Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

I want to begin with an apology to my 8 year old self for this post because I’m breaking a BIG commandment with myself.

Thou shall NOT cut corn OFF the cob…ever.

My kid self would be appalled. I mean…WHY would anyone ever cut corn OFF of the cob. They are taking ALL of the fun out of eating corn.

When I was little and we had corn on the cob for dinner, it felt like a holiday. I would ask for more corn over a slice of pie any day. Weird child, I know. There was also a period in my young life when I think I didn’t have front teeth for over a year, but continued to gnaw down ear after ear of corn, while projecting kernel after kernel into the air in front of me like a machine gun.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Plus, when I was a kid and corn wasn’t on a cob, that it meant it came in a can…*shudder*. I haaaate canned corn. Sorry to all you canned corn eaters. But if you have ever had FRESH FRESH FRESH corn straight from the cob, it will change your life. So I feel like my childhood self might forgive me if she had ever had fresh corn directly from the farm.  To satisfy my inner child, I bought 12 ears so that most of them could be eaten directly from the cob.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

A lesson in cutting corn from the cob. Place the cob slightly angled up and down OVER a bowl. Cut the kernels off with the blade of the knife pointed awaaaay from you, allowing the kernels to fall lovingly into the bowl. Otherwise, your kernels will catapult off of a plate onto the ground. We can’t let those kernels go to waste! All kernels need a home…a.k.a my belly!

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Next thing about this salad is that it is a substantial and gluten free feast. It has quinoa which is a super food, or so I’ve been told. I love that bit of crunch that the cooled quinoa and fresh corn provide to this lush herby and fresh salad. It’s perfect for a gluten free and vegetarian option at a picnic lunch or a cool weeknight meal. You can make the quinoa ahead of time and just throw everything together prior to serving. Easy peasy. It also would be good with some grilled chicken on top, for those meat lovers like my dear hubby.

P.S. One or two or three things about the dressing! It is VERY good….like hide in a closet and drink it good. I was going for a type of green goddess style of herbaciousness. Feel free to mix up the herbs…cilantro, mint, tarragon, basil..whatevs. If you don’t have yogurt on hand, I think half an avocado would do well in this dressing. Aaaaand if you don’t have yogurt OR an avocado, throw in some soaked and drained nuts or sunflower seeds instead and give them a whirl in the food processor. You will just need to add water to make it the desired consistency.

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen (Gluten Free)

Fresh Corn, Tomato, and Quinoa Salad (gluten free)

  • Servings: 4 as a main dish, 8 as a side dish
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
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Salad Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained (I used mixed quinoa, but any color would work here)
  • 2 ears of fresh corn, kernels removed from cob (about 2 cups)
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half (I also added a big heirloom tomato because I loooove tomatoes)
  • 1 sweet bell pepper, thinly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups of assorted greens (spinach, baby kale)
  • feta crumbles
  • Fresh basil and cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients

  • 1/3 fresh basil and cilantro
  • 1/4 cup fresh chives
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons greek yogurt
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Place rinsed quinoa and 1 cup of water in a small pot over medium heat. Allow to come to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Remove quinoa from heat. Place cooked quinoa in a covered dish and refrigerate until cooled. Can be made several days ahead of time.
  2. In a medium bowl combine corn kernels, halved cherry tomatoes, carrot, sweet bell pepper, and greens.
  3. In a small food processor, add all dressing ingredients and process until desired consistency is achieved. Place dressing in a jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
  4. After the quinoa is cooled, add the quinoa and the dressing to the corn and tomato salad. Toss well. Sprinkle with feta, additional basil and cilantro. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.

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Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!

 

Detox Salad Bowl with Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing

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I’ve lost my mojo and I just feel lost. I even feel lost in the kitchen. Of all places, that was a place I felt I could always turn to and whip something up full of desire and love and enjoyment. But not lately.

I went three weeks without going to the grocery store. THREE WEEKS. We were down to just a dozen eggs and frozen green beans…. worst omelette ever!

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store. Even if I had gone, I would have just stared blankly at the isles and probably came home with another dozen eggs. It was the weirdest feeling to open my refrigerator and not have anything fresh in it…and then to not want to immediately drive my sorry little butt to the store or market and stock up on something…ANYTHING!

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And then a friend asked me a magical question….She asked me to cook with her. Zing. Cook. With. Someone. That was it! I needed a cooking partner! Someone to inspire me!

Her idea was to pick a delicious recipe in one of our old food magazines and to cook it with her in her AMAAAAZING kitchen. So I slowly started reopening and rereading my old dust-collecting magazines. And then slowly but surely, I started getting ideas. I felt my cooking desire was like the Grinch’s heart slooooowly expanding and growing. It just kept growing and growing and growing until I found myself at the farmers market on Saturday buying fennel, golden beets, radishes, arugula, kale….frothing at the mouth at all the herbs!  it was like a veggie frenzy!

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Who knows how all of these vegetables will fit together but I’m feeling mighty salady and detoxy right now. It was great to finally NOT eat eggs for every meal. I whipped up a quick Detox Salad Bowl of fresh spring vegetables and devoured it. Now I’m dreaming and dreaming of the new salads that I can create with my rag tag bunch of vegetables. Maybe I can get out of this funk one recipe at a time.

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Detox Salad Bowl with Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups of greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except avocado into a single large bowl or into separate serving bowls. Slice avocado and distribute evenly among bowls.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sunflower seeds and warm water for 10 minutes. Pour soaked sunflower seeds, soaking water, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and dill in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend well for about 3 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Pour Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed dressing over salad and enjoy. Place leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

I spent last week in the great city of Omaha for a new project at work. There is something amazing about being able to get out of the office and work with my hands, learn new things, meet new people, and wear my favorite boots…steal-toed boots. Ya, that’s right. Grrrrr!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

My biggest problem of being on the road is trying to eat well. Seriously, you put big plates of food, and booze, and fries in front of my face and I will inhale them! You’d think that I was a ranch hand or a growing teen boy from Nebraska. I tried to order grilled salmon and salads whenever I could, but…. oh fries…and ketchup…and breweries!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Needless to say, my body and belly are thankful to be home, eating more wholesome foods and detoxing. To help with the wholesomeness, I roasted a butternut squash and beets with a miso-harissa dressing. Toss the roasted veggies with some fresh kale and extra dressing, and that, my friends, is a bowl-full of healing greens!

Miso-Harissa Roasted butternut squash and beets

Miso Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash and Beets with Kale (adapted from 101 Cookbooks)

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-sized butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 medium-sized beets, scrubbed, stems removed, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons white miso paste
  • 1 Tablespoon harissa paste
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and destemmed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a shallow roasting pan and set aside.
  2. Whisk together olive oil, miso paste, harissa paste, lemon juice, cumin, and honey in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine the cubed butternut squash and the cubed beets with 1/3 cup of the miso-harissa mixture. Once the cubed vegetables are well coated, spread evenly on the roasting pan in a single layer. Roast the vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes at 400 F, stirring halfway through. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven.
  3. Chop the washed and destemmed kale into 1-inch pieces. Place the kale into a large bowl and stir the remaining miso-harissa mixture into the kale until it is well coated. Add the warm roasted vegetables to the kale.