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Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa



The quinoa gives this recipe a lovely chewy texture, and the lime and cilantro add a freshy fresh taste. When you prepare the quinoa, they'll plump up and burst out of their little shells (don't be surprised by the little sprouts).


Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa


2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don't worry if lid doesn't fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.


Makes 4 side dish servings.


Gourmet, July 2007.

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Double Potato and Halloumi Bake



Some of my favorite foods include stews, risottos, and roasts. Unfortunately, it's always too hot in the summer to even attempt any of these (who wants to turn the oven on when it's 90 degrees out?). But as soon as the temperature starts to dip, I'm whipping out the arborio rice and the roasting pans. We made this dish recently to bring to accompany some delicious steaks (thanks, Jack!). This recipe is a tried-and-true favorite, done up in true Nigella style with simple ingredients and a super-fast prep time. You don't even have to peel the garlic cloves! But please don't skimp on the halloumi, and do eat it as soon as you can without burning the roof of your mouth off.

Double Potato and Halloumi Bake:

Serves 6

1 large sweet potato
1 large Desiree potato, or other red/firm potato
1 red onion
1 yellow pepper
1 red peppers
1/2 head Garlic
4 tbsp Olive oil
1 pinch Pepper
125g halloumi cheese, sliced as thinly as you can

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Cut the sweet potato into rough 1.5" cubes and the Desiree slightly smaller (1") as the sweet potato will cook more quickly.

3. Halve the red onion then cut the half into 4-6 segments, discarding any tough outer skin.

4. De-seed the peppers and cut into 1" squares, and separate the cloves of garlic.

5. Put everything into a large roasting tin or whatever you want to use (it should be big, otherwise use two dishes) and, using your hands, give the vegetables a good coating of olive oil. Season with black pepper, but no salt as the cheese will make it salty (and anyway, the salt will make water leech out).

6. Cook for 45 minutes, by which time the vegetables should be cooked through and here and there tinged with brown.

7. You'll need to turn the oven up to maximum, or light the grill for the endgame: so place the thinly sliced cheese on top of the bake, and put it back in the very hot oven or under the grill until the cheese has melted and turned slightly brown on top, about 5-10 minutes. Serve straight out of the roasting tin.




Recipe originally from Nigella Bites. She states that the recipe feeds 3, but if you're using this as a side dish, you'll easily get at least 6 servings out of it.

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Potato Salad with Ginger and Cilantro



Every dish at the potluck last week was amazing, and we still managed plenty of compliments because of this potato salad recipe. We hadn't made the recipe before, but the additions of ginger and cilantro encouraged us to try it and the results were great. If you're tired of dill in your potato salads, give this a try. You'll be the talk of the potluck.

Potato Salad with Ginger and Cilantro

3 1/2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes

1 cup chopped shallots (about 3)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups (packed) roughly chopped cilantro leaves

Boil potatoes until cooked through, about 25 minutes. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead.

Puree shallots, mayonnaise, ginger, and lemon juice in a food processor. Transfer puree to a small bowl and stir in 1 1/2 cups cilantro. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Peel potatoes and cut them into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in large bowl, add dressing, and toss to coat. Refrigerate until cold, about 4 hours. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe from Bon Appétit August 2004

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Simple Sugar Snap Peas



Last week at the market, lots of farmers were selling quarts of sugar snap peas and I couldn't resist their shiny pods and cute little crowns. Unfortunately, I have a bad habit of losing things in the fridge, so these little guys sat a week in the crisper. I did remember them today, though.

Snap peas are very similar to the snow pea, but they have rounder pods and are much sweeter. They're better for you than regular peas, as they have a lower sugar and fat content. They also benefit from simple preparation, so it's a win-win!

Sugar Snap Peas with Toasted Sesame Seeds

1 pound sugar snap peas, stringed
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil

Sesame seeds need to be toasted for their flavor to be released. Even if you bought pre-toasted sesame seeds, it's a good idea to toast them again before you throw them in with the snap peas. It's also important to buy toasted sesame oil, which is more fragrant than untoasted sesame oil. Toasting your own sesame seeds is very easy; heat up a small, dry saucepan on the stove and add your sesame seeds. When the seeds have begun to brown, you can remove them from the heat. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes at a medium-low heat.

To string the snap peas, pinch the crowned end of the bean (the part that attaches to the plant) and gently pull down the length of the bean. You want the tip to snap off, and to remove the fibrous section along the inner curve of the bean (the string).

Steam the snap peas for three minutes, until they are tender-crisp. Transfer to a bowl, and toss with sesame seeds and oil. Salt and pepper to taste (we like to add lots of freshly ground black pepper -- it gives the dish a nice kick).



Bon Appétit, April 2000

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