Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Lemony Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Mint and Feta

  • This fragrant salad tastes like spring and that is exactly what I've been in the mood for. It's super fast and great as a side dish or light entree.

  • It's equally good made with quinoa or couscous. 

  • Lemony Quinoa Salad with Edamame, Mint and Feta
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or broth
  • Juice of 2 medium lemons
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest (use lemons above)
  • 2 cups (10 ounces) fresh or frozen shelled edamame beans
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup slivered lemon basil (or other variety of basil)
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
lemony quinoa or couscous salad via Eat Drink ClevelandFor quinoa:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water or broth

Bring quinoa and liquid to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Remember to zest lemon first for the next step.
Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, toss in zest, edamame, mint, feta, and dressing. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

For couscous: 
Bring 1 cup of water to boil and then remove from heat. Stir in dry couscous and cover with a lid. Allow to sit for 7 minutes, then remove lid and fluff couscous with a fork.

Friday, February 13, 2015

How To: Breakfast in Bed

photo credit
The perfect way to impress your Valentine is to serve up breakfast in bed. It's decadent and really shows how much you care. 

Here are some tips to help you pull it off in style: 

1. Use a tray. If you don't own one, you can used a large rimmed baking sheet or basket with a tea towel or cloth napkin on the bottom.

2. Make food that is easy to transport and tastes good even when it's not piping hot. Hash, a breakfast casserole or burrito, or a muffin and fresh fruit are all perfect choices. This hot fruit casserole is one of my favorites.

3. Keep the food warm by covering it with an inverted bowl, lid or clean lint free towel.

4. Put sauces or syrups in containers, jars or pitchers to keep things from getting soggy.

5. Kick up the presentation by garnishing the plate and tray. A sprig of fresh herbs or a beautiful flower are always nice. You can also tie a ribbon around the napkin for extra flair.

6. Transport the coffee in a thermal carafe and pour it once you get everything else in place. Include cream and sugar if your sweetie uses them.

7. Don't forget the seasonings: salt, pepper, hot sauce, or anything else that goes with the dish.

8. In case things get messy, have napkins ready. A hot, moist cloth will help clean up the sticky stuff.

9. Get a little fancy! Cut out heart shaped toast, sprinkle red heart candies on the pancakes, upgrade to sugar cubes - presentation is everything when you're serving your sweetheart breakfast in bed. Instead of regular OJ, splurge on a freshly squeezed juice or smoothie.

10. For extra points, tuck a little love note somewhere on the tray. It doesn't have to be a book - a simple I love you or heart cut out of a doily gets the point across.

This is also a perfect way to show Mom you care on Mother's Day. And make sure you do the dishes too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Emperor's Palace Restaurant

Chinese food is never my favorite cuisine. I don't think Cleveland has a lot of great choices and most if the time it's a bit bland for my tastes. I generally prefer the multilayered flavors of southeast Asia.

But when everyone tells you how awesome a restaurant is, you have to try it right?
Emperor's Palace is located on Rockwell in Asiatown between 21st and 24th. It's a tasteful and beautiful spot that features Chinese cuisine and dim sum. They have free parking in a lot across the street - a great bonus. I hate paying for parking!

Fellow blogger Nancy at Fun Playing With Food has dined here multiple times and her blog posts and recommendations made this a Must Do. 

Dim sum is available daily. They did not have the carts moving about the restaurant so we ordered off the menu. The three of us each picked two items to share. Definitely plan on sharing so you can taste as many items as possible - there are so many delicious choices it was really hard to pick. These were our choices:
Lotus Leaf Wrapped Sticky Rice looks pretty all wrapped up
and is stuffed with veggies, meat and spices.
dim sum, Emperor's Palace Cleveland
Sui Mai
"Juicy Buns" - Xiao Long Bao - these are really cool - when you cut them open, broth comes out.
Hom Sui Gok
These are stuffed with ground meat and veggies. Warning - these are VERY filling.
Chive pancakes
And my favorite of the night - the turnip cakes.
turnip cake, chinese dim sum

Honestly, at this point I didn't even need more food but my entree was on its way - the crispy duck.
For a side, I asked for the Chinese broccoli but got the regular vegetable - it was still delicious but I know the Chinese version would have been even better.

