Quinoa, Spinach & Cheese Muffins – Rosemary Olive Oil

I made these the other night . . . delicious! And can’t wait to make them again bigger and better. Below is how I made mine not necessarily the recipe that I found on About.com

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water (vegetable broth)
1/2 onion, chopped fine
4 oz. of spinach – it’s about 1 cup loosely packed. I used fresh baby spinach
2 eggs
1/4 c. grated swiss cheese
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tsp Rosemary Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly oil your muffin pan. I used Rosemary Olive Oil to oil my pan.

Combine quinoa and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until quinoa is thoroughly cooked and liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a non-stick pan, heat pan then pour in 1 tsp. or so of Rosemary Olive Oil. Once your oil is heated add onions and saute until soft, then I added my spinach. I tore the spinach leaves but next time I would give them a chop or too and add that in with the onions. Only saute to spinach is wilted don’t overcook. It’s only about 2 minutes or so.

In a large bowl,combine the cooked quinoa, onions & spinach, eggs, cheese and spices.(I used fresh Thyme) Mix well.

In your Rosemary oiled pans spoon in about 1/4 c of mixture at a time. Don’t overfill make another muffin instead.

Put pan in oven for about 20 minutes – they’ll be a golden brown on top when done. You’ll be making about 10 – 12 muffins.

Variations: Fist thing I’m going to try is changing up the vegetable and cheese. I’m thinking about doing the Rosemary EVOO along with a couple drop of Meyer Lemon EVOO. I love to two flavors combined. Try using aspragus tips, grape tomatoes, swiss cheese and fresh thmye. Sounds yum! Thinking about the Basil EVOO with Spinach, Mozzerella Cheese and oregano be your herb. I know this is a vegetarian recipe but what about adding meat? Sorry but I love my meat!

ENJOY!

Chocolate Risotto w/ Nutella and Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar

This recipe was given to me during my Culinary Arts Training at the Ocean County Technical High School with Chef Jason Crispin as instructor. This was the first time for me to ever make risotto let alone Chocolate Risotto!

Chocolate Risotto with DIVINO Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar

6 cups milk
1 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans split lengthwise or you can use 1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups Arborio rice
4 tbsp butter, divided
¼ pound chopped bittersweet chocolate (I used chocolate chips)
2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts (I used Nutella which worked AWESOME!)
Drizzle with DIVIMO Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar

In a small sauce pot bring the milk, sugar and vanilla beans to a simmer over low heat for 10 minutes to infuse vanilla flavor. Remove the bean pods and keep the milk warm. I personally left the beans in the entire time and the left over vanilla milk tasted delicious. (Can only imagine with shot of rum in it.) Oops back to chocolate risotto.

In a separate 12″-14” sauté pan or medium sauce pot heat 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring until the rice is hot, about 2 minutes. Begin adding the flavored hot milk 1 cup at a time, stirring often and adding more milk when the previous addition has been absorbed. Adjust heat to maintain a slow simmer. Cook rice for 15-20 minutes until the rice becomes creamy and al dente (not all milk may be needed).

Remove the rice from the heat and fold in the chopped chocolate and remaining butter. This is when I added my Nutella instead of nuts. Flavor to your taste but with the