Recipe — Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad

Recipe — Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!

Today I’m sharing a very delicious and simple meal for this long weekend! It’s a great way to celebrate your Valentine in style without following too many steps when preparing a meal.

The basics I’m sure you already have in your kitchen. Just follow these instructions and you’ll serve a tasty, light and flavorful dinner and get bonus points for impressing your sweet heart with your cooking skills.

While it’s very simple, you can prepare a day ahead of time. Before you know it, you’ll be relaxing with glass of wine, waiting until your lovely bell rings.

Hope you enjoy every spoonful!

 ~~♥♡

Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad

Ingredients: Serves 4

  • 1.56 lb Australian or New Zealand Lamb Rack, Frenched [approx. 8 chops]
  • 2 bunches medium leeks, trimmed of their roots, well washed, white and light green parts only and cut into rounds. [approx. 4 cups]
  • 4 tbsp organic shallots, peeled and finely chopped [approx. 1 large shallot]
  • 3½ tbsp water
  • 4-5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2½ tbsp organic fresh lemon juice [approx. 1lemon]
  • Smoked Sea Salt [I used this Smoked Sea Salt]
  • Freshly ground black pepper

How to Prepare the Lamb:

  1. Season the rack on both sides with smoked sea salt, fresh black pepper and lemon juiced. Set a side. Allow to sit in the refrigerator, covered, for at least 2 hours before cooking.
  2. Heat a large pan with a lid and add olive oil, shallots, and leeks. Sauté for 5 minutes stirring often with a heat resistant rubber spoon then add water. Stir well to coat with oily water, and season a little according to preference. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 10-15 minutes until leeks are very tender. Continuing stirring occasionally to make sure they aren’t sticking, adding more water if necessary to stop the pan from going dry before the leeks soften.
  3. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place a sauté pan over high heat and add a little oil. Sear lamb rack then place into the preheated oven. Cook lamb until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F [approx. 16-20 minutes for medium]. Remove rack, cover with foil and let it rest for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Once the leeks are cooked, slice the lamb into individual chops, then pour the sautéed leeks on top of the lamb, then drizzle with toasted almonds onto the serving plate.

2016 - Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad photo 2 by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Quinoa with Kiwi, Feta, Arugula and Mint Salad

Ingredients: Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup organic kiwi, peeled and chopped [approx. 3 kiwi fruits]
  • ¾ cup creamy feta cheese, cubed
  • ½ cup organic red bell pepper, washed, seedless and diced [approx. half large pepper]
  • 2½ tbsp organic fresh lemon juice [approx. 1 lemon]
  • 1 cup organic baby arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 15 organic large fresh mint leaves, rinsed and snipped
  • 2-3 tbsp organic extra-virgin olive oil [I used Olio Basso]

How to Cook Quinoa:

  1. First rinse the Quinoa, then place 1 cup of Quinoa in a large fine-meshed strainer, rubbing the seeds with your fingers under running cold water for at least two minutes. If you don’t rinse the Quinoa well it will end up tasting bitter. Allow to drain and dry for 20 minutes. This process prevents mushy grains.
  2. After the grains are completely dry, bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a covered sauce pan. Reduce heat, add the quinoa and simmer for about 15 minutes (still covered), or until the Quinoa has absorbed all the water. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork.
  3. Keep covered and let stand until cooled.
  4. In a large glass bowl toss the Quinoa together with Kiwi, feta cheese, bell pepper, arugula, lemon juice, olive oil and mint. Lightly mix the ingredients with a rubber spoon. Taste, add salt, preferably Kosher, and white fine ground pepper if desired.
  5. Cover and chill for 1 hour or more to allow flavors to blend.

2016 - Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad photo 3 by RHônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

*Notes:

  • Cooking with leeks is healthy and the sweet delicate flavor combines well with the shallots, giving the lamb chops an incredible taste. It’s so worth all the preparation when cooking with leeks. Usually after the leeks are clean, towel-dry, cut the way you like it, then let sit for 5 minutes or more before cooking, to preserve their healthy qualities.
  • If you so desire, grill or BBQ the lamb rack 4 inches from moderately hot heat source, rib bones down. Grill for approximately 8-12 minutes per side. Wrap the rib bones in foil to prevent them from burning.
  • Pan fry: cut the rack into chops by slicing down between the ribs. Place chops into a preheated skillet. Cook over moderate heat for approximately 4 minutes per side.
  • The smoked sea salt creates a perfectly unique and unusual flavor in one’s mouth, especially when combined with the lemon juice mentioned.
  • The lamb was prepared first Frenched and then sat in the refrigerator for 2 hours. That gave me enough time to prepare the rest of the meal.
  • Remember it’s important to choose the right pan to properly sear meats, poultry and fish. A stainless steel or cast iron skillet are the best for cooking at high temperature, esp. when caramelizing.
  • I know there are so many ways to prepare Quinoa: I thought this salad turned out so delicious, fresh and light.
  • You can certainly add more toppings to the Quinoa, like green onions, or parsley, it just depends on what you like and how adventurous you are. To me the salad was already great. The baby arugula added a hint of pepper and the kiwi was just a magical match.
  • Here is a link to buy a pre-washed organic Quinoa for those people who don’t have much time or patience to wash Quinoa: Pre-washed organic Quinoa

 

2016 - Rack of Lamb with Leeks and Quinoa Salad photo by Rhônya Holman for bella.bluelf.me

Recipe – Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Recipe – Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Good morning everyone! And happy Saturday to you all.♡

Today I would like to share this delicious muffin recipe. They are moist and fluffy, not overly sweet, with a very pleasant, fruity flavor and a with firm, almost golden crisp top. I used quinoa flour; if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend it. You can’t get any healthier than eating these muffins. I tasted and tried couple of recipes before coming out with something I liked. Since quinoa has a delicate, nutty flavor, it may take some getting used to. After the second bite you’ll probably fall in love with the taste — it’s completely different, especially served warm with a cup of tea or coffee. Learn how to make a dozen, share and enjoy!

This is my treat for your weekend.

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins

Ingredients:
(Makes 12 muffins)

  • 1/2 cup organic unsalted softened butter (1 stick)
  • 2 cups organic quinoa flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill) also it’s gluten free
  • 1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
  • 2 large organic brown eggs at room temperature
  • 1 cup organic low fat buttermilk at room temperature (shake very well before using)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon salt (according to taste; I used Kosher salt)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and crushed

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners. In a separate medium bowl sift quinoa flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, using a wire whisk cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Then add eggs and beat well adding quinoa flour mixture slowly and the buttermilk, beat until moistened then stir in the blueberries already crushed, mixing just until well combined with rubber spoon.
  3. Fill muffins cups 2/3 full with a spoon or ice-cream scoop it’s easier. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake at at 350° F (175° C) for 25-30 minutes. Or until the tops turn golden brown by inserting a toothpick in several locations. If the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are finished. If not, bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven, sprinkle a bit of powdered confectioners sugar.These muffins are best when served warm out of the oven. Especially accompanied by a cup of tea or coffee.

Blueberry Quinoa Muffins close up by Rhônya Holman

* Notes:

  • In place of blueberries you can use raspberries, blackberries, banana, figs, apricot, strawberries.
  • I like muffins with firm, golden almost crisp tops, fluffy and moist inside. And I don’t like super sweet either, so I prefer the fruity flavor. It’s healthier especially because it’s made with quinoa flour. It is a good source of fiber and contains all eight essential amino acids. Easily digestible and gluten-free, Quinoa has a delicate, nutty flavor and is versatile for baking and friendly to your heart.
  • You can make these muffins with low fat milk instead of buttermilk. I went through 4 batches of baking with various ingredients: once with figs, once with dried cranberries and twice with fresh blueberries using just 1/2 cup buttermilk. That didn’t turn out well. So you definitely needed 1 cup either buttermilk or milk if you want moist muffins especially when using dried fruits.
  • also used vanilla extract in my first muffins; it didn’t make any difference.
  • It’s important to allow the butter to rest at room temperature at least 1 hour before combining it with sugar and eggs. It’s the first thing that I do before the preparation.
  • Baking tips: All ovens bake differently. Always double check your oven temperature with an oven thermometer before baking. Check your baking goods at minimum baking time by inserting a toothpick in several locations. If the toothpick comes out clean, your baking goods are finished. If not, bake for additional 5 minutes and check again. It’s important to resist opening the oven door to check how it looks.
  • I guess that’s the simplest and healthy muffins that I’ve ever eaten without spending too much e.g. in a French bakery.