Quinoa with mushrooms, asparagus and feta

I don’t think a week goes by that I do not cook from the Williams Sonoma blog, Taste. So many of their recipes are appealing to me and delicious! I used cremini mushrooms and added about a half of a pound. I had leftover asparagus that was blanched from last night and used that instead of a whole pound of asparagus. I love the sweetness from the currants and the balsamic vinegar. This can be eaten hot, warm, room temperature or cold.

Quinoa with mushrooms, asparagus, feta

1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) olive oil, plus more for dish and for drizzling

1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) red quinoa

2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml.) chicken or vegetable broth

1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) dried currants

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 small red onion, halved and sliced

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 lb. (500 g.) asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces

1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Grated zest of 1 lemon

4 oz. (125 g.) feta cheese, crumbled


Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Oil a 3-qt. (3-l.) baking dish.


In a saucepan, bring the quinoa and 2 cups (16 fl. oz./250 ml.) of the broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the currants, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, but keep covered to stay warm.

In a large frying pan, heat the 1/4 cup oil over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and onion and season with salt and pepper. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 4-6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and toss to coat with the oil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is fork-tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, parsley, lemon zest and half of the feta. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining feta, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.

Grain free Cauliflower Couscous

This recipe comes from today’s WSJ adapted from Aziza Restaurant in San Francisco-it is very easy and delicious! It would be great as a main course or with fish!

Cauliflower couscous

1/2 cup currants

2 T. sherry vinegar

2 T. water

1 medium shallot, thinly sliced

1 clove garlic, thinly slice

4 T. butter, divided into 2 T.

1 T. curry powder

1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

2 T. grapeseed oil

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/2 preserved lemon, chopped or 1/2 small fresh lemon

3 T. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped

pinch of red chili flakes

In a bowl cover the currants with the sherry vinegar and water and set aside. In a medium saute pan over medium heat, melt 2 T. butter, add shallot and clove of garlic and sauté about 5 minutes. Add 2 T. butter and 1 T. curry powder, stirring until butter has melted. Transfer curry butter to a bowl. Wipe clean the saute pan and over medium high heat add the grapeseed oil. Once hot add 1/2 yellow onion and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes or less. Add 3 sliced cloves of garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add the cauliflower and increase the heat to high, stir constantly for 3 minutes. Stir in curry butter, drained currants, lemon, parsley, almonds and chili and saute 2 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt.

Produce Frenzy

I am so thrilled to go to the farmers market (or grocery store for that matter) that I reluctantly went to my Saturday market after having a full fridge of roasted chilies, peach pie, eggplants and zucchini waiting to be roasted….but I still went and got the last of the corn, tomatoes and peaches from the Western Slope of CO. Here is what went on! I made fresh tomato salsa with the roasted tomatoes and corn salsa. The roasted eggplant was marinated in soy and balsamic and can be eaten out of hand as can the zucchinis with parmesan! Happy Summer

Grilled corn and tomatojpg



Eggplant marinated and grilled Grilled zucchini

Caramelized Tomato Tarte Tatin

From the NYTimes in 2008. I was so excited to find five or more colors of cherry tomatoes at Whole Foods. I think cherry tomato plants may be the most rewarding as they start producing early and continue!

Cherry tomatoes

1 14 oz. package all butter puff pastry (Dufour is the very best), defrost in refrig. overnight

2 T. unsalted butter

2-3 red onions, halved and thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped Kalamata olives

1 1/2 pints (about 1#) assorted colors of cherry tomatoes

1 T. fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar

1/2 t. sherry vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Unfold puff pastry and cut into a 10″ round. Chill, covered until ready to use. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat, add onions and a pinch of sugar and cook stirring often until golden and caramelized-15-20 minutes. Add 2 T. water and let it cook down, scraping any bits from bottom of pan. Transfer to a bowl.

Caramelizing for tart

In a clean ovenproof 9″ skillet, combine 1/4 cup sugar and 3 T. water. Cook over medium heat, swirling pan gently (do not stir)until sugar melts and turns amber-about 5-10 minutes, add vinegar and stir gently. Sprinkle olives over caramel. Scatter tomatoes over olives then sprinkle onions on it. Season with thyme leaves, salt and pepper. Top with puff pastry, tucking the edges in pan. Cut several long vents in top of pastry.

Caramelized tomato tarte tatin

Bake 30 minutes until crust is puffed and golden. Let stand for 5 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert it onto a serving plate. Serve immediately.

Zucchini, rice and phyllo pie-River Cottage Vegetable cookbook

This is the first of this authors cookbooks I have bought and I am super excited to cook from it  I am making the Zucchini. Rice and Filo (I guess the British spell it filo as it is pronounced but I buy it as phyllo in the freezer section-Athens is a good brand) Pie for the second time. It is so easy and delicious and holds up well. I cut any leftovers into squares and eat it for breakfast or lunch.

Zucchini rice phyllo pie

1# zucchini, coarsely grated

1/2 cup long grain rice-I used jasmine

1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped

2 1/2 oz. hard goat cheese or mature cheddar, grated (I used cheddar)

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

2 T. olive oil

a handful of dill, chopped

a good handful of parsely, chopped ( I use flat leaf)

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 oz. phyllo, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator

5 T. unsalted butter melted or olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix zucchini, rice, onion, cheese, eggs, olive oil and chopped herbs together in a large bowl. Season with plenty of salt and pepper. Take a sheet of phyllo and brush with melted butter/oil and line a small ovenproof dish, about 6 cup capacity, placing the pastry butter side down. Let any excess hang over the edge or sides. Add another buttered sheet and continue until you have one sheet left. Pour the filling into the phyllo lined dish. Fold the last remaining sheet of phyllo up to cover and then fold the edges in. Brush with butter and bake 45 minutes. Serve hot or warm or I even like it room temp. You could vary the herbs with any of your favorites.


