Friday, April 16, 2010

Tahini Quinoa Salad

      I'm always on the look out for recipes that involve quinoa. This small grain is rather neutral and is packed full of protein. Good for the vegetarian. I came across this recipe in Sophie Dahl's new book, Miss Dahl's Voluptuous  Delights: recipes for every season, mood, and appetite. At first glance it may look like a repeat of my previously posted quinoa recipe, Les quinoa avec les legumes. And while it does contain some of the same ingredients, the flavor is very different thanks to the tahini dressing. This recipe is relatively inexpensive also. Tahini will be the most expensive ingredient and could be hard to find. I found mine next to the peanut butter in the nutrition area of the grocery market.

Serves 2

For the Dressing:
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Juice of One Lemon
2 Tablespoons of Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons of Tahini (sesame paste)
1/2 clove garlic, peeled & chopped (or crushed garlic from the jar)
Honey (to taste and optional)

2 Cups vegetable broth
1 Cup Quinoa
1/2 Peeled Cucumber, chopped
2 Scallions, finely chopped
1 Plum Tomato, finely chopped
1 Red Bell Pepper, de-seeded & chopped
Fresh mint leaves to garnish (optional)


1. Bring Vegetable broth to a boil, add quinoa and cover and let simmer 10-15 mins. Or until broth is absorbed.
2. Meanwhile blend dressing ingredients until smooth.
3. Prepare salad ingredients.
4. When quinoa is finished, mix in salad ingredients. 
5. Top with dressing upon serving.

It may be preferred to let the quinoa come fully to at least room temperature before serving. Feel free to serve it right from the refrigerator as well. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spinach & Cheese Ravioli

Nothing fancy here, just trying to save a dollar or two by making my own ravioli. While ravioli is not the healthiest dish one can eat, if you are going to indulge you should make it yourself. This way, you can control how much of each ingredient you use. When planning on what to fill these little guys with I immediately started to think of all the fancy ravioli I've had. Limiting the filling to ricotta cheese and spinach seemed boring - but like most things, simple does not have to mean bland. These turned out delicious as well as easy to make. The only challenge I faced was trying to get the dough thin enough. In the end, it was a little thick for my taste. To really perfect ravioli it is recommended to buy a pasta maker which will press the dough into a thin strip....But really, I think the same results can be achieved with a rolling pin.

Next time I would love to add in some whole wheat flour for some extra flavor and healthy.

First things first, the dough:

I borrowed this recipe for the dough (the simplest I could find),1635,130160-227204,00.html

Dough Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 large eggs, whole
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3 tablespoons water


Something to cut out Raviolis...Anything will do. 
Mixer (optional)
Rolling Pin

1.  In the mixer throw in 2 cups of flour (all-purpose white, unbleached) 2 eggs, oil, salt, and water... Everything listed above in together. 

2.  Mix the dough (I used a dough hook) mix for a few minutes until everything looks well combined. As always with dough, add in a little flour if things look too wet or add some water if too dry and flaky. 

3.  Plop your dough onto some parchment paper, lightly floured work surface, or dough mat.  Cover with a bowl or plastic wrap and let relax for 20 mins.

The Filling:

1 Cup of Ricotta Cheese
1/2 - 3/4 Cup of Spinach

4.  Meanwhile, chop up some spinach. A food processor is recommended for this, but you could  use a knife and chop small shreds.  

5. Stir the chopped spinach into the ricotta. Adding Salt and Pepper to taste.

- Note....My measurements for the ratio are very approximate. If you would like more spinach to ricotta ratio go for it! 

6. Going back to the dough, start will a ball and begin rolling out. Try to get the dough as thin as you can without creating holes. 

If dough is sticking to pin add some flour (I used semolina flour - it's great for dusting)

7. Now cut out circles, squares or what have-yous. It doesn't matter. We used circular cookie cutters.

8. Spoon out about a half a teaspoon or so of filling and then stack a cut dough piece and pinch off the edges to seal in the filling. 

9. Repeat until you've finished the dough.

10. Bring water to a boil and carefully drop in ravioli and cook for about 4-6 mins.

This dough contains cheese and eggs so if you aren't using the ravioli right away refrigerate or freeze.