Monday 30 April 2012

Quinoa Salad- Flat Iron Grill style!!

It's back to health Monday!! I'm all about changing things up and keeping meals exciting... It's DEFINITELY the best way to help you stay on track when it comes to smart eating.

To start, get yourself an insulated lunch bag. There are many manly ones, as well as super cute ones out there! And store a couple of cold packs in your freezer to add to your bag and keep your food cool.

I have several viewers that have been waiting for this one. Chef Cody Reaves shared his Quinoa salad recipe. I go to the Flat Iron Grill, in Issaquah, Washington, have this delightful salad, then order another to take home for lunch the next day. Imagine my delight, he shared his recipe...yum yum!! He is not long on words, but, this is his exact recipe, as he wrote it. I have made it two times since ...........I tweeked it, as usual, but, have noted that.

Amy, Holly and I love this salad and are making it to take on our hike week. Just put the salad dressing in a separate little container and dress the salad, just before you eat it!! *Note, I have used the plain white quinoa, but, the Trader Joe's has the "Fancy Smancy" three color kind.

Flat Iron Grill Quinoa Salad
Recipe By Chef Cody Reaves
Serves 10

1 pound of Quinoa cooked (you can cook in rice cooker; you can store in the freezer or refrigerator, per April 23 blog, "What's all the Ta Do about Quinoa")
1 diced Poblano Pepper
1pound of crumbled Feta Cheese
1 diced English Cucumber
8 Green Onions, Sliced Thin
1pound of wild Baby Arugula
½ pound of Currants
1 ½ cups of Walnut Vinaigrette (below)

Rinse the Quinoa, before cooking it!! Per blog "Whats all the Ta Do about Quinoa".

Ingredients for the vinaigrette.

Walnut Vinaigrette
Yield = 4Cups (I made the full recipe and store in refirgerator)

½ Cup of toasted walnuts ground and chopped fine
1Tablespoon of minced shallots
1Tablespoon of minced garlic
2 Tablespoons of Stone Ground mustard (I used Dijon)
½ Cup of Champagne Vinegar
1 Tablespoon of Honey
½ Tablespoon of lemon juice
½ Cup of water
1 Tablespoon of fresh chopped Oregano
1 Tablespoon of chopped Parsley
2 Cups of Olive Oil  (I used 1/2 olive oil, 1/2 walnut oil)
Kosher salt & pepper to taste
Making the Dressing:
In a food processor combine all ingredients except walnuts and oil. While mixing on low slowly drizzle oil to make an emulsion. Add walnuts and adjust seasoning with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Store cold.

Use your food processor to make the dressing,(you can make in a blender as well).

Add all the ingredients except the oil.

Slowly, very slowly pour the oil into the bowl through the feeding tube, while the processor is running. You will see it thicken a bit,  you can actually hear that it is changing into the beautiful emulsified dressing............liquid GOLD!!! I love this dressing and use it on other salads. I make the whole recipe and keep it in the refrigerator.

Rehydrating The Currants:
In a large sauce pan bring 2 cups of red wine vinegar (I used 1 cup red wine vinegar and 1 cup water) and 2 cups of granulated sugar to a boil. Add the dried currants and simmer on low for approximately 5 minutes until the currants are plump. Strain the liquid and allow the currants to cool before adding them to the salad. The poaching liquid can be reserved cold for another use.

What you need for rehydrating the currents.
Weigh the currents on your kitchen scale.

In a large bowl mix all ingredients together, making sure that the walnut vinaigrette is well distributed.

 Using tongs arrange some of the dressed arugula on the base of the salad plates and then cascade the rest of the ingredients over the top. This salad is my favorite!!

 I love my herbs fresh and have all my favorites in pots on my patio, here in Arizona. I have drip hoses attached to my sprinkler system, so that they are cared for automatically everyday. I just love to pick and smell the beautiful fragrance of my herbs.

And, yes that would be a Jack Russell tail ...

Smoothie of the week


 Blend 2 bananas, 1/2 cup each vanilla yogurt and milk, 2 tsp. honey or agave, a pinch of cinnamon and 1 cup of ice! Yummy to the tummy!!


