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Shrimp

Salad

Living the Single Life & Marinated Quinoa Salad

June 21, 2012

This week I’m living the single life.

Adam has been away all week for work on the Island since Monday, so I’ve been at home by myself. I’ve been hanging out with my mom, we spent all Tuesday together as it marked eight years since my fathers passing.

It’s actually been nice to have the nights to myself as well. I’m totally used to being at home alone, and I’m definitely an independent person so it’s really no big deal. Usually if I am home alone it is during the day, and Adam is home after work around 3:30. So, having nights to myself has actually been kind of nice. I’ve made myself some yummy single-girl dinners, and had a nice relaxing bath last night and read a novel. I’ve also watched a few too-girly for Adam movies on Netflix myself (The Jane Austen Book Club, and Monte Carlo, Date Night) they were pretty good. I really liked the Jane Austen one, as my last semester in school I took a Jane Austen literature course where we read all six of her novels, and the movie discusses the novels as well. It’s also nice to be able to go to the gym whenever, instead of trying to co-ordinate with Adam as well if he wants to come with.

This week we also officially sold our place!! We had an offer previously, but it fell through unfortunately. Literally a week later we had another showing, and they were interested. The inspector came on Monday morning, and by that afternoon it was finalized! We really were not in any rush, as we are not moving into the new town home until November, however, it was nice to rest assure we (read: Adam lol) won’t be left with two mortgages comes the fall, so selling it now makes it a lot easier. We will be moving out in a month, I’ll actually be in Europe, so Adam will be having to do it himself at the end. We will just begin to pack now slowly and move things to storage, as we will likely be moving in with my Mom, as they have a full basement suite (that’s actually bigger than our condo right now! lol) We (read: I) really crammed a lot into our small space (just over 600 sq. ft) and our new place is about 1,500 sq. ft. Moving on up!

I made some zucchini ribbon pasta with red peppers and chicken Monday night, Tuesday I was at my moms, and yesterday I thought I would get a head start by making a salad during the day and letting it marinate until dinner. I also added some shrimp to it. I always  have a bag of frozen raw shrimp in the freezer, great for pastas etc. but I never think about making them for lunch or a quick snack. They take only a minute to thaw, under running water and peel, and only a few minutes to cook (I sauté them in lemon juice with pepper) So I decided to make some to go with my salad for dinner. The flavours are delicious, and I just poured the shrimp on top with the extra lemon juice from the pan. Definitely an easy weeknight dinner, make ahead the salad the day before, and throw on some shrimp. This salad would also be delicious with some chicken, or maybe a lamb or beef kebab. Great for bringing to picnics too! I made the quinoa earlier in the day and let it cool, and then just added about 1/2 a cup to the salad and kept the rest plain for a snack later.

(single lady) Marinated Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 Broccoli crown
  • 1 can Chick Peas (Garbanzo beans)
  • 1/4 Cup Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 3 large Garlic cloves (I like mine spicy! If you don’t love garlic you can use 1 clove)
  • Pepper
  • Parsley

To Prepare:

Wash and cut red pepper into small pieces, discarding the inside. Peel and cut cucumber into chunks.

In a food processor place half the broccoli crown and pulse until it is diced into small pieces. If you do not have a food processor, you can dice the broccoli using a knife. I love how small the food processor makes the broccoli, instead of having large chunks of it in a salad it is more of small granules. I also dice my garlic in the food processor, alternatively, you can dice it by hand.

Drain the chick peas in strainer, and rinse them well – if they are canned with Salt, rinsing them can actually remove quite a lot of the salt. Pour into medium sized bowl. Add the chopped pepper, cucumber and broccoli.

Add a 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, more or less as you desire.

Mix well.

Drizzle on top olive oil, and lemon juice. Sprinkle with pepper, and add the garlic on top. Mix again to thoroughly incorporate the juices and seasoning. Cut up a few sprigs of Parsley and mix in as well. I also threw on a dash of garlic powder (Thankfully Adam wasn’t home, I could keep away a vampire for sure with my garlic breath!)

Mix until all the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated, cover and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. It can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days. I made a large batch and have been eating it for lunch/dinner.

If you wanted to add some protein to it, I just sautéed the shrimp in lemon juice with some pepper, and once it was cooked I poured the shrimp along with all the juices in the pan onto the salad. It was delish!