My friends also enjoyed their meals:

They were nice and let me sample theirs too - both were delicious. I think they were the Spicy Malaysian Chicken Casserole Pot and the orange chicken. 

This meal was fantastic and much better than the average Cleveland Chinese food you are likely used to. It was so good in fact, I've been craving it ever since! I'll be back for sure.
Emperor's Palace on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 6, 2015

Kale and Orange Salad

I just can't get enough of this salad! It's so simple and delicious. With only a handful of ingredients, you can spend less time chopping and more time eating! If you're really in a hurry, buy the bags of pre-chopped kale at Trader Joe's.
recipe, salad, gluten free, vegan

Kale and Orange Salad

2 cups lacinato kale, chopped
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 orange, peeled, sectioned and sliced
extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Toss kale, onion and oranges together. Drizzle with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to combine. Enjoy!

Gilding the Lily:
* Add fresh basil, cilantro or parsley.
* Add pomegranate seeds and chopped pistachios.
* Add dried blueberries and slivered almonds.
* Substitute blood oranges if they are in season or use pink grapefruit.

This salad holds really well and doesn't wilt. Because it's such a simple recipe, be sure to use your highest quality olive oil for the best flavor.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Akron's Red and White on Thursday Night

What a Super Bowl! Loved the Half Time Show (go Katy Perry!) and the spectacular ending. Even if your team lost, you may still be a winner. Be sure to click here to see if you won the tickets to the Great Big Home and Garden Show.

What a delicious and fun night I had thanks to Red & White on Thursday Night, the annual fundraiser for the Northeastern Ohio Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation. It was a perfect excuse to make the very easy trek to Akron.
My friend EKC and I took full advantage of our VIP tickets by starting off the event with a glass of wine and chair massages. Shouldn't all events start like this? 

VIP was worth every penny because in addition to our mini spa service, they had a mashed potato bar that was all kinds of YUM, a huge platter of roast beef, hot passed hors d'oeurves like pastry wrapped brie, a table full of sweets and kick ass wine all in a comfy lounge setting. 
Lust Zinfandel
I found a new favorite wine: Lust by Michael David Winery, the same folks who make 7 Deadly Zins. Once I tasted this, I had to force myself to try some other wines but this was my favorite for sure. 
my mashed potato masterpiece
The mashed potato bar was a huge hit with Rachel from It's a Hero too!
Beef with chimichurri
Oh, and did I mention the table overflowing with sweets?
valentines day, sweets, heart

So basically, you could have been stuffed without ever leaving the VIP area. By we definitely wanted to join the fun in the main room.
There were lots of ways to win great items while donating to the Arthritis Foundation, and the prizes were really good.
Aren't these cookies adorable??
The food stations were set up around the perimeter and the wine was in the middle. We did our best to try it all. Here's just a sampling of the food we ate (don't judge!):
candy, Akron, chocolate covered rice crispies
Chocolate by Erin had chocolate covered grapes, Rice Crispy Treat balls and cherries
And that's only a small sampling. My camera skills were lacking thanks to all my snacking.

With all that delicious food you think it would be hard to pick a favorite. Well, it wasn't! The clear winner in my opinion was the Thai inspired taste sensation from Hudson's.
I'm not sure what was my favorite - the spicy sweet glazed shrimp or the melt in your mouth polenta cake. And the Thai Cashew Brittle was such an awesome bonus. I may have gone back again. And again. And again.
Definitely need to pay them a visit! They have two locations, one in Hudson and one in Fairlawn. 

I actually managed to learn a few things too. Did you know that nearly 1.3 million people of all ages in Northeastern Ohio have been diagnosed with arthritis? That's why events like this are so important. If you missed the event but would still like to donate, click here. And make sure to mark your calendar for next year! 

** Disclosure: I received tickets to attend and to giveaway to a reader from the Arthritis Foundation. As always, the opinions expressed are my own. **