I just got back from a two hour hike with my friend, Dina. It was so nice to catch up and be outside. We are only starting to experience spring in Crested Butte.
This is what it looked like outside last week…
And this is what it looks like this week! Ahh, much better.
I prefer to exercise outside but it’s not always an option. From cold weather to my two little munchkins, I often workout on my treadmill. I will occasionally watch a Grey’s Anatomy episode or John Stewart while exercising but more often than not, I watch cooking shows. It’s true. Something about it doesn’t seem right but I do…From Giada De Laurenttis, to The Pioneer Women, to David Rocco’s Dulce Vita I get inspired to cook as I exercise. David Rocco’s show takes place in Florence so I get to reminisce about the amazing year I spent living in Florence- almost 17 years ago! That can’t be right? Gasp…
My kids will wander in from the playroom and look genuinely interested in what they are cooking on the TV. Or else they just love TV and will take whatever show they can get. I am going to stick with my first thought because I want them to love cooking. I am trying hard to instill in them a love of cooking. Max is always asking what my favorite this or that is. He knows my favorite food is pesto and that it is made using basil. He recently tried it (after some pleading and maybe a little bribing) and said he “sort of likes it but isn’t in the mood for it right now.” I’ll take it but I am not sure what happened because when he was one or two, he loved it. Did anyone else have a pretty good eater and then suddenly they stopped eating anything with a complex flavor?
Anway, the other day Giada was making a chicken salad stuffed in pasta shells. It looked delicious but I didn’t have all the ingredients and I wasn’t interested in making pasta. So I took portions of that recipe and turned in into this. Radicchio wrapped quinoa, fennel and avocado. Radicchio makes a nice wrap. It is great for you (oh so much better than a tortilla), it keeps its form and has a great crunch to it. Fennel has such great flavor…the anise and licorice taste. It’s another food my kids used to eat but won’t go near it now. What gives?
And when an avocado is perfectly ripe, I could eat it plain.
Quinoa has gained popularity in the last couple years but for those who haven’t heard of it or cooked with it, it is the super hero grain. It has the most protein of any other grain containing 9 amino acids which makes it a complete protein, It is naturally gluten free and has been used for thousands of years in South America. One important step before cooking quinoa is to RINSE it! These little seeds are coated in saponins (a natural occurring chemical which keeps the insects away) which taste bitter. Using a fine mesh colander, give them a good rinse before you cook it. Quinoa cooks fairly quickly, in about 15 minutes. I decided to toast the quinoa after it cooked to give it a little crunch. You can certainly skip this step. Toasting quinoa and sprinkling it on top of a green salad would also be yummy.
We (meaning Eric) just brought our patio furniture out this weekend so Cecilia and I enjoyed our first lunch of the season on the patio! My days with her are so precious and I am really trying to soak in every moment. She was my sous chef and was helping me make granola bars. I am honing in on a recipe that I hope to share with you very soon.
It is truly amazing the difference between girls and boys. Not better or worse, but certainly different. The energy of a boy is something else! The enthusiasm and excitement that Max has for everything is contagious but after a day with him, I usually collapse into bed the moment he falls asleep. My days will Cecilia are just as fun, but a little more chill.
Enjoy the recipe and let me know what you think! Feel free to add some diced chicken to make it more substantial.
Radicchio Stuffed Quinoa, Fennel and Avocado (serves 2)
inspired by Giada DeLaurentiis
2-3 Radicchio leaves, soak in water for a couple minutes and then dry.
1/2 Cup Quinoa, rinsed
1 Cup Water
1 Avocado, diced
1/3 Cup Fennel, thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped OR Try Currants or Raisins
1/4 Cup Parsley, chopped
1 TBPS White Balsamic Vinegar
1 TBPS Olive Oil
juice of 1/2 Lemon
pinch of salt
1/8 cup sliced Almond
To Make: Rinse quinoa. Cook according to package. Toast fully cooked quinoa in a toaster over or bake in an oven for about 10 minutes at 375.
In a small bowls, mix the lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt. Add the fennel, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, and toasted quinoa. Mix well.
Cut the bottom of the Radicchio and peel off the first layer and discard. Then carefully pull back the layer of radicchio. There will probably be a couple tears but its okay. The leaf will hold together pretty well. Soak in water for a minute and dry
Fill the radicchio with the quinoa mix. Sprinkle with almond slivers. Fold and enjoy.