Friday, May 25, 2012

Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad

I knew I wanted some kind of tex-mex/southwest type of salad.  I love avocado, lime and cilantro (guacamole anyone?).  I really like black beans, but wanted to go another way with the salad.  I don't use quinoa regularly.  I've only experimented here and there so when I found this recipe I had to try it.

Quinoa is a great source of protein, and it's very filling.  We actually used this for our entree, and added a side of pasta salad and fresh veggies for dinner.  This recipe calls for rinsing and toasting the quinoa.  Some quinoa is packaged as pre-rinsed, but the the toasting process adds a nutty flavor.

This salad surprised us.  We didn't expect it to be as good as it was.  Kevin couldn't stop raving about it.  It was bright from the lime jalapeno dressing and we loved the pop of sweetness from the corn.

Toasted Quinoa, Corn and Avocado Salad
Adapted from Marie Simmons’ “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” as seen on Ezra Pound Cake
Yield: 3 as a main dish or 6 as a side dish

1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil

1 cup fresh corn kernels (from ~2 ears)
1 cup red peppers, diced
1/4 cup thin-sliced scallions (white and green parts)  (I used a bunch of chives)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Lime-Jalapeno Dressing:
2 tsp cumin
5 Tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 Tbsp jalapeno, minced and seeded , plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 tsp salt

Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer under cold water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the rinsed quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and appears to be uncoiling, 18 to 20 minutes.
Let stand, uncovered, until cool, about 10 minutes.

To Make the Dressing: Sprinkle the cumin in a small skillet, and toast over medium heat, stirring, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. When the skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeƱo pepper, garlic and salt. Whisk to blend.

In a large bowl, add all the ingredients to a large bowl and toss to combine. Spoon the salad onto a large platter, and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Guest Post from Becca: Sourdelicious Bread

**Becca and I swapped blogs for the day.  I posted about DIY Microwave Popcorn over on Peace, Love & Bagels. Please welcome Becca, she's sharing her Sourdough Bread recipe!**

Hi everybody! I’m Becca from Peace, Love & Bagels. Sarah and I are participating in the Ohio
Blogging Association’s All-State Blog Swap, so she’s taking over for me today at PL&B and I
have been blessed with the opportunity to write a guest post for her! If you want to check out the
rest of the blog swapping that’s going down - check out Poise in Parma for a complete list.

If you haven’t ventured into making your own bread yet, I highly suggest you give it a try. The
perfect loaf can be elusive. Trust me on this, I’ve tried about everything under the sun.

I’ve tried kneading til the cows come home.

I bought a bread maker.

I used the Tassajara Bread Book, following each step to a T.

Little did I know that the best, most airy, most versatile loaf was probably the easiest bread I
could make. And now I need to get rid of my bread maker (any takers? personally I don’t like the
shape of the loaves)

The secret to great bread is the no-knead, leave-it-overnight loaf. Also known as, throwing 4
ingredients into a bowl, mixing for a minute, covering with plastic wrap and then leaving it
overnight to fluff up. I promise you, perfect bread. Every. Time.

That brings me to my attempt at making sourdough. I thought I’d follow a recipe that involved
kneading - since my pops got me a Kitchen-Aid Mixer as a wedding gift and I could make that
do most of the work for me. You know what? Even with sourdough, I had to come back to my
tried and true no-knead recipe. With a few little tweaks, I was surprised at how perfect and
delicious the bread turned out!

Even better than that, it takes a total of ten minutes of your time. Here’s the method...

Sourdough Bread

1. Mix 1 Tbsp dry yeast, 2.5 cups warm water, 2 tsp sugar, and 2.5 cups of flour in a
container. Let it ferment, covered in a warm place for about 5 days. Stir daily. You’ll
know when it starts to really get sour - it smells! The starter can be kept indefinitely in
a sealed container in the fridge, although most people suggest using it within a week, I
believe in the time-freezing qualities of 34 degree temperatures.

2. When you’re about ready to have your bread, mix 1 cup of starter in a bowl with 3 more
cups of flour, 1 tsp salt, about 1.5-2 cups of warm water and any mix-in (herbs, cheese,
etc.). You may need to add more water or flour depending on the consistency of the
dough - kind of a shaggy dough ball.

