Sunday, August 17, 2014

Quinoa Chickpea and Feta Salad

My favourite son in law "R" (he's also my only son in law) and I have this rather interesting relationship.  The banter between us (zinging is probably a better word) is pretty ongoing.  He loves to get to me and two of his favourite topics are usually around our well known mayor Rob Ford or how dedicated we are to posting on the blog.  He probably cares very little about each topic and when I give it right back to him, he'll turn to whoever happens to be in the room and say "you see what I have to put up with".

Occasionally I'll get an email from him asking if I have any good recipes.  He's always attracted to the healthier vegetarian recipes and he'll review what I send him and surprisingly will find something that interests him and he goes ahead and makes it.  Pretty impressive.

Recently he went on one of his rants saying he'll be doing a guest post and make sure he puts both Psychgrad and me to shame.  The rant goes something like this:

R:  I haven't seen you post anything lately.  What's going on???

Me:  I posted not long ago.

R:  I take pictures and nobody ever puts up what I make.

Me:  You want me to put up something you made?

R:  Well, don't you think you should be? .... you get the idea.

I recently sent him a blogpost for Quinoa Chickpea and Feta Salad and he made it.  I asked him where the picture was and he actually had taken a picture and sent it to me.  WOW!!  So "R" here's your post. Your salad looks pretty darned amazing.

1 cup quinoa (beige or red or black)
1 cup water
1 can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 1/2 chopped unpeeled cucumbers
1 pint cherry or baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
1 cup roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 cup sliced baby spinach leaves
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup red wine or balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons smoked Spanish paprika
To taste Salt and pepper

Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, spinach and about half of the feta.

Gently toss in the cooled quinoa; do not overmix or stir.
Whisk vinegar, salt, honey and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle over the combined salad ingredients; toss gently. Add vinaigrette; avoid overdressing. Top with feta; serve immediately.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Tuna Patties

Norene Gilletz's  The Pleasures of Your Processor is only one of the "Norene" cookbooks in my collection.  I've said it before - I raised my kids on her recipes and I can't remember ever having a fail. Her recipes are easy to follow and easy to execute (not the killing kind).

The hardest part of this whole recipe is opening the cans of tuna.  For meatless Mondays this is a treat and also approved by "baba" who has sworn off meat.  I've actually heard alot of my contemporaries tell me their parents have more difficulties digesting meat.  Try these as an alternative and the great thing is that they're freezer friendly.

1 medium onion, halved
2 - 7 oz tins tuna, drained
4 eggs
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
oil for frying

Process onions until minced, about 6-8 seconds.  Add remaining ingredients except oil and process until mixed, about 10 seconds.

Shape into patties.  Heat oil to a depth of about 1/8" in a large skillet.  Brown on all sides over medium heat.  Drain well on paper towels.

Yield:  6

Note:  If you want to avoid the oil, prepare in a teflon skillet and a little spray.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Israeli Eggplant Salad (Hazilim)

I've been accused of watching way too much CNN and these days it's pretty hard not to stay informed.  I won't get political other than to say that the loss of so many innocent lives is beyond horrific.  It doesn't matter where this happens, whether it's a downed plane, a war in the middle east or the kidnapping of innocent children, terrorism is just beyond my scope of understanding.

Rather than stay glued to the set, I felt like making something that I know is delicious and comforting and great as either an appetizer, snack or even main.  Add some pita and you're good to go.  There are so many different varieties of eggplant salad and this one is one of my very favourites.

2 large eggplants, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 large yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup tomato puree
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
​4 large garlic cloves, chopped
Salt, pepper, and sweet paprika to taste
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat in a large pan.
  2. Add the eggplant and cook until tender. Set aside on a plate.
  3. In the same, now empty, pan, heat the remaining olive oil. Once warm, add the red and yellow bell peppers, onion, and scallion.
  4. Cook for 5 minutes until the veggies begin to become tender.
  5. Add garlic. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. 
  6. Fold the eggplant into the veggie mixture along with tomato puree, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and paprika, and cook for another 2 minutes. Do not stir and let the mixture sit and simmer until the liquid has cooked off.
  7. Set the veggies aside and let them cool. Place them in a storage container and refrigerate for at least an hour, or until chilled.