Tag Archives: quinoa

passover seder

i hosted a passover seder for 17 people in my apartment this past tuesday and it was amazing! great food, friends and a great seder. for many who attended, it was their first seder, and they loved learning about the various symbols and traditions of the holiday. The meal was generously funded through Birthright NEXT, an organization that supports alumni of Birthright.

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i spent a long time planning the menu, and used a pinterest board to gather ideas. this is what i landed on:IMG_6204

this was the first year i’ve done passover away from home, so i didn’t have all of the necessary equipment, such as a seder plate. copying an idea i found on pinterest, i made my chalkboard cheeseboard into a seder plate!IMG_6206IMG_0007

the highlight of the menu for me was the homemade matzo. i’ve spent my entire life eating prepackaged matzo which tastes like cardboard. this homemade matzo is quick and easy to make, and tastes delicious! my roommates want me to make it year round. IMG_6065IMG_6066IMG_6078IMG_6081IMG_6106IMG_6082

i also started the meal with a haroset recipe from wolfgang puck and matzo ball soup from smitten kitchen, both of which were delicious. IMG_0014

 

and now for the main course…

 

 

 

IMG_0015the fan favorite main dish was the chicken marbella. i debated whether i needed to make a chicken in addition to the brisket, but i decided to go for it and i’m so glad i did! this may be the best chicken i’ve ever had. the prunes and apricots went well with the dried fruit in many of the other dishes. IMG_0006

for the brisket i went with the classic smitten kitchen recipe. my 12 lb brisket was so massive that i had to do half in the slow cooker and the other half in the oven. the slow cooker definitely won. the meat was tender and juicy and fell apart more easily. i was torn between doing brisket or short ribs, and i think i would do short ribs if i could do it again because they’re a bit easier to make and the recipe is more foolproof, meaning you can slightly over/under cook them and noboby will know.

for sides i went with a quinoa risotto recipes i’ve been making for years and tzimmes, a classic jewish dish of sweet potato and carrots with prunes. IMG_0020

for dessert, i made three of my flourless favorites:

pavlova, which is a gorgeous light and fluffy meringue with a crunchy exterior and soft marshmallow like interior topped with fresh whipped cream and berries. IMG_6207haroset truffles, which are an alternative version to the classic haroset with apples posted above. these are a mix of dates, apricots, pistachios and almonds, and rolled in coconut.  I ate all of these before i had a chance to take a picture :(

and last but certainly not least, chocolate toffee matzo, an ungodly mix of butter and sugar, chocolate and toppings. I did toasted almonds, sea salt and cystallized ginger. IMG_0001 IMG_0002 IMG_0003 IMG_0004 IMG_0005

passover is one of my favorite jewish holidays, and as you can tell, i went all out this year! even if you’re not jewish you will still enjoy these recipes (especially the chocolate matzo above).

bon appetit!

citrus salad, herbed quinoa and baked tilapia

I love to watch the food network while i’m running on the treadmill at the gym because i get absorbed in the show and before I know it, I’ve run for 30 minutes! Sometimes I get lucky and find inspiration for dinner. These recipes came from an episode of Giada that focused on light & healthy cooking. I made them for my housemates and they were a huge hit! The citrus salad has become a mainstay. Enjoy!

Caramelized Onion, Fennel and Grapefruit Salad

From Giada on the Food Network

Caramelized onions, fennel and grapefruit-what could be bad? This salad is light and refreshing, a nice fusion of sweet, crunchy and tart. It would be a great addition to a summer picnic.

From the Food Network

Ingredients

Caramelized onions:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, very thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dressing:

Salad:

  • 2 pink grapefruits
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 3 scallions, finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

For the caramelized onions: In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool, about 10 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

For the salad: Peel and trim the ends from each grapefruit. Using a paring knife, cut along the membrane on both sides of each segment. Free the segments and add them to a large salad bowl. Add the lettuce, fennel, cucumber, scallions, and thyme.

Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Arrange the caramelized onions on top and serve.

Herbed Quinoa

From Giada on the Food Network

Quinoa is a superfood and I try to incorporate it into my diet as often as possible. The fresh herbs add a wonderful fragrance and freshness, which really dresses up the quinoa. This is a great high protein side dish.

Ingredients:

Quinoa:

  • 2 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add the chicken stock, lemon juice and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover the pan and cook until all the liquid is absorbed, about 12 to 15 minutes.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa and toss until all the ingredients are coated. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and serve.

Baked Tilapia

Tilapia is a great inexpensive white fish that takes on whatever flavor you want to give it. We always have fillets in the freezer at my house which come in handy when i don’t have much time to prepare dinner. This fish is lemony and a little spicy and is ready in minutes!

Ingredients

  • 4 tilapia fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (margarine or butter substitutes work too)
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  • Place tilapia in an ungreased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. In a small bowl, combine the butter, lemon juice, garlic powder and salt; pour over the fillets. Sprinkle with capers, oregano and paprika.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 425° for 10-15 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork.

These three recipes come together to make a light and delicious dinner that is equally impressive and easy!