 

Italian, Pasta

Homemade Pasta

March 4, 2011

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First off, it’s cold. It’s still snowing, raining and windy here in Vancouver. I cannot believe it is March already. Isn’t it supposed to be spring-like and warm and sunny? I can only hope we will have a very warm summer to make up for this.

So last night my mom came over for dinner. You may have seen that I made Tiramisu for dessert, in keeping with the Italian dinner theme. One of the fondest memories I have of my father is his cooking. He would always make enough food to feed an army. He was home earlier than my mom on most days from work, and therefore he would make dinner. He was a really good cook. When he was younger he worked in the restaurant industry as a waiter, and later even owning and managing a few of his own in Vancouver. Pasta would be a dish that we would eat at least once or twice, if not three times a week. Of course being Italian its almost a standard. I think in those first years after he passed away my mom, brother and I lost weight from not eating those delicious foods. We most definitely missed him first and foremost, and missed his cooking secondly. I know I missed sitting around the table with the four of us for dinners during the week. As is in most Italian families the boy, or son, is considered the ‘king’ (HA) and It was always a joke that even if I were sitting at the table when dinner was ready, and my brother was still in his room my dad would set his plate down first. And then mine. This is just how it went. I even remember one night my dad hand peeled all of my brothers shrimp. Yup. He was spoiled. And I was younger!

I think great cooks run in the family. My Nonna is one of the best cooks { definitely bias, I know } she makes delicious homemade pasta, pizza and soups. We would always get together for large dinners for Easter and Christmas. Both would have large amounts of delicious foods including lamb and seafood. Anyone who has eaten Nonna’s food can attest that she is definitely a talented cook. Everything always tasted so fresh and authentically Italian. I hope I will get to keep enjoying her food and company for years to come.

For now, I’m trying to learn how to make and cook pasta myself so I can carry on the tradition when I have kids. I remember when my brother and I were young we would help our Nonna make pasta, each taking turns turning the hand-cranked pasta maker. Oh how things have changed. Thanks to Adam, I now have a KitchenAid pasta attachment that makes things so much easier. Homemade pasta is delicious. Simple as that. No store bought pasta can measure up to the soft supple noodles made from home. If you’re a pasta virgin try this recipe. It’s effortless with a stand mixer and the attachments.

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And, if you don’t have a pasta drying stand, you can use things like clothes hangers to dry the pasta. I call it drying pasta in an apartment 101.

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Bubbling away

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Homemade Pasta
recipe from KitchenAid Recipe Book

Basic Egg Noodles

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups AP or Whole Wheat flour, sifted
  • 1 1/2 tbs. water

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer, combine eggs flour and water. Mix with paddle attachment for about 30 seconds.
  2. Switch to a dough hook, and continue on low for two minutes.
  3. Turn it out onto the counter top and knead slowly for another minute.
  4. cut into two large rounds and cover tightly with a tea-towel.
  5. let sit about 15 minutes before using it in your pasta maker.

Follow the instructions on your pasta machine / pasta attachment. Dry pasta on counter in a single layer, or using the ‘clothes hanger’ method.

Fresh pasta only needs to cook in boiling water for about 7 minutes, until tender. You can top it with whichever sauce you would like. I made a simple tomato sauce with seafood. recipe below.

Simple Tomato Sauce:

  • 1 large can whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or more)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • basil leaves/flakes
  • small can of tomato paste

In a large pot over medium low heat pour in olive oil.

In a blender/food processor/slap chop (my fav) dice up the onion and garlic together. Add to the olive oil.

Allow to heat up for a minute or two.

Using a mixer/blender puree the tomatoes until no large pieces remain. Add to the pot. Stir in the tomato paste as well. Using a wooden spoon stir gently. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle in a few teaspoons of basil flakes, or a couple whole leaves.

Allow to simmer for about an hour on low. You can add some pre-cooked salmon pieces to the sauce at this point.

If you like when it is almost finished, you can add prawns/shrimp as well. Using thawed or fresh prawns/shrimp add them into the sauce about 10-15 minutes before serving. Allow them to cook fully in the sauce on low/medium heat. They should be fully cooked, making sure they are not undercooked or still ‘squishy.’ They should feel firm and meaty.

Serve over fresh pasta~

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Enjoy! It’ll be gone fast. Trust me.

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