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Quinoa and cumin and yams, oh my!!

We've been getting a bit bored with the same old meals (except for the homemade linguine with clam sauce, we still luuuuuuuurv that) so we've been trying to find some new recipes to try out in the Psmith Test Kitchen. This week we had two solid hits, one vegan and both vegetarian. I am sad to say I took no photos, but I can still share the recipes.

The first was
Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries
. This came from a co-worker of mine who says it's the only way they get their son to eat vegetables and they are indeed finger-lickin' good. Instead of parm we used Manchego, which is a Spanish sheep cheese that we've become ferociously addicted to, and we baked them for 20 minutes instead of the 10-15. We followed the suggestion of finishing them off with 2 min under the broiler. I have to say that they never did really get crispy, but the flavor was fabulous. I think you'd have to bake them for about 30 min to actually get them crispy/crunchy. Next time I would toss them with a tiny bit of olive oil so that the cheese and seasoning mix sticks to the beans better (that might also make them crisp up). Best part: those little crispy bits of cheese "lace" on the tinfoil after all the beans were gone :)

The second was a recipe Mr Psmith found: Sweet potato quinoa cakes with avocado-lime dressing. He doesn't often suggest recipes so I was determined to make them to encourage more such activity :) And WOW were they a knockout! I baked the sweet potatoes the night before (because AN HOUR IN THE OVEN OMG), but everything else was pretty quick to put together. The mixture is kind of like falafel, very soft when you pat them into shape and they don't change much when you bake them. I baked them 25 minutes because 10-15 really only warmed them through, then I finished them off with 2 min under the broiler. Even with the extra baking time they were still fairly soft when done, but soooooo yummy!! Next time I might try broiling for 2 min, then flipping them and broiling another 2 so the other side gets a bit more toasted; you could probably also fry them in a little olive oil as you can with falafel patties. Maybe if I'd made the quinoa the night before so it had a chance to cool/dry a bit they might have been firmer? The avocado-lime dressing was fantastic -- I didn't bother using a blender since the avocado was really ripe, just minced the cilantro really tiny and then mushed everything up together with a fork. Also I didn't have any tahini, so intead of 1 T olive oil I used 1 T toasted sesame oil.

Oh, and a note on quinoa: you've probably been cooking it wrong. You get much better results with a 1:1 quinoa/liquid ratio instead of the 2:1 that most packages tell you. Bring it to a boil, put a tight lid on it, turn it down to low, and let it sit for 20 min then fluff with a fork.

Also, why do they sell cilantro in such ENORMOUS bundles? What am I to do with all the rest of it?

And tomorrow our favorite restaurant is doing a vegetarian dinner with wine pairings, so instead of the usual Friday pizza we will have major foodie goodness!!


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Mar. 21st, 2014 03:15 am (UTC)
The only time I've ever bought green beans to cook at home, they sat in my vegetable crisper drawer for 2 weeks and I finally ended up throwing them away uncooked. I've had them served as a side in a local Italian restaurant, just barely tender and delicious, and would like to replicate that to purge my tastebuds of the overboiled green beans that I've taste in the past ... even if I've only tried them a few times. Like asparagus, a bit under cooked rather than over cooked seems to be what one should aim for, I think.

As to the quinoa ... I've never tasted it.
Mar. 21st, 2014 03:58 am (UTC)
Ugh, I too hate overcooked veg. You'd probably like green beans done like this -- although they didn't get crispy, because you start with raw ones they retain a lot of their firmness and texture.
Mar. 21st, 2014 04:00 am (UTC)
That's what I'd like to achieve ... tender but still with some crispness left.
Mar. 21st, 2014 10:49 am (UTC)
My husband, too, loves green beans when they are al dente. Both of us remember the mushy boiled ones from our childhoods. To get the proper tenderness with some "bite" to it, I stir-fry them. I use peanut oil, but any oil will do. Just get the pan really hot over medium-high heat, THEN add the oil. When the oil is "shimmering" but not smoking, add the green beans. Just a few minutes of stir-frying and they will be ready to eat. (You don't need a wok. In fact, woks are NOT the best thing for stir-frying in Western kitchens. They were designed to accommodate the EASTERN method of cooking. Just use a saute pan.)

