Quinoa & Tangerine Salad

Quinoa Tangerine salad

“Interesting combination” said the eight-year-old, . . . “fantastic” said the husband, helping himself to thirds. “It’s worth repeating”, said the cook. . . who enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast this morning.

Quinoa and Tangerine Salad 

11/2 cups quinoa
Scant 2 cups water
Several generous pinches salt
3 tangerines or clementines, 1-2 oranges (or whatever similar citrus fruit you have), broken into sections and cut in half, crosswise. If you want to be fancy and are using oranges you can peel the whole orange with a  sharp knife, including all the pith, and then slice out all the individual sections carefully along the skin on both sides of the section, leaving only the skin and core on the cutting board. But this really isn’t a fancy salad so I’d say skip it!
1/2 cup cilantro, roughly chopped and stems finely chopped
2 scallions, greens and all, thinly sliced or a chunk of red onion, sliced as thinly as you possibly can
Zest of  1 lime (microplane works well for this job)
Juice of 1 lime (or more)
3 or more tablespoons good olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Put the quinoa in a pot with the water and some salt. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, covered, on low heat for about 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Let sit, covered, with the heat off to steam for at least 5 minutes if you can. Then put the quinoa in a salad bowl and toss in the tangerines, Let cool for a few minutes. Then add the remaining ingredients. Toss and taste and adjust seasoning with lime juice, oil, etc.

If I’d had toasted filberts (or walnuts or pine nuts) on hand I would have added some and am quite certain that this would be a lovely addition.  Please report if you add nuts!

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

hazulnut choc cookies

I scraped the smudge of cookie dough that had adhered to the counter after rolling the dough into logs, off the counter with an off-set spatula so I could inhale ever last gram of it. Though said smudge didn’t include chunks of toasted nuts and bittersweet chocolate that otherwise riddle this dough, it was well worth the special tool. The finished cookies are maybe even better. I hadn’t realized that my timing of posting this cookie recipe would align so nicely with Valentine’s day. . . my valentine does not in fact love nuts in cookies and these are nutty. For those of us who do love toasted nuts these are pure joy!

–adapted from Biscotti: Recipes from the Kitchen of the American Academy in Rome/Rome Sustainable Food Project

Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies

I used  more or less 1/2 whole wheat pastry flour (Greenwillow Grains for those of you in Oregon or if you’re interested in flavorful grains) and 1/2 all purpose flour. I used all brown sugar instead of both brown and granulated and reduced the sugar just a tad. I had just cracked and toasted a bunch of filberts (as we call them here in Oregon) so mine were extra fresh and delicious. If you can get your hands on bulk filberts/hazelnuts wherever you are, cracking them doesn’t really take that long and toasting them in the oven takes another 15 minutes. Do a lot at once and you’ll have the best snack imaginable on hand as well. This also makes these nuts affordable.

8 ounces hazelnuts, toasted at 350 for about 15 minutes, cooled, skins rubbed off as best you can and coarsely chopped
9 tablespoons butter (1 stick + 1 tbs)
3/4 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown since that’s what I had but use light if that’s what you have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Scant 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or a little less if you have finer salt)
1 egg
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (see headnote)
3/4 cup all purpose flour minus 2 tbs (see headnote)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add the vanilla, egg and salt and mix well. In a small bowl mix the flours with the baking soda. Add the flour mixture and nuts and chocolate to the butter mixture and stir and then use your hands to bring it together and finish incorporating the flour and nuts/chocolate. Don’t over mix. Let the the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, wrapped in plastic. Then turn the dough onto the counter and break the dough in half and shape into two logs, 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and freeze for 1 hour or several months.

When ready to bake remove logs from freezer and cut into 1/4- 1/3-inch rounds with a sharp knife. You need a sharp, heavy knife to cut through the nuts. Arrange on a baking sheet and let come to room temperature (about 10 minutes). Bake for about 10 minutes until the nuts start looking golden and the edges are browning a bit. Cool on the sheet pan for a few minutes and then move to rack. When cool the cookies will be crisp.

Happy baking!

P.S. If you do not subscribe to my Seasonal Recipe Collection but would like far more recipes than this blog offers (though fewer sweet ones!) you might subscribe now, or give it as a gift to your valentine!

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