You know summer is almost here when we start breaking out the peach cobbler recipes. After living in the American southern state of Georgia for a few… Read more “Peach & Blueberry Cobbler Made Healthy”
Shrimp Tartar w/Avocado & Quinoa
It’s Finally Friday Folks!
This little piece of work will sure to delight.
I have a friend coming over today for some chit-chat and thought it would be nice to whip up something quick. Nothing fancy, just a light lunch. Salad would definitely seem like the easiest way to go, but I was craving seafood as usual. Those of you who know me, know that seafood is my second love with chocolate taking the top spot (that is a no brainer). I thought about what else I had in the pantry to avoid a store run. You know we all have those go to items that are life savers in crunch time. Sometimes buried all the way in the back or right at our figure tips.
I can’t say that we eat healthy every time we get together. But for the most part we try. Whatever we eat, whenever we eat it, it always must be satisfying.
As I ravaged through the kitchen, a lightbulb came on. No, not a big bright idea but i accidentally flipped the light switch and saw the avocados sitting in the fruit tray calling my name. Still not sure of what i wanted to prepare, I looked into the refrigerator and pulled out the shrimp I bought the day before. I opened the pantry and thought I hadn’t had quinoa in a while. So I took that out too. Now sitting on the counter where 3 ingredients that would make up whatever would come to mind.
I immediately thought of shrimp cocktail with some type of twist. Then I thought a quinoa salad with shrimp and avocado could work too. My girlfriend is an artist and loves little cutesy things, so I thought to structure these ingredients in a mold like a tartar. That’s it, Shrimp Tartar!
So here is what I came up with.
Bottom layer– Quinoa
- 1 cup dry tri color quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, low-sodium
- Salt & Pepper
Middle layer– Green Goodness
- 2 Avocado, cubed
- 3 tbsp. Cilantro, minced
- ½ lime
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ sweet onion, finely chopped
- ½ jalapeno, finely chopped
Top layer– Shrimp Cocktail
- pound medium shrimp, peeled;cooked
- ½ tsp cilantro, minced
- dash hot pepper sauce
- 3 tbsp. Italian salad dressing
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 green onion, thinly minced (optional)
- For the Quinoa: In a medium pot, using vegetable broth, cook quinoa according to instructions on the package or cook until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, approximately 15 minutes. Turn the burner off and allow the covered skillet to set until any remaining liquid is absorbed, 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork, add cilantro for garnish, and serve.
- For the Avocado Mix: In a medium bowl, with a folk, mash avocado roughly, add in the remaining ingredients and set aside.
- For the Shrimp: Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss combine. Refrigerate covered for at least 30 minutes.
- Assemble: Place large dessert rings on serving platter, for the bottom layer, add half cup of quinoa. Lightly press to compile. Spoon in half cup avocado mix and smooth top. Next add shrimp cocktail on top to finish. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Gently remove the rings, garnish and serve.
You can use more or less of the ingredients with your personal preference. Yields 4
Polenta Cakes Topped w/Avocado, Poached Egg & Sautéed Tomatoes
And I am so happy to be back with you guys! Last week I found myself a bit under the weather. Well more than a bit. Following doctors orders, I had to rest up. Still not 100% but couldn’t stay away another day. The weather is still kind of ugly, so why not make something pretty.
I was feeling a bit like polenta today. Maybe because I was thinking of my childhood and how much I missed having grits and eggs with a side of avocado in the mornings. Grits is a popular breakfast dish in the southern parts of America. For those not familiar with it, its made from corn and is grounded into a coarse meal. Seeing that it is not so popular here in Europe, I decided to use the next closest thing I could find; Polenta. Polenta is also made from corn. It has a finer texture but does the job just the same.
In the mix, I have avocados. Avocado is a good compliment to any breakfast dish. The contrasting the flavors of mild fruit with the savory sautéed tomatoes and onions are superb. Atop a butter herb poached egg is a brilliant finish to a satisfying meal. Lets not forget that it is a good source of vitamins, nutrients and healthy fats we need.
- 4 cups water
- pinch salt
- 1 ½ cups instant polenta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 green onion, finely sliced
- 1 garlic clove, finely diced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
- Half lemon
- Poached or Fried egg
- Grease lightly a glass rectangle pan with olive oil or butter and set aside.
