Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yummy Quinoa Salad

One of my favorite recipes right now is the Curry Lime Biryani salad recipe that my sister sent to me. I make a big bowl for the week and then can nosh off it as a dinner or lunch side all week with a little extra chicken and/or some veggies... or sometimes just alone. Quinoa is great if you haven't tried it and was a popular food for the Incas and has a very high protein content.  

Also, you should know that a bitter seed coating called saponin is on the grain- this protects it from being eaten by birds in the fields but it is bitter. If you buy it boxed- Ancient Harvest seems to have a great line, it will be rinsed already but I rinse what I buy from the Whole Foods bulk bins and it is much better. I also love the pasta that you can buy boxed that is made from quinoa- and it is gluten-free.


Curry Salad: Lime Biryani

Recipe from Women's Health Mag and by MAUREEN CALLAHAN, R.D., modified to how I make it

1 c dry quinoa (rinsed after purchase from the Whole Foods bins)
1 1/4 c water
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 Tbsp Lime Juice (they recommend to juice/zest 2 limes but this is way easier)
curry seasoning (1 tsp of curry powder, 1/8 tsp of ground ginger, and 1/8 tsp of cinnamon)
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 package (10 oz) shredded carrots (I shred my own carrots in the food processor, the bagged shredded IS easy though)
1 c no-salt-added canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c thinly sliced scallions
1/4 c sliced almonds, toasted- I'll just toss the roasted almonds I but at the supermarket into the food processor before I do the carrots)
1/4 c dried currants or golden raisins
3/8 tsp pepper

1. In a saucepan, combine 3 tablespoons lime juice, quinoa, water, 1 tablespoon olive oil, curry seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until quinoa turns transparent and liquid is absorbed. Cool and place in a large bowl.
2. Add carrots, chickpeas, scallions, almonds, and currants. Toss.
3. In a small bowl, combine remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 3/8 teaspoon pepper; whisk until well blended. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss. Divide evenly into four salad bowls.


MIA-Catching Up

Lots of Books Read, Movies Seen, Shows Attended.... since my last post, and I'm not counting the pics from the Shanghai trip which was just a one time post since my last.

So, I'm gathering all the info I can and will start catching up shortly... mostly for my own edification.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

SHANGHAI June 2010 Trip/ Pics

I posted a couple of days of pictures here, so I thought I'd combine them to make it easier to click back and forth between days. Anyway here's my nice relaxing trip where I got to see/experience a lot of new things and hang out and drink with my amazing friend Angie.She might only occasionally surprise herself, but she continues to surprise me!

(June 14/15) Day 1/2- Travel there and Karaoke with Qin.
(June 16) Day 3- YuYuan Market, Gardens, Pudong
Random Shanghai Observations....

(June 17) Day 4 - World Expo

(June 18) Day 5- French Concession Day
(June 19) Day 6- Cool off/Relax Day- it was our vacation after all!

(June 20) Day 7- Checked out the Bund and head back to the States.

Shanghai (7): The Bund

June 20, 2010:

The last day we took a walk down the Bund, which houses all these old European-styled banks and hotels from when there area was filled with wharves. I wanted to go before we had to go finish packing and head to the Airport. Apparently, the Bund wasn't always such a pleasant flowered walkway...they recently rebuilt and reopened it, in time for the Expo.

From our hotel we walked over this bridge and toward the Bund, which our room overlooked.

A huge boat was docking in the river.

The Pudong Financial District overlooks the Bund (the old financial district). You can see the People's Heroes Memorial from here too.

Fun translations...

The bull here is designed by the same artist who did the Bull on Wall Street.

There's apparently a story about the lions... HSBC Bank, one is roaring to symbolize protection and one is calm to represent security...  these are replicas after the real ones were saved after the war...

Here's the Bund Lighthouse at the Southern end of the Bund. There's a bar/restaurant on top.

The flowers were really nice, and the wall lit up (those discs you see are lights) at night.

Shanghai (6) - Movies, Little Face

June 18, 2010:

We spent a little bit of time down by the Bund because I had to exchange some money, but because it was SO hot and sticky outside... in the mid-90s and HU-mid!...we finally decided to go see a movie.

We went to the Chinese restaurant in the hotel for lunch before we did anything. Angie had the Hairy Crabs... I'm not kidding... I went with a safe Pad Thai just because it was so nasty outside hot and humid in the high 90s...

Then we cleaned ourselves up and went back out into the open to go see a movie. The movie we ended up seeing was BACK in the French Concession, which was fine with us because we really liked that area...
We ended up seeing this movie called Shanghai that had John Cusack in it and was beautifully filmed.

Before we went in, we ran into a tour group... yes all dressed alike... taking pictures of this building...NO IDEA what it was though.

[My Movie Ticket:]

After the movie we walked around a little bit... nice to see the Shanghai firefighters keeping things in tip top shape...

We stopped and grabbed a beer then at a random restaurant in the middle of a shopping district, down the street from Louis Vitton... 

We ended the day by going to this restaurant called Little Face... the owners used to have a very popular place called Face Bar in the French Concession but it closed after a dispute about the rent I believe... they also have places in Beijing, Bangkok and Jakarta. I recommend them if you're ever in any of those places.

Shanghai (5B)- Market and lunch at Thai Restaurant

June 17, 2010:

Next we headed into the Taikang Lu Market, which you get to after taking an entrance from the street into a spiderweb of back alleys that are now all connected. We never would have found it but we ran into a French woman who taught at a local school and she guided us there. Such a sweet woman... she was going back to France the next day after having lived in Shanghai for 14 years.

Tons of cool little shops... down a lot of little narrow alleyways...

There's a story about this good luck cat which you see everywhere, apparently after a shopkeeper kept shooing away a cat, he finally let it stay and the cat would sun himself in the window. So many people stopped in to see the adorable cat in the window, that his business picked up.

We stopped here at Tai Thai for lunch and the girls walked us down the alley and up 4 flights of stairs to the the top of the building, where it was a pretty open well-lit room. But, I will say I was a little nervous when they started walking us up this rickety old staircase... this corner spot was just window dressing to lure diners in.