Macaroni and Cheese

The perfect comfort food! This is Martha’s recipe via Food 52’s blog. If you haven’t gone to this blog before, check it out. It is chock full of fabulous recipes! I omitted the bread crust as I did not want it! Feel free to do the same, or not!

Macaroni and cheese

Serves 12

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for dish
  • 6 slices good white bread, crusts removed, torn or diced into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 5 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar cheese (about 18 ounces)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese (about 8 ounces) or 1 1/4 cups grated Pecorino Romano cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni (or other small pasta shape)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish; set aside. Place bread in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter (alternately, melt butter in the microwave). Pour butter into bowl with bread, and toss. Set breadcrumbs aside. Pull out 1 1/2 cups of grated cheddar, and 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and reserve.
  2. Fill a large pot with water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; cook 2 to 3 minutes less than manufacturer’s directions, until the outside of pasta is cooked and the inside is underdone. (Different brands of macaroni cook at different rates; be sure to read the instructions.) Transfer macaroni to a colander, rinse under cold running water, and drain well. Set aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk. In the same pot you used for boiling the pasta, melt remaining 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat. When butter bubbles, add flour. Cook, whisking, 1 minute.
  4. While whisking, slowly pour in hot milk. Continue cooking, whisking constantly, until the mixture bubbles and becomes thick.
  5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar cheese, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere or 1 cup Pecorino Romano. Stir reserved macaroni into the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup Gruyere or 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano, and breadcrumbs over top. Bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes. If after 30 minutes, it’s not browned to your liking, broil the topping rather than leaving it in the oven, which may cause the pasta to overcook and sauce to dry out. Transfer dish to a wire rack to cool 5 minutes; serve hot.

Fennel Compote with tomatoes and olives

This recipe is from the NY Times and really simple and delicious. The author suggests to serve it on fish, however, I served it on pasta and it was wonderful

Fennel Compote


  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 bulb fennel (or 2 smaller ones), trimmed and chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 6 plum tomatoes, chopped (canned are fine, but drain excess liquid)
  • 1/2 cup big, plump olives, green or black or a combination, preferably unpitted
  • 1/4 cup capers, optional
  • 4 servings cooked fish, optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves, for garnish


Put the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the fennel and some salt and pepper, and without browning (adjust the heat as necessary), cook it down, stirring occasionally, until it’s quite soft, about 20 minutes. Add the thyme and garlic, and cook 1 minute, stirring.
Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, raise the heat a bit, and cook until the mixture is saucy, about 15 minutes. Serve as a side dish or top with a portion of cooked fish. Garnish with parsley.
4 servings

Quinoa Tabbouleh

A fabulous new restaurant opened in Denver called True Food and the cookbook is full of great recipes. I am a huge fan of quinoa and this is a delicious fall salad with beets, pomegranates and marcona almondsQuinoa tabbouleh


1# beets

1-2 cups red quinoa (depending on how much quinoa you like)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 garlic cloves, mashed and minced

1/2 t. salt

pinch of red pepper flakes

1/3 cup chopped Italian parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

3 scallions, chopped

2 oz. arugula

1/2 pomegranate, seeds removed and reserved

1/4 cup chopped Marcona almonds (or any almond-Marcona are crispy)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse beets and wrap in foil, bake for one hour, until easily pierced with a knife. Cool, peel and dice and set aside.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil, add rinsed and drained quinoa and simmer, covered for 20 minutes, until the quinoa is dry and fluffy. Cool.

In a salad bowl, whisk the oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Add the beets, quinoa, parsley, mint, scallions and arugula and toss well to combine. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and almonds.


Scalloped Oysters

I have only a few recipes from my grandmother in her handwriting. She was a wonderful cook and I wish I had spent time cooking with her. This was always on our Thanksgiving table and I continue the tradition. Serves 10 easily!

1 pint of fresh oysters

2 T.+ oyster liquor

2 T. milk or cream

1/2 cup melted butter (the recipe says or oleo but I don’t use oleo)

1/2 cup + saltine cracker crumbs

1/2 cup bread crumbs

Mix cracker and bread crumbs (some recipes use all cracker crumbs) with melted butter. Butter a shallow 8″ square baking dish. Sprinkle a few crumbs and then a layer of oysters. Season with salt and pepper and moisten with oyster liquor and cream. Add one more layer of crumbs, oysters, cream and top with remaining crumbs. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Never use more than two layers as the middle layer will not get cooked.


Perfect Rice

My husband can make the perfect rice-every time! I struggle but have recently found the  answer from Saveur magazine’s recipes. It works for any kind of rice-brown, basmati, jasmine-short grain or long grain. Makes 2 cups

Rinse 1 cup of rice for 30 seconds, drain.

Bring 12 cups of water to a boil. Add rice, stir once and cook uncovered for 30 minutes

Pour rice into a strainer in a sink, let drain 10 seconds. Return to pan and cover with a tight fitting lid for 10 minutes, no heat. Uncover, fluff and season!