Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quinoa, Cashew and Chickpea Salad

Tri-colour Quinoa, Cashew and Chickpea Salad


It's November,  so now we're thinking about Christmas presents and *gulp* all those barbeques, work functions and family get-togethers we're about to go to.  I have tasted some awesome summery cous cous or quinoa salads that are just about meals in themselves,  but were flavoured with citrus juices and full of dried fruits. No good for us.  :(   Tonight,  I've tried to do a Failsafe version of a healthy, high protein, light but filling Summer salad.  

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup Quinoa,  cooked as per packet's instructions 
  • 100g raw Cashews
  • Small bunch Parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Cucumber*, peeled and diced
  • Whatever other fresh "Summery" vegetables you 'd like
  • 1tsp Citric Acid
  • 3tabs water
  • 50g Rice Bran Oil
  • 400g tin of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed (about net 250g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Method:
  • Pre-heat oven 180ºC
  • Cook Quinoa as per instructions (1 part quinoa, 3 parts water), rinse in cold water, drain well
  • Dissolve Citric Acid in the Water
  • Add Salt and Parsley and Oil; stir well and set dressing aside
  • In the Thermomix, lightly chop Cashews on Speed 5 for 1 second (or by hand)
  • Toast the Cashews (some of mine was cashew 'dust' which was great.) for 5-10mins
  • Into a large serving bowl,  put the Quinoa, Cashews, Chickpeas, Vegetables and stir to combine
  • Stir through with the dressing just before serving
  • Serve with BBQ meats as a side, bring it to 'bring a plate' functions as a versatile addition to a buffet
* Moderate Salicylates

Verdict:
The frillypantii...  scoffed this down!  Made lots of appreciative noises and went back for seconds.  There were no thirds available!   I served it tonight just with cold roast chicken (that I cooked yesterday) and that was sufficient for everyone.  Don't be fooled by this being a 'salad'.  It's quite filling.  Mr frillypants came later for dinner and is now saying 'absolutely bloody marvelous dinner!'  Cool!

Tweeks:  Add any veges you'd like,  but I was aiming for a 'light summery' sort of salad,  so keep it small pieces and fresh.  Perhaps celery, carrot*, choko... Please DO share in the comments section so we can all benefit.  :)   You'll see in the picture I used Tri-colour Quinoa.  That's Black, Red and White Quinoa.  You can use just white,  whatever is available.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coq au Vodka

Coq au Vodka


The first time I made this,  I had everyone come to the kitchen to taste the sauce from the pan.  It was a new flavour for some and a forgotten one for others.   Their eyes lit up,  they all oooh and aaaah'd,  it was just right.  Delicious!  Then I served it up,  the sauce was so thin it didn't 'stick' to the food and we ended up with some cooked chicken and floppy veg, not looking very appealing and not tasting so great.  Bugger.

I realised too late that what I should have done was thicken the sauce with some flour, so the sauce would stick around to add the delicious flavour. Of course,  I have had to wait some time before trying this again.  Too soon and the frillypantii would have simply refused to try it.  Too long and we'd be in the thick of Summer and not feeling like casseroles.

Obviously this is my failsafe version of Coq au Vin.   Red wine is nothing like failsafe. You can be sure,  I've never told my kids that... absolutely not relevant to their lives....  and so Mr frillypants and I are free to indulge.  :)  However!  When it comes to food for the family... of course I can't go using red wine.  (Btw, the alcoholic drinks that are considered failsafe are Whisky, Gin and Vodka.)  This time,  I am adding Rice Malt Syrup to the Vodka to replace wine.  This was a tip I picked up in casual chat on one of the Facebook groups, except I think it was using Gin.  (Thanks Monique, love ya guts!)

Mr frillypants came home with 1 whole kilo of free-range chicken breast,  so that is what I used.  We're moving house in a few weeks so if I can put a meal or two in the freezer,  then fabulous. All my recipes are for feeding the 6 of us,  but we come in such a range of sizes and appetites I can't honestly say 'feeds 6'.  But I do like having leftovers for the frillypantii lunch boxes.  Today I am putting 2 containers of leftoversin the freezer,  one dinner for all of us.

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 - 1 Leek, sliced or diced
  • 2 sticks Celery, sliced
  • 2 medium Carrots*, peeled and diced
  • 1/2  -  1 Swede, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 Choko,  peeled and diced
  • 1 kilo Chicken Breast (or thigh), diced (whatever size you prefer/ have time to cook)
  • 100g Plain Flour (or GF Equiv)
  • Oil for cooking
  • Knob of butter
  • 1/2 cup Vodka
  • 2 tabs Rice Malt Syrup
  • 400g No-Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tab Vegetable Stock Concentrate
  • 1 litre Water
Method
  • Coat chicken in flour, set aside
  • In large frypan / cast iron pot,  heat oil and butter
  • Sauté leek, carrot and celery
  • Set aside sautéed vegies
  • Add little more oil for cooking and add chicken pieces,  moving them about until cooked on all sides.  Cook half at a time so they don't sit and stew together.
  • Add back all cooked Chicken pieces to the pan and add the Vodka  (sizzle!!)
  • Then add Rice Malt Syrup,  any left-over flour, No-Tomato Sauce, Vege Stock and Water
  • Stir well and  add all Vegetables
  • Stir, cover and simmer on moderate stove top or in moderate oven until chicken and vegies are cooked through. (about 30 minutes)
  • Serve with rice or Mashed potato and green beans
*Moderate Salicylates

Verdict:  Yum.  Yummo.  Yummeh!!!   You just wouldn't know there no tomato in here.  It has that sweetness and acidic tang.  Yummeh with mash.  Very comforting flavour.

Tweeks:  Whatever veg is in the fridge I think.  So long as it isn't overpowering in flavour.  The important flavour is this mock-tomato and wine thing we've got going on.  My one and only issue with the No-Tomato sauce is that it tends to 'catch' in the pan and so I find I need to keep stirring it every few minutes.  Not such a biggie,  but can be if you don't realise.



HOW MUCH ALCOHOL IS IN THE PREPARED FOOD?
This is another one of those conversations I've had online.  How many times have you heard "It's okay,  all the alcohol is cooked off."  Turns out, perhaps not entirely true.  

In Australia, a new driver has to have absolutely 0% blood alcohol and for some,  a home-cooked meal can cause them to lose their license. 

This information is from Wikipedia,  you might like to do your own research.  

Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooking_with_alcohol

Alcohol in finished food

A study by a team of researchers at the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and the US Department of Agriculture's Nutrient Data Laboratory calculated the percentage of alcohol remaining in a dish based on various cooking methods. The results are as follows:
  • alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat - 85% alcohol retained
  • alcohol flamed - 75% alcohol retained
  • no heat, stored overnight - 70% alcohol retained
  • baked, 25 minutes, alcohol not stirred into mixture - 45% alcohol retained
  • baked/simmered, alcohol stirred into mixture:
Time (h) Alcohol retained[1]
0.25 40%
0.5 35%
1.0 25%
1.5 20%
2.0 10%
2.5 5%