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Eclecticisms: Beech Mushrooms + Guest Post!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beech Mushrooms + Guest Post!

Kiersten has been nice enough to do another guest post, this time on is on a delicious quinoa salad. It actually coincides with what I made for dinner tonight... organic quinoa with organic spinach and beech mushrooms! I'm not sure I've had beech mushrooms before (I most likely have, since I'm all over anything mushroom related on menus) but I for sure haven't cooked them before.

Beech mushrooms have a bit of a bitter taste when raw, but sautee them in a small amount of butter or oil and the bitterness melts away into absolute deliciousness. Yum!

Now on to the guest post for today. (Can't wait to try this recipe!)


Quinoa is a nutrient-rich whole grain from South America. A few years ago, my husband and I were on a quinoa kick and we'd make it at least once a week. At the time, I was still going to school and quinoa worked well for us because it was quick and easy. Since we're vegetarians, it has the bonus of being packed with protein and iron as well.

The thing I love most about quinoa is its versatility. It can be a full meal or it can be used as a side dish. It can be used in savory recipes or used almost like oatmeal in hearty breakfast porridges with nuts and dried fruits. This particular recipe, Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto, is great because it brings sweet and savory together for something completely unexpected and different. This is definitely going into my favorites pile--it was one of those meals where, after it was over, I felt a little bit sad that the deliciousness had to end!

Quinoa and Pistachio Salad with Moroccan Pesto (Cooking Light, July 2009)

Serves 6 as side, 4 as main dish
1 red bell pepper
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
12 oil-cured olives, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup chopped pistachios

Preheat broiler. Cut red bell pepper in half lengthwise; discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil 12 minutes or until blackened. Place in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand for 10 minutes. Peel and chop.

Place quinoa, broth, 1/2 cup water, and juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 12 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

Place cilantro and next 7 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor; process until smooth. Combine bell pepper, quinoa mixture, cilantro mixture, and olives in a large bowl. Sprinkle with nuts.

If you're not a fan of pistachios (or don't feel like shelling 1/4 cup of them), I think cashews would work well too. For those of you who like to do some prep work ahead of time, I'd make the pesto and roast the pepper the night before.

This salad would be great cold too--perfect for lunch the next day!

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At March 3, 2011 at 6:48 AM , Blogger Kiersten said...

I have never heard of beech mushrooms which is shocking to me because I love all things mushroom related. They are super cute too!

At March 4, 2011 at 4:57 PM , Blogger Jennifer said...

I haven't heard much about these mushrooms before! Hmm... I wonder if they taste like shitake?

This quinoa looks gorgeous!!!!! btw



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