Monday, March 29, 2010

Recipe Gone Grains - Tortilla-Crusted Goat Cheese-and-Asparagus Quiche

Ohh yes I did take a Rachael Ray recipe and add grains! Go ahead and give it a try.

Four 7-inch whole wheat tortillas
10 asparagus stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch prieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper
4oz. log of goat cheese
3 eggs + ***fresh basil
1/2 cup plain yogurt, Greek-style
*** 1 cup of cooked oat groats

Preheat oven to 375.  In a greased pie pan, overlap the tortillas to make a crust, place on a rimmed baking sheet. 

Steam aspargus for 2-3 minutes.  In a skillet, add the olive oil and heat over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms are golden, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the asparagus; season with salt and pepper. 

Spread evenly in the tortilla crust and add the cooked grains, then crumble the cheese on top. 

Whisk together the eggs, yogurt, basil, and season with salt and pepper; pour into the tortilla crust.  Bake on the baking sheet until just set in the center and lightly golden, about 30 minutes.  Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kamut Chicken Salad-pg. 135

I opened an email from Karen, Director of Advertising  for and she wrote, "Amy, Lorna Sass posted on your website. That's so great!" My first thought was that Karen was playing a joke on the two of us. That was not the case, Lorna Sass REALLY did post on our blog! I told Mr. Ben that he better watch out!

So back to the recipe that recieved a large makeover! With the two of us being olive haters, I had to get creative and substitute. In place of black and green olives, I roasted asparagus and added grapes + cranberries. The original dressing consisted of fresh squeezed lemon juice and olive oil. Since I don't like lemon flavor, I found some balsamic in my fridge and mixed that with a bit of sugar. I added whole wheat tortillas and shredded cheese to make this more of a chicken salad wrap. I know we are trying to eat healthy here BUT I  fried up some sweet potato french fries to compliment the wrap!

Ben gave it 4/5 grains up! This salad made delicious leftovers for lunch! -amy

I was so nervous this morning when I packed this salad into a couple containers to take it to work with me for a luncheon we were having at the Jewelry Store I work at.  I tasted the chicken mixture a couple times and thought it was lacking flavor...combined with the fact that I was bringing some "wacky" grain salad to a group of normal eating office mates who don't know me too well, I thought I might quickly turn into the all too healthy, but not so tasty "Cooking School Girl".  Quite the contrary though, they loved it! (or they were just being nice...but I think they really liked it!).  When you combine the lettuce mix with the chicken salad and the dressing, the combination is full of flavor & texture that everyone enjoyed, including myself.  One of the girls was trying to stash any leftovers for herself for later! What a compliment!

The recipe calls for romaine+raddichio+sage tossed in a simple lemon vinaigrette dressing (I used green cabbage instead of raddichio because I had some to use up) and combine it with a blend of chicken+kamut+green & black olives (to which I also added a seasoning salt blend, olive oil, more sage & green onions). 

I am a big fan of chicken salad and just love the idea of doctoring it up with a plump and chewy whole grain like kamut and tossing with vinaigrette instead of mayo. Don't get me wrong, I won't be giving up mayo chicken salad anytime soon, but this lighter alternative is fantastic!
Thanks for coming through for me on this one Lorna!
Oh, and for fun, I took a photo with our fancy camera "bubble" we use for rings...not bad! This would be fun to have at home!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fruit-and-Nut Oatmeal Bars, pg. 281

I can be shopping at REI and suddenly NEED a $2 Larabar.   The chewy fruit where sweet meets tart......luv it!  I made a batch last night and now have 15 Lara-like-bars to satisfy my cravings in the days to come. 

This recipe uses honey and orange juice concentrate instead of sugar.  The rest of the recipe consists of rolled oats + apricots + cranberries + raisins + almonds + sunflower + flax seeds.    Tami, a friend at work liked the texture, sweetness of the fruit and crunchiness of the nuts.  She stated, "I think this was pretty good. I am not sure I could eat a lot of it, but I think this is a great morning treat, bet it would be great with yogurt! I give this 3 grains up!"

My husband gaining the nickname "Mr. Ben" decided he liked the bars rating them a 3.2/5 grains.   He described the taste as "eating a handful of trail mix with raisins and grains instead of nuts." (I guess he could not taste the toasted almonds).

I must say part of the fun with this blog comes from Ben stating every night he would like to eat "normal" food.  I then present the dish with my recipe book opened and a pencil in hand.  Before he's done chewing his first bite, I've usually asked him "Soooo, what do you think?" at least 3 times. Usually by mid meal, his comments and remarks become so funny that we can't stop laughing.  If you've met the Whipple's, Captain Crunch is considered a grain, Kool-Aid is 100% juice, and M&M's are a vegetable. 

