Tag Archives: honey

Tropical Black Bean Quinoa Salad

6 Feb

tropical black bean quinoa salad

Inspired by the coconut breakfast quinoa I recently cooked up, I decided to try a savory preparation using quinoa cooked with coconut milk. I added black beans for extra substance and played off the tropical flavor of the coconut with mango, avocado, fresh mint, and lime juice. The resulting salad was colorful and delicious (not to mention healthy) – perfect for serving my parents for dinner at the end of a hot day of sightseeing.

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Coconut Breakfast Quinoa

4 Feb

coconut breakfast quinoa

My parents are here visiting me in Buenos Aires, so it’s been a whirlwind taking them around to all the best sights and restaurants (and it’s also the reason why I didn’t post on Friday – whoops!). They get breakfast at their hotel though, so I’m on my own for fixing breakfast. Something quick and easy but healthy and filling is important to have enough energy to get me through until lunch with all the sight-seeing, and this coconut breakfast quinoa has been a great option. Coconut milk adds richness to the quinoa, which is similar to oatmeal in this preparation (not that I’ve given up on my favorite steel-cut oats), but with the added boost of quinoa’s higher fiber and protein – even more so if you include the optional chia seeds. This can be served warm or cold and can be adapted endlessly with your favorite fruits and nuts, and you can also use a different spice in place of cinnamon, if you’d like, or omit it altogether. Although it’s geared towards being a breakfast (and will give you a great start to your day), this would even make a delicious, healthy (vegan and gluten-free) dessert.

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Frozen Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bites

18 Jan

frozen peanut butter chocolate banana bites

Frozen bananas used to be a staple in my refrigerator for making “milkshakes” since their frozen consistency closely mimics that of ice cream. But now that I’m traveling and sadly without any method of blending, I’ve had to give up those tasty desserts. When a couple bananas were on the verge of being overripe recently, though, I cut them in slices and froze them without thinking about it. The frozen banana slices were good even eaten up plain, but I wanted something that was a bit more of a treat. So, with thoughts about my banana breakfast roll in the back of my head, I mixed up some peanut butter and honey (plus a little water to thin it out) and dipped them in that. And then, because peanut butter always calls out for some chocolate, I dipped them in a little melted chocolate, too. Dark chocolate is always my preference – here, I used a chocolate with 85% cocoa content that was too dark for eating out of hand but worked well with the creaminess of the banana and richness of the peanut butter. The result is decadent enough to satisfy an ice cream craving, while still being a healthy option. I like them in bite-sized form like this, but you can also cut the bananas in half and put them on a popsicle stick for something more closely resembling an ice cream bar.

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Pork and Plum Salad

31 Dec

pork and plum salad

It’s hard being thousands of miles from family during the holidays, so I’ve been doing what I usually do to cheer myself up – planning and cooking elaborate meals. Since it’s summer here, and it’s just two of us to eat everything, I haven’t been cooking the traditional, heavy holiday feasts, but instead trying to come up with dishes that allude to the usual traditions. Fish preparations for holiday eves, for example. And this salad, which I’d planned to have roast rabbit or duck – along with the plums, I thought, it would be appropriate. But I couldn’t find anything quite so exotic in the nearby markets. Disappointed, I nearly scraped the dish altogether, but I decided instead to cook up a pork shoulder and use the pulled pork here instead. It ended up matching the variety of flavors here better than I’d expected, with the rich savoriness of the pork balanced by sweetness from plums, earthiness from mushrooms, and a crunch from almonds. Though the combination might seem unusual, it makes for a unique and elegant salad, great as an appetizer for a fancy meal or as a meal in and of itself.

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Balsamic Steak Salad with Pickled Cherries and Blue Cheese

26 Dec

balsamic steak salad

You may take a look at this photo, then at the title of the post, and back, noticing that I left off a crucial ingredient when photographing this salad – the blue cheese. As soon as I sat down to eat it, I knew something wasn’t quite right. Once I added the cheese, the flavors came together perfectly. Umami-laden balsamic-marinated steak, sweet and tart pickled cherries, and tangy blue cheese ensure all your taste buds get involved with each bite. With, of course, a little crispness from cucumbers and crunchiness from walnuts. So imagine that there are pretty blue-veined crumbles scattered atop the salads in the photo, and don’t forget the blue cheese – although you can substitute with goat cheese for a milder take, if you’re not a fan of blue cheese.

