Quinoa and Green Bean Salad

Saw this recipe sitting at the chiropractor’s office the other day.  Coincidentally, a few hours earlier I had picked up some fresh purple string beans at the Farmers Market.  I love quinoa, so this seemed perfect.  In case you are wondering, purple string beans turn green when cooked.

Quinoa and Green Bean Salad

from Whole Living July/August 2010

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup for the dressing
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa
1-3/4 cups water
1 lb. green beans, trimmed (cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces)
1 cup flat parsley leaves
3 Tbsp. red-wine vinegar

Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic, 1/4 tsp salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook, stirring until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in quinoa and cook for 1 minute. Add water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered until water is absorbed, about 16 minutes. Remove from heat. Let stand 10 minutes; fluff with fork. Cool completely, about 25 minutes.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp. of salt and beans, cook until bright green, about 4 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Combine quinoa, green beans and parsley. Dress with 1/4 cup olive oil, vinegar, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper.

I didn’t have any flat parsley, so I made the recipe without it.  It tasted great anyway.
I forgot to take pictures of this dish, but will add them the next time I make it.

Ethiopian Food

Tonight I managed my first foray into cooking Ethiopian food.

Several years ago I first tried Ethiopian food at our local food coop. A local restaurant provided the coop with injera and a variety of Ethiopian dishes to go with it: several lentil stew variations, spicy green beans, and  a beet/potato/apple? combination.  Then the restaurant changed hands and the selection at the coop got pretty narrow (lentils, but not much else).

Recently I gathered a pile of recipes (from cookbooks and the internet) and bought some berberé (an Ethiopian Spice Mixture essential to almost every dish).  I decided I would try to make Doro Wat (Chicken Stew), Mesir Wat (lentil stew), and spicy green beans (which I could not find in any Ethiopian cookbook, so I used an Indian recipe that seemed similar to the dish I remembered).

Below are some pictures.  Will post recipes once I figure out exactly how I merged the several recipes I had for each dish.

Update 4/26/10: The recipes are posted.  You can find them in the recipe list to the right, on the Recipe Index page, or via

Doro Wat (Spicy Chicken Stew)

Mesir Wat (Spicy Lentil Stew)

Addictive Indian-style Green Beans

Doro Wat

Doro Wat (Spicy Chicken Stew)

Yes, those are hard boiled eggs in the stew . . . it’s a “chicken and the egg” thing 🙂

Miser Wat

Mesir Wat (Spicy Lentil Stew)

Spicy Green Beans

“Addictive Spicy Green Beans”

Ethiopian Platter

Ethiopian Platter (clockwise from top left: Mesir Wat, Doro Wat, Spicy Green Beans) served on Injera Bread and eaten with your fingers

Minestrone and a new way to cook beans

It snowed last night and actually stuck to the ground . . . pretty early for the Twin Cities . . . melted by afternoon, but more expected tonight. As soon as the weather forecast said “snow”, I started thinking about soup. So yesterday I stocked up on onions and celery and carrots and such. And today I brewed up a big pot of Minestrone, aka Italian Vegetable Soup. I followed Marcella Hazan’s recipe from “The Classic Italian Cookbook”, though I left out the cabbage (I would have added kale, but the store I was at yesterday didn’t have any that looked good) and didn’t bother to leave it boiling for 3 hours . . . after 90 minutes I was too hungry to wait any longer 🙂

I don’t like to post recipes stolen from other sources, but I can give the basics for this soup without much guilt. For the specific details, buy Marcella’s book . . . (my paperback copy cost $5.95 many years ago and may no longer be available . . . her newer edition is called “Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking” but I’m betting it includes a pesto recipe.

Minestrone Soup

Put some oil and butter in the bottom of a big soup pot. Thinly slice half of a large onion (or a whole smaller onion) and add it to the pot at medium heat. Add to this some chopped carrots, celery, potatoes, zucchini, and green beans (I used 1 cup each of the carrots, celery, and green beans and 2 cups of the potatoes and zucchini). For this recipe don’t bother to prep everything ahead of time, just chop and drop each veggie into the pot, give everything a stir each time, and keep the heat low enough so nothing starts burning.

(Once all the veggies have cooked for several minutes, I would usually add several cups of chopped kale and cook until it wilts a bit.)

Add 6 cups vegatable broth (or a combination of broth and water) and one 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes. Cook at a slow boil until thick (90 minutes – 3 hours). About 15 minutes before serving add 1-2 cups cooked pasta and/or cooked white beans (see instructions below). Just before serving (or in the individual bowls) add a large pinch of parmesan cheese and/or a big spoon of pesto.

Cooking Dried Beans

I’ve always had trouble cooking dried beans. Either they boil too rapidly and split and/or boil over OR I set the heat too low and they don’t cook. Here’s a method I had never heard of before (adapted from Marcella Hazan).

1. Soak beans overnight covered in 2″ of cold water. (I used 3/4 cup of small white beans for my soup.)

2. Preheat oven to 325°F.

3. Rinse and drain the beans and put them in a large casserole dish or pot that can be used both on the stovetop and in the oven and has a lid (I used a 3-quart corning ware casserole dish). Cover with 2″ of water.

4. Bring the beans to a boil on top of the stove. Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Cook for 40-60 minutes. Leave in their water until ready to use.

This method worked GREAT! Nice tender beans with much less hassle.

Orange Beef & Sesame Green Beans

I’ve always loved Spicy Orange Beef. Today I finally tried to make it. Gathered half a dozen recipes and did my thing. It was amazingly good for a first try. I went ahead and typed it up. Check it out at Orange Beef.

I served it with rice and Sesame Green Beans borrowed from a simple Rachel Ray recipe: toast 1 T. sesame seeds in a dry pan until lightly browned. Set aside. Steam green beans in 1/2 inch boiling water for 2-4 minutes, until bright green. Drain in colander and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Heat a frying pan or wok over high heat for 20 seconds, add a thin layer of oil and a dash of sesame oil. Toss in 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds, then add beans and cook for 2 minutes. Toss with sesame seed and coarse salt. Enjoy!