Friday, January 4, 2013

Broccoli, Basil & Avocado Quinoa Pilaf! & Sweden!

It’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago today, I was in Sweden visiting one of my best friends! She and I met at acting school in NYC, and became like sisters! She lives in Malmo, but I visited her at her summer home in Falsterbo. While I was there, we celebrated Midsommar — the longest day of the year. You dance around the May Pole, wear white dresses and flower wreaths, eat a traditional smorgas, and stay up all night with the sun–it never sets!
I had such a blast. I stayed for 9 days, and was just amazed by the Swedes and their hospitality! I thought I’d share some of my favorite pics from the trip over the next few days!
Before I went, I literally bought 9 white dresses/outfits. I didn’t want to stand out as an “American” and wanted to fit in with Swedish style hah — and it paid off! People would start talking to me in Swedish! My friend said I actually looked swedish! — But that I spoke swedish (well — the few phrases she taught me) with a spanish accent! haha — Thank you 7 years of spanish!
More pics to come tomorrow:)
fabulous roasted broccoli!
So tonight for dinner, I had a few things that needed to be used up: some fresh basil, an avocado. and a bunch of broccoli. Avocado pesto? Eeh. A Broccoli Cream? Naah. I wanted something crunchy. But I didn’t want something raw — warm and crunchy. (What can I say, I’m a girl that knows what she wants!) :)
pine nuts ….mmmm!
So a warm quinoa pilaf fit the bill! A Broccoli, Basil & Avocado Quinoa Pilaf! Nutty, crunchy, warm, flavorful and delicious!
nutty and delicious quinoa!
And, it’s gluten free, vegan, and Body Ecology Diet friendly!
Broccoli Basil & Avocado Quinoa Pilaf! Yum!
Here’s what you need:
3/4 cup quinoa, cooked in 1 1/2 cups veg stock
1 big stalk of broccoli, broken into florets
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
3 shiitake mushrooms, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup fresh basil, minced
1 avocado, diced
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 tsp EVOO
1 garlic clove, grated
salt & pepper
warm and crunchy veggies:)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place your broccoli florets on an olive-oil-sprayed baking sheet. Spray the florets with EVOO and bake for 20 minutes, flipping half way. Cook your quinoa until the liquid absorbs, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast your pine nuts, and saute your onion in 1 tsp EVOO with salt and pepper. Let it soften for about 3 minutes, then add in your mushrooms. Let them cook for about 3 more minutes, and then finally add in your garlic and red pepper. Let those cook until they are still crisp and bright red, about 3 minutes.
After your quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, take it off the heat. Before you “fluff it” with a fork, place your minced basil in the pot, and cover with the lid, allowing it to steam for a few minutes.  Then, fluff it, and stir in your veggies (except the avocado), roasted broccoli, and toasted pine nuts. Top with your diced avocado and enjoy!
With this fabulous pilaf, I served Lobsta Bakes‘ wild, ocean-caught grouper! It was so sweet and succulent! I broiled it in 1 tsp EVOO, salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika. YUM!
rich and creamy avocado!
This meal was delicious! It was the exact flavor/texture combination I was in the mood for! It was warm and comforting, yet light and lovely! The flavor just exploded with the fresh basil and bright lemon juice. And the subtle garlic undertone paired beautifully with the nutty quinoa.
crunchy red peppers!
Next, the textures were wonderful. The avocado was creamy, while the red peppers and broccoli were crunchy. The pine nuts had a nice, buttery bite, while the quinoa *popped* in your mouth. So fabulous!
And finally, the colors jumped off the dark quinoa! The lemony green avocado, bright red peppers, toasty cream pine nuts, and dark green broccoli. A beautiful display dish of goodness!
gluten free, vegan, and Body Ecology Diet friendly!
Have you ever been out of the country? What was your favorite vacation?

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