Posted: May 6, 2010 | Author: Alyssa | Filed under: Alyssa | Tags: | 4 Comments »

As we slowly slide into spring I am excited about all the fun spring and summer dishes that I get to make.  When its warm out I tend to work more with salads and vegetables because the veggies are so good, and when its hot out, I’m not really in the mood for a super heavy meal.  One thing that I tend to use a lot of in the warm weather is olive tapenade.  I LOVE tapenade because you can throw it in a salad to give it some kick, you can use it in meat dishes, pasta dishes, and pretty much anything other kind of dish you want.  Unfortunately a lot of the store bought tapenades have stuff in them that I don’t care for, like pimento or capers, so I decided to make my own.

1 cup kalamata olives

1/2 cup green olives

2 cloves of garlic

2-ish tsp  lemon juice

olive oil

Put the olives and garlic in the food processor and pulse on high until they are fully chopped.  Then add the lemon juice and while the blades are spinning,drizzle in olive oil until it is the consistency you want.  Use what you want and just store the rest in the refrigerator.

I will probably have this on hand all summer because its so easyand versatile.  Anything from a simple appetizer spread on toasty italian bread, or tossed on to pasta with parmesan and grilled portabella.  This time I used it in a stacked tomato salad.

Starting with a slice of tomato, spread some tapenade, and top with a slice of fresh mozz.   Keep stacking until you are content, or until you have totally lost control of the structural integrity of the meal.

I think that next time I might throw in a little red onion to add some sweetness and a little bit of a different flavor.  A lot of people will add a couple of anchovy fillets, but I tend to feel that anchovies make it too salty when they are combined with the brine of the olives.

This is a pretty forgiving recipe and I fully intend to play with different ingredients until I really make it perfect.

Any suggestions?

Alex Runs, Joh Cooks, pt.3!!!

Posted: November 1, 2009 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Alex Runs Joh Cooks, cheap, Johanna, vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Just when you thought it was safe….. here comes another awesome and delicious vegetarian recipe, designed to help Alex run better, help her eat better, and help us fight cancer better. Please remember that for every comment with at least a name (that’s right, you can leave me the word “yum” and I’ll take it), I will donate to Alex’s cause. Her Half Marathon is coming up VERY SOON so we’re going to have a small blitz of recipes to keep her full and focused, and try to raise the donation total.

Vegetable Quinoa Salad I get really, really fired up about grains. I love them, and I love when they surprise me. Sometimes you read things about brown rice that surprise you. Sometimes, I order Barilla Plus multigrain pasta and it turns out to be the most delicious thing ever.

And then….. there’s quinoa.

Quinoa is basically a superduper grain. It’s high in fiber, it’s high in protein, it’s gluten-free, and it’s basically remarkable. The only thing you really need to know about it is that in order to get the most out of it, you need to soak it for a few hours in some water before you cook it. Otherwise, it’s easier and quicker to cook than rice, better for you than couscous (which is really just tiny pasta crumbs), more balanced than polenta, and delicious! Plus, it has a very interesting texture, and it’s super versatile.

To wit: I made Vegetable Quinoa salad. This isn’t really a hard-and-fast recipe, because you can change this up to fit what’s in season, what looks good, what you want to put in your vinaigrette, etc. Play around with it.

1 cup quinoa, soaked in cold water, and rinsed thoroughy
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 butternut squash, cut into cubes, sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted at 375 until soft
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives (or other salty black olives) pitted and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
Olive Oil
Balsamic vinegar (I used some lovely blackcurrant balsamic that I spent a fortune on but any type is fine)

Bring the quinoa and stock to a boil (covered). Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Combine olive oil and vinegar in the bottom of a large bowl, season to taste, until you have a vinaigrette. You’re going to need to make a lot, because Quinoa will absorb a TON of dressing. Add in the squash, tomatoes, olives, and golden raisins. Season with salt and pepper.
When the quinoa has finished cooking, let it cool a little, and then toss it with a fork like you would couscous. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the veggies and vinaigrette, and stir to combine. Eat. Enjoy.

This is great with the quinoa still warm and the veggies all cool. It’s great with everything cold. It’s good to add to, because if you realize you need to use up your slivered almonds before they go bad, they’ll taste great in here. Have some steamed or sauteed kale or chard left over?? Toss it in, and enjoy. Like tofu or want some extra protein? Throw it in!

This makes a TON, and you can eat it for several days by fixing things. Plus,it feels light, so if you’re tapering you’re not going to feel guilty because you have a lead weight in your stomach.
The things I do for you…..
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Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.