Friday, May 21, 2010

Another Whirlwind Trip

Now playing: St. Lunatics - Midwest Swing
via FoxyTunes

After graduation parties and putting on my daughter's engagement party last weekend....I made yet another whirlwind trip to the Midwest this week. There is never enough time to fit in all I want to do there. Long road trip; snide comments from certain people, celebration of a life, seeing people I haven't seen for awhile, meeting rellies I forgot I had, being blanked by another, bonding with yet others, a delayed flight later.....I clicked my heels and ended back to a less humid Colorado, finally (not Kansas, thank goodness) at 1:15 am. I am back to much cleaning and gardening to be done!

I spent time at Rhineland, Missouri where in the evening hummingbirds flock in good numbers to my sister's feeders. She has approx. 8 feeders that she refills every other day. I managed to capture one of the darlings digitially.

I stayed at St. Louis too. Here are a few pictures of Wanda's garden. Gardening is something she enjoys very much. She loves flowers and always manages to have tomatoes, beans and cukes.

I visited Burlington, Iowa, where I was born. The last visit there was 1852, ok more realistically it was about 1999, or so. Megan and I had fun going for a walk and snapping some pictures.

When I got back creative cooking called to me and this is what I came up with:

Chicken Thighs Stuffed w/ Dandelion Greens and Cherry/Mushroom Sauce also Scallion/Drunken Goat Cheese Pesto Orzo.

Cherries! Love em! Then, I found organic dandelion greens in season. This is how the inspiration for this dish started. I found some de-boned chicken thighs next....easy for after a long week. What goes with cherries? I decided it was almonds. That is what lead me to pesto. You can make pesto out of just about anything....some good, some not so good. This was GOOD and a huge batch:

Scallion and Drunken Goat Cheese Pesto

2 bunches scallions
Zest of 1 lemon
EVOO and water to moisten for the blender (about 1/4 cup each)
1/2 c. toasted almonds
1/2 c. Drunken Goat Cheese (a firm cheese that was soaked in red wine)
1/4 c. Parmesan
1 sm. clove of garlic

Whirl this in a blender, until somewhat smooth. Season. Fold into still warm pasta.

This makes enough pesto for 32 oz. of Orzo which will feed 16 hungry people.

This is dedicated to Donald R. Gaddis October 11, 1922- May 9, 2010- My granddad.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Beauty and the Beast

Maybe the title is a bit melodramatic. The contrasting colours of watermelon radish and sprouted mung beans inspired the naming of the blog. As you will see sprouted mung beans are ugly ducklings that can do beautiful things for a body.

Watermelon radishes can really add a spark of life to a plate. What can we say, they look like watermelon, with the outter green skin and bright red center. Soak them in ice cold water and they will crisp up even more. I made curls by cutting them thin and rolling the slices, secure with a skewer, or toothpick and plunge into the ice cold water. I also plan to put the thin slices in my regular Thai Cucumber Salad too.

More info:

Seasame Salmon with Braised/Grilled Baby Bok Choy with Scallions, Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

Have you had bean sprouts in your Chinese take-away? Those are sprouts from mung beans.

Mung beans can be used in many different ways. They are usually found in Indian, or Chinese cuisine, although they appear in other Asian cuisines, as well. They could be served hulled or un-hulled. Sprouted, or not. In India they are served dried as a snack item. The starch can be extracted to make jellies, or noodles. In China mung beans appear in desserts.

This is the salad I made with them for a side dish.

Sprouted Mung Bean Salad

10oz. pkg. of Sprouted Mung beans (Prepared according to pkg.)
1 bunch scallions, chopped

Make a vinaigrette from:

Pulp from pureed Pluot (plum/apricot)
1/4 c. prepared green tea
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 c. canola oil
1/4 c. brown rice vinegar
1/4 c. mustard
2 tbsp. fish sauce

Fold all ingredients together, serve warm or cold. Mine was served warm with the Salmon. Serves 8

According to the mung bean package, they provide quite high values of fiber and protein. It also says germinating the beans before drying them releases an enzyme that makes micro nutrients more available. Another bonus is that this enzyme also pre-digests proteins and starches, making digestion easier on your body and absorption of nutrients a lark.