Three dishes to Celebrate!

“Three more recipes…what’s going on here? Why not break this up into three posts if posting more than once a week is a problem? Is she crazy?”

Yes, I can hear the thoughts and no, I can’t blame you for thinking them. But you see, there’s cause to celebrate. Have you figured it out from the photo yet?

That’s right, it’s my 100th post!

Thank you all for being with me on this wonderful blogging journey so far, and for reading and commenting. Your dialog with me via comments was, and is, one of the things I love the best about blogging and I hope you’ll be with me for the next 100 posts, to infinity and beyond, and continue to chat with me, share your experiences, thoughts and feedback.

And so, without further ado and to celebrate this auspicious occasion, I present to you these three recipes. This Roasted Broccoli with Quick Basil Walnut Pesto was inspired by a recent post from Sharyn at the Kale Chronicles, and you can see her method for making pesto the old fashioned way here as opposed to my down and dirty way below. Broccoli is my favorite veggie and therefore I consider it to be celebratory fare, walnuts are my favorite nut, and who doesn’t like basil pesto, I ask you? And if that dish isn’t enough…and it isn’t…I’m also presenting two easy salad recipes featuring quinoa, that most wonderful and versatile of grains. A sweet salad in the form of my Peach, Dried Cherry and Date Quinoa Salad with Honey Cinnamon Orange Dressing (if you’ve been reading lately, you knew there’d be more with peaches, right?)—and a savory salad, my Tomato, Basil and Green Onion Quinoa Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing.

I invite you to celebrate with me and enjoy trying one, or all three, of these easy dishes. Happy reading, happy cooking and happy eating, with love from Betsy.

See you on post 101!

Roasted Broccoli with Quick Basil Walnut Pesto
It’s been said by many that one doesn’t need a recipe for roasted broccoli or even for pesto, but here it is anyway! All I can say is that they sure are wonderful together, with the nuttiness of the roasted broccoli complimented and enhanced by the rich and nutty pesto.

2 Heads of broccoli, stems removed and florets separated
1 Tablespoon good quality olive oil plus a bit for greasing the pan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 pinches of kosher salt
12 walnut halves, plus a few for garnish
2 cups fresh basil leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons good quality olive oil
1/4 – 1/3 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with some olive oil. Place the broccoli florets on the pan, toss with the 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Roast the broccoli for 12- 15 minutes, stirring once halfway, until the broccoli is lightly toasted, fragrant and tender. Remove from the oven and transfer to a serving plate.

While the broccoli is roasting, make the pesto. In a small food processor, pulse the garlic, salt and walnuts together until they are coarsely ground. Add the basil leaves and several grinds of fresh black pepper, and pulse until the basil is finely chopped. While the machine is running, add the olive oil through the opening in the top of the processor and allow to process until the oil is incorporated. Add the cheese and pulse just to combine. Serve several tablespoons drizzled over the warm roasted broccoli and sprinkle a few walnuts over the top. Save the rest of the pesto in a glass jar in the fridge and it will keep for several days….but it’s very likely it will disappear before then!

 Peach, Dried Cherry, Walnut and Date Quinoa Salad
with Honey Cinnamon Orange Dressing

I’ve been re-reading Mark Bittman’s book Food Matters. He suggests picking a whole grain of your choice, making a lot of it each week, storing it in the fridge, and using it to create new dishes, add to old ones, etc. I’d never cooked quinoa until I made this dish and the next one. In addition to being a wonderful side dish for any meal, it’s terrific with barbecue and this one is also great for breakfast!

4 cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cup dried pitted cherries
3 small peaches, washed, peeled (you can leave the skin on if you prefer), pitted and sliced
1/3 cup chopped and toasted walnuts
1/3 cup pitted, dried, chopped dates
Juice and zest of one medium orange
3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus a tiny bit more to taste if desired
2 teaspoons honey
A good pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper

In a medium-sized bowl combine the quinoa, cherries, peaches, walnuts and dates until well distributed. In a small bowl whisk together the juice and zest of the orange, the olive oil, cinnamon, honey, salt and pepper until emulsified. Pour over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to coat. Allow the flavors to blend for about 30 minutes and serve.

