Wednesday, August 29, 2012

From Middle Eastern to Moroccan - Quinoa Take Two

Today we're continuing with the Quinoa theme but moving on over to Morocco!!!  Morocco has a little something for everyone.


 Desert Adventures
Last but not least....Spice Markets!!     You won't see that at your local grocery store.

Today's recipe, Stuffed Butternut Squash Moroccan Style,  is another meatless meal, but because it is packed full of fiber from the veggies and protein from the quinoa you won't feel like you're missing out on anything.  Not only is this packed full of flavor you'll be getting in lots of the good stuff too ( * Antioxidants, B Vitamins, Potassium* ) It's the color that gives away it's most noteworthy health benefit.  The orange color of the butternut squash tells us it's a rich source of carotenoids.  Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants that protect our bodies from the damage done by free radicals.  This colorful squash also has high levels of beta-carotene, (converted to Vitamin A in the body) which has been identified as a deterrent against breast cancer and age related macular degeneration.  Butternut squash isn't alone here either -carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and papaya all contain carotenoids.

Stuffed Butternut Squash Moroccan Style
** These are items I added that weren't in the original recipe**  

1 Whole butternut squash, halved lengthwise seeds removed
2 Tbsp EVOO
S & P
2 oz pine nuts (walnuts would work too)
1/2 large red onion**
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
2 medium carrots chopped**
3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin (I ran out of ground cumin so toasted some cumin seeds and used them)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric ( I used more than a tsp)
1 tsp curry** 
1 tsp chili flakes
2 small - medium zucchini, cubed
10 (or to taste) cherry tomatoes, halved**
1 3/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drains
2 - 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro chopped 
2 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

Preheat oven to 350
Using a sturdy knife (or a spoon) scoop out enough flesh in the squash so you have a bowl with a border of about 3/4 inch.  Coat with EVOO, S & P and bake for about 20 - 25 mins or until tender.

While that is cooking dry roast your pine nuts in a small non-stick pan and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan.  Add onions, peppers, and carrots and saute till soft.  Add garlic and ginger.  Cook for another minute. Stir in the spices (cumin, paprika, turmeric, curry and chili flakes) let cook for a minute or so to bring out their yummy flavours. Add the zucchini and tomatoes and 1 cup of broth.  Cover and simmer for 10 mins.  Add the quinoa to the pan along with the remaining 3/4 cup of broth.  Cover and simmer for another 10 - 12 mins.  (Keep an eye on it.  I had to add some more broth).  Stir in the pine nuts and coriander.  Spoon the mixture into the squash halves.  Return to the oven for 10 - 15 mins until golden.

Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped parsley.  I also added a little goat feta to mine just because feta make everything better in my mind.  Also, I love spices and I don't actually measure when I'm cooking.  I just know what I like so I probably used more than what is listed in the recipe.

Hope you like this one. 

~~ Jackie

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Middle Eastern Quinoa Salad aka Fattoush

It seems my blogging trend continues.  Post every day for a week or so then take a hiatus for a couple months.  Oh, well whatever works right.

The summer here in Nova Scotia has been a hot and muggy one. You  know the kind of heat where you get out of  the shower and by the time you have your hair dried you need another shower. I love summer don't get me wrong but fall is my favorite time of year so I'll be happy to see it make an appearance very soon.  With it being so hot there hasn't been a whole lot of cooking going on around here but I've tried a few new things.  Some good some not so great.  You can't win them all right??  Of course you'll only be seeing the good... well what I consider good that is.

I'm sure by now you're all familiar with Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah).  There was a time not too long ago that I really disliked quinoa, I think I did a post on it actually.  Let me just say my opinion has changed.  I can't get enough of it.  Kind of like Frank's hot sauce.... I put that sh*t in everything.  I put it in salads, top it with chili, add it to soups for some added protein.  It's so versatile and is packed full of nutrition.  It is a complete protein and high in fiber.  Not only that it contains a number of vitamins and minerals.  Some of which are, Riboflavin, Folic Acid, Iron and Vitamin E.

Fattoush Salad
A Middle Eastern salad that is usually served with crispy baked (or deep fried) pita bread.

Serves 6 - 8
3/4 cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups water
2 English cucumbers, chopped
8 oz cherry tomatoes, halved
1 red onion, finely chopped
4 shallots or green onions, sliced
1/2 large red pepper, diced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 cup roughly chopped mint (I use less mint maybe 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup roughly chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
4 Tbsp EVOO
3 tsp sumac * (no not the poisonous kind)
1 tsp zatar *
1 - 2 cloves garlic minced 
s & p 

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 mins.  Remove from heat and let cool completely.

Mix lemon juice, EVOO, garlic, sumac, zatar, salt and pepper together.  Let sit while quinoa is cooking and cooling.

Toss veggies in a bowl, add quinoa when completely cool and top with dressing.  Chill and enjoy

**You will most likely find Zatar and Sumac at a Middle Eastern grocery store, but check the ethnic food section of your local grocery store**

We also had a milestone birthday of sorts this month.  Our canine fur babies turned 16, so they got a treat from the Three Dog Bakery

                                                They loved them...  two paws up!!

That's all I have for you tonight.

~~ Jackie