3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave it overnight to fluff (I say “fluff” because it
really can’t be called “rising”). Before you’re ready to bake you may have to add more flour
so it’s not too sticky to handle.

4. On the day of baking: preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place a cast iron pot (with lid)
or a pizza stone in there to preheat with the oven. Meanwhile, form your bread into a loaf
(use more flour if it’s very sticky), place it on a cutting board and cover it with your plastic
wrap. After about 30 minutes of preheating, toss the loaf into the cast iron pot or onto
your pizza stone and bake for 30 minutes covered, then another 15 minutes uncovered.

NOTE - you can probably bake this in a loaf pan too, but the cooking time might vary
slightly, so keep an eye on it. The cast iron/pizza stone is what gives the bread a nice
hard crust.

Ok, so that seems like way more than ten minutes of work, but I promise you - most of it is
waiting. One must wait for the perfectly crusty and delicious loaf of sourdough. I think they
probably teach you that in culinary school.

I obviously missed my calling!

The good news is, I can make a mean loaf of sourdough. You can tweak and massage this
recipe any way til Tuesday to make it the perfect type of bread for you and your family. Some

leave the sourdough starter out and just make plain bread
mix in lemon zest and rosemary
mix in goat cheese and chives
grate in cheddar cheese and mix in chopped jalapenos and then sprinkle some grated
cheese on top before baking
mix in cinnamon and raisins
use about ½ cup of pumpkin puree or beet puree in place of the water in the recipe

The opportunities are endless with this bread. I’m officially in love. I hope you are able to enjoy
this recipe as much as I have!

**Thanks Becca!  Sourdough has been on my "to make" list for a long time, I think you've convinced me to finally try making it.**

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Beet and Orange Rocket Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

Okay, my family is in Atlanta already!  Jim and Melissa ride in the ADA Tour de Cure on Sunday.  They would really appreciate your financial support.  They're only $200 away from their fundraising goal of $5000, please donate if you can.  I'm baking cookies for donors, see details about your thank you cookies here.  Go Team Wolfepack I'm so proud of you!

I actually made this salad last summer and I'm just getting around to telling you about it.  We really loved everything about this Beet and Orange Rocket Salad!  It was sweet from the oranges and candied walnuts, set off by the earthy beets and peppery arugula.  And who doesn't love the tart creaminess of goat cheese?  This salad is the perfect accompaniment for dinner on the deck on a warm summer night.  
Once the beets and vinaigrette are ready (both can be made ahead), this salad is easily thrown together.  Since the grill is most likely being used for other parts of your dinner, it just makes sense that you'd cook your beets on the grill too.  This salad can be mixed together, but it also makes a great presentation if you arrange everything on the plate.

I look forward to making this again, especially once our garden comes in.  Hopefully our beets will be bigger than a golf ball this year!

Oh, and just in case you come across "rocket" in a recipe, it's just another name for arugula.

Beet and Orange Rocket Salad
Original Recipe

Arugula (from our garden, yay!)
Assorted lettuce (I used a mix from our garden)
Beets, scrubbed and ends trimmed, chopped
Mandarin Orange Segments (I used canned oranges, always soft and sweet)
Goat Cheese
Candied Walnuts
Orange Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Before prepping everything else, you need to get the beets cooking.  Preheat the grill.  In a bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over the beets (just enough to lightly coat).  Create a foil packet around the beets, close it up, and poke a few steam vents.  Place the packet on the hot grill, cook for 30 minutes or until beets are tender.  Remove beets from packet and let them cool for at least 10 minutes before adding to the salad.

Combine all ingredients or arrange them on the plates and serve with orange vinaigrette.

Orange Vinaigrette
From Michael Symon's Live to Cook
Yield:  1 1/4 cups

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp shallot, minced
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

In a small non-reactive saucepan, bring the orange juice to a simmer.  Cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Combine everything except the oil in a medium mixing bowl.  Start whisking in a few drops of oil at a time, then add it in a thin stream.  Whisk continuously until all the oil is incorporated.  Taste vinaigrette and adjust seasoning if needed.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Tea-Infused Vodka

This weekend my siblings are biking 37 miles for diabetes in the Tour de Cure.  This disease has affected my family, please consider donating.  If you donate, I'll bake you cookies.  See details here.  This is your last week to donate!

