……………………………………………………. Baking our mark

Cool Avocado Soup July 31, 2012

I rarely pull recipes off restaurant websites – I always feel like they’re going to leave off a key ingredient in order to inspire me to come back to their spot instead of making a dish myself. But, when I got this recommendation, it sounded too good to pass up.

Before I made this, I’d never eaten a cold soup. Now, I basically want to live off cold soup all summer long. This was incredibly refreshing, all while being incredibly creamy and decadent.

Plus, we finally got to use the antique cold soup china tureen that’s been in the basement for a year. Classy business, this soup.

Plus it’s green. Which is awesome.

Cool Avocado Soup from Panera

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 English cucumber, partially peeled, then chopped (I used a little cucumber from my garden!)
4 scallions, green parts only
2 cups vegetable broth
Juice of one lime
1/3 cup packed cilantro (leaves and stems)
1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper, depending on your taste preference, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 – 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/4+ tsp. cumin
1/4+ tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. salt

Throw everything in the blender and puree for 2-3 minutes. Let it sit for a few hours, then blend again for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with additional cilantro as desired.


Curried Mango Quinoa Salad June 16, 2011

M and I, though we haven’t lived in the same apartment for 3 years now–and we never cooked them together when we did share an abode, both love quinoa salads. I’d say that they’re just perfect for warm weather, as M also recently made a delicious berry quinoa salad.  But, they’re also nice in the fall and winter, as evidenced by our fall vegetable quinoa hash and pomegranate quinoa dish. Basically, we eat them year-round. I just happened to make a summery one.

I made this one to take to a fancy shmancy barbecue that, sadly, we weren’t able to attend since the boyfriend didn’t feel well. So, I’ve been eating what I intended to leave there (yes, for you, my vegetarian friend who’s eaten on the road too much lately) and thoroughly enjoying it. It goes quite well with the kale-mushroom quiche I made this week.

Curried Mango Quinoa Salad from Bon Appetit

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions, then cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 Tbs. cider or white wine vinegar
1 Tbs. mango chutney [preserves also work if you don’t have chutney]
1 1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
1 cup chopped, peeled mango, plus mango spears for garnish
1 cup chopped cucumber
4 Tbs. chopped green onion, plus 1 Tbs. for garnish
Baby spinach

In a small bowl, mix together oil, vinegar, chutney, and spices, whisking well to blend.

In a larger bowl, combine cooled quinoa, mango, cucumber, and green onion, mixing to combine. Then add about 3/4 of the dressing, tossing all to coat.

To serve, place a bed of baby spinach on a plate, then spoon quinoa mixture on top of greens. Add more dressing as desired. Garnish with the mango spears and reserved green onions.

Also, in case you’re not an expert mango chopper, here’s B.A.’s tip:

Cut mango in half lengthwise, slicing around the pit. Cut a half-inch grid into flesh of each half. Using your thumbs, push up skin side so cubes stick out. Slice off cubes at base.

Cooking Together: Summer Berry Quinoa Salad May 30, 2011

This weekend, we actually got together to cook, instead of just prepping meals from our kitchens in separate states. The results were lovely  – and we did a typically excellent job of combining ceaseless conversation with red wine, good food, and packaged cookies.

Since it was incredibly hot, we opted for some low-cooking dishes that didn’t require too much attention to the stove. (Yes, K decided that throwing a frozen pizza in the oven counted as dinner, and yes it was M who made the healthy salad.)

Summer Berry Quinoa Salad

For the salad:

4 cups cooked quinoa (2 cups dry quinoa + 4 cups water)

1 pint strawberries, washed/trimmed and cut into small pieces

2-3 bunches scallions, diced

1-2 cucumbers, diced

For the marinade:

balsamic vinegar

olive oil

lime juice

garlic powder

black pepper


Cook the quinoa according to directions on your package (for us, that meant combining the water and quinoa in a sauce pan, bring that to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes until the water is evaporated.)  Set that aside and prepare the strawberries, cucumber(s), and scallions.

Now, start the marinade. Here’s the thing about my marinades: I don’t measure at all. So if we’re ballparking things, here’s what you do (obviously to taste): in a small bowl mix together equal parts balsamic and oil (start off with 2 tablespoons each if you feel the need to measure this) and then spice to taste. Mix in about 2 tablespoons lime juice, and then pour the mixture over the strawberries, cucumbers, and scallions. If you need more marinade, repeat the above. If not, combine the berry mixture with the quinoa and refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes (or until the quinoa is cool… you want this to be a cold salad).  This can be made the day before if you like– the marinade probably will taste better the next day too.