What do you want that BUM to look like? 

Hike week June 16-21!

My Favorite! Just beautiful! And, more buds to bloom!

Friday 27 April 2012

OMGOSH! Blue cheese and rosemary Scallop Potatoes!

Ready for a change in your everyday scallop potatoes? This is the perfect side for a steak, prime rib or Meatloaf Provence. I made this the other night with my meatloaf Provence and had Wee Bear moaning for more!
He is admittedly a Blue cheese-a-holic! The blending of grated Parmesan and Blue Cheese gives this dish such depth and will be going back for seconds!

    Blue Cheese and Rosemary Scallop Potatoes

5 lb. Russet potatoes
2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
3/4 c. crumbled blue cheese  (can use reduced fat)
3/4 c. grated Parmesan
1 c. sour cream   (can use reduced fat)
2 c. cream   (can use 1/2 and  1/2)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9X13 glass baking dish or a oval baking dish. 
                                             Peel and slice potatoes.

                         Toss in bowl with salt, pepper and rosemary.

                             In small bowl, toss together cheeses.

Layer half potatoes in dish, sprinkle with cheeses and top with remaining potatoes.

In a bowl, whisk together sauce ingredients, pour over potatoes.

Sprinkle with remaining cheese mixture.

Bake potatoes for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until browned and completely tender all the way through when poked with knife.

* I have a lot of e-mails, for make ahead dishes. This can be made in advance and refrigerated up to two days. Bring to room temperature and reheat in 350 F oven until hot.

                           Mother Nature- another sign of Spring

This little Mommy decided my flower pot would be a great place to have a baby. She picked the afternoon, shady side of the pot.

Her little peep!

Just love it!! Makes me feel like a Midwife!!


We have guests in this week for the Mountain Magic tournament. The tournament is for ladies, and is a three day, ambitiously competitive tournament. My partner, flew up, with her husband, from Cabo San Lucas on Tuesday and will stay with us until Sunday!

 Some pictures from the Welcome Party, Desert Mountain Ladies Member-Guest~ Mountain Magic!

 Ice slipper martini luge!

Tatoo artist!

And yes, matching tatoo's! For luck!!

And here is why we chose the dueling guns! Wendy and I won overall 1st place at the member/member at Querencia in Cabo a few years ago!

Dining musicians

Here's the BEEF!

Sushi man!

You ROCK!!
 Love this life!!
 Have a GREAT weekend!!   JJ

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Rotisserie Filet of beef roast

This wine is amazing! Rated 90 points in Wine Advocate...

2009 Chateau Montelena 90 Points-

The 2009 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully supple and fragrant. Silky tannins frame a core of expressive dark red fruit. Floral and spice notes are nicely woven throughout. This textured, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon should continue to age gracefully for another 7-10 years, but it is awfully good right now. We opened the bottle two hours in advance of our dinner, which is (according to my Wine Enthusiast friend Jim), is what you do for any red wine. Delicious and smooth!! The blend includes 7% Merlot and 1.5% Cabernet Franc. $60.00 normally, Wineontheway price is $38.00, free shipping on any 12 bottles.
The Wineontheway icon is on the right, click and buy! This one tasted amazing with the filet of beef, below and with the Organic Dark chocolate shortbread, I served as part of the dessert. All 6 tasters loved it!
 Company coming!

I am pulling out Wee Bear's favorite!! When it comes to grilled beef, I believe the simpler the better.  The more you try to do to a tenderloin with marinades, injections, and sauces, you lose it's beefy luster.  I usually prefer just salt and pepper and garlic.Looking for a recipe to shock and awe your guests?  Look no further. Maybe it's not quite as flavorful as a prime rib, but it's still excellent. And there is something about beef tenderloin that says "luxury". You and your guests will appreciate it.

  Beef Tenderloin on the Rotisserie

*Do this 24 hours ahead, if possible, 8 hours at least.

