Howdy, friends, I hope you had a lovely weekend!
After an eventful Friday evening which included watching an all-new, 2 hour episode of Dateline and making homemade popsicles, my Mom and I kicked the weekend off with a trip to the Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning! There was another big race downtown, so the place was absolutely packed, but a cool, overcast sky made the summer morning so enjoyable regardless.
Pupusas helped too! The line was 15 people deep by the time we arrived, meaning we had to wait a good 20 minutes for our favorite spinach and cheese combo to come off the griddle, but it was one of the best to date. The cheese level was off the hizzle. That’s right.
Another exciting find? The first of central Iowa’s sweet corn! Due to our soggy spring, planting of sweet corn was heavily delayed and the precious ears haven’t been available up until now. The stand in the picture below brought 700 dozen corn to the market, and was expected to sell out by 10am. Best believe I got in on some of that action.
Another cool find was this mountain of green, curly kale. I could hardly believe my eyes – the pile at least 6 feet tall. Now that’s some good marketing!
I also bought some lavender which I planted around the koi pond out back. Excited to twirl around in the blossoms next year and pretend I’m in Provence. Anyway.
Sunday we all assembled at my parent’s house for a belated birthday celebration for me, and an early celebration for my bro. He turns, cough, 33, cough, on the 28th which he’s predicting will forever be overshadowed by the late birth of our son, who’s due the 26th. I say he’ll be even a few days later meaning his birthday is safe…for now. Muwahaha!
Plus a chalkboard/key hook/mail organizer – WHEE! I have been desperate for one of these babies for years and was just going to make one myself but my Mom found and ordered one from IKEA. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think IKEA shipped?! Anyway, clearly they do. Couldn’t be happier. (It doesn’t take much!)
The fun was rounded out by feasting on our favorite, traditional Pepperidge Farms Birthday Cake. Bliss. : )
This weekend I also found time to use up a few of my farmers’ market finds in Easy Summer Quinoa!
As I sat down to eat this bowl of goodness, I realized it’s practically kissing cousins of the Farmers’ Market Skillet I made last spring – minus the melty feta cheese and honey-lemon dressing. What can I say, the heart wants what the heart wants. That being said, it’s similar…but definitely different!
Fresh farmers’ market finds like zucchini, sweet corn, kale, peas, and basil marry with fluffy quinoa in a simple, reduced wine and chicken broth sauce, topped with shaved parmesan cheese. This skillet supper is easy, fresh, and fast. Ready in under 30 minutes! Use whatever veggies you have on hand to clear some space in the fridge, too.
Start by cooking 1/2 cup quinoa in a scant 1 cup chicken broth (or veggie broth if you want to make this dish vegetarian.) I have found this ratio to yield the best, non-mushy quinoa. Also be sure to thoroughly rinse your quinoa first in a fine mesh sieve to rinse away a naturally-bitter outer coating!
While the quinoa’s cookin, get to work on the veggie portion of the program.
First saute 1 large shallot in 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil until tender, about 2 minutes. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and 3 minced garlic cloves then saute for 30 more seconds.
Turn the heat up to medium-high then add 1 chopped zucchini and 2 cups chopped kale. I had lacinto kale leftover from the Kale Chopped Salad I made last week so I used that. Any type will do though – just make sure you chop it into small pieces. Season with salt and pepper then saute for 2 minutes.
Now add the kernels from 2 ears of sweet corn (about 2 cups) and 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil. Chop the tomatoes into strips if they aren’t already pre-cut. I LOVE adding sundried tomatoes into sauteed veggie dishes, btw. The chewy-chew and sweet flavor really liven things up!
Next add 1/4 white wine then use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Once the wine is almost all the way reduced, add 1/2 cup peas. Fresh or frozen – whatever you’ve got.
Finally, add 1/4 cup chicken (or veggie) broth and the cooked quinoa. Saute until the chicken broth is almost completely reduced then stir in 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil.
Scoop into bowls then top with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese. Easy, right? : )
Easy Summer Quinoa
scant 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 cup quinoa
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
2 cups chopped kale (about 1/2 bunch – I used lacinto kale)
1 small zucchini, chopped
salt & pepper
2 ears sweet corn kernels (about 2 cups)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes packed in oil, cut into strips
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
shaved or fresh grated parmesan cheese, for topping
- Bring scant cup chicken (or vegetable) broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Rinse quinoa very well in a fine mesh sieve under running water (quinoa is coated in a natural, bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off) then add to saucepan, place a lid on top, turn heat down to medium-low, then cook until quinoa is tender and broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Set aside.
- Heat olive oil in a very large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots then saute until tender, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and red chili pepper flakes then saute for 30 more seconds, stirring constantly. Turn heat up to medium-high then add kale and zucchini. Season with salt and pepper then saute for 2 minutes. Add corn and sundried tomatoes then saute for 2 more minutes.
- Add white wine then scrape up brown bits from bottom of skillet with a wooden spoon. When wine is nearly gone, add peas then stir to combine. Add chicken broth and cooked quinoa then cook until broth is absorbed. Remove skillet from heat then add basil and stir to combine. Taste then add salt and pepper if necessary. Serve topped with freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese.
This Easy Summer Quinoa was super filling all on its own – quinoa is packed with protein – but this would also be great under a grilled chicken breast, or salmon. Mmm, salmon!
Enjoy! : )