, half destroyed looking “cleaned” mushroom:

In a ziplock bag add all marinade ingredients. Shake to mix, add mushrooms, toss to coat, refrigerate for 4+ hours (can be marinated overnight.)

Heat grill and prepare toppings. For my burgers went with tomato, onion, asiago cheese, fresh basil, arugula, this aioli, and these buns.

Grill for about 8-10 minutes, 4-5 on each side. Don’t worry if it looks like it may be burned, it isn’t, the balsamic is very dark and the mushrooms has just absorbed all the color. Just don’t burn them for real and make a liar out of me!

Ready to go on the grill!

And the cheese getting all melty and perfect:

Curry-Spiced Noodles

Hello again! I apologize for my long absence. Something about being 9 months pregnant just makes cooking about the last thing I want to do, so we’ve been living off of a lot of non-blog worthy quick and or frozen meals. My newest issue of Cooking Light arrived and it inspired me just enough to go to the store for the ingredients to try a new recipe tonight. I only snapped one picture at the end cause, well I just didn’t feel like it. But its a pretty simple recipe so I think you’ll do ok without 10 more pictures of ingredients and my stove top.

This recipe called for a few things I couldn’t find at the store tonight so I made a few substitutions and I think it turned out well anyway. Shiitake mushrooms were 3 times the price, so I cheated and used baby bellas. I also searched up and down the aisles for red curry paste and gave up and just used red curry instead.

  • 8 ounces dry udon noodles (thick, round Japanese wheat noodles) or spaghetti
  • 4 tsp peanut oil, divided
  • 2 cups julienne-cut carrots
  • 2 cups julienne-cut red bell pepper
  • 1 cup julienne-cut green bell pepper
  • 4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 8oz)
  • 3 TBSP  chopped, peeled, fresh lemongrass
  • 1 TBSP grated, peeled, fresh ginger
  • 1 TBSP red curry paste
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tsp lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped dry roasted, unsalted cashews

Cook noodles according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Set noodles aside, keep warm.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Add 2 tsp peanut oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add carrots, cook 2 minutes. Add bell peppers, cook 2 minutes.  Remove carrot mixture from pan, set aside.

Heat remaining 2 tsp oil in pan over med-high heat, swirl to coat. Add mushrooms cook for 2 minutes. Add lemongrass, ginger, curry paste, cumin, turmeric, and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add broth, water, soy sauce and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thick.

Add noodles, carrot mixture, onions, cook for 2 minutes, toss to combine.

Divide noodle mixture among 4 bowls, top with cilantro and cashews. Yield 4 servings, 402 calories per serving.

How to prepare lemongrass:

Quinoa with Corn, Mint, and Scallions

If you are not already on the quinoa bandwagon, you should be. This South American grain-like super food makes the perfect side to any meal or can be enjoyed as a main dish. Its light, refreshing, has great texture, is vegan and vegetarian friendly and so very healthy. There are a thousands of different ways to prepare it, here is one of my favorites.

  • 4 ears of corn
  • finely grated lemon zest from 2 lemons
  • 2 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unsalted, melted butter
  • 1 tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • two cups quinoa
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh mint

In a pot, bring corn to a boil and remove from heat, let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Remove corn, when cool enough to handle, cut kernals off cob.

In a bowl, wisk lemon zest, lemon juice, butter, honey, salt and pepper, set aside.

In a pot, combine 2 cups of quinoa and 5 1/2 cups of water, cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed.

Allow quinoa to cool, mix in lemon mixture. Mix in mint, scallions, and corn. Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Chill in fridge, best when served cold. You can cut the recipe in half its only for a 2-3 people, the leftovers are only good for 1-2 days max before the quinoa starts to dry out.