Superfoods!

{I was recovering from knee surgery this week, so I didn’t make it to dinner. Mary wrote the recap off this “Superfoods” dinner, so read on to find out what they got up to!}

Here at Friday Night Dinners we think we are pretty super.  So why not have a superfoods themed dinner?

For those of you who don’t know, “superfoods” is a term used for foods that have great health benefits associated with them.  Examples are: kale, blueberries, dark chocolate, pomegranates, spinach, salmon, avocado, broccoli, and many more.  Each of us made dishes trying to incorporate as many superfoods as possible.  We all agreed it was probably one of our most healthy, fragrant, and delicious dinners!

So without further ado, let’s get to the food!

boardphoto

We have had guacamole many times at our dinners, but Annie tried a new recipe, mainly because Antonio wouldn’t let her make his “secret” guacamole recipe.   Rumor has it he was afraid she would have made it better ;)  However, this new recipe turned out fantastic and we thought it might be fun to have a “quacamoloff”  and see who’s recipe is truly the best.  I think it’s safe to say we will happily judge that.

Annie’s Perfect Guacamole

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • ½ red onion, minced (about ½ cup)
  • 1-2 serrano chiles, stems and seeds removed, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro (leaves and tender stems), finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lime or lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • A dash of freshly grated black pepper
  • ½ ripe tomato, seeds and pulp removed, chopped

Garnish with red radishes or jicama.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Directions:

  1. Cut avocados in half.  Remove seed.  Scoop out avocado from the peel, put in a mixing bowl.
  2. Using a fork, roughly mash the avocado.  (Don’t overdo it, the guacamole should be chunky)  Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more.  Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness.  So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness.  Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
  3. Chilling tomatoes hurts their flavor, so don’t chop the tomatoes or add to the guacamole until ready to serve.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it.  Refrigerate until ready.
  5. Just before serving, chop tomato, add to the guacamole and mix.

guacphoto

Christina was worried at first because she had never caramelized anything before, but her pizzas turned out absolutely delicious!  Her love of goat cheese inspired the type of cheese used on each pizza and instead of regular pizza dough she used Naan bread!  We loved the dishes and all decided a good theme for the future would be caramelized because the pears turned out so great!

Goat Cheese-Spinach Pizza

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 Naan bread (or 14 ozs pizza crust)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese (freshly)
  • 6 ozs baby spinach
  • 3 plum tomatoes (chopped)
  • 4 ozs goat cheese (crumbled)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spread the dough on a baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and the Parmesan.  Bake for 8 minutes.  Toss the spinach with olive oil.  Top the crust with the spinach, tomatoes and goat cheese.  Drizzle the pizza with more olive oil and bake for 15 minutes more.

Caramelized Pear and Goat Cheese Pizza

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 Naan Bread
  • 2 semi-ripe pears, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 oz goat cheese
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • honey and balsamic (for glaze)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large skillet over low heat and add olive oil and butter. Add in the pears with the salt and pumpkin spice and cover, cooking for 15 minutes and stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat more if they begin to brown too much. Stir in the brown sugar and cook for 5 to 10 more minutes until golden. Set aside.
  2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Add about three-fourths of the goat cheese on the dough along with the garlic and shallots. Spread the pears all over the pizza and cover them with the remaining goat cheese.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly. Remove and drizzle balsamic and honey on top.

pizzaphoto

We walked into Taylor’s apartment and you could really smell the dish she made because she added some curry to her roasted butternut squash.  Not only is this dish colorfully pleasing, but it smelled fantastic!

Fall Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash, Kale Chips, and Pomegranate Seeds

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • ½ medium butternut squash (about 1 lb.), peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1¼ cups olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch kale, ribs removed and leaves torn into 2″ pieces
  • ½ tsp. citric acid (available from Bulk Apothecary)
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 cups watercress
  • 1 small head escarole, leaves torn into pieces and washed
  • ½ cup pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • ⅓ cup grated Pecorino Romano
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°. Toss squash with ¼ cup oil, plus salt and pepper on a baking sheet; spread into an even layer. Bake until slightly caramelized, 18–20 minutes; let cool.
  2. Reduce oven to 275°. Toss kale with ¼ cup oil, citric acid, salt, and pepper on a baking sheet; spread into an even layer. Bake until crisp, 25–30 minutes; let cool.
  3. Whisk remaining oil with pecorino romano, lemon juice, Dijon, maple syrup, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Toss arugula, watercress, escarole, and ⅓ of dressing in a bowl; transfer to a serving platter and sprinkle with squash, kale, pumpkin seeds, and pomegranate seeds. Serve additional dressing on the side.

