Quinoa Pancakes

Quinoa Pancakes

So, we eat a lot of quinoa ’round these parts. It has higher quality protein, fewer carbohydrates, more nutrients, and the real winner: it cooks faster than brown rice. So, we eat it quite a bit as a side-dish. But what we’ve found, is that it is particularly good in pancakes. These pancakes end up having more protein and tend to make me feel better than other pancakes after eating them. Plus, the quinoa adds a bit of texture to the pancakes for a bit of added interest.

This recipe is one we developed in the Spice Raconteurs Kitchen!  Continue reading

Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut

Adapted from Bon Appétit | October 2007

Walnut Herb Encrusted Halibut

This is a really great topping for any white fish, but of course it is particularly nice with a lovely halibut. It is crunchy, nutty, herby and delicious. And it is a nice change from simple (but of course, lovely) grilled treatment with lemon juice. We ate this with an herby green salad and garden tomatoes. If you wanted to get fancy, I think it would be really good nestled on a turnip puree, or served with roasted fingerling potatoes. Continue reading

Spice Raconteur’s 25 (more) Things to Taste

Denver, CO



Denver Magazine Just came out with their opinion on 100 Things to Taste in and around Denver. We’ve assembled our own list of things that could have been included.

  1. Stranahan’s Whiskey Brickle Ice Cream – Sweet Action Ice Cream
  2. Chocolate Covered Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream – Red Trolley Ice Cream
  3. Hen of the Woods Poutine (Porcini mushrooms and cheddar cheese curds) – Euclid Hall
  4. Blackberry-Sage Smash – Steubens
  5. Pizza Siciliana- Parisi’s
  6. Pho and/or Vietnamese Eggrolls – New Saigon
  7. Housemade Bloody Mary – Shazz Cafe and Bar
  8. Reuben – Masterpiece Delicatessen
  9. Cheeseburger – Bang!
  10. Chocolate and fleur de sel caramel tart – Olivea
  11. Burbon-style whiskey – Stranahan’s Distilery / Rackhouse Pub (also try their wasabi mayo!)
  12. Colette (Summer seasonal brew) – Great Divide Brewery
  13. Dylan’s Masa Fried Oyster Shooters – Delite
  14. Chicken & Waffles – The Corner Office
  15. Bhakti Chai – Various independent coffee shops and grocery stores
  16. Anything brewed for Stout Month – Mountain Sun/ Southern Sun/ Vine Street Pubs
  17. Chicago Dog – Top Dog in Coors Field
  18. Chicken Pesto Burrito – Illegal Pete’s
  19. Burger – My Brother’s Bar
  20. Greyhound – Cruise Room
  21. Smothered Chile Relleno – Brewery Bar II
  22. Beef Tacos – Los Carboncitos
  23. Shredded Buffalo Indian Taco – Tocabe, An American Indian Eatery
  24. Silver Coin Margarita – Lola
  25. Jerk wings- Eight Rivers

Shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce

Adapted from Bon Appétit | April 1997


New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


Well, the regular followers of this blog (all 5 of you) probably know that we went to New Orleans for our Honeymoon. Or have we forgotten to mention that? It appears that we have. Well, after we got married this May, we headed to the Big Easy for a short but sweet trip. It was just after the oil-spill spill started,  right after a big holiday and it was really pretty chill. Have you ever heard  New Orleans described that way? Me neither, but it was.


It was my first time there and I’m already excited for our next trip. We ate and ate and ate. We ate the best Red Beans and Rice, Gumbo, Po’Boys, oysters and creole shrimp I’ve ever had. Although we did visit the famous Arnaud’s, we were more impressed by how much everything cost rather than how good everything was. I mean, everything was very nicely prepared, but doesn’t all food taste good when it’s drenched in butter? Yes. It does.


