Monday, April 15, 2013

What we ate: Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Spinach Pesto, Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Funny story: I searched for quinoa recipes thinking I had this big jar of it in my cupboard that needed used. Turned out it was couscous. Oops. I made this anyway, with the couscous, and we thought it was pretty good. I don't even like olives normally, but didn't mind them in the salad. The dressing was tasty enough we might just put it on couscous or quinoa for a side dish when we don't feel like making the whole salad.

Spinach Pesto

I was looking for a way to use the spinach left over from the quinoa salad and this recipe was in my May Redbook. I couldn't find it on their site, but it's pretty simple: combine 2 cups fresh spinach, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, 2 tbsp pistachios, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 garlic clove, and 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil. Blend in the food processor, or a mini chopper if you have one, until smooth.

(That mini chopper is seriously the very best wedding present we got. We use it all the time and it's much easier to clean than the big ol' food processor.)

The pesto was pretty good. Obviously no basil pesto (my favorite) but yummy. I mixed it into pasta with chicken, then wilted another several cups of spinach in a frying pan and put it over top.

Also one of my favorite wedding presents: our brown everyday dishes
(OMG, when I went to link to that I saw they were on a big sale so I
replaced everything we've chipped or broken over the years. Yay!)

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

Okay, so I tried this again. April linked to an alternate recipe in the comments the first time I made it. I was initially disappointed because the recipe is almost identical, but I thought, well, if this really is THE way you're supposed to make it I must have done something wrong. So I pretty much did the same thing again, just tweaking a few things. I cooked the roux twice as long as the recipe (both of them) said and I added a little chicken stock as I went along so it didn't get too paste-y and stick to the bottom of the pan. Also, I kept the heat really low and let the soup simmer between each step for much longer than the first time. I cut the gnocchi pieces in half (a good recommendation from the second recipe) and cooked it for less time.

Guess what? It was AWESOME. I loved it. It's still not an everyday kind of thing, what with the quart of half and half and all, but my craving was finally fulfilled.

Same picture as last time because I didn't bother to take another.
It would have looked the same, anyway.

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