Thursday, April 23, 2015

Moroccan Quinoa and Bulgur Salad

We all know that salads can get boring. The iceberg. The shredded cheese. Maybe a slice or two of cucumber. And, don't forget that creamy, bottled dressing. I try to think outside of the box, so-to-speak. I like to use fruits in my salad. I almost always include nuts and seeds in my salads. And, I really prefer to prepare my own dressing.

Also, it's okay to not always have the mindset that the bulk or centerpiece of a salad has to be lettuce or other leafy greens. I love using grains and pastas as the base for a salad. Here, I've used a quinoa and bulgur mix. Using just quinoa works great, too, for this recipe. Couscous is typical in Moroccan cuisine, so that would probably sub in well, also.

The vinaigrette is ultra simple to prepare, yet very complex in flavors. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the warmth of ground cinnamon, ground cumin and ground ginger in this dressing. And, you'll certainly savor the brightness of the orange and lemon. The fresh mint in the salad is really important, so try not to skip it. And, the reconstituted dried cherries and raisins lend a sweetness that truly makes this salad shine.

What is wonderful about this salad, too, is that it is actually marvelously better after it chills out in the fridge overnight. So, it's a great make-ahead. It's perfect to have on hand for your upcoming work week or to serve at a summer gathering.

Serves 4.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Citrus & Ginger Fish en Papillote {Fish in Parchment Paper}

This is one of my favorite methods for making fish. It is a light, healthy and quite simple recipe. The packets can be made a few hours in advance and there is minimal cleaning up to do after dinner. I've made Fish en Papillote many ways throughout the years, but I really love the flavors and simplicity of this version. This pairs well with a salad, rice or quinoa.

The simple cooking liquid that is used within the packet is, also, amazing for drizzling atop the fish after cooking. So, I always reserve a little for time of service. The liquid not only adds a huge bolt of fresh flavor and brightness to this recipe, but it keeps the fish ultra moist (no oil or butter is even needed in this recipe).

The concept here is simple. Stack up the veggies and fish on top of a piece of parchment paper. Add in a little of the citrus and ginger liquid. Seal tightly and bake. My children love that these are individualized ... so they can help make their own packets.

Yields 4 servings.