Our most memorable meal was actually brunch at a new restaurant called the Green Goddess.  It was there that we drank “Solidarity Sunshine” which featured Polish SobieskiVodka, Sparkling Meyer Lemon Juice and muddled basil. It was seriously amazing and where a good quarter of our garden’s basil ended up this summer. For the food portion of the meal, I ate the “Acadian Country Breakfast” with two small patties of crispy Boudin sausage nestled inside two buttery sweet potato biscuits. Served with pepper jelly and Steen’s cane syrup and grits on the side. It was devine– salty, sweet, hot, crispy, and grits! All for $9. That was certainly the theme of our trip, in which less expensive food impressed us the most.


But, I’ve gotten off track haven’t I? In a moment of lustfulness for the tastes of New Orleans, we made some shrimp with Spicy Creole Sauce the other day. I adapted the recipe from a Bon Appétit (April 1997) recipe which was in take on the ones served at Mr. B’s Bistro in New Orleans. I took out about half of the butter and we still had a very tasty meal so don’t feel timid about it. We also ended up with shrimp with the peels already removed. I actually preferred this as it made it easier and less messy to eat, but it certainly wasn’t as authentic. Make the decisions for you and your family based on your own preferences.


What you Need:

  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch (or more!) cayenne pepper
  • Pinch dried thyme
  • 28 uncooked large shrimp (shells on, or off depending on your preference)
  • 4 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons chopped garlic
  • hot french bread (or rice)
  • Green onions, sliced for garnish (optional)
Cajun Spices



What to do:
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a large bowl. Add shrimp and toss to coat.
  2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. (I used our big cast iron skillet.)
  3. Add Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice and garlic.
  4. Saute until garlic is tender– about 2 minutes.
  5. Add shrimp and saute until opaque in center– about 3 minutes.
  6. Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until melted.
  7. Transfer shrimp to a large bowl and pour sauce over shrimp.
  8. Serve with hot French bread for dipping, or over the top of brown rice. (We used Forbidden rice because it happens to be pretty.
  9. Garnish with green onions if you so choose.
New Orleans BBQ Shrimp


Denver Magazine’s 100 Things to Taste

Denver Magazine just came out with their 100 Things to Taste in and around Denver. And it looks like a fun to do list for the dark winter months. (The items bolded are the ones we’ve sampled already.)

