Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa, Caramelized Onions and Mozzarella

July 8, 2011 § Leave a comment

Boy am I excited to share this recipe with you! This pretty much combines all of my favorite things into one delicious dish. It is hearty so you will feel satisfied but light too since all of the ingredients are pretty healthy. The warm squash mixes really well with the quinoa and sweet onions and the creamy mozzarella on top ties the whole dish together into one yummy, cheesy party in your mouth. Also, this squash is really great because you can eat the skin! No peeling! Sorry for the second warm dish this week but it’s cooler up here in Vermont! If you can brave the heat and turn your oven on, I think you’ll really enjoy this.


Roasted Delicata Squash with Quinoa, Caramelized Onions and Mozzarella

Time: 45 minutes

Serves 1

Ingredients

1/2 delicata squash

Drizzle of olive oil

1/4 cup quinoa

1/2 cup water

1/2 white onion, chopped

Shredded mozzarella

Crushed red pepper

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut your squash length wise.

Core the middle, removing the seeds.

Turn so the skin is facing up and cut the squash into one inch half-moons.

I baked my entire squash and am saving the rest to use in my lunch tomorrow – you can do the same or just double the rest of the recipe to serve two. On a baking sheet, lay your squash skin side down and drizzle with the olive oil, using your fingers to coat. Sprinkle some crushed red pepper on top.

Roast until tender – mine took about 30 minutes.

Saute your onions over medium heat in a skillet with cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil.

Cover and let them cook, stirring very little. After about ten minutes, take off the cover and stir a bit. Cook until they are as dark as you like.

In a pot, combine the quinoa and the water. When the water comes to a boil, bring the heat down until the water is simmering. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy, about 15 minutes.

When your quinoa is done, add your onions and the squash to the pot. Stir to combine. Move to a bowl and sprinkle with mozzarella immediately.

Stir, so the cheese melts. I also recommend a good douse of sriracha if you have some – for me, most meals are incomplete without it.

Enjoy!

Summer is for Smoothies

July 7, 2011 § 1 Comment

I’ve never been particularly fond of smoothies. When it comes to frozen treats, ice cream has always taken first place. My sister, on the other hand, loves these concoctions. When we were in Hawaii last month, she got them all the time with the amazing fresh fruit the islands have to offer. When I tried one that she had gotten with peanut butter, I realized I was missing out. Green Monster Smoothies have gotten very popular in the blog world this past year. The basic idea of the Green Monster is that you combine a good bunch of spinach with milk, some sort of fruit and ice. I am the new owner of a wonderful Cuisinart blender and I wanted to put it to good use! What I’ve discovered is that I’m actually a smoothie lover and the Green Monster has become my breakfast of choice, even replacing my favorite overnight oats (at least for the time being). Here are two smoothie recipes that I have been making this past week. These leave me energized and feeling like Popeye for the work day ahead. These are recipe bases and can be customized to your liking, depending on fruit and milk preferences and add-ins like nut butters and flax or chia seeds.


Adapted from here

Cantaloupe Green Monster

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon flax seed

2 handfuls spinach

1 cup cantaloupe

1/2 frozen banana, peeled

3 ice cubes

Pour your milk into the blender. Add the flax seed, spinach, cantaloupe and banana.

Blend for about one minute. Add in your ice cubes and blend to your preferred consistency.

Here’s another variation:

Nut Butter Banana Smoothie

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon flax seed

1 tablespoon nut butter

1 frozen banana, peeled

2 handfuls spinach

3 ice cubes

I love munching on fruit so much that I never thought I would enjoy drinking it but I am a total smoothie convert. Try it! This makes for a great breakfast or cool-off snack in the afternoon.

Jenna’s Babaganoush Soup

July 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

I love greek food. Fresh fish, veggies, olive oil – I could be on the Mediterranean diet no problem. When I saw a recipe for babaganoush soup by Jenna on one of my favorite food blogs, I was intrigued. When I realized I had an eggplant in my fridge I hadn’t the slightest idea what to do with, I was sold. I know it is slightly crazy making soup since it is summer and I don’t have air conditioning, but once I saw the recipe, I couldn’t forget about it. Babaganoush soup! What a brilliant idea! It was simply too exciting not to make right away.

