CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE

 Ingredients

2 cups minced fresh parsley leaves

1/4 cup fresh oregano or substitute with 2 teaspoons dry oregano

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

6 medium garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 5 teaspoons)

1/2  teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4  teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

This sauce can be made 2-3 days in advance. Combine parsley, oregano, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper in food processor.  Pulse all these ingredients until coarsely chopped, about ten 1-second pulses. Add vinegar and pulse briefly to combine.  Transfer mixture to medium bowl and slowly whisk in oil until incorporated and mixture is emulsified. Cover with plastic wrap or lid and let stand at room temperature at least 1 hour (if preparing sauce in advance, refrigerate and bring to room temperature before using).

Drizzle over grilled beef, chicken or fish.

Aside

Staying healthy and fit with garlic and onions

Be sure to add onions and garlic to your meals each day. Try some of these suggestions:

  • Include chopped onions and garlic in veggie stir-fry.
  • Simmer peeled garlic cloves (cut in half) in soups and stews.
  • Add peeled garlic cloves to simmering potatoes when making mashed potatoes. Mash
  • garlic with potatoes to make garlic mashed potatoes.
  • Include a mixture of garlic and onions in soup, stew and casserole dishes.
  • Add quartered onions to roasted vegetable recipes.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder over cooked vegetables or on green salads.
  • Add onion slices to sandwiches or salads.
  • Try French onion soup for a warm meal.
  • Add mashed garlic to your favorite salad vinaigrette and let steep to add flavor.

Health Benefits of Onions and Garlic

Onions — whether they are red, yellow or white — have antioxidants and are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-allergic and antiviral. They contain high levels of quercetin, a potent flavonoid that may help fight or prevent cancer. An Italian study of weekly use of alliums in diet and rates of cancer found that people who ate between 14 and 22 portions of onions had the lowest rates of breast cancer. Nutrients found in alliums include chromium, sulphides, vitamins B and C, potassium and selenium. Garlic, in addition to its pungent fragrance, has the compound allicin, an antimicrobial agent that prevents the formation of nitrosamine (a carcinogen).

Cooking with Alliums  (Source: About.com)

Asian cuisines make good use of yellow and green onions. Chinese dishes often use both kinds of onions along with meat and other vegetables. Chives may be used on your baked potato as garnish, but they are also often mixed with beef and steamed in dumplings. Indian dishes require onions, ginger and garlic to create the heavenly cloud of fragrance that announces curry. Southern Americans are fond of onions fried in rings or flowers and served plain or with dips. Leeks are an essential ingredient for Vichyssoise, a chilled potato soup. Don’t forget to try the crisp, pungent taste of raw onions or shallots on burgers and hot dogs or in sandwiches and salads.

QUINOA WITH STIR-FRIED VEGETABLES

QUINOA WITH STIR-FRIED VEGETABLESQUINOA WITH STIR-FRIED VEGETABLES

Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side dish

INGREDIENTS

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

½ cup yellow or orange peppers

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

½ teaspoon table salt

2 cups quinoa (see note below)

3 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)

PROCEDURE

Combine the onion, oil and peppers in a large saucepan that has a lid stirring frequently over low-medium heat, about 4 minutes.  Add the quinoa increasing heat to medium and stir about, 5 minutes. This will bring out it’s nutty flavor.

Stir in the broth and lemon zest (optional), increasing the heat to medium-high until broth is completely absorbed, about 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and let stand covered for about 10 minutes, fluff quinoa with a fork.  Combine with Stir-Fried Vegetables, recipe below.

Note: before cooking quinoa, same goes for rice, it is best to rinse them.  By doing this you wash away any excess of starch, preventing the grain to turn out sticky or gummy. Rinse using a large, fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cool water, stirring occasionally. Set the strainer of your rinsed quinoa over a large bowl. Let it dry for about 10 minutes in the strainer or until ready to use.

STIR-FRIED VEGETABLES

 INGREDIENTS

2 zucchinis, diced into 2-inch cubes

1 yellow squash, diced into 2-inch cubes

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon of table salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

 PROCEDURE

 Combine olive oil, garlic, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes (optional) in a 10 or 12-inch skillet over medium heat, about 2 minutes.

Add zucchinis and squash increasing heat to medium-high.  Stir about 5- 7 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and cover for about 5 minutes. The result should be crunchy vegetables.

Now combine the vegetables with the quinoa and enjoy!

Dicing, slicing and mincing for the week, so much easier, here is how I do it.