3 - 3 1/2 lb beef tenderloin
2 tsp. Kosher salt
2 tsp. freshly ground pepper (I use multi-blend)
4-5 garlic cloves crushed

What you will need

Trim up your tenderloin, or have the butcher do it. I have a great relationship with my butcher, he knows my expectations and he goes out of his way to make sure I get the best of the best. (that and he knows he will be on the blog!!) Develop a relationship with your butcher, you will be rewarded!!

How to trim up your own filet of beef:

Use the following technique to remove the fat and membrane. For roasting it whole, it should be tied with twine as illustrated so that the meat keeps its shape and cooks evenly.
 STEP 1: To remove the thick layer of fat that covers the top of the fillet, use a sharp boning knife to separate the fat from the meat at one end, as illustrated. Grab the fat with your other hand and peel it back while working the knife underneath until all is removed. 
STEP 2: Carefully remove any of the translucent membrane on the surface of the meat by running the knife under it -do not slice away any meat in the process. Work with the knife and your fingers to clean the fillet.

STEP 3: One end of the fillet will be smaller and narrower than the other. This is called the tail. Flip the thin tail under the fillet and then tie it securely with kitchen twine. This is done for esthetic, as well as practical reasons; the tail will cook more evenly this way. Make several loops with the twine along the rest of the fillet.

The latest greatest garlic mincing tool!! I just love it...........why, you ask? There are so many different ones. The old fashioned one, (pictured below) which served us well in the beginning....well, we didn't know any better!! Difficult to clean and hard to get the minced garlic out of the bucket.

Here is the latest and I LOVE IT!

First, to get the skin off the garlic, press the flat side of your knife down on the clove of garlic hard. The skin cracks open for you to easily peel it off with your fingers.

 Made by Joseph Joseph, it is called the Rocker garlic crusher!

Crush garlic by pushing and rocking back and forth over the clove

Scoop crushed garlic into pan!!

Easy to clean! Just rinse! I found that for some stubborn pieces, a dish brush, quickly popped them out!!


Okay,............................wheres the BEEF?

Mince the 4-5 cloves of garlic, add 2 tsp. Kosher salt and  2 tsp freshly ground pepper. Rub this mixture all over your beef and put into a Ziploc bag. I use a Ziploc, as this aroma of the mixture permeates throughout the refrigerator. (It could actually add a garlic taste to other exposed food items in your refrigerator.) Refrigerate over night.

Scrape off the marinade, as much as you can, and skewer the tenderloin. Wrap with plastic wrap or foil (which foil will be used again after it is roasted, to give it a rest). Let it sit at room temp for two hours before putting it on the rotisserie.

About 20 minutes ahead, turn your rotisserie heat element on to HIGH. Close lid and let it preheat.

Put the filet of beef on and turn on the rotisserie unit. Let it cook with lid down for about 20 minutes. It should be done to med/rare at that point. Check with meat thermometer. (If you want your meat done to medium, turn the heat down to medium after ten minutes on the rotisserie. then use thermometer to check) Remove, tent with foil, and let the meat rest for 10 minutes. It will rise in temperature, about 8-10 degrees.  Remove from heat, before it reaches these temperatures, or it will be more done than you want it.

Well Done

Tent the beef for 10 minutes, while you prep the accompaniments.

                   Snip the strings, slice and serve. Wee Bear with Beth assisting!

The main course- Filet of Beef, Blue Cheese and Rosemary Scallop potatoes (this Fridays blog) and a mix of vegetables served inside a puff pastry envelope (next wed. blog) served with a beautiful Chateau Montelena Cabernet.

We bought a case, it is amazing!! And will be perfect with all this Summer's dinners!

The table, set ahead. the flowers in a double vase. It has an insert for the tulips. I wound bear grass around the outer bowl and filled with water. The inner bowl holds the tulips and water. We had planned to dine on the patio, but temperature this day was 100 F, we dined in. I found this vase at Safeway floral department, $19.95.

Eight blooms!! And over ten buds!!
 My secret - eight drops of Schultz Cactus Plus liquid plant food in 1 quart of water. Do this in March, to give you many beautiful blooms!

Just in time for our guests to see!! Welcome Wendy and Jim, from San Jose Del Cabo!! the vista's.

Cheers! See you on Friday! Joan 

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