The Quinoa and Kale Pilaf caught my eye first because I love quinoa. Some time ago I found quinoa flakes, similar to oatmeal, and I've been eating them for breakfast ever since. You can go sweet, with fruit and nuts, or savory with a little butter or olive oil, salt and pepper. Quinoa (nutritional and health value) is a complete protein source, with high levels of B vitamins, manganese, magnesium and iron. While the texture makes you think of eating a grain, quinoa is really a seed. Mixed with kale, a phytonutrient-rich leafy green (nutritional and health value), you can't find a recipe that is much healthier! Then you add scallions, a little goat cheese, walnut oil, fresh lemon juice and zest, and pine nuts and you have a recipe filled with loads of complimenting flavors. As if this wouldn't be enough, Deensiebat (blog, Mostly Foodstuffs), the originator of this recipe, came up with a one pot, twenty minute total time recipe that couldn't be easier. Here is a link to her blog: http://mostlyfoodstuffs.blogspot.com/2010/01/kale-and-quinoa-pilaf.html#comment-form. I can't wait to try more of her recipes! This one is just too good not to share with my friends!
YES!!! Quinoa and Kale Pilaf with Salmon Papillotes
Browsing other food blogs really paid off this week! I found two recipes that flew right to the top of the 'Favorites' list. The blog is www.food52.com, and the recipes were finalists in a search for New Year's Resolution Recipes, and from two different bloggers.
Kale and Quinoa Pilaf
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and chopped into 1" lengths (I used regular kale)
1 meyer or regular lemon, zested and juiced
2 scallions, minced (optional)
1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil or olive oil
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta cheesesalt and pepperBring 2 cups of salted water to a boil in a pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, walnut or olive oil, pine nuts, and cheese.
Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.
The other recipe I found on Food 52 was for Salmon Papillotes, very simple, easy, straight forward, healthy and oddly enough, paired beautifully with the Quinoa and Kale. The salmon recipe comes from Babette's Feast, http://www.food52.com/cooks/7466_babettes_feast.
Salmon Papillotes with Red Peppercorns, Lime and Fresh Ginger
5 fillets of fresh salmon (about 7 ounces each)
- 2 inch of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
- 3 tablespoons red peppercorns
- 1 1/2 limes – freshly juiced
- Sichuan Pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 5 sprigs fresh dill
- 5 teaspoons thick cream
- Fleur de Sel
- 1 tablespoon fresh Chives cut in small pieces
- Take 2 large pieces of aluminium foil (or parchment paper) the same length and put one on top of the other, both shiny sides outside. Roll together on the length the aluminium foil together to make a seam and tighten it. Roll this seam 2 more times and press on it so the 2 pieces of aluminium foil are tight together. Gently open the aluminium foil. Press on the seam which is now in the middle and you have a double width aluminium piece of foil that can take all the pieces inside. Turn the aluminium so the seam is perpendicular to you and you have a wide aluminium piece. Fold it in half and lightly press so you know where the middle is.
- Clean the salmon fillets of all bones and if you prefer take the skin. Otherwise when putting the fish on the aluminium put it skin down. Season the salmon fillets with a pinch of salt, freshly ground Sichuan pepper, lime juice and grated ginger.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Place the aluminium foil on a baking tray so that the bottom half is sitting on the tray. Drizzle the olive oil on the aluminium half nearer to you, place the salmon with the seasoning and add the red peppercorns that you lightly crush with your hands. Place the dill on top of each salmon fillet and fold the top half of the aluminium towards you. Go round the aluminium folding together the 2 foils (top and bottom) 2 or 3 times so you completely seal all around.
- Bake in the oven around 10 minutes, depending how thick the fish fillets are. The papillote, if closed tightly, should blow up with the steam that the water in the fish let’s out.
- Discard the dill, serve one fillet per person on a bed of sautéed vegetables for example spinach. Place on top of each salmon fillet 1 teaspoon of thick cream, sprinkle with some chopped chives and a little Fleur de Sel.