Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts
Showing posts with label olive oil. Show all posts

07 July 2014

Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad

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This beautiful idea came to me on Saturday night.  So brilliant I wrote it down with the intent to follow through on Sunday.  I was going to take the Burke-Gilman Trial out of Seattle and then hop on where it connects to the Sammamish River Trail

My head started dreaming about trails, pavement, nature, sunscreen, picnics, forks...

For some reason my ideas always take a u-turn to food.

My plan was to bike out, stop at a trail-side park or picnic table, have some brunch, and then hop back on the trail and head back home.  The trails are both flat, and they are fast.  My GPS clocked me going 40 mph at a few locations in between stops to enjoy the views and the countryside.  All told, my little trip out clocked in at 33.28 miles in 2 hours and 34 minutes with stops along the way.  Not bad for a Sunday ride.

For my brunch I decided to bring along one of my favorite picnic dishes, Sun-dried Tomato Pasta Salad.  Easy to pack and does well out of the refrigerator.

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For the dressing
  • 1 jar of Sun-dried Tomatoes (8 oz.)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt and Pepper, to taste
For the Salad:
  • 16 oz. whole wheat corkscrew pasta
  • 1 jar Kalamata Olives
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 10 leaves basil, Julienned
  • 1 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
For the Dressing: In a food processor add in the sun-dried tomatoes, pealed garlic, and red wine vinegar.  Pulse until the tomatoes are minced, we want them to easily spread over the pasta.  Drizzle in the olive oil, salt, and pepper and give it a couple more pulses to mix.

For the Pasta: Bring a pot of water to boil and make it as salty as the sea.  Add in the pasta and allow to cook until pasta is soft, pull for the water and rinse in cool water.  Put the pasta in a bowl and combine with the olives and diced tomato.  Drizzle in about 2/3 of the oil toss together.  Continue to add in the oil to your own preference.  Add on some Parmesan cheese to the top and serve!

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

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17 June 2014

Wild Rice, Mint and Chickpea Salad

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The not so puuurfect alarm clock


Nudge, nudge.

"What is going on..." I mutter with eyes only able to draw themselves halfway open.  My glasses are in the drawer of the nightstand and everything is hazy.

Nudge, nudge.

"Oxford, are you hungry bud?" 


Blindly grabbing for my alarm clock to bring it about an inch and half from my face.  I can see the time now.

"5:26am.  Yeah, not happening."

Nudge, nudge, NUDGE!

"Go back to sleep dude," I mutter, setting the clock down and rolling over into the warmth of my bed. 

Nudge, nudge...bite.

"AWE SH--NUBENEUBENUBE-DO!  You seriously just chomped on me!"

The cat quirks his head to the side.  He blinks and even with my blind-as-a-bat eyesight I know he is looking right at me non-pulsed by the fact he just drew blood from my flesh.


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The taste tester
My fork stands poised to dive into the wild rice.  Work was rough and I am exhausted from being on my feet for the better part of the day.


A mysterious paw comes from under the table and its little claws are extended toward the fruits of my culinary labor for the evening.

Swipe, ping!

The paw finds purchase in a chickpea and it disappears into the depths beneath the table.

"Oxford, buddy, I just put out your dinner.  Can you leave mine alone?"  For some reason I think I can rationalize with the cat.  After seven years together, I should know better.

Thump, swipe, "Meow!"

The cat launches a sneak attack from the other side of the table.  I am to weary from my day.  He senses my weakness.  Another "pawful" of rice flies into the air and lands on the floor. 

There is chewing and finally a familiar rub against my leg.  The cat looks at me, gives a dramatic "omph!" before flopping over to showcase his belly. 
I rub it in deference to his outwitting me once again.

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The older sister

She looks at me and I imagine, that if able, her brow would furrow at me. 

She would never let him get away with something like stealing her food. 

She is more apt to deal with his devious ways.

After all, she has claws too.  

I scratch between her ears and then pull out the laser pointer for her amusement.  

She has her human well-trained.

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Wild Rice, Mint and Chickpea Salad

The Shopping List:
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  • 1 can (14 oz) chickpeas
  • 1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1 handful parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
The Method:

Pour the vegetable stock into a saucepan with a dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper and bring it up to a boil before placing in the wild rice and reducing the heat to low.  Allow the wild rice to absorb all of the moisture from the stock while stirring occasionally so it does not stick to the bottom (approx. 40 minutes).

