Sometimes when you just can’t…then you need to play “Double Up!” That’s my term for seeing how many recipes I can work into one meal…especially when I’m behind in my cooking and posting. Today, I’m posting the Quinoa Fruit and Nut Salad and the Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli…both exceptional dishes from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table.
Leading off our dinner is Dorie’s Quinoa, Fruit and Nut Salad. This recipe takes a little bit of prep time…you need to cook the quinoa (keen-wah) and let it cool, then assemble the ingredients (your choice of dried fruits, nuts and seeds) and dress it. The salad mix tastes better if the flavors are allowed to blend and mellow some before serving (at room temperature) over greens. I’ve been looking for a way to get more whole grains into our diet. THIS is the recipe! Yes, it’s a little on the sweet side…but that depends on the dried fruit you add. I was planning on adding golden raisins, but found the dark ones first. I’d love this with cranberries! The options are pretty much endless. Rather than adding a yogurt topping, this time I chose to sprinkle the salad with gorgonzola just before serving…seriously tasty! The saltiness of the cheese was a great balance!
Quinoa is a quiet little “pseudocereal” (neither a grain, nor a grass…) that we’re going to call a grain for simplicity. It’s tiny and looks completely innocuous. It originated in the South American Andes mountains, and is a complete protein (containing complex amino acids) that swells many times it’s original size when cooked like rice. I’ve used the seeds in breads for years, but never quite got around to actually cooking it. WOW! The recipe says that the grain is cooked when you see the little white belt around the grains. Easy enough!
Let the grains come to room temperature, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add some chopped nuts, dried fruits and a few chopped herbs…dress it with a light dressing and you’ve got a great way to add whole protein grains to your salads. The quinoa has a completely neutral flavor when cooked in water…I’ll bet you could play with this! But…we still have food to prep for dinner…let’s get back to that!
Next up is Garlicky Crumb-Coated Broccoli. It’s hard to get easier than this for a really nice side dish… Steam your broccoli until crisp tender…mix up the garlicky crumbs and finish the broccoli in the pan with the buttered garlicky crumbs. We polished this off in fine style…but who wouldn’t? This time, I used broccoli crowns only…they were the same price as regular broccoli… Mine got a little more cooked than I would have liked, but that’s how things go when you’re cooking a lot of things at one time sometimes.
While prepping the broccoli, I was also poaching tilapia fillets in an herbed butter and wine mixture that turned into a buerre blanc at the end. Unfortunately, I’d already used the last of my parsley in the garlicky broccoli…so my fish looks a little pale…but then…white fish with buerre blanc is pretty pallid! Thankfully, the broccoli draws your eye, abd that’s what I want you to look at anyway!
The quinoa dish took a little warming up to… It’s good…but I don’t mix many fruits into my salads… I guess I just don’t think of that. However…this is really good on top of greens…so why not? I can see me playing with quinoa a little more now…and I might give millet another try too. Amaranth is a little smaller than quinoa, but could be subbed…much the same, it’s a seed grown in the Andes, and is a complete protein. The garlicky broccoli came out great!! I’d like to keep it back as a holiday dish though… We like broccoli just as it is most of the time. The buttery-garlicky-yumminess is really worth working the recipe up…but like another blogging friend…it’s not quite healthy enough to serve this way all the time…but those special dinners…oh yeah!!
That catches the first two recipes of April at French Fridays with Dorie. I’m still behind though… There are Vanilla Eclairs, Mustard Batons and Bistro Paul Bert steaks to fix by month’s end. Hmmmm…. At least I’ve gotten 2 recipes completed this month! LOL!