  1. Cheese Sampler – Opus Restaurant
  2. Sticky Toffee Pudding – Duo
  3. Absinthe Verte – Leopold Brothers 
  4. Kurobuta Pork Belly – Venue
  5. The King – The Berkshire
  6. Pho – Parallel Seventeen (it’s pretty good, but it’s not better than my favorite, New Saigon)
  7. Chile Relleno “en Nogada” – Chili Verde
  8. Soup of the Month – Twelve Restaurant
  9. Wonton Tacos – Zengo
  10. Chocolate Sandwich Cookie – Cake Crumbs (i.e. The Denver Cupcake Truck)
  11. Hercules Double IPA – Great Divide Brewing Co.  (this is one of Edward’s favorites, and our favorite tap room in Denver!)
  12. Calamari – Il Posto
  13. House-Smoke Idaho Trout- The Oceanaire Seafood Room
  14. Shrimp Cocktail – Elway’s Cherry Creek
  15. House-Cured Duck Prosciutto – The Village Cork
  16. Chapchae – Seoul BBQ
  17. Housemade Sodas – Hutch & Spoon
  18. Chicken Franki – Mirch Indian Grill
  19. Veg Taco – Gastro Cart
  20. Grilled Jumbo Artichoke – Cherry Creek Grill
  21. Raw Kitfo – Africana Cafe
  22. Torpedo Farms Chinese BBQ Pork Belly – Vesta Dipping Grill
  23. Moroccan Spiced Pork – Cafe Aion
  24. Ajo – The Med  (this roasted garlic, gorgonzola and tomato jam concoction is worth the drive to Boulder) 
  25. Mac & Cheese Fries – Jonesy’s EatBar
  26. Long Farm Crispy Pig Trotter – Colt & Gray
  27. Z Cassoulet de la Maison – Z Cuisine
  28. Breakfast Charcuterie – Table 6
  29. Banh Mi Slider – Deluxe Street Food Truck 
  30. Ramen with Poached Lobster, Edamame & Miso Lobster Broth – Bones (I die. This is buttery and amazing. But, everything at bones is amazing. We also really like the Udon Noodles: Slow Cooked Pork Shoulder from Salmon Creek Farms with a Poached Egg).
  31. Pasta Carbonara- Fruition Restaurant
  32. All-Veal Brats- Continental Sausage
  33. Housemade Soup of the Day – Cafe Options
  34. Sauteed Wild Mushroom Breakfast Sandwich- Masterpiece Delicatessen
  35. Sourdough Baguette – City Bakery
  36. Garlic Dip with Pita – Phoenician Kabob
  37. Signature Bone-in Filet- Shanahan’s Steakhouse
  38. French Onion “Soup” Dumplings – TAG
  39. Fig & Crispy Prosciutto Pizza – Osteria Marco
  40. Cinnamon Roll – Johnson’s Corner
  41. Spicy Sesame-Cashew Jerky – New Saigon
  42. Scoth Egg – Argyll GastroPub
  43. Raisin Bran Muffin- The Market (at Larimer Square)
  44. Queso – El Camino Community Tavern  (I’m not a fan of queso in any form, but this is better than most.)
  45. Fried Chickpeas with Harissa Aioli – Olivea
  46. Chicken and Crawfish Gumbo – Jax Fish House
  47. Ginger Sashimi – Izakaya Den
  48. Soul of Autum Benedict – Gallop Cafe
  49. Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge New School Milkshake – H Burger
  50. Campania Pizza Napoletana – Marco’s Coal-Fired Pizza
  51. Seitan Buffalo Wings – WaterCourse Foods  (Chewy, crunchy spicy. Vegetarian! Yum! And they’re just as good at City O’ City)
  52. Chef Mickey’s Famous Red Beans – Lucile’s Creole Cafe (Everything here is amazing, but these beans are fantastic… although they must be eaten with a beignet and strawberry-rhubarb jam)
  53. Potstickers – Lao Wang Noodle House
  54. Larkburger – Larkburger
  55. Pecan Caramel Bars – Living the Sweet Life
  56. Pecorino Ravioli with Fava Beans and Preserved-Lemon Vinaigrette – Rioja
  57. Frites- Mateo
  58. Pepperoni Piccolo – Il Mondo Vecchio
  59. Mojito – Cuba Cuba Cafe & Bar  (I love mojitos, and this is a good one. I think this is a little simple to put on the list, though.)
  60. Baked Garlic Bread – Kaos Pizzeria
  61. Calves’ Liver – Strings
  62. Paella- Solera Restaurant & Wine Bar
  63. The Crippler – Vine Street Pub
  64. Mint Julep Gelato – The Red Trolley
  65. Croquetas de Jamon – Ondo’s Spanish Tapas Bar  (Really good and authentic!)
  66. Yellowtail And Salmon New Style Sashimi – Sushi Sasa
  67. Huevos – Lola (Lola’s brunch in Denver’s best kept secret. Some of the best food, and never a wait. Plus, you can stay after brunch for happy hour from 2-5 for live music.) 
  68. Broiled Mushrooms – LoHi SteakBar
  69. Spicy Thai Beef Salad – Delite  (A great place to go for happy hour. We also really like the “Dylan’s Ass” — their take on the Moscow Mule, and the Steamed Pork Bun Sliders and the Masa Fried Oyster Shooters.)
  70. Escargot – Simms Steakhouse
  71. Soul Food Eggroll- CoraFaye’s Cafe
  72. Housemade Sausage, Caramelized Onion and Ricotta Flatbread Pizza – Encore
  73. Pepper Blossom Cocktail – Rootdown
  74. Shrimp Po’Boy – Steuben’s Food Service
  75. Lobster in French Style – JJ Chinese Seafood Restaurant
  76. Peel & Eat Shrimp – Billy’s Inn
  77. Tom’s Tavern Burger – Salt Bistro
  78. Cast-Iron Skillet Cookie – Second Home
  79. Potato Gnocchi – Fuel Cafe
  80. Denver Venison with Lingonberries – Cool River Cafe
  81. Chile Fried Calamari – Black Pearl
  82. Di Rucula, Pere e Asiago Salad – Undici Ristorante
  83. Beef Tenderloin Tartare – Shazz Cafe and Bar
  84. Farmer’s Croissant – Buffalo Doughboy Bakery
  85. Ojo de Agua – Novo Coffee
  86. Croque Monsieur – Brassarie Ten Ten
  87. Uni- Sushi Den
  88. Sables – Andre’s
  89. Tostadas al Pastor – Tacos y Salsas
  90. Crawfish Beignets – Beatrice & Woodsley
  91. Shroom Pizza – Brava! Pizzeria della Strada
  92. Frank’s Salumi Plate – Luca D’Italia
  93. Smoked Pheasant Soup – Palace Arms
  94. Ruby Scones – Spruce Confections
  95. Nutty Cheese Salad – Racines  (One of my favorite salads, hands down. So simple. So nutty, cheesy and delicious. The banana and the honey mustard sound strange but make it sooo good.)
  96. Tofu & Black Egg Mix – East Asia Garden
  97. Bresaola- Panzano
  98. Sopa Azteca- Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace
  99. Chicken Liver Mousse – The Squeaky Bean
  100. Any Farmers Market Salad – Potager