Once all of the stock is absorbed, remove the pan from heat and transfer into a serving bowl.  Add in the chickpeas, mint, parsley, nutmeg, and cinnamon.  Stir until mixed.

For the vinaigrette, put the apple cider vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, a dash of sea salt, a dash of ground pepper into a small jar.  Give it a good shake and pour over the salad before serving. 

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11 April 2014

Strawberry and Grilled Chicken Salad

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I found the most beautiful handmade hardwood kitchen utensils at the Best of the Northwest Arts Fair.  The booth was Fisher Woodworking, and the artisan, Geoff, showed me many of his favorites including a flat-edged spoon made of mahogany.  The spoon could stand alone as a beautiful piece of artwork, however I gave it a try when I candied some walnuts.  

Unfortunately Geoff does not have a website, but I do have his email address.   Hopefully I will be able to pick up a few more pieces at another local art fair.  The best part about buying direct from the artisan, he not only told me about the process he goes through to hand-make a piece, but also the care instructions.  My spoon even included a couple small sheets of sand paper to keep them looking beautiful and functional. 

I also picked up some adorable kitty earrings, and this awesome print by Jeff Haynie of Haagar the Hairy"He came to Purr and Pillage."  Pop quiz, how many mice can you find in the photo below?

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No purring nor pillaging necessary today though.  

Just a beautifully simple afternoon salad filled with sweet strawberries and crisp bacon.  Pretty much a little slice of heaven.

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The Shopping List:
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 cups spinach, cut and cleaned
  • 2 cups arugula, cut and cleaned
  • 1 pint strawberries
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • sea salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
The Method:
Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place them on a heated grill griddle, cook for two to four minutes on each side.  Place the chicken breasts aside, and place bacon on, and cook one to two minutes each side.  Place on a paper towel to absorb extra grease.  Cut the chicken on a bias, and the bacon into small pieces.

Place a saucepan on medium heat.  Toast the walnuts for a minute and then add in the honey.  Stir until coated and then pull from heat and allow them to set.

To make the dressing, cut strawberries into small slices.  Save two strawberries to place in a food processor.  Add in the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of salt and pepper to taste to the food processor.  If your feeling adventurous, take the drippings from the griddle and add them in as well.  Pulse until strawberries are blended.

In a bowl mix the spinach and arugula.  Add in the strawberries, chicken, bacon, and candied walnuts and give it a mix.  Finally drizzle with the strawberry vinaigrette dressing.  Enjoy!

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19 March 2014

Roast Beets with Ricotta and Mint

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There is something about a beet that excites me.  Pretty sure it is that gorgeous color that just seeps right out of it -- literally.  The tops of beets are an amazing source of Vitamin A, while the roots are full of Vitamin C.  They are filled with loads of folic acid and fiber -- keep the ol' intestines running well and cholesterol on track. 

Organic beets will last about a week in the refrigerator and they should be firm.  They should be washed thoroughly and without breaking the skin.  When cooking the nutrients will leak out of the breaks.  The beautiful bright red pigment will stain, but a quick kitchen tip -- if any is stuck on your hands wash with a bit of salt.

I love the idea of roasting beets because they contain a lot of natural sugar, and putting them on a high heat lets the sugar concentrate bringing a ton of flavor.  That is why when I saw this Roast Beets with Ricotta and Mint recipe in Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Garden, I knew I had to add it to my home menu rotation.  

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The Shopping List:
  • 3 beets
  • Olive Oil, for drizzling
  • Sea Salt
  • Ground Pepper
  • 6 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup ricotta, crumbled
  • 1 sprig of Mint leaves
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The Method:

Preheat the oven to 425°F.  Rip a couple sheets of aluminum foil and fold them into an "x".  Place the beet in the middle and dizzle olive oil over top.  Sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper over top, moving around to coat evenly.  Wrap the aluminum foil snuggle so none of the juicy goodness can seep out while cooking.  

Place beets on a baking sheet and roast for an hour. When they come out, use a pick to test them, it should be soft and come out clean, although slighly red.

Use a knife to cut an "x" into the beet -- I sense a pattern going on in this recipe and x's -- and open the beet up.  Place it onto its serving plate and allow it to cool down a bit.  Drizzle the red wine vinegar over the beet, crumble the ricotta, and sprinkle the mint leaves over top.  Finish with a bit more sea salt and pepper to season.  


