Bolivian and Peruvian farmers are the top producers of the world’s biggest super-food-quinoa-which is also gluten-free and packed with protein. I can’t believe I have not discovered this sooner. The more I read about this super seed that cooks like a grain, the more I want to try all the ways one can fix it. Continue reading
True Fact: Venezuela is number 2 in the world when it comes to eating the most pasta. No lie. Number 1 billing goes to Italy. But this an avocado post, you say. I know. I like the idea of having an avocado with pasta (my personal favorite is penne-smooth kind). For a fast meal, try this sauce with a bit of angel hair pasta for a great vegan/vegetarian meal one night. Top it off with some tomatoes and voila, you have a a great Venezuelan dish. Typically this sauce is served with grilled meats but you can just as easily use it as a dip for tortilla chips. Any way you like it, it’s going to be good.
Guasacaca-Venezuelan Avocado Sauce-Venezuela
Source: Steven Raichlen’s “Healthy Latin Cooking”
1 large avocado, pitted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1/2 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro (adjust here for more or less depending on your taste)
1 clove garlic
1 1/2-2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup water
In a food processor or blender, combine the avocados, onions, bell peppers, cilantro, garlic, vinegar, 1 tsp salt, black pepper and water. Puree until smooth. The mixture should be highly seasoned; taste and add more vinegar and salt, if desired.
I used to love to get the Roasted Vegetables at Whole Foods. I also made them during my tenure there as Catering Director. It was amazingly easy to prepare. I have waited recently to make them and soon found inspiration after my mid-week visit to the farmer’s market. The best find: White Japanese Eggplant, Pineapple Sage, Blackberry Preserves and San Marzano Tomatoes.
I thoroughly savored the pickled squash, cheese crackers and dilly green beans tastings at the farmer’s market, but mostly I enjoyed talking to all the vendors and seeing how excited they were to offer me their goods. Boldly, I picked up some duck eggs, and other choice pickings and I walked away pretty excited to prepare my meal of Roasted Vegetables.
Here’s the recipe and you can use almost any vegetable:
Roasted Vegetables with Pineapple Sage and Olive Oil
Potatoes – ( I used Purple)
Yellow Squash or Zucchini
Eggplant – ( I used White Japanese)
Garlic minced – (your choice of how much)
Herbs – (your choice, I used Pineapple Sage and a Garlic Green Onion)
Heat oven to 450. Chop all vegetables about 1 inch size and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper, herbs and place in oven for about 45-60 minutes. Toss occasionally.
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I have lots of butternut squash on hand and I needed a recipe that was easy and fast. Nutty and buttery squash mixed together with barley-you get a double whammy of comfort and warmth. Why is it called “pearled” barley? Barley that has been polished is called pearled and takes less time to cook. Any meal that takes a few minutes to throw together is a meal worth my time.
This dish was 50 minutes tops and tasted like it had been simmering all day. Add a nice piece of hard bread and -voilà- instant thumbs up, except if you had someone who missed the meat. I can only do meatless once or twice a week before the husband notices and starts to question the meal selections.
The recipe comes from Real Simple magazine 2011 with a couple of my adaptations.
Butternut Squash with Pearl Barley and Spinach
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2#’s) peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
1 cup pearl barley
1/2 cup dry white wine ( I had cooking sherry so used that instead)
3 cups chicken broth (low sodium if you prefer)
5 ounces spinach, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used Asiago)
1 Tbls. butter
Heat oven to 400. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large oven safe sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the squash, onion, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often, until the onion begins to soften, 4-6 minutes.
Add the barley to the vegetables and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook, stirring until evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the broth and bring to a boil; cover the pot and transfer it to oven. Bake until barley is tender-about 35-40 minutes.
Stir in spinach, Parmesan and butter. Serve with additional Parmesan.