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Roasted Corn Salsa

17 Dec

roasted corn salsa

Did you know the best way to keep sweet corn sweet is to store it in the refrigerator? This helps slow down the conversion of the sugars to starches. I only have a small refrigerator here (think slightly larger than one in a dorm room), so I don’t have a lot of space to dedicate to storing corn. But I can’t resisting buying some when it shows up fresh at the market (currently in season here, of course), so I had to think up a quick easy use for the cobs sitting on my refrigerator shelf. I opted for this take on a basic corn salsa, roasting the corn for extra depth of flavor. The rest of the flavors here are pretty traditional (green onion, cilantro, hot pepper, lime), though I did toast the garlic, which I find mellows it perfectly for things like this. This salsa is great as a dip, on tacos, to add a pop of color and flavor to a plate of beans, or as a side for grilled fish or meat.

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Honey Cinnamon Almonds

12 Dec

honey cinnamon almonds 2

I’m a big fan of candied nuts – which probably isn’t too surprising coming from someone who loves any combination of salty and sweet. They make a great snack and a great gift (when I can manage not to eat them all myself). I love the ease of this particular preparation where there’s no separating out and beating egg whites, just a simple whisking together of honey with spices. The resulting nuts are a bit stickier than many candied nuts, but I found I didn’t mind at all and still found them addictively tasty. I used almonds here since they’re one of my favorite nuts (and one of the healthiest too!). Cinnamon provides the spicing, and I also added a little ancho chile powder for some heat and smokiness – you can omit this if you’re not a fan of spice or use smoked salt to get the smokiness without the heat.

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Roasted Broccoli and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

10 Dec

roasted broccoli and sun-dried tomato salad 1

I’ve long been a proponent of roasting vegetables – it’s an easy way to enhance their flavor without even needing to add anything (other than a little olive oil and a pinch of salt). But I don’t think I’ve posted any recipes before with roasted broccoli. It’s a great focal point for a salad like this, where the concentrated flavors are well-complemented by the intense umami of sun-dried tomatoes. A simple balsamic honey reduction adds sweetness. Hard-boiled eggs add a great additional texture and help to balance the other strong flavors (although I think this salad would still be quite good as a vegan version without them). I can never resist putting nuts, seeds, and dried fruit on my salads, and this is no exception, with almonds, sesame seeds, and raisins rounding things out here. All together, the ingredients make for a sophisticated and delicious salad, with more than enough components to make it a satisfying meal.

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Fall Salad with Butternut Squash, Apples, and Blue Cheese

16 Nov

fall salad with butternut squash apples and blue cheese

I’m starting to miss fall. Winter, I don’t mind skipping – bitter cold and biting wind, all the color sucked out of everything, and root vegetables and leafy greens the only thing in season (and even those shipped from milder climates further south). But fall is pleasantly cool with gorgeously tinted leaves and matching squashes of various shapes and sizes, driving an hour or two to taste crisp apples straight from the tree, and cinnamon-scented everything. I’ve been craving seasonal fall dishes. So I decided, despite the rising temperatures here, to put together this fall salad. Everything was easily available here (except for the radicchio called for in the original recipe which I chose to replace with red cabbage, for color, and arugula, for bite), and the end result has a great mix of flavors and textures. Butternut squash roasted with brown sugar for extra sweetness and ancho chile powder for spice, as well as sweetness from a honey garlic vinaigrette and apple slices, but all balanced by spicy arugula and crisp cabbage, the crunch of pepitas, and the funkiness of blue cheese. Not quite your typical fall salad, but a great remedy for my homesick self.

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Pear Ginger Nut Granola

31 Oct

pear ginger nut granola

Similarly to adjusting to buying my produce at a small neighborhood market, it took me a while to realize that the supermarket was not the best place for nuts, seeds, dried beans, and dried fruits (staples in my cabinet). The selection is limited, the quality bad, and the prices high, so I’d resigned myself to not having these around as much. Then I realized that the stores here called “dieteticas” were not, as I’d originally thought, purveyors of vitamins and protein powers, but instead actually specialized in just these sort of bulk goods that I like so much. At a nearby one, I stocked up on ingredients for this surprisingly easy to make granola. I tried to use a minimum of oil and honey in this recipe to keep it on the healthier side (although you can take it even further by using applesauce in place of the oil). With extra flavor from fresh ginger and orange zest, alongside traditional oats, nuts, and raisins and less traditional coconut flakes, chia seeds, and dried pears, this granola has more than enough in it to keep it exciting. And, like all granola recipes, it can be easily modified to your liking.

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