If you want to add minced garlic, do it a few seconds before you add the green beans. Any liquids that you want to add, or sauces that you like should be added after the beans are cooked, just before taking them off the stove and serving. They are really dead easy to cook properly.
Mar. 21st, 2014 11:17 am (UTC)
Thank you. It sounds like an easy way to cook them right.
Mar. 21st, 2014 03:27 am (UTC)
Ah, Manchego cheese -- love it. You're not kidding that it's addictive. These both sound delicious. I hear you about the cilantro, though. My partner and I took a cooking class where we learned to make cilantro/roasted onion sauce for roasted veggies. It lets you use up all your bunch.

Here is a link to the recipes.
Mar. 21st, 2014 03:59 am (UTC)
Oh my god that sauce sounds good. I know what I'm making on Sunday -- thanks!!
Mar. 21st, 2014 05:34 am (UTC)
Oh, those sweet potato cakes looks delicious! I think I'll have to test those :) thanks for great tips!
Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:06 pm (UTC)
They were very tasty, and although I never would have thought of combining avocado, lime and sesame flavors, the come together nicely and make a yummy sort of twist on guacamole.
Mar. 21st, 2014 10:53 am (UTC)
I hear ya on the cilantro. I try, when I am planning my meals for the week and need an ingredient that I don't ordinarily use much of, to plan a few meals that require it in the same week. I usually have lots leftover even when I do this. Can't be helped, I guess. It doesn't pay to grow cilantro, either; it goes to seed before I can use it all. :-/
Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:08 pm (UTC)
Did you see the link to the recipe for cilantro/roasted onion sauce in kellychambliss's comment above? I'm so excited!

Edited at 2014-03-22 07:08 pm (UTC)
Mar. 21st, 2014 12:56 pm (UTC)
*saves to recipe folder* :D
Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
Let me know how it comes out for you!
Mar. 21st, 2014 02:18 pm (UTC)
An idea for what to do with the leftover cilantro: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Turkey-Cutlets-with-Cilantro-Almond-Sauce-1222186. I LOVE this recipe. I probably make it once a month.
Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:09 pm (UTC)
If only I weren't a vegetarian... I might try the sauce anyway, maybe over fish. Mmmmm....
Mar. 22nd, 2014 08:22 pm (UTC)
Oops! So sorry! (How did I miss that part??)

Actually, the sauce makes an amazing salad dressing (I can vouch for that), and it would go really well with fish. Have you checked out this blog: Oh She Glows? She has TONS of recipes and a great search function that allows you to search by ingredient. I just bought her cookbook and cannot wait to start trying the stuff in it.
Mar. 23rd, 2014 09:58 pm (UTC)
Oh that's OK, I don't think I actually said it straight out.

Two of my favorite recipe websites are Smitten Kitchen and The New Vegetarian, but this one look terrific as well -- have bookmarked for future exploring, thanks!
Mar. 24th, 2014 06:33 am (UTC)
Oooh! Bookmarking--thanks, bb!!!
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Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:10 pm (UTC)
I love fresh corn in cold salads in the summer, although I've always been intimidated by exotic peppers. This might be enough to get me to face my fears :)
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Mar. 21st, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
Also, why do they sell cilantro in such ENORMOUS bundles? What am I to do with all the rest of it?

THIS. I always have way too much left, and then it inevitably goes bad. They need to sell it in bundles half that size.
Mar. 22nd, 2014 07:13 pm (UTC)
But look, in the comments! It's a bird...it's a plane...it's...EXTRA CILANTRO USING-UP RECIPES! The roasted onion one is particularly seductive.

Now I just need some for parsley...
Mar. 24th, 2014 02:24 am (UTC)
You can make pesto with cilantro.
Mar. 25th, 2014 12:49 am (UTC)
Interesting! I never would have thought of that. I guess it's not any more strongly flavored than basil, so yeah. Have you got a recipe you like?
Mar. 25th, 2014 06:02 pm (UTC)
No, I haven't made my own pesto in a long time because I don't have a suitable food processor.

Something else that comes to mind for cilantro is chimichurri sauce.
Mar. 26th, 2014 01:00 am (UTC)
Mmmm. Had not thought of that. So many good suggestions, I may have to actually buy MORE cilantro!
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