I had never heard of tea-infused vodka until I saw it on a cocktail menu last week.  It was paired with lemonade and I had to try it.  As it turns out, making tea-infused vodka could not be any easier, and it's quick!

This vodka is so perfect with ice and lemonade.  It's dangerously good!  You don't even taste the alcohol.  I think I found my go to summer cocktail.  I've quickly become obsessed!

Tea-Infused Vodka
Adapted from Build/Make/Craft/Bake

1 pint vodka
2 tea bags black tea (or 1 Tbsp loose leaf)

Pour the vodka into a clean mason jar (or any airtight container).  Drop in the tea.  Seal the jar and shake.  Let the mixture sit for 10 minutes.  Strain the tea-infused vodka into another airtight container (a coffee filter and funnel work great) and store in the fridge, freezer, or at room temperature out of the sun.  

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pasta Salad

Just a reminder that my siblings are riding 37 miles for diabetes in the Tour de Cure.  If you donate, I'll bake you cookies.  See details here. 

Summer's coming and I'm on the lookout for some different salads to try.  I'll be featuring salad recipes throughout May so check back to get some new ideas.  Or at the very least get a new recipe for a classic summer staple, like today's recipe. 

Up first is my Gram's pasta salad recipe.  It's easy, colorful and full of veggies.  If you want to keep it vegetarian, it's still great even without the pepperoni.  This pasta salad tastes best if it's made at least a few hours before serving.  I try to make it the day before if I can.  And I love to eat it for lunch with leftover grilled chicken.

What are some of your favorite salads?

Pasta Salad
Adapted from Gram Valentine
Yield: a ton!

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup red onion (about 1/2 of a small red onion)  I don't like raw onion so I don't add much, feel free to bump it up
2 (15 oz) cans black olives, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 oz pepperoni slices, quartered
8 oz NY sharp cheddar, cubed
1 box (12 oz) tri-color pasta
1/2 cup Italian dressing, plus about 1/4 cup more when you serve it

In a large pot bring water to boil, salt it (the water should taste salty like the sea), and add the pasta.  Cook to al dente (2-3 minutes less than the package specifies).  Strain the pasta and run cold water over it until it cools (to stop the cooking process).

Dump all the ingredients except that last 1/4 cup of dressing into the largest container you have and mix until evenly distributed.

Before serving add the 1/4 cup of dressing to the salad and mix.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Guest Post on Eat Drink Cleveland & A Reminder About Free Cookies

Fried Chicken, Sweet Potato Waffles and Bourbon Maple Syrup at SOHO
Sorry folks, no recipe again today.  I promise I'll have something for you later this week (it's another family recipe)!  I wanted to let you know that I'm guest posting for Crystal over at Eat Drink Cleveland today. Eat Drink Cleveland was the blog that beat me for the top spot in the Food and Drink category in the Cleveland Magazine Blog contest.  Crystal's blog eventually went onto the championship round!  I hope you'll head on over and check it out!

She asked me to fill in for the day so I did a restaurant review on the brunch at SOHO.  I had fun blogging about something other than recipes for a change.  Thanks for having me Crystal! 

Just a reminder that I'm offering to bake you cookies as a thank you for donating to Tour de Cure.  My siblings are raising money and biking 37 miles for diabetes, a disease that affects my family members as well as 25 million other people in this country.  For more details about donating and receiving free cookies, see this blog post.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

30 Before 30: 6 Month Update

In 6 months, I'll be turning 30.  Let's see how I'm doing on my list.

