Monday, June 24, 2013

Herbed Rice with Corn and Pine Nuts

Luke loves white rice. Well, I do too, but I don't let us eat it all the time (see my last post on keeping whole grains handy). But, sometimes when I'm grilling up lean fish or meat and veggies, I indulge Luke's (and my) white rice obsession - the fluffy texture and clean taste always reminds me why I love it.

Any veggie could be tossed in here to boost the nutrition, but I happened to have some leftover sauteed corn, and I knew the sweetness would be divine in here. If you don't have pine nuts (or can't stomach the price) pistachios would be lovely in here too.

Herbed Rice with Corn and Pine Nuts

1 1/2 cups dry basmati rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup corn kernels (from 1-2 ears)
1 tablespoon oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pine nuts 
1/2 cup fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil and mint)

Prepare basmati rice to package instructions (I prefer using a rice cooker). Toss cooked rice with butter and set aside.

Meanwhile, remove kernels from corn. Heat a large skillet on medium-high heat with oil, then saute garlic and corn until lightly browned (6ish minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

In a small skillet, toast pine nuts over medium low heat about 4-5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add to rice bowl along with corn. Sprinkle with fresh herbs and toss to combine. Taste and add additional salt to taste. Enjoy!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Off-the-cuff salads

I may be an avid menu planner, but I realize that I don't always have the foresight to know what we'll be doing for EACH of the 21 meals of the week. That said, I keep a stocked freezer and pantry (not to mention garden!) for healthy, complete throw-together meals (usually in the form of a satisfying salad). Here are some of the items I k
eep on hand:
  • Whole grains. Some favorites are quinoa, couscous, farro and bulgur. I buy them in bulk and store them in mason jars for easy-to-grab proportions. Some take longer to cook than others, so sometimes I'll batch cook one of the longer-taking ones like farro so I have it ready-to-use on harried nights.
  • Canned beans. My favorite go-to's are chick peas, black beans and cannelini beans. Not only are they great in salad, but easy to whirl in the food processor with some olive oil and spices for a quick dip or sandwich spread.
  • Olives. Ok, these are actually a fridge  item in our house since I buy them from the antipasti bar, but they last a while and add SO much flavor for such a small ingredient.
  • Nuts. My favorite way to add texture to a salad, I always have a few different varieties in my fridge. Favorites right now are pistachios and pine nuts.
  • Sun-dried tomatoes. Same as olives, these add so much flavor without a lot of effort.
  • DIY dressing ingredients. So Luke and I don't have any bottles of salad dressing in our fridge. I find with our plentiful stock of mustard, oils, vinegars, citrus and fresh herbs in the garden, a homemade dressing takes just a few moments longer to get in order (I like to shake mine in a small mason jar!) and are always fresh, flavorful and interesting.
  • Margarita's Raw White Tortillas. These. Are. AMAZING. Already rolled out, you simply cook them on a hot skillet 30-60 seconds on each side (it'll start puffing up). They're so fresh tasting, and you can fill them with pretty much anything for a great meal anytime of the day.  And bonus, their shelf life tends to be longer than other tortillas - usually several weeks. Thanks Love and Lemons for turning me on to these!
Red, White and Green Salad

1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 cup dry couscous
1 can cannelini beans, rinsed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved (5 or 6 sun-dried tomatoes would work here too)
10 olives, chopped
2 ounces feta, crumbled
4 ounces spinach or other spring greens
5 or 6 basil leaves, freshly chopped
1/4 cup pistachios
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
Salt and pepper to taste

To cook green beans, bring water in a medium sauce pan to a boil. Salt, then add green beans. Cook 4 minutes until slightly less crisp, but still maintaining bright green flavor. Remove with tongs and place in an ice bath to cool off, then drain and set aside.

To prepare couscous, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Stir in the couscous, cover and remove from heat. Let sit for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Let couscous cool while assembling salad.

Add  beans, tomatoes, olives, feta, greens, herbs and nuts in a large bowl with green beans and cooled couscous - toss to combine. In a small bowl or mason jar, add oil, mustard, lemon, honey and salt and pepper - whisk or add cap and shake to combine. Pour over salad mixture and toss thoroughly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Raspberry Burrata Toasts

Remember how I mentioned my cool work trip to Monterey? Well, it involved frolicking around organic berry fields with some of my media friends - fun right?? Part of the day involved picking raspberries, which we got to bring home with us. After eating a ton on their own, I decided to have a little fun and made a festive light lunch for Luke and I. These would be an awesome party snack too. Enjoy!

Raspberry Burrata Toasts

1 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Six slices crusty bread
Olive oil, for drizzling
3 ounces burrata cheese (a fresh goat cheese or mozzarella would be nice here too)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 small bunch basil leaves, chopped

Place raspberries in a bowl and mash slightly with the back of a fork. Pour balsamic vinegar over and let marinate 5-10 minutes. Lay out bread and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Broil until toasted to your desired crispness.

Spread burrata over the toasts, then top with the raspberry mixture. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and basil. Enjoy while hot!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Menu June 2, 2013

I just got back from a lovely work trip to Monterey, where we visited some organic Driscoll's berry farms. Holy berry heaven! More to come on that soon. In the meantime, I'm excited to have some nights at home this week to get back in the kitchen. This week is all straight from, or riffs of, this month's Cooking Light - it's a good one!

Nothing planned for the end of the week, since BlogHer Food will be here in Austin, and I'll be in the thick of the action! Who else will I see there?