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12 March 2014

Roast Chicken with Lemon Cream Gravy

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My mother was never an avid cook.  She whole heartily admits her talents go nowhere near the kitchen and would rather clean the entire house then make a meal from scratch.  Many years ago she surprised me with a roasting pan.  Her only explanation, "Someone in the family needs to make Thanksgiving Dinner."

For her, the roasting pan was pulled out once or twice a year for holidays.  I remember the savory smells on those special occasions, but they were far too rare. 

Whenever I see a recipe that provokes the juicy flavors percolating in a pan and rising out as the lid is lifted, I know it must be tried -- especially when it is as simple as this Roast Chicken with Lemon Cream Gravy, another What Katie Ate find with a little Beloved Green variation. 

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The Shopping List:
  • 1 2 lb free-range, organic, local chicken
  • 3 pats of butter
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 3 lemons
  • 4 bulbs of garlic
  • 4 sprigs of Rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cup of chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon

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The Method:

Begin by preheating the oven to 400°F.  Bring the chicken to the work surface and begin pulling the skin away from the meat, you may need to use some kitchen scissors to pull it back on the inside.  Take the pats of butter and begin massaging into the layer created, with the remainder being rubbed on the outside of the chicken.  Season the chicken well with salt and pepper and get ready to move it to that beautiful roasting pan.

Place two Rosemary sprigs into the chicken's cavity and two outside to bring that aromatic flavor up.  Quarter the lemons and place several into the chicken and the remainder in the roasting pan.  Separate the garlic into cloves and add several in the cavity as well, the rest around the chicken.  Take the olive oil and drizzle over top and give a final dash of salt and pepper.  

Put the pan in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, and then pull out the pan and take the lemons quarters and squeeze the all over the bird.  Put the chicken back in for another 30 minutes.  When finished, take from the roasting pan and place on a platter, cover, and allow it to rest while preparing the gravy (approximately 10-15 minutes). 

Bring a sauce pan to low heat and add the chicken broth along with the juices from the roasting pan, including all of those little bits of goodness stuck to the bottom.  With a whisk, stir in the heavy cream and lemon juice.  Top it off with a bit of salt and pepper to taste.  Serve by pouring over top of the rested chicken.

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27 February 2014

Baby Potatoes with Asparagus and Caper Dressing

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This recipe is going to do double duty.  He -- I've decided this recipe is going to be masculine in nature, that's my prerogative -- will be a side dish today, and tomorrow he will be apart of my breakfast.

No slackers allowed in my kitchen.

As someone who appreciates beautiful food photography, this dish was adapted from one of my favorite rustic food photographers, Katie Quinn Davies of "What Katie Ate" fame.

Anything that involves asparagus is already on par for becoming a new favorite recipe.  This vegetable has made quite a few appearances on my blog including; Grilled Veggie SaladAsparagus and Mushroom Saute, and Balsamic Asparagus.
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The Shopping List:
  • 1 1/2 cup baby potatoes
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 bunch of asparagus (10 spears, give or take)
  • a handful of watercress leaves
       For the dressing:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup salted capers
  • 1 tsp dill seed
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
The Method:
Put cold water win a saucepan and place in the baby potatoes.  Add the salt and allow it to come to a boil.  Once it begins to work in earnest,  bring the temperature to a medium heat and allow them to simmer for about 20-25 minutes.  Once the potatoes are fully cooked, pull them from heat and drain the water.  Cut them in half and put them to the side.

While the potatoes are cooking, bring another larger saucepan to boil.  Cut the woody ends from the asparagus, and add them to the water.  The asparagus will take a lot less time to cook through, only a few minutes.  In order to keep them crispy, prepare a bowl with ice water and make sure they are submerged. 

While the potatoes and asparagus cool, bring the capers out and give them a quick chop to release those beautiful flavors.  In a bowl combine the olive oil, lemon juice, chopped capers, and dill seed with a quick mix.  Add in a little sea salt and pepper to taste.  

Take the asparagus out of its ice bath and cut into smaller bite sized pieces.  Cut the small potatoes in half to make them bite sized as well.  Combine them in a bowl, and drizzle the dressing over top.  Dress with the watercress leaves, and voila!  A fresh side dish perfect to pair with any main dish.