Have you seen on T.V. when cooks and chefs have all of their ingredients ready in little small containers? Or, have you noticed how they sell diced or sliced fresh or frozen onions, garlic, mushrooms and peppers at the supermarket?

Instead of buying them at the supermarket, consider doing it yourself.  I want to share with you what works for me.  Following these simple tips and tricks will make your cooking easier and you will save some money too!

Buy about six small or medium glass containers with lids, about 6, I have 1 and 2 cup containers.  I dedicate no more than 20-30 minutes during the weekend or whenever you can, to slice, dice and mince peppers, onions and garlic cloves. I use these in practically almost all of my recipes.  For those of you that have picky eaters and do not enjoy seeing onions or garlic in the food, mincing is a very good option.   For peppers, just dice them as small as possible.

A word on how I store minced garlic.  Place the minced garlic in an air-tight jar. Cover the garlic with a layer of your chosen oil. Seal the jar and place it in the refrigerator. Use the garlic within three weeks. Dispose of any garlic remaining after that time.

Happy cooking!

 

Staying connected to your community

I just came back from our community meeting that I attend every month. “WISE is a lively group of women in North County San Diego creating lasting bonds in business and friendship. Supporting each woman to be all that she can be and fulfill her dreams. Offering speakers that inspire and enrich each woman on a personal or professional level. Sharing ideas on business, family, and womanhood as we grow and thrive. Laughing a lot along the way.” It is a great way to stay connected of what is happening in your community and to be able to share your business, socialize and have fun! 

My favorite Vinaigrette

Basic Vinaigrette 

Makes 6-8 Servings

Ingredients

1/2 Tablespoon shallot, finely diced
1/2 Tablespoon apple cider or wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning (dried herbs)
1/3 cup olive oil

Shake all ingredients in a jar. Drizzle the vinaigrette over 
the salad and toss.

Oh no… dinner time! You are not alone…

Hmmmmm….what will I cook today? oh no! …not again! Kids asking….”what’s for dinner?” You are NOT alone….

Lots of people just stop on the way back home from work and buy fast food, or stop at the supermarket thinking that their  fairy godmother will show up and help them think fast of a menu for dinner.  Or..even worst…you  have a lot of food at home and you don’t even know what or what to do with it!  And then the pressure…it has to be healthy and delicious!

Besides hearing this over and over every day from my family and friends, I went through this too!

Let me try to help you in some way. After all, that is what my blog is all about, helping with tricks, tips and simple and delicious recipes.

Let me share what I did to solve this.  First of all, since I have my great-grandmother’s, my grand-mother and my mother’s notebooks full of recipes…besides my own…I created a RED binder (my favorite color).  I have gathered lots of recipes from them, cookbooks, chefs, family and friends. And, of course I keep adding, I  own two binders now! I also bought a big box of plastic covers at Costco and covered each recipe (you can insert two recipes in a cover). By doing this, I can get them all dirty while I am cooking and then I just wipe them off.  It is worth your precious time, believe me! Begin slowly, one day at a time, you will “actually” know what you are eating when you cook from scratch. It is a great feeling!

Once a week, I pull out some recipes from my red binder, then I make sure that I have the ingredients.  Check your refrigerator and freezer, then prepare your food list.

If you don’t want to bother finding a vegetable recipe, you can mix 2-3 different vegetables, mix them a bowl with olive oil, 1/4 sliced onion, salt, pepper and some kind of herb (s) and roast them in the oven at 475 °F for 20-25 mins. please remember to set up a timer. While the oven is taking care of your veggies you can prepare the rest of your meal.

If you also want to have potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams, slice or cube and precook them for 2-3 minutes in a small bowl covered with a safe microwave lid.  Then, add salt, pepper, Italian seasoning (mixed dried herb/condiment section) and sautee  for approximately 5 minutes. (Sauteing is the process by which a vegetable is sliced and brought to a golden-brown by cooking it over a medium-low to medium heat with a bit of olive oil (1 Tbsp) without adding water).

I usually wait for the weekend to try out side dish recipes. Once you have tried them, you will become a pro, feel more confident and cook them during the week.
After I try a new recipe, I write my own comments, first the date, then…, “added more salt,” “replaced shallots for red onion,” my kids and my husband  loved it…and so on.. oh…I even rate it with stars too!  I am my own food critic!

My red binder cookbook

My mom is on the cover when she was 24 years old.  She is my inspiration!