Tomato, Basil and Green Onion Quinoa Salad with Fresh Lemon Dressing
A lovely and fresh tasting savory quinoa salad, good alongside most anything!

3 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups quartered grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped parsley, preferably flat leaf
1/2 cup chiffonade (thinly slivered) fresh basil leaves
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of black pepper

Combine the quinoa, tomatoes, green onion, parsley and basil in a medium bowl until well mixed. In a small bowl combine the juice and zest of the lemon, olive oil, honey, salt and pepper and whisk to emulsify. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and stir gently to combine. Allow the flavors to blend for about 30 minutes. Serve.

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32 thoughts on “Three dishes to Celebrate!

  1. Congrats on your 100th post and I did see the one hundred! I love the look of your roasted broccoli salad. I’ve never roasted broccoli before, only steamed it. I’d like to try this and I think broccoli and pesto would work so well together. I love quinoa. My naturopath put me onto it about a year ago and told me it’s so much better for me than wheat (pasta) or white rice. I try to cook with it once a week but your idea of making a big batch and storing it in the fridge for the week really makes sense. Here’s to you and your next 100 posts! xx

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    • Oh you must roast broccoli, Charlie, it’s so easy and delicious. You’ll never go back to steaming again…and truly I’d never have thought of putting some pesto on top until I read Sharyn’s post, but it is pretty spectacular on broccoli. Thanks for your kind words. I’ve been out of town and have lots of catching up to do with everyone now.

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  2. Heartfelt congratulations, Betsy! These are 3 great recipes you’ve shared today. I’ve yet to try quinoa but seeing your 2 dishes have me thinking that it’s time to buy some. Both are so fresh looking and their ingredient lists so appealing. I guess it’s time I jump on the quinoa bandwagon. Where can I buy the t-shirt? 🙂

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    • We enjoyed the quinoa more than I thought we would. I probably still prefer some other grains, but I do like the quinoa a lot for a change. Thanks for your wonderful comments and I’m working on that t-shirt now that I’m back in my office! 🙂

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  3. Congratulations – what a milestone! And 3 great recipes…funnily enough someone today asked me for tips with quinoa, so as I don´t have much experience of this will have to point them your way 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Tanya, and it really is a milestone, isn’t it? This spring has been so hectic, I never thought I’d get there. This was my first experience with quinoa and it went far better than I expected. It’s good stuff! 🙂

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  4. Congratulations Betsy! That is quite an achievement. I have recently started to cook with quinoa grains. I have used the flakes for quite some time now in my porridge but branched out recently. Thank you for sharing these recipes. I now have two more recipes to add to my quinoa collection

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    • Hi Rhoda, and thank you so much for your kind words. I’ve never even seen quinoa flakes, but our market has a lot of the whole grains. They are so pretty when they’re cooked, and far more tasty than I thought they’d be!

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  5. Here’s to infinity and beyond! Looking forward to your next 100 posts Betsy. I’ve been trying to make a new salad on the weekends using a different grain or legume each time. I see that quinoa with peach and dried cherry in my near future!

    BTW, I found a ma’amool mould last week at the little middle eastern shop near my house. I can’t wait to try out your recipe for these cookies too….although I need to get through the two upcoming birthday parties for my girls first!

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    • Thank you so much, Barb…I’m looking forward to doing the next 100 and seeing where it all goes! I like your idea of mixing up the grains. I’m feeling a bit lentil-ish myself. How cool that you found a mould! I need to make more Ma’amool…they were so good and I still have dates. I’ll bet the ponytails would have a blast making those…but not for birthday for sure!

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  6. Congratulations on your 100th post! Those salads all look good…I must admit I love broccoli too and have never roasted it. I must try that one day 🙂

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  7. I want to try out the tomato, basil and green onion quinoa recipe it looks lovely. I made a quinoa salad with tomatoes, red peppers, feta and some balsalmic vinegar in it – and it was delicious.

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  8. Pingback: No-Onion Broccoli Salad: Recipe Sunday - If You Can Read, You Can Cook

  9. Pingback: A Better BLT | bits and breadcrumbs

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