Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Where You Taste The Love

Toasted Quinoa Salad

2017-12-15 06.45.51

I brought my Toasted Quinoa Salad to a graduation celebration and it was a hit! Something as simple as a salad, using a few fresh ingredients had friends asking me for this recipe. I knew I needed to post this recipe ASAP!

Sweet Basil (2)

fresh basil

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Red Onion

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Hot House Cucumber

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grape tomatoes

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes (add 5 minutes cooking time if you’re toasting the quinoa)
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment: 1 (3-quart) saucepot with a tight-fitting glass lid, 1 (1-quart) saucepot,  large mixing bowl, mesh sieve, whisk, serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups of uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
3 cups of water, HOT (substitute vegetable or chicken broth, unsalted)
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced (substitute yellow bell pepper)
2 cups of feta cheese, diced
1 1/2 pints of grape tomatoes, halved
2 cups of a hothouse (English) cucumber, diced
1/4 cup of fresh basil, Chiffonade-style
2 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh Italian Parsley (dried 1 tablespoon)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
*E.V.O.O.

Directions For Toasting And Cooking Quinoa:
Start by rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve. If you’ve never made quinoa, it’s really easy. First, you always want to do a quick rinse of the quinoa to remove the *saponin. Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for a few seconds.

In a large heavy-bottom pot over medium-low heat add (or leave) some of the water remaining on the quinoa so that it’s moist. Add the quinoa to the heated pan. Make sure not to overcrowd. Using a whisk, quickly stir the quinoa around allowing any excess water to be absorbed by the grains of quinoa.

Once the water is completely absorbed and the quinoa begins to pop, you’ll know it’s drying out. Continue stirring until the grains of quinoa begin to brown. The aroma will begin to smell nutty, around 5 minutes.

In another saucepot bring the 3 cups of water up to a boil and salt. Pour the hot water into the pot containing the quinoa. Give the quinoa a good stir, cover (with the glass lid). With the heat still on medium-low, simmer until all the water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes, uncover and fluff with a fork. Allow the quinoa to cool completely.

While the quinoa is cooking (during the 15 to 20 minutes) dice the vegetables and the feta.  Zest and juice a lemon. Transfer all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add in the cooled cooked toasted quinoa, season with salt and pepper. Finish by adding in the chopped basil and parsley and toss. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Before serving my Toasted Quinoa Salad, I like to add a drizzle of really good *E.V.O.O.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for extra virgin olive oil.
*Saponin is the outer coating of the quinoa and it can be very bitter. It’s a good idea to rinse the quinoa before cooking.

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Heirloom Tomato Salads

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Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

Heirloom tomatoes are in season so I’m buying them fairly regularly. I have two, really easy and delicious salads here that can be the main course or a side dish with any protein you like. The second of the two is completely vegetarian.

Let’s talk about my first of the two Heirloom Tomato Salads. Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

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E.V.O.O.

Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Dried Oregano

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Local Grown Florida Heirloom Tomatoes

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Red Onion

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Arugula

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The second salad is my Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad.

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad (2)

Orzo And Heirloom Tomato Salad

1). The first tomato salad is an Heirloom Tomato Salad With Bocconcini And Sopressata.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: large mixing bowl, small mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, a 2-cup measuring cup, whisk

Ingredients:
8 cups of heirloom tomatoes, halves, and wedges (depending on whether whole or grape size tomatoes)
1 1/2 heaping cups of diced Sopressata, OPTIONAL (substitute diced Genoa salami)
1 (8-ounce) package of Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls or pearls)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar
1 1/2  tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh tarragon leaves, roughly chopped

Ingredients For Red Wine Vinaigrette:
Yields: approx. 8 ounces

1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 garlic clove, freshly grated
1/2 cup *E.V.O.O.
2 tablespoons Agave nectar (substitute granulated sugar)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper

Directions For Salad Dressing:
Add all ingredients into an 8-ounce jelly jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake all the ingredients together until well combined.

Herb Marinade For Bocconcini:
1 (8-ounce) package of mini Bocconcini
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of Italian-flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Pinch of Kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of *E.V.O.O

Directions:
Separate all the mini mozzarella balls and place them into a small mixing bowl along with the other ingredients. Using a spoon, gently toss to combine. Set aside.

Direction For Heirloom Tomato Salad:
In a large mixing bowl, add the tomato halves and wedges. Add the marinated bocconcini and chopped tarragon. Pour the dressing over and toss all the ingredients together. Transfer to a large salad serving bowl. Serve with your favorite bread.

2). The second tomato salad is an Arugula, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad. This one is a vegetarian salad, totally meat-free!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) saucepot, large mixing bowl, large salad serving bowl, large mesh sieve, chef’s knife

Ingredients:
1 pound of orzo, cooked drained and cooled
2 cups of arugula leaves
4 cups of diced and halved heirloom tomatoes (depending on whether whole or grape size)
1 (14.6-ounce) jar of long-stemmed artichoke hearts, halved
1 (8-ounce) package of Bocconcini (mini mozzarella balls)

Ingredients For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Yields: 8 ounces
1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice (3 juicy lemons)
2 tablespoons of shallot, finely minced (optional)
1 tablespoon of garlic, freshly grated (optional)
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of Agave nectar (substitute honey)
1 teaspoon of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced (optional)
1/2 cup of *E.V.O.O.

