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Ok so I know I promised that I would show knitting content soon, and I swear it is on it’s way, but first I just had to stop in to tell you about the amazing thing I made myself for dinner.  And while I recognize, that the following photo may look like a boring bowl of white mush it is actually a bowl of delicious summery awesomeness.  It is in fact, Quinoa and Sauteed Cauliflower & Zucchini with Ginger Lemon Sriracha Butter.  Yup, you heard that right.

My initial plan for the evening was to make the Tabasco & Asparagus Quinoa from 101 Cookbooks.  That is until I opened my fridge and realized my asparagus had wilted and I don’t own Tabasco (Srircha is the one and only hot sauce for me!).  So I had to revise my game plan.  And this is what I came up with.  Its is definitely inspired by the idea of the 101 Cookbooks recipe, but lots of changes were made.  Please bear with me on the amounts, as this recipe was largely improvised in progress and mostly not measured.

It makes about enough to feed me four times, so that would be about four people with smallish to normal appetites.  If you’ve got a lot of big, hungry men coming to dinner, you might need more.  I hope you enjoy!

Quinoa and Sauteed Cauliflower & Zucchini with Ginger Lemon Sriracha Butter

1 1/2 cups dry Quinoa

1/4 head of Cauliflower chopped into bit sized pieces & parboiled for 1 1/2 minutes

1 small Zucchini, sliced and rounds quartered

2 bunches Spring Onions chopped (ends only)

1 bunch Garlic Scapes chopped (ends only)

1/2 cup of unsalted butter, room temperature

juice of half a Lemon (squeezed but not pulverized)

walnut sized piece of fresh Ginger, peeled and grated

Salt & Pepper

First make the Ginger, Lemon, Sriracha Butter.  Whip room temperature Unsalted Butter until fluffy with hand mixer. Squeeze in juice of half Lemon.  Grate in fresh Ginger and add about 4 small squirts Sriracha.  Add small palm-full of salt. Whip again.  Set aside.

Cook Quinoa in your normal fashion.*  While cooking Quinoa, saute vegetables in about two large dollops of the Ginger Lemon Srircha Butter, saving the rest.  Add salt and pepper to taste while sautéing.

Once both veggies and Quinoa are cooked, toss together in large bowl with the remainder of the butter (I used it all, but if you like things less buttery you could use less, and add more to taste at the table).  Serve warm.

Those with a spicier palette may want to add more Sriracha at the table.

*I make my Quinoa like this: Soak Quinoa for 1 1/2 hours.  Drain and rinse.  Bring to boil with 3 cups of water in large-ish saucepan.  Reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer about 15 minutes, until water is absorbed and Quinoa is tender.  Removed from heat and let sit covered for 3 to 4 minutes.  Fluff with fork adding salt and pepper.

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Oh dear.  Where have I been?  Well the obvious answer is in grad school.  There’s probably a more complicated answer as well, but let’s just go with that one, as grad school has become my catch all excuse for everything.  Anyway, the semester is over (!!!) and summer school has begun.  And while I honestly really love school, it’s nice to have a bit more time, with the more relaxed schedule.  More time for things like, knitting, reading cooking and hopefully blogging.  But definitely a lot of cooking, especially since CSA season has begun again.  So I’m just gonna show you somethings I’ve been whipping up lately.  And there’s yarny content coming soon, I promise.

As it’s late Spring/ early Summer, I’m sure you can imagine that a lot of what I’ve gotten in my boxes so far are greens greens greens.  In the most recent box (which was actually my second, the first one happened during finals and ended up getting gifted to my Mom), I got Kale, Spinach, Butterhead Lettuce, Bok Choy, Parsley, Green Onions and a few Potatoes.  So fresh and crispy, but largely monochromatic.

I made some Olive Oil and Kale Mashed Potatoes and discovered that adding Kale to a food I actually like doesn’t neccessarily make me like Kale.   Not that it was bad, it just wasn’t my favorite.  But maybe this recipe will make me like it.  I also made this recipe for Pasta with Asparagus and Spinach.  It was in a béchamel sauce, that I managed to make without burning on my finicky little gas stove.  Oh my gosh, was this stuff good.  Sadly, it didn’t photograph so well.  So you’ll just have to take my word for it.

I’ve always been a better cook than a baker.  But I’d like to try and change that in some of my free time this summer.   So inspired by this recipe, I decided to make some shortbread.  Because I really, really love shortbread.  Instead of her lemon chamomile variety, I decided to make Lemon Earl Grey shortbread.  Mostly because despite a growing appreciation for herbal tea in the last few months, I still prefer black tea.

I think that preferred shortbread consistency is one of those things that is so completely personal, a bit like which toilet paper you like (ok maybe not quite THAT personal).  Every type is a valid preference, but you like what you like, and you like it because it just feels right.  For me perfect shortbread is richly buttery and never dry.  I prefer softer, so a little crumbly is ok, but the kind of crumbles that come from softness not dryness.  I had never made shortbread before.  But I was a bit suspicious that the flour to butter ratio in this recipe might lead to a slightly drier shortbread than I like, but having never made shortbread before, I didn’t want to muck around with changing things.  In the end, it was a bit dryer than I would like.  But the flavor is fresh and light, and washed down with a cup of tea, it is really lovely.  Next time I’m going to try Jamie Oliver’s recipe from Jamie Cooks.

While that was in the oven, I decided to make something heat free for dinner.  So I threw together some easy avocado salsa.  Boy was that tasty!  Loads of lime, cilantro and a little Sriracha were used to spice up the flavor of the veggies.  I know Sriracha in salsa is a bit unorthodox, but it’s the only hot sauce I have, and while I normally think of it as a very different type of burn, it worked!  I ate the salsa with chips on Monday and on top of a piece of easy grilled chicken last night.  I love it when I can get that kind of milage out of food.

So now you’ve had a peak into my kitchen, I promise next time you’ll get a peak into my knitting bag!