Weekly Recipe Roundup

Well, maybe this will have to be a regular part of this blog– there is just more stuff I’d like to try than time and money to cook, let alone enough mouths to cook for. For now, here are some of the recipes that have me drooling this week:

Donna Hay’s chocolate crème caramels with hazelnut toffee.

What Kate Ate’s Individual Devil’s Food Cakes with Salted Butterscotch Caramel Sauce

Matt Bites’ Vegetable Crumble


Simply Recipes Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce

In other news, I think it is going to frost here in Colorado tonight so I’ll be making pesto tonight. We’ve also been talking about making our own ketchup or marinara sauce to can, and pickled green tomatoes. When that happens, I’ll make sure to keep you in the know!

Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids — Worth the Drive

This was a busy week for the Spice Raconteurs. One of my best friends who I have known since middle school got married this weekend. I was a bridesmaid which also means that I devoted Thursday-Sunday to spending time with the bride and other friends, primping, chatting, eating, drinking and partying. It was all SO fun, but this borderline interovert needed some good old time my herself after the weekend. Luckily, Netflix started streaming season 4 of Friday Night Lights so maybe it was meant to be.

A picture from the OB website

Back to food, one of the great things we did this weekend was visit Oskar Blues Home Made Liquids and Solids in Longmont. We’ve been to the original outpost in Lyons several times on the way back from Rocky Mountain National Park and both of us Raconteurs love the beer they brew. And, we went to this new location in Longmont for brunch a few weeks ago after a camping trip. Now, after a second try, I just want to say, it is definitely worth the trip (but find a DD).

The menu at the new location is larger with a greater focus on theme– there’s a nice mix of Southern BBQ (pulled pork, brisket, fried pickles) and New Orleans style grub (crab and corn fritters with remulaude sauce, oysters, red beans and rice, dirty rice, Po’ Boys). The food is tasty and well-made and certainly better than most pub food. And most importantly, the food complements the tasty and creative beers brewed there as well as the large selection of guest beers they provide. Most of my dining companions opted for the beer sampler so they got to taste 5 beers of their choice for about $10.

