Mediterranean Power Salad

It may be September but here in Austin it’s still in the high 90s and the humidity did not get the message to go away because it’s supposed to be turning into autumn. So what does one do for a healthy weeknight dinner that does not involve touching the stove? You make yourself a power salad filled with all that is good and filling. I do not believe that salads have to be boring or limp. You can add grains, you can add protein that isn’t bland and it can have a ton flavor. Since my mind has been preoccupied with dreaming of a trip to the Mediterranean, my taste buds needed to be inspired too. Mediterranean power salad it is.

There’s not a lot of real measurements so you can make it however big or small you want, so here’s the cast of characters:

A bed of power greens

Diced red onion

Chopped cucumber

Kalamata olives

Cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup couscous per person

Rosemary citrus shrimp (marinade to follow)

 

Simple list and the shrimpies cook up quick with just 2-3 minutes (or until opaque) on each side on medium high heat. Throw the veggies and greens together, dress with your favorite vinaigrette (try using pomegranate red wine vinegar if you make your own) and top with warm couscous and shrimp. I paired mine with a grapefruit vodka and soda cocktail and was happy as a clam.

Mediterranean

Yes yes you get an iphone shot instead of a real picture but it’s actually because I was too excited to eat the salad than actually try and take a pretty picture of it. And the fact that I was only an episode away from finishing Sherlock had nothing to do with me not wanting to get up and find a camera. Nothing.

I posted my favorite vinaigrette recipe here. And here’s my rosemary citrus shrimp marinade for around 1/2 pound of shrimp:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (I tried lime and grapefruit and both balanced out the rosemary very nicely)

1-2 Tbsp. diced fresh rosemary (really depends on how big your shrimp are)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to your preference

I recommend seasoning your shrimp with salt and pepper before adding to the marinade.

Now all you have to do is let your taste buds take you to a Greek Isle and enjoy.

Quinoa and Aromatic Mushrooms

It’s recipe time! I made this one up when I was hungry while grocery shopping. Not usually a good idea but something good came out of it this time. Let’s take a look and see what’s cookin!

It’s embarrassing how easy this recipe is but it just comes out so well and makes your kitchen smell so heavenly that you just can’t care. The whole key to separating this dish from any other blah quinoa recipe is rosemary! And garlic. Garlic is a staple.

Ingredients: mushrooms, wiped down and de-stemmed and give it a coarse chop; one clove of garlic minced; roughly one tablespoon of rosemary minced; and since I made this for myself I used a quarter cup of quinoa. Not pictured is white wine because I threw that in there spontaneously…

First of all, yes that is one clove of garlic. It was a mongo clove but who doesn’t like garlic? If you said “I don’t” then rethink your life’s path and what you’re missing out on.

Next step: start cooking your quinoa. The ratio is 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. Done

Third step: heat up some olive oil and butter in a pan. I used about 1 Tbsp each, then added half a Tbsp of each later. Once it heats up throw in the garlic and rosemary and let them do work. Your kitchen will become a sanctuary for noses.

Next step: Throw in the mushrooms and let them start softening up

just stand over the pan and inhale

Next step: after the mushrooms have softened, 4-5 minutes, pour in some white wine. I didn’t measure the wine but it’s enough to come up the sides of the mushrooms in the pan, but not cover them or float them.

Now sit back and let them simmer until the white wine is reduced to about half the amount. This was around 8-10 minutes for me.

simmer simmer simmer

When your quinoa is done, fluff it with a fork then cover it back up and let it sit for around 4-5 minutes more. While it’s sitting, take the mushrooms off the heat. When the quinoa is ready throw it in a bowl and pour the contents of the pan into the bowl and stir to combine. Then throw in some parmesan cheese because it’s tasty. I have a feeling most of my recipes will end with throwing in some parmesan. Don’t care. Enjoy!