Babaganoush Soup

Adapted from this recipe

Time: 1 hour

 Ingredients

1 eggplant

1 red pepper

1/2 white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 cups water

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp cayenne (or to taste)

Directions: 

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Slice your eggplant, leaving the skin on.

Lay out your slices and press down on their tops with a paper towel. Let sit for twenty minutes.

Roughly chop your red pepper.

After twenty minutes, dice your eggplant.

Spray a baking sheet and then lay the diced eggplant and red pepper on top. Salt. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add your onions and cook until they begin to soften, about five minutes. Add the garlic after five minutes and saute for another minute.

Add the water, the roasted eggplant and the red pepper. Stir in your tahini, salt and cumin. Bring the pot to a simmer. Stir.

Transfer to your blender and blend to your preferred consistency. I like my soup almost smooth but still with some texture from the vegetables. Serves 3.

Mom and Molly Weekend II

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yesterday we started the day the way I think every Sunday should begin: brunch. Penny ‘Cluse Cafe is famous for having the best breakfast and lunch fare around, and we got up early to beat the brunch rush.


I ordered scrambled eggs with broccoli and garlic.

Molly ordered a combo plate with pancakes, eggs over easy and sausage,

and my mom, who was in the mood for lunch, got an egg salad sandwich and orzo on the side.

When we order out we always share and everything was very tasty – the place lived up to the hype! I think Sunday brunch is my favorite meal – thoughts?

We spent the rest of the afternoon at Shelburne Museum. Located on a huge plot of land, this museum houses over 150,000 works in different locations on the grounds.

There are a good number of Monet paintings (including my favorite!) and there was a fantastic fashion exhibit on display. The grounds and gardens are so beautiful and for a bit, I felt like I was walking around Musée Rodin. I love museums where the outdoor is integrated with what’s inside.

There was also a carousel and we decided to ride!

For dinner on our last night together, we chose American Flatbread. A Vermont institution, this pizza place emphasizes the use of local and organic ingredients. We had a bit of a wait but it was completely worth it.

We ordered a veggie mushroom pizza and also one of the specials with smoked salmon, creamy chevre, red onion and capers. I didn’t expect to love the salmon but it was incredible. I liked it even more than the veggie which was my pick!

Fireworks were at the waterfront at 9:30.

It was packed and for good reason – this was probably the best fireworks display I’ve ever seen. They lasted a whole half hour and the sheer amount of fireworks and variation was spectacular. These are my favorite:

Burlington celebrates the Fourth of July on the night of the third, so my family left today. After a jam-packed weekend it was nice to have the day to get ready for a busy week ahead, but I miss them already.

For everyone celebrating today, have a happy and safe Fourth of July!

Mom and Molly Weekend I

July 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Our first day together started bright and early with a trip to the Burlington Farmers’ Market. Molly loves to go to the farmers’ market back home and I knew she would enjoy it. We wandered through the stands, snacking on local cheeses, hummus and maple treats. It was gorgeous out and the place was packed.

We found some baby eggplants! Aren’t they cute?

After shopping, Molly wanted to try a creamee, Vermont’s version of soft-serve ice cream. She chose maple. We discovered that creamees are just a bit creamier than soft-serve. I think they’re better!

We spent the rest of the afternoon in Stowe. Laughing Moon Chocolates, a famous Vermont chocolate store, does chocolate dipping demonstrations every day and I was excited to watch them make the beautiful truffles. The truffles she is dipping here are blue cheese – weird, but actually very tasty!

Next stop was the Ben and Jerry’s factory where we did the factory tour and got a sample at the end.

We tried Americone Dream – vanilla ice cream with fudge waffle cone pieces and caramel. Totally yum.

Whenever I go to a new place, I obsessively read Zagat and TripAdvisor to make a list of restaurants I want to try and thought this weekend would be a good time to start tackling it! Saturday night I was excited to have dinner at The Farmhouse Tap and Grill. Located in downtown Burlington, this gastropub is dedicated to supporting and showcasing local farms and food producers.

Homemade condiments.

I had a portobello white bean veggie burger and it was absolutely the best veggie burger I’ve ever had. It’s so nice to be able to order a vegetarian option and not have it taste like an afterthought the chef had to include on the menu.