I was driving so I got two half beers– Mama’s Little Yella Pils (a Pilsner that is light and refreshing, but still with a bit of hoppy flavor to keep it interesting) and the Columbian Supreme which was a dark stout packed with coffee flavor.

This place is getting a lot of good press, and is a much needed alternative to the chains ever present in lovely Longmont so it is also getting a lot of people to visit for happy hour and dinner most days of the week. If you go on the weekend, be prepared for long lines. But still go. It is worth the drive!

Recipe Round-up

Well, it has been some time since we’ve updated this blog. It has not had anything much to do in a decrease in cooking, per se, but more a decrease in fantastic delectable delights. We’ve been eating pretty close to the ground this summer– grilling garden veggies, chopping tomatoes for bruschetta, and generally making quite simple food that seems too mundane to blog about.

 

But, other bloggers are QUITE busy, and I’ve been accumulating some recipes from around the internet that I think will be tasty and worthy of a trip to the kitchen.

First, there’s this delicious looking sour cherry upside-down cake from Brooklyn Supper. I’m new to Brooklyn Supper, but I am recently enamored. Besides the cake, there is a recipe for home made bloody mary mix for goodness sakes!

Speaking of being enamored, I am also a proponent of  entree salads these days. All kinds are fair game, but this skirt-steak salad with arugula and blue cheese from Smitten Kitchen looks just lovely. I’m not even usually that keen on steak, but the idea of combining garden cherry tomatoes and late summer arugula along with blue cheese just makes my mouth water…

Dinner Tonight also has a recipe for a steak salad, although this one is Thai and is called Yam Neua with cucumbers, mint and other delicious things. To round out a possible Thai-inspired meal,  Simply Recipes had a recipe for Thai Green Curry with Eggplants.

Or, there is a different kind of curry discussed by Dinner Tonight which made with green tomatoes; apparently an Indian specialty. I’m really interested to try this when the weather cools down enough that I can give up on seeing the green ones in our garden turn red!

And yesterday a good friend forwarded this recipe from Mark Bittman’s Minimalist column in the New York Times. I think I’ll save this recipe for when the weather cools off a bit here (it was still quite warm here in Denver this past week), but it looks lovely: Chickpea Tagine with Chicken and Apricots. The last time I was in New York City, some friends took us to a lovely Moroccan restaurant where we had a meal similar to this and burnt our mouths on the (new to me at the time) harissa. I’m looking forward to giving it a shot and seeing how it is different from another tagine I made earlier this year with plums and kumquats in addition to the chicken.

Our zucchini plant is not being quite as prolific as it was during the boom-time of the summer, but it is still craking those suckers out. 101 Cookbooks has a very interesting recipe for Quick Pickled Zucchini which I think could be quite fun… and delicious… and a great way to make summer last just a little bit longer.

 

Quinoa & Black-eyed Pea Summer Salad

Black-eyed peas & Qunoa Salad
This is one of those lovely salads that sings of summer and summons the vision of (ideally) sitting on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is lovely with herby oregano, acidic lemon and red wine vinegar, salty olives and feta, matched with earthy quinoa and cool cucumber. It is a delcious mix and can be eaten all on it’s own as a vegetarian main dish (for about 2 people) or as a side dish (for about 4). I’d recommend a simply grilled fish to go along with this. If you want to get fancy: fresh fruit, mint and vanilla ice cream for dessert.
This recipe comes from the August 2008 issue of Gourmet Magazine and can be found here. I changed the orzo to quinoa for added fiber and protein (and general whole-grain goodness). The original recipe also recommends constructing the salad in two layers so I’ll describe the recipe in that way as well if you want to do something similar to what I did in the photo and make it all pretty. If you just want to get on with the eating, you can most certainly just mix everything together all at once. 
(*Note that you do have to make the quinoa ahead of time, so get that started before anything else if you don’t have any lying around as left-overs).
Black-eyed Pea Layer (layer 1):
  • 1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed (other salad beans like kindney and garbanzos can work well here too) 
  • 1 large tomato, chopped (~1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 Mix everything together and let sit at room temperature about 15 minutes while you chop everything and mix up the other layer. 