Directions For Lemon Vinaigrette:
Add all ingredients into an 8-ounce jelly jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake all the ingredients together until well combined.

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl add the diced and halved heirloom tomatoes, cooked and cooled orzo pasta, halved artichokes, bocconcini, arugula leaves, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and Italian flat-leaf parsley. Pour 1/4 cup of my Lemon Vinaigrette over the top, toss to combine. Next, transfer to a large salad serving bowl. My Artichoke, Heirloom Tomato, And Orzo Salad are so delicious you’ll be asked to make it over and over again.

*E.V.O.O. is an acronym for extra virgin olive oil.

Vinaigrettes, Balsamic, Cilantro-Lime, And Lemon

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Arugula Salad With Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions

Aruguala Salad Herb Goat Cheese Medallions and Seared Scallops

Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions

2018-03-01 14.18.14

A simple cool crisp arugula salad with sliced red onion, fresh lemon juice, and *e.v.o.o. is perfect by itself. Now, when you top the salad with my warm herb-crusted goat cheese medallions, that takes the salad to a whole new level. Really delicious and simple to make. Let me show how I make these little gems. This is my Arugula Salad With Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions.

Steve brought home a pound of fresh sea scallops. He asked me if I would pan sear a few of them for his salad. You know how it is, he just couldn’t wait to eat them which gave me the idea to add three seared sea scallops to each one of the salads.

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Below are my new garlic chives!

Chives

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

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Olive Oil

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Olive Oil

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Red Onion

Arugula

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: approx. 10 minutes.
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, parchment paper, large mixing bowl, 4 porcelain salad bowls, 2 (12-inch) non-stick sauté pans

Ingredients For Arugula Salad:
2 (4-ounce) packages of baby arugula or mixed greens, pre-washed
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
3 lemons, juiced, 2 tablespoons per salad
4 tablespoons of *E.V.O.O, 2 tablespoons per salad
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 large grapefruit, supremed (optional)

Note:  This next section is totally optional. Remove the connective tissue from each one of the scallops. Dry scallops really well before cooking.
12 large sea scallops
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted

Directions For Seared Scallops:
In a large non-stick sauté pan, over medium-high heat, melt butter with olive oil. As soon as the butter is melted, carefully add the scallops, flat side down, into the pan in one even layer. Cook until well browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using tongs, flip the scallops, and continue to cook. Using a large spoon to baste the scallops with the butter/olive oil mixture (tilt the pan so the butter/oil mixture runs to one side). Continue to cook until the sides of the scallops are firm and centers are opaque, 30 to 90 seconds longer (remove the smaller scallops as they finish cooking).

Ingredients For The Fried Goat Cheese Medallions:
2 (11-ounce) logs of goat cheese, sliced into 12 medallions 1/2-inch thick
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons of fresh garlic chives, minced (substitute chives)
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups of Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Directions:
Start by dividing evenly, into four porcelain salad bowls, the arugula, and sliced red onions. Cover each bowl with plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator to stay cold until ready to serve.

The Breading:
Place the panko, chives, and Italian flat-leaf parsley into a large mixing bowl.  Mix the fresh and dried herbs evenly throughout the Panko bread crumbs.

For the egg mixture, add to a bowl, 3 eggs, Kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Using a fork, beat the eggs and spices together. Remove the goat cheese logs from the frig and slice into 12 1/2-inch thick medallions.

Dip the medallions, a few at a time, flipping with a fork, into the seasoned egg mixture, toss to coat. Next, carefully using a fork to transfer them, two or three at a time, into the herbed Panko, using a fork to flip the medallions.

Place the breaded goat cheese onto a rimmed baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Once all of the medallions are breaded, place the baking sheet into the frig to chill and set for 30 minutes.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat melt butter and olive oil swishing around to coat the pan. Once melted, arrange the breaded goat cheese medallions in the pan, do not overcrowd. Spread them out giving each enough room to flip. You may need to do this in two batches. Cook the goat cheese medallions quickly on both sides until lightly browned on the outside not allowing the cheese to melt on the inside.

Note, cook just until lightly brown on both sides.

Note:  If cooking in two batches, add another tablespoon of butter and oil. Bring the melted oil and butter back up to temperature before adding in the second batch of breaded medallions.

To Serve:  Squeeze fresh lemon juice over each of the prepared salads. Sprinkle each salad with Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Drizzle with the *E.V.O.O. and toss. Top each with three goat cheese medallions. There you have it my Arugula Salad With Herb Crusted Goat Cheese Medallions.

Serve immediately.

*E.V.O.O. is extra virgin olive oil.

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