- In a large pot, bring water and salt to a boil. Reduce to medium heat. Slowly pour the instant polenta into the water while stirring until it thickens which takes about 1 to 2 minutes (follow directions on package).
- Pour polenta into greased pan and spread out to evenly. Allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
- In a small bowl place half avocado, cilantro and a splash of lemon. Place to the side.
- In a sauce pan coat with oil and over medium high heat, sauté tomatoes, onions and garlic for 5 to 7 minutes. Just until tender. Set aside
- Using a cookie cutter, cut the polenta into about 6 to 8 circles (you can use any shape you’d like. Let your creative juices flow).
- Assemble by placing the polenta circles on a serving dish, top each with a dab of avocado, then set the egg directly on the green goodness, and finish off with the sautéed tomato mix. I alternated with and without an egg for my picky eater. But you can dress these little beauties however you would like.
This dish can be served as an hors d’oeuvre or during brunch. The choice is yours. These will sure bring happiness to any table.
Disney Inspired Ratatouille!!!
How often can you say a Disney movie inspired you to cook up something that is not only eye catching, but tasty too. Better yet, a movie where a rat was dying to become a great French chef. I must confess, I’ve seen this movie more than 10 times both with and without the intended viewers around. Although comical, the message behind the movie was clear, nothing should stand in the way of your greatness!
In 2007, Pixar released the movie Ratatouille. It was a story of an unlikely pair; a rat named Remy and a kitchen help Linguini that hilariously teamed up to prepare some of famed chef Auguste Gusteau greatest dishes. One notably, was Ratatouille. Ratatouille is a French stew made up primarily of tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini with a few other ingredient.
In the movie, Ratatouille is prepared in a slightly different way from the traditional using the same ingredients. It involves cutting and baking thinly slice zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes and yellow squash, over a tomato and bell pepper sauce. The layers of brightly colored vegetables just jumped out at me. There was no reason to search for a recipe. After all, it was all visibly on the big screen.
I figured we could do with a meatless meal this week. Though I am not quite sure everyone would be in agreement. Nevertheless there is nothing wrong with a healthy serving of vegetables every now and then. Did I mention that this is a perfect dish for vegetarians? Well it is! No Meat! No Dairy! My non-eating meat friends will love this dish. To make it a more hearty meal, you can add sliced potatoes, sweet or regular. Your choice.
One suggestion I have is to use a veggie slicer if you have one. I did all the work by hand. Its therapy for me. But for a quicker and more uniformed slices, a slicer would do wonders.
” I cant help myself, I like good food okay.” ~ Remy
I decided to use my go to tomato sauce adding in marjoram which was recommended by my favorite vendor at the fresh market in city. He knows his stuff. I thought that oregano would have given the sauce that additional pop on its own but marjoram took the depth to another level.
Some people prepare with an additional layer of béchamel sauce, but for the purpose of this recipe, I stayed close to my inspiration. Depending on how big your pan is, you may want to add more or less vegetables.
Here we go:-
For the Ratatouille
- 1 orange, red or yellow pepper, seeded and sliced in halves
- 2 or 3 roma tomatoes sliced
- 1 eggplant sliced
- 1 zucchini sliced
- 1 yellow squash sliced
- 1 medium red onion (optional)
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to brush vegetables
- 3 sprigs thyme finely chopped
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin oil
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ cup finely chopped sweet onion
- 1 ½ can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 4 finely chopped fresh basil
- 3 fresh sprigs thyme chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F
- Wash and slice vegetable. Set aside
- In a sauce pan heat oil on medium high heat, add onions and garlic. Allow to sweat on medium heat for 3 minutes then add vinegar. After 1 minute pour in tomatoes.
- Cook for 5 minutes, then add basil, thyme salt and pepper to taste.
- Cook additional 5 minutes then pour into baking dish and spread evenly on the bottom. (if you are also using béchamel sauce, you would add it atop of the tomato sauce.
- Begin to assemble layers by alternating vegetables and over laying then in which ever design you desire.
- In a small bowl, add oil, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix together. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush top of vegetable.
- Bake on middle rack for 1 ½ hour until vegetables are tender covered. Remove cover, drop temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minute or until a little color appears (optional)
Cauliflower Aloo Gobi
Cauliflower is one of those underrated vegetables hiding in the shadows. It is a super power food that is low in calories and loaded with vitamins and… Read more “Cauliflower Aloo Gobi”