30 Before 30:
(in no particular order)
  1. Attend a concert at Blossom (We're going to go when the Cleveland Orchestra plays music from John Williams)
  2. Keep in touch with people better (I suck at this)
  3. Blog more regularly (so far so good, the real test will be over the summer when I always seem to drop off)
  4. Participate in a blog swap (I guest posted on EatDrinkCleveland! And last fall OBA hosted a blog swap, I posted on Amie's blog.)
  5. Sing karaoke in public (I sang Wilson Phillips "Hold On" by myself, then I made a few people sing "Love Shack" with me)
  6. Bake for a good cause (I'm baking cookies as a thank you for people donating to my siblings Tour de Cure fund.  I've been sending treats overseas through Operation Baking Gals for the past few months.  If you know anyone in the military, send me their information and I can get a group together to send stuff over.)
  7. Visit my sister in Atlanta (I've been keeping my eye on airfare to go down when some of my family is visiting this month)
  8. Visit my brother in New Orleans
  9. Volunteer more (I've volunteered at the Cleveland FoodbankWJWC Fashion Show, and made Jump Ball Ball decorations)
  10. Attend a Tremont Art Walk 
  11. Visit one of Cleveland's beaches
  12. Now that the elephants are back in their new habitat, I want to visit the zoo again.
  13. Visit the MetroParks outside of Solon
  14. Host more parties (I've hosted 4 parties in 6 months)
  15. Learn how to draw
  16. Spend less time on the computer (major fail on this one, but at least I am watching less TV)
  17. Visit Stan Hywet Hall
  18. Try to relax (I had a major breakthrough last weekend!  I was home all day on Saturday and did nothing productive, the kicker was that I didn't feel guilty about it!)
  19. Make our wedding album (our 5 year anniversary is a month before I turn 30)
  20. Visit the West Side more often (I have been rocking this)
  21. Attend a Lake Erie Monsters game (I forgot how much fun hockey games are, probably the best sport to watch live.)
  22. Attend a Burning River Roller Girls bout (We went last night and it was really cool!)
  23. Go skydiving (I bought a Groupon to do this!!  I'm so excited/scared!)
  24. Learn how to use some of the features on our camera (I've been experimenting with the focal length when I take food pictures)
  25. Go tobogganing (Didn't get to this.  Didn't have much of a winter this year, so hopefully next year.)
  26. Be more positive about day to day stuff
  27. Try at least 6 new restaurants (This was a lot easier than I thought with the help of Girl's Night Out:  Taste, Washington Place Bistro, Tartine Bistro, Indian Delight, Noodle Cat, Cowell and Hubbard, Hodges, SOHO)
  28. Drink more wine (started off really well, but it's slowed down, lately I've been drinking more beer)
  29. Visit Cleveland's Asiatown and eat dim sum
  30. Exercise more (I'm on and off with this, I need to make it a higher priority)

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Friday, May 4, 2012

Please Donate to ADA Tour de Cure

Okay, I'll put it right out there: I'm asking for donations on behalf of my siblings, and I'm willing to bribe you with cookies!  Jim and Melissa are riding in the American Diabetes Association Tour de Cure later this month (the 37 mile route).  It's just the two of them (Team WolfePack) and their team fundraising goal is to raise at least $5000.  They have already received over $4000, and  are currently one of the top 5 fundraising teams for individual riders in Atlanta (other team rider categories are corporate and club)!

Between my parents, three younger siblings and myself, half of us have Type 1 Diabetes.  There was no family history when my brother Jim was diagnosed 21 years ago (he was only in 1st grade).  Soon after my mom was diagnosed, and eventually we found out my youngest sister Molly is diabetic as well.  Diabetes is also in Kevin's family, so when we got married we decided that instead of giving favors, we would make a donation to the American Diabetes Association on behalf of our guests.

Diabetes is a disease when a person's body does not produce insulin (Type 1) or does not respond to the insulin that is being produced (Type 2).  It's livable, but requires a change in lifestyle.  Diabetics have to watch what they eat, exercise, take shots of insulin and test their blood sugar tests multiple times throughout the day.  They are also at risk for heart disease, kidney failure, amputations or blindness if they don't take care of themselves properly.

Raising money for research and hopefully finding a cure for diabetes is obviously very close to my heart, but I'm sure a lot of you know at least one person with this disease.  Please consider donating, any amount you can give is helpful.

Please read their stories and donate to Team WolfePack.

Now for the baking aspect of the post (aka The Bribe The Thank You) . . .  If you donate $25 or more between now and May 20th, I'll bake you a dozen cookies.  After you donate, email me (sarah at sarahberridge dot com) with your address and I'll send treats as a thank you.  If you have diabetes and prefer diabetic-friendly cookies, just let me know, I'd be happy to accommodate.

Thank you!

Jim's Story (Living with Diabetes)
Melissa's Story (Living with Diabetic Family Members)

Learn more about Diabetes
Learn more about American Diabetes Association
Learn more about Tour de Cure