Bonus hint: To use any left-overs, this has become my new favorite filling for a morning omelet, pairs well with egg and cheeses.

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14 February 2013

Peach Panzanella Salad

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Today I had indulgences on my mind.  After the feast of Fat Tuesday, this is the day of fasting.  Missing even one meal made me hyper-aware of all the food around me.  Coworkers bringing in snacks from nearby vendors, Valentine's treats beginning to find their way into the break room, even the notices at the gas pump proudly proclaiming "quick munchies" from the convenience store on my way home.  

I needed a break from the outside world until my fast would be broken and found some solitude down at my favorite bench at Poverty Bay.  For just a brief moment I meditated on the luxuries of my life, all the beautiful things and people I have been blessed with, and the experiences in life I have been gifted.  

So much gratitude.

My thought of indulgences harkened back briefly to a moment earlier this week when I was putting together a Peach Panzanella Salad.  Peaches are not in season right now.  Yet, I had this intense craving for them and stopped at three different markets before I even found a small fresh basket of them hidden in the produce section.  I pulled out a recipe from a while back at The First Mess and adapted it to my liking. 

On that little bench I gave myself permission to enjoy this salad and simply be thankful.

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The Shopping List (for the croutons):
  • Loaf of fresh bread
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • dash of salt and pepper
The Shopping List (for the salad):
  • 1 shallot
  • 4 tomatoes
  • 4 peaches
  • 4 stalks of kale
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • basil  to garnish
  • dash of salt and pepper
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First, start with creating the croutons.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Cut a fresh loaf of bread into large bite-sized pieces and place on a baking sheet.  I used a wheat lavain, but most soft breads will work.  Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil over top and sprinkle salt and pepper.  Toss the bread on the sheet and place in the oven for 12-15 minutes, flipping the bread at the halfway point to bake evenly.  Pull them from the oven and let them cool while the salad is being prepped.  
On the stove top bring the vegetable broth to medium heat before adding in the quinoa.  Allow the quinoa to absorb all of the liquid before removing from the heat and fluffing.  Set to the side to cool. 

De-stem the kale and chop before putting it in a large bowl.  Cut up the tomatoes and peaches to bite sized pieces and add to the bowl.  Finally, chop the basil into smaller pieces and add to the salad.  Drizzle on the olive oil and balsamic vinegar before adding some more salt and pepper before giving it a good toss.  Mix in the cooled quinoa before topping off with the freshly made croutons.  

Allow the salad to sit for a bit (approximately 10-15 minutes) to soak in all the juices before serving.

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28 October 2012

Grilled Veggie Salad


Fall is without a doubt my favorite time of year.  The change in colors, the drop in the temperatures, and the seasonal foods make my heart do little back-flips. 

I am starting to dig out my favorite fall recipes, but for one last nod to summer, I brought out my tabletop grill to try out this  Grilled Veggie Salad that I originally found on The Kitchy Kitchen.  A couple of Beloved Green tweaks and I was off to start some sizzling.


This evening I am reflecting on the change in seasons and letting go of the things that are holding me back.  Most of this is primarily mental, but my yoga practice this evening truly brought this to the forefront.  The beautiful Jenniferlyn led us through a pose I have never done before.  

We tucked our toes under and sat on our feet.  Our arms in front of our body with elbows together.  Then we held the position for about a minute.  

After a few seconds my whole body burned.  It shook. 

When Jenniferlyn told us we could release I sat down and the pain was instantly gone.  In its place was relief.  

Letting go felt so incredibly good.


The Shopping List:

For the salad
  • one large red onion
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • a handful of asparagus
  • an ear of corn
  • olive oil, for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • fresh greens (or quinoa)
  • 1 tsp dill spice
For the vinaigrette
  • 2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil, minced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tsp freshly chopped parsley
  •  salt and pepper to taste

The Method:

Turn the grill to high heat.  Slice the veggies to 1/2 inch thick slices.  Brush olive oil over the veggies and put a dash of salt and pepper on them before placing them on the grill.  Cook roughly 2-3 minutes per side and flip.  Pull from heat allow them to cool before chopping into bite size pieces.  Mix into fresh greens.  Sprinkle in dill and give a final stir.

For vinaigrette, put white wine vinegar, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper into a jar.  Shake well and pour over salad before serving.

Note: While the original recipe was good, I prefer to switch out the fresh greens with quinoa cooked in vegetable broth. 


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