Molly was craving a burger and ordered just that. She raved about how good it was for the rest of the weekend.

My mom ordered mussels, served with crusty garlic bread to soak up the broth.

Post-dinner, we shopped around Church Street where Molly bought new boots-

then went to see Super 8. We all really enjoyed this movie – perfect if you’re in the mood for a good sci-fi thriller!

We had a great first day of exploring. It’s so much fun to have my family here to show them around my home for the summer! Up next for day two: more tromping around and …fireworks!

Friday Favorites II

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Reasons I am happy today:

1. It’s July!

July is the summer month. June and August are great, but half of June is still technically spring and August is always super busy with back to school hubbub. July, on the other hand, is purely, ridiculously, wonderfully summer. When I think of July I think of everything I love about this season: ice cream, the lake, grilling outside, hanging with friends outside, everything outside. I’m so glad that this month is here and what better way to kick it off than with the best of all summer holidays?

2. My mom and my sister are visiting this weekend

As I am writing this blogpost, my mom and my little sister are en route to visit me in Burlington! They go all out here for the Fourth of July with live music, street performers, barbecues, and fireworks over Lake Champlain so they wanted to come up and celebrate with me. My sister has never been to Burlington and I’m excited to show her everything the city has to offer (read: shopping).

3. Dates

Can you believe that until a few days ago I had never eaten a date? Holy moly was I missing out. They are so sweet they almost taste like candy and even have a slight cocoa flavor. I used them in this salad, which is another thing that I was loving this week.

4. Dreams of Joy

I haven’t finished Steingarten’s book just yet, but I have a bit of a Kindle addiction problem and am already in the middle of another book. Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls which I read and loved just last month. Shanghai Girls is the story of two sisters and their journey together from their comfortable lives in China to their lives as immigrants in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Dreams of Joy picks up where the first novel left off.

6. Charlotte Berry Farm: more strawbs

I went after work today – I just had to get more! I think I am going to freeze some before they go out of season. I also decided to apply for a job at the farm because I heard they are always looking for more berry pickers. I’ll keep you posted!

7. I’m really digging the new Matt Nathanson album, this song in particular.

8. Top Chef Season Six / Voltaggio brothers

I’m a pretty big Top Chef fan and have watched all of the recent seasons except for season six. I’ve been watching on my iTunes and the season is all it’s cracked up to be – everyone is so talented! My favorite contenders are absolutely the Voltaggio brothers. They’re totally cute and definitely the best chefs competing. The sibling rivalry is also very entertaining to watch.

So.. Bryan or Michael? I can’t seem to choose…

Happy holiday weekend everyone!

A Molly Omelette

July 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

My sister, Molly, has always been the egg expert in our house. She always makes a complete mess: tossing pepper here and there, sprinkling cheese and somehow managing to get it all over the stove top. But her omelettes are incredible. She cooks them just long enough to give a good crisp edge, but never so long that the eggs are stiff and burned. She also makes the most interesting combinations with whatever we have in the fridge that morning. I remember one Christmas morning she made all of us lobster omelettes with leftovers from our nice dinner the night before. I had a hankering for eggs tonight and wanted to try to make a Molly omelette. Let me say first that I’ve never been particularly skilled with eggs in a skillet, especially when it comes to omelettes. Usually my attempts at an omelette look something like burnt scrambled eggs. I watched a Jacques Pepin demonstration video on YouTube about five times for guidance and then started to cook.

First, I cut up my veggies.

I sauteed them in a pan for a bit with some cooking spray, just until the broccoli turned bright green and tender.

In a bowl, I whisked an egg with two egg whites.

I poured the eggs into a heated skillet. Then with my fork, I whisked it until the eggs started to set. After a couple of minutes, I picked up the pan and swirled it around so the uncooked egg on the top would cook.

After another minute, I placed my veggies, then cheese, on one side of the omelette.

I flipped over the other half and voila!

Not bad for me, although I think I put a bit too much broccoli in the filling (the egg split a little bit at the bottom there). It’s no Molly omelette but I was pretty happy with my performance!

With some toast and fruit, a perfect breakfast for dinner.