My Journey in the Far North

thoughts, inspiration, devotions and recipes from my journey in the far north

Happy 4th of July! July 4, 2011

Cashew Cream Tart with a ‘Raw Crust’ and seasonal berries

We are heading for a HOT day today in Fresno!  And, at the moment I’m hiding indoors until I go to work at my part time job…time and half…yes, please!

This morning I made some things to contribute to the 4th of July/My mom’s Birthday party Party at my aunt’s house this afternoon. 

First, I made a ‘raw’ tart using 2 cups of raw almonds and 20 dates (finely chopped) for the crust and a cashew cream using soaked raw cashews, dates, some water and vanilla, pureed until smooth.  I topped the tart with blueberries and slices of strawberries…red, white and blue!

The cream filling recipe is from here.

And, I also made a couscous and quinoa tabbouleh salad, very similar to the salads I’ve made in the past.  I’ve used this recipe as the base for several of the salads I’ve made before.  What I like to do is add quinoa and mix it up using either bulgur wheat or couscous.  No matter what you use or not use, it’s a great recipe to adapt and can be used as a base to create your own original salad.

My adaptions to the original recipe for today’s salad include:

Doubling the batch

Using 1 cup couscous instead of bulgur (place in a bowl and top with 1 3/4 cups boiling water, cover and let water absorb couscous)

Using 1 cup of quinoa (rinse well, boil with 2 cups of water until all water is absorbed)

Using parsley AND cilantro

Couscous and Quinoa Salad with Cranberries

What are you preparing for 4th of July?  Or, what do you like to bring to parties?

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What I brought with me to Easter Dinner… April 25, 2011

Filed under: Food,Weekly Post Challenge — tlobner @ 10:39 am
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I hope you all had a lovely Easter.  I attended a sunrise service and then rushed home to make my final contribution to the Easter dinner that was held at my aunt and uncle’s house.

On Saturday, I made a Whole-Grain Vegan Carrot Cake with Lemon Glaze from Oh She Glows.  It turned out very delicious and moist!  I made it as a cake (in an 8″ round cake pan) rather than a loaf and it turned out perfect.   Don’t let the word vegan turn you away from trying this.  It’s easy and it tastes great…you won’t know it’s vegan, seriously!!  There are a few slices left and, while I want a slice right now, I will wait for after dinner tonight. (I will, I promise…oh…temptation!)

My other contribution was a salad that I have made several times since I’ve been back to the US, and it’s currently my most requested salad!  I found this recipe on the internet while living in the UK.  I adapted the recipe and brought it as my contribution for the Christmas dinner I was invited to. 

To me, the most important ingredient is Quinoa.  Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa) and is known for its nutritional values as well as being a perfect or complete protein as it contains all 8 essential amino acids.  You can learn more here and here.  And, you can try another recipe with Quinoa I created last summer.   Quinoa is most commonly sold in stores in the ‘white’ variety, but it also comes in various colors including black and red.  I have made this salad with white and black quinoa.  I have found that the black quinoa is a hardier and nuttier in flavor and definitely suits this dish.  But don’t run out and get some unless you really want to try it…I have found black quinoa at Whole Foods and red quinoa at Whole Market/Cost Plus.

With the main ingredient being Quinoa, the salad also includes bulgur wheat in order to give it some sturdiness.  Anyways, it’s so delicious and fresh tasting thanks to the lemon juice, parsley and cilantro (aka coriander), and it would be a welcome addition to your spring and summer salads!

Quinoa and Bulgur Salad with Dried Cranberries and Pepitas

Makes 8 servings

1/2 cup Quinoa (white or a mixture of black and red along with the white), rinsed several times to remove the bitter residue, set aside

1/2 cup course-ground Bulgur

1 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro

1/4-1/2 cup shredded and chopped red cabbage (optional, but adds color and crunch)

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)

1/3 cup olive oil

3/4 tsp kosher salt (if using a finer grind of salt, use less)

3/4 tsp ground black pepper

1/4-1/3 cup (to taste) pepitas (to be sprinkled inside the salad and on top)

1. After rinsing the Quinoa several times, place in a small sauce pan with 1 cup water and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn the heat down and cover slightly with a lid.  Check and stir often.

2. Place bulgur in a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup boiling water.  Cover and let stand for 30  minutes.  (Hint: Since I’m impatient, when the quinoa is cooked and the bulgur is close to absorbing the water, I add the bulgur to the quinoa and cook a little longer on the stove to remove the excess  water.  Be sure to stir so that it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot.)

3. When quinoa and bulgur are cooked, place in the large mixing bowl and  add all of the remaining ingredients.  Add some of the pepitas to the salad and keep remaining for the top.

4. When everything is mixed well, place into serving dish and top with remaining pepitas. Chill until read to serve.

This is a great salad because you can make changes to it…in fact I made this salad once with pecans and once with pinenuts…I made it with couscous instead of bulgur…I made it with both cranberries and raisins… so it’s very versatile!

Hope you try it and enjoy it!