Quinoa + Chimichurri = LOVE

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Chimichurri, a traditional Argentinian condiment, is one of my obsessions.

When I make it I love how the fragrance fills up my kitchen, coats my skin, and gets my mouth-watering.

If you google how it’s used, you’ll find that it’s traditionally used for meat. But, hey: buck tradition and don’t stop there! I marinate halibut in it… I use it for dipping potatoes in… it’s amazing slathered on eggs in the morning… and, you guessed it: is it pure heaven when added to a bowl of warm quinoa.

Basically, chimichurri is this: herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some heat (like red pepper flakes or a bit of fresh jalapeno) all mashed up together into a thick paste of sorts. (Traditional recipes also use a little vinegar, but I’ve never added it to mine.) I never measure – but here’s the general proportions I use when making  a batch:

  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • about 1/4 cup of olive oil (and add more if necessary to get desired creaminess)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste

NOTE: You can also use basil + parsley, or basil + oregano, or cilantro + parsley… or you can just do a single herb. The possibilities are unlimited!

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When using chimichurri with quinoa, you’re really ‘dressing’ the salad – so you don’t want to go overboard. My ratio is typically about 2 TBPS (to start) of chimichurri to 1 cup of quinoa. (If your quinoa is pre-cooked (good girl!), warm it just a bit before mixing; warm quinoa helps get the chimichurri to evenly coat the whole bowl.)

Use the quinoa + chimichurri as a simple salad – or make it the base for a more hearty salad! For example, the other day we grilled burgers – and, you know me: I’m not a bun or bread girl. So, in place of my bun, I used my quinoa + chimichurri salad, I added some warm peas and corn, and voilà: check out my ‘rebel burger’:

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Quinoa + Chimichurri Salad with Peas and Corn, Topped with a Hamburger Patty, Goat Cheese, and Arugula

 

I hope my plate of yumminess makes you think outside the box for how you can use your quinoa + chimichurri. And, I hope your big takeaway from today is this: make chimichurri. Your quinoa will love it… and so will you.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

AM Northwest: Saucy Salsa!

 

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Today was SALSA DAY on AM Northwest! (Man, I love being on the show.)

I made my signature ‘salsa verde’ (i.e. green salsa) and my restaurant-style red salsa… both of which are soooo easy and soooo much better than what you can find at the store. I always have some red salsa on hand; the green salsa I make primarily when I’m making my green enchiladas (I use it as my green enchilada sauce), but it’s just as good with chips in my opinion.

Anyway, here’s the link to the segment… and the recipes follow. And hey, I promise: if you make these at home you’ll NEVER go back to store-bought salsa again.

Enjoy!

http://www.katu.com/amnw/segments/Saucy-Salsa-219674191.html

 

Salsa Verde
  • 2 pounds fresh tomatillos
  • 2 whole Serrano peppers
  • 1 stalk of corn on the cob (**my secret non-traditional ingredient)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 1 handful fresh cilantro
  • fresh lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees (ROAST setting)
2) Prep ingredients for roasting:
    > Peel and wash tomatillos, slice in half
    > Wash Serrano peppers, slice off top
    > Peel onion, cut into quarters
    > Shave corn off husk
    > Peel and smash garlic cloves
3) Place all above ingredients into roasting pan, coat with a drizzle of olive oil and some salt and pepper, and then roast (with rack in middle of oven) at 425 for 15 minutes.
4) After 15 minutes, switch oven to broil and broil for 5 minutes on low. Stir, and then broil another 5 minutes until you see char.
5) Remove from oven and allow to cool.
6) Add cooled ingredients into a food processor. Add fresh lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and coriander, and pulse until smooth.
(NOTE: To use for green enchilada sauce, add 1/4 cup chicken broth or water to loosen the salsa to a pourable consistency.)

 

Restaurant-style Red Salsa
  • 2 cans diced organic tomatoes (drained)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 handful of fresh cilantro
  • 1 whole jalapeño, sliced in half
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh lime juice (about 1/2 a lime)

Add all ingredients into a blender and pulse until desired consistency.

The Queen of Leftovers and Lasts

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will [her]self be watered.

Proverbs 11:25

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One thing most people probably don’t realize about us mamas is this: we are Queens of the Leftovers and the Lasts.

We thrive on the left behinds that no one else wants, like the the burnt toast, the black jellybeans, the half-eaten bananas. We typically care for ourselves last, which means we’ve learned to persevere with cold dinners and wrinkly clothes. And, we don’t skip a beat when we are the last to get a break, the last to take a shower, or the last to hit the pillow at the end of the day.

It’s called Mamahood… and there is no place for selfishness, whining, or feeble knees.

If we have the right perspective, however, not all the ‘lefttovers and lasts’ are a bummer. Take today, for example. I fed the kids, fed my man, made lunches, and got everyone out the door. When all was quiet, it was time for me to get a bite; and, as I surveyed my kitchen to spy what had to be salvaged so as not to waste, here’s what I was left with:

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot

About a half cup of quinoa at the bottom of the pot
About a handful of edemame and half an alatufo mango

About a handful of edemame and half an ataulfo mango

Hmmm…

Well, with these random barely-there ingredients, this Queen of Leftovers did this:

  • Put the 1/2 cup of precooked quinoa in a bowl.
  • Diced up the 1/2 of the ataulfo mango (aka ‘Manila mango, or champagne mango) and shelled the 1/2 cup of edemame.
  • Drizzled a bit of EVOO, squeezed a little fresh lime juice, and topped the whole thing with a sprinkling of Furikake, which is a Japanese ‘condiment’ of toasted sesame seeds and nori.
quinoa, edemame, mango salad

And lookie lookie: a beautiful, colorful quinoa, edemame, mango salad

Let me tell you: my ‘leftovers and lasts’ turned into something spectacular I probably never would have thought to throw together otherwise. It was beautiful. It was light. It was fresh and fragrant and exactly what I needed to start my day. Yum. Yum. Yum. (NOTE: This would be an AMAZING lunch for work, or even a side salad for a bbq.)

So, today, as we mamas do what we do best – serve, and love, and serve, and lay down all that we are for our little tribes – let’s do it with heads held high, joy in our hearts, and determination to be a bright light in our homes. Why? Because there is beauty in the leftovers and the lasts… the question is: are we creative enough to see it?