I feel like I need to apologize to Lorna.  I think that's why Vicki won't let me write the author and tell her about our blog.  Vicki, we could be the next Julie & Julia!!!      - amy

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Chinese Black Rise, Orange, and Avacodo Salad, pg. 131

I made this recipe with Amanda over for dinner the other night.  She has a very optimistic attitude about trying new recipes and openly dislikes bland she's a great grain critic!  We amped up the recipe with additional chili powder and some cumin cooked in with the rice.  Overall the recipe was quite refreshing and a plesant blend of flavors.  Creamy avocado and sweet, citrus of orange mixed in with the rice provided lots of texture and flavors.

Somehow the rice I cooked didn't become as red as Amy's picture shows below, but instead made the mixed a not so beautiful shade of charcoal black.  We discussed afterward that it would be beautiful if plated as a layered salad with torn lettuce topped with the rice and then the avocados and oranges.  Even with the additional spices we added, it needed more flavor.  I think if you mixed up a great vinaigrette dressing and tossed the rice in it, that would be amazing.  Overall, I love the idea of the cool rice salad and think the "Forbidden black rice" is a gorgeous grain I'll definitely use again.  Thanks for this concept Lorna :)
Amy, I love the photo website...and yes, hopefully we'll get on there!  -Vicki

In the mix: Chinese Black Rice + diced oranges + toasted pumpkin seeds + avacodo + lettuce

The perfect snack before an evening yoga class.

After preparing these lettuce wraps, I attempted to set the mood in the kitchen by taking a large bite and saying "YUUMMM, these are soooooo good!"  Failed attempt.  Ben took a bite and in an instant uproar quickly replied, "How are these soooo good?"  He told me to never make these again unless there is no other food.  Between eating vegan once a week and this whole grain girls idea, I think it's taking a toll on him!

Husband Rating: 1/5 Grains

Check out the following site Elizabeth told me about   Goal: Before Vicki & and I cook through all 150 recipes, one of our pics will be published on this site....get snapping girl!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Farro with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil, pg. 173

Hopefully it's ok to post one of Lorna's recipes.  I think every now and then she won't mind!  

Farro with Fresh Tomato Sauce and Basil - Lorna Sass
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large clove garilic, minced (I used 2 cloves)
6 large plum tomoatoes, finely chopped (I used Roma's)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (I dumped around 3 tablespoons)
4 cups of COOKED basic farro (use barley if you can't find farro)
1/2 cup of chopped fresh basil - packed
salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Directions:  Heat oil in a large skillet and add the garlic.  Stir for 30 seconds.  Add in the tomatoes, vinegar, and oregano, cook for 4-5 minutes.  Stir in the cooked farro and season with salt and pepper.  When the farro is hot, turn off the heat and stir in the basil.  Garnish with cheese.

I broke the number one rule and didn't use a grain!  I searched several stores in the valley and could not find farro.  No one even knew what it was when I asked.  I put organic orzo pasta in my cart and decided to go with it! I should've read the note where barley can be substituted for farro. 

What a simple dish full of flavor!  Ben loved the taste and took the leftovers for lunch the next day.     

 Husband Rating: 4/5 Grains   -amy

Last week I cooked the Farro for this recipe with full attention to cook it in the same day, but of course other things came up.  So tonight, when I needed to make a quick dinner, this was perfect.  The recipe came together in less than 15 minutes and tasted amazing!  I'm not sure where the big difference is from other red sauces I've made in the past, but the flavor in this sauce is unique and powerful.  I'm guessing it's the balsamic vinegar?!
It is March, and almost no veggies are in season locally right now, especially not tomatoes.  Instead of paying $4-5/lb for unripe tomatoes, I picked up 1 small organic can of whole tomatoes.  As far as cost goes, this dish is probably the lowest price recipe we've cooked's how mine breaks out:

$1.69-Canned Tomatoes
$1.50-Basil (I bought more, but didn't use all of this is for about 1/3 of the pack)
$1.50-Farro...have we mentioned whole, dry grains are super cheap!?!
$2-Balsamic Vinegar, Dried Oregano (approximate guess)
Total: $6.69
This will feed me for at least 3 meals which is a great price for super healthy and homemade.
If you're reading this and waiting for a recipe to make...this is definitely one to try.  Go for the Farro and do it...You won't regret it! -Vicki

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Art of Eating In

"Rediscover the joy of home cooking through the eyes of one Brooklynite who swore off restaurants for two years. The story behind the scenes of the blog Not Eating Out in New York, The Art of Eating In chronicles Cathy Erway's journey through the underground of NYC eating, and her favorite recipes along the way. Two years, three apartments, countless food events and some strange restaurant-free “dates” later, she was able to turn eating in into something of an art, rather than mere survival method.". -

Vicki and I love a gal that's passionate about sustainable eating and living.  Maybe she loves to cook with grains like we do.  A spring/summer read for sure.