Thursday, June 7, 2012

Two super star side dishes

Side dishes tend to be an afterthought for me.  I am making a conscious effort to expand my recipe base by trying more side dishes as part of our regular meals.

I have enjoyed experimenting with quinoa before and thought the Two Peas and Their Pod Cilantro Lime Quinoa sounded great.  It was an easy and delicious addition to our supper, though it seemed like a better pairing for Tex-Mex or Mexican fare.  I made it with the Roasted Tomato Caprese Grilled Cheese with Balsamic Glaze I blogged about yesterday.  While the dishes weren't a perfect match, each had great flavor and I loved them on their own.

My next experiment was the Pioneer Woman's sister-in-law Missy's Marinated Tomatoes.  In retrospect, I should have started marinating the dish in the morning and served it that night.  I only gave the flavors an hour or so to blend while I made the roasted chicken and boiled some new potatoes.  Still, the flavors were great.  We dipped bread into the marinade and it was the best part of the meal.

Two winners!  I can't wait for fresh garden tomatoes to try the marinade again.  Enjoy!

Cilantro Lime Quinoa


2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large pot, bring the 2 cups of vegetable broth to a boil. Stir in quinoa and cook until broth is evaporated and quinoa is tender, about 20 minutes. Pour quinoa into a medium bowl and fluff with a fork.
2. Stir in garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve warm.

Missy’s Marinated Tomatoes


1 cup canola oil
1/4 cup  balsamic vinegar
4 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
3 whole green onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
18 whole basil leaves (chiffonade)
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced finely
2 pounds tomatoes, cut into quarters (if big) or halves (if small)
1 whole baguette, sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled


1. Combine all ingredients except tomatoes in a large glass bowl. Whisk to combine, then add tomatoes. (You can up the quantity of tomatoes if need be.) Use regular red tomatoes, or a mixture of red, yellow, heirloom, etc. 
2. Allow to marinate for at least 3 to 4 hours, several hours if possible. Tomatoes will give off liquid as they marinate. 
3. Use leftover tomatoes to make bruschetta: slice baguette and brush slices with olive oil. Grill on a skillet or grill pan until golden. Rub slices with garlic cloves. Top with tomatoes, allowing juice to drip on the bread.

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