Summer Quinoa Salad with Watermelon and Lime

Happy Solstice!

Today seems like the perfect time for a recipe that uses distinctly summery, fresh, seasonal ingredients. Watermelon, peppers, corn on the cob. All nutritious fruits and veggies that are coming into the peak of ripeness in the next month or two (depending on where you are in the country). This salad celebrates heat and lazy days with its light and refreshing ingredients and is so simple to create.

This recipe is my take on a salad I once had at Altadena restaurant, Alta Eats, last fall. I thought the idea of watermelon in quinoa was genius, so I had to try my own version!

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups quinoa

3 cups filtered water

pinch salt

3 cups watermelon, cut in small cubes.

1 bell pepper (red, orange or yellow), cut into small pieces

2 ears fresh corn on the cob

1 cup heirloom cherry tomatoes, halved

1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

juice of one large lime

2 Tbs. rice vinegar

1 Tbs. honey

1 tsp. soy sauce

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt and pepper

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fresh summer flavor

Bring quinoa and water to a boil with a dash of salt in a medium pot over high heat. Turn heat down to low, cover and let simmer 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, shuck each corn cob, then stand them, one at a time, on a cutting board and slowly cut off the kernels. Preheat oven to 400. Spread corn and halved cherry tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet sprayed with olive oil and roast for 15-20 minutes, or until kernels start to brown and the tomato skins looks wrinkly, stirring every five minutes.

Combine quinoa, corn, tomatoes, watermelon and pepper in a large bowl. Make dressing by whisking together mint, lime juice, rice vinegar, honey, soy sauce, and olive oil. Stir into salad. Salt and pepper to taste.

Chill. Serve topped with fresh mint leaves.

Serves 6-8.

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Lemon Raisin Scones

I’ve made these scones in several different variations, all with tasty results. They are inspired, once again, from one of my favorite cookbooks, A Homemade Life. You can try lemon raspberry, whole wheat flour and mixed berry, ginger apricot, or even chocolate chip! Scones are hard to mess up. Just add roughly half a cup of your fruit or other mix ins, and if you’re using something moist like fresh berries, cut down on the amount of half and half in the recipe by about 2 tsps. Play around with it!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour (or 1 cup all purpose and 1 cup whole wheat)

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

4 1/2 Tbs. cold, cubed, unsalted butter

3 Tbs. sugar

2 Tbs. lemon zest

1/2 cup golden raisins

2 Tbs. lemon juice

1/2 cup half and half

1 egg

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Brunch happiness

Preheat oven to 425. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Add butter cubes and mix with fingers or a pastry cutter until butter becomes small, pea-sized pieces. Add sugar, lemon zest and raisins. Stir well. Beat egg with lemon juice and half and half. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon until it gets too sticky. Switch to using your hands to bring the dough together into a loosely formed ball. Turn out onto a floured surface. Use your hands to press the dough into a flat circle, about 8-9 inches across. Divide the dough into halves, then quarters, then eighths. Grease a cookie sheet with butter. Arrange scones on sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until just barely golden on top. You’ll want to check the bottoms because those will brown before the tops. If the bottoms are brown, take them out. Serve warm with butter and jam or lemon curd.

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Cherry Chocolate variation

Makes 8.

Tomato Pepper Soup and Caramelized Onion Panini

Time got away from me again, but I’m back! Classic comfort meal for any occasion and any time of year.

Tomato Pepper Soup:

Ingredients:

2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 bay leaves

1 tsp. dried oregano

sea salt and black pepper

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. sugar

2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 large can whole tomatoes in juice

1/2 large bell pepper, roughly chopped (whatever color you have)

1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a soup pot. Add the garlic and sauté about a minute until it just barely starts to brown. Add the thinly sliced onions. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and bay leaves. When onions start to become translucent, add the vinegar and sugar and let cook down over medium heat until the onions are slightly caramelized. Add the fresh and canned tomatoes with their juice and the pepper. Turn heat back to medium high and bring to a simmer. Add broth, turn down to low, cover, and cook 35 minutes to let all the flavors come together. Turn off the heat, pick out the bay leaves and either eat as is, or use an immersion blender to puree into a smooth soup.

Serves 4.

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Eat up!

Caramelized Onion Panini:

Ingredients:

8 thick slices sourdough or other rustic bread

1 large ripe tomato, cut into thin slices

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

sea salt and pepper

2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tsp. sugar

12 slices of your favorite cheese

butter and olive oil for cooking

In a small frying pan, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. unsalted butter. Add the sliced onions and season with sea salt and pepper. Once onions begin to become translucent, add the vinegar and sugar and let cook down over medium heat until the onions become sticky and sweet. Remove from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan.

To assemble panini, arrange 3 slices of cheese, 2 slices tomato, and about 1/4 cup onions between two slices of bread. Lightly butter the outsides of the sandwich. Heat the small frying pan with just a drizzle of olive oil. Add the panini, one at a time. Use a small saucepan (preferably a heavy one) to press down on the panini. Repeat on the other side. Continue flipping and pressing, until each side is a deep golden brown and the cheese is nice and melty.

Serves 4.