saladphoto2

Callie brought back some delicious potatoes from Seattle’s Pike Place Market for her dish.  She was showing her boyfriend around the Pacific Northwest since it was his first time up here.  We all were interested to know his thoughts on Portland and he mentioned that he was slightly disappointed because it wasn’t exactly like the TV show Portlandia.  We all had to agree that Portland isn’t always like Portlandia, but I think it’s safe to say that every single thing on that show we have seen at least once.  The show is scary accurate about the randomness of Portland.

Roasted Quinoa with Potatoes and Cheese

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lb small waxy potatoes, like fingerling, new red, or Peruvian purple, peeled if you’d like, and cut lengthwise into wedges
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • salt
  • ¾ cup of quinoa
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup scallion, sliced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp minced fresh chile or add hot red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
  • 6 oz cheese, preferably smoked like gouda, cheddar, or mozzarella, grated (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ¼ cup minced parsley for garnish

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   Grease an 8×10 inch roasting pan with a tbsp or so of the olive oil.
  2. Put the potato wedges and garlic into a large pot with water to cover, salt it, and turn the heat to high.  When the water begins to boil, stir in the quinoa.  Adjust heat so that the water boils assertively and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes.
  3. Drain the quinoa, garlic, and potatoes in a strainer, but leave them fairly wet.  Spread them into the prepared pan, sprinkle with salt and pepper, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and gently toss with a spatula.  Spread them out again.  Roast, undisturbed, for 15 minutes.  Gently toss again, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and return the pan to the oven for another 10 minutes or so, until the potatoes are tender on the inside and golden on the outside.
  4. Add the scallion, bell pepper, and chile and toss everything one last time.  Taste and adjust the seasoning, keeping in mind that the cheese will add some saltiness.  Spread the cheese over all and then return to the oven for another 5-8 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.  Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

quinoaphoto

I’m a big lover of dark chocolate so of course I was going to make a dish with that in it!  Luckily, there are plenty of superfood recipes that include just that and I found some great recipes that incorporate many different superfoods with the dark chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Bark with Sea Salt and Superfoods

Adapted from here and here

Ingredients:

  • 11 oz dark chocolate chips, try to get 60% or more
  • Coarse sea salt
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries
  • ½ cup of shelled pistachios
  • ½ cup of fresh pecan pieces

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (a tray or a serving plate will work as well.)
  2. In a bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, heat the chocolate chips, stirring occasionally, until it is melted; do not let the bowl touch the water and do not overheat.
  3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and stir the chocolate well.
  4. If you have a candy thermometer the temperature should register 90°C (195°F). If you don’t have it, like me, just trust your instincts.
  5. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet. Using an offset spatula spread in an even layer to desired thickness (mine was about ¼-inch.)
  6. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Add superfoods in a uniform pattern, making sure that each piece of bark is covered.
  7. Using a small spoon, gently press down the superfoods into the chocolate. Refrigerate the bark for about 20 minutes, until hardened. Invert the bark onto a work surface. Remove the parchment paper, break into pieces and store or serve.
  8. The broken bark can be stored in an airtight bag or container at cool room temperature for up to 10 days.

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Trail Mix Balls

Adapted from here

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats, dry
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, dry + 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries, raisins or cranberries
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey

Directions:

  1. Combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 12 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Fluff and scoop quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add sunflower seeds, oats, dried cherries and coconut to quinoa and mix well. Bring honey to a simmer on the stove then stir in the vanilla extract and pour on top of nuts and seeds. Mix until well combined.
  3. Let mixture cool before adding the chocolate chips, peanut butter and sea salt. Mix well with your hands so the peanut butter is evenly dispersed but be careful not to melt the chocolate chips! Chill dough in fridge for an hour.
  4. Using wet hands, gently roll mixture into golf ball-sized balls. Place balls on a plate and chill for at least two hours until firm.

We all felt pretty super after our Superfoods themed dinner and every dish was just perfect and delicious.  Try a superfood recipe out and you may be surprised how tasty eating healthy can be!

darkchocolatephoto

Happy eating, everyone!

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