Quinoa Layer (layer 2):

  • 1/2 seedless cucumber, halved lengthwise, cored, and diced (1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives, slivered
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Mix all this together. 

 Assemble the salad: 

  • 2-3 cups of romaine or other salad green
  • 1/4- 1/2 lb of feta, crumbled (1/2 – 1 cup)
  • 4-8 pepperocini
  1. Layer some of the black-eyed pea mixture in a glass bowl or jar. 
  2. Layer some of the quinoa mixture on top.
  3. Top with a good handful of romaine leaves or other delicate salad green, and some feta crumbles.
  4. Dig in.

Chicken Meatball Banh Mi (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

IMG_3761

I remember my first Banh Mi sandwich that I devoured in San Francisco while traipsing around the city with my dear friend Carly. She took me to a fabled store in the Tenderloin district where the sandwiches cost about $2 (but probably could have been sold for $9.) My first taste was that of love. Herby, sweet, salty, cruchy and fresh, these sandwiches are a perfect way to utilize some of the garden veggies you may be growing out back, or the farmer’s market produce you might pick up on the weekends.

This recipe comes from the January 2010 edition of Bon Appétit. You can find the original recipe here. I stayed pretty true to the original recipe, but substituted ground chicken breast instead of the ground pork. This saved about 100 calories (of fat) per serving so I thought it was worth it. You put so much goodness into the meat, that I didn’t miss the fatty porky flavor and neither did Edward.

Next time I make these, I might try cooking the meat on the grill, although I’ll have to figure out some way to bind the meat– as it is, it is a little too gloppy to make solid burger (maybe panko?) I’m also interested in exploring vegetarian versions of this sandwich. In San Fran, I sampled a tofu Banh Mi that had deliciously marinated and sweet grilled or fried tofu.

There are several components for the sandwiches and the ingredients are divided accordingly…

Carrot & Daikon Slaw: 

  • 2 cups coarsely grated carrots
  • 2 cups coarsely grated peeled daikon radish (or plain old red radishes)
  • 1 very thinly sliced small cucumber (optional)
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Mix these ingredients together in a medium bowl and let sit at room temperature for about an hour. 

IMG_3757

Hot Chili Mayo:

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)

Mix these ingredients together and set aside in the refrigerator. 

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)*
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt

Mix these ingredients together and then shape into 1-inch balls. When ready to cook, coat a large pan with about a tablespoon of Asian sesame oil and fry/saute about half of the meatballs until they are browned on all sides and cooked through. This will take about 15 minutes. Remove the first batch from the pan to a clean plate and tent with foil, or place in a 300 degree oven. Then repeat with the other meatballs.

IMG_3753

Other ingredients for the sandwiches:

  • 4 10-inch-long individual baguettes or four 10-inch-long pieces French-bread baguette (cut from 2 baguettes)
  • Thinly sliced jalapeño chiles
  • 16 large fresh cilantro sprigs
Assemble the sandwiches: 
  1. Cut the baguettes in half and then hollow them out so only about  a 1/2 inch of bread is on the circumfrence of the crust. 
  2. Spread the mayo on each side of the baguette halves. It is okay to get wild and spread a lot on there. 
  3. Place the jalapeño slices on the bottom half along with about 4 sprigs of cilantro. (Go easy on the jalapeño if you’re sensitive to spice!) I think some mint might be good here too.
  4. Place a 1/4 of the meatballs on each baguette half. 
  5. Drain the slaw and cover the meatballs with a heafty portion. 
  6. Slap on the other baguette half and enjoy!! 

These make a tasty lunch or summer dinner. I’d recommend serving with some fresh fruit dressed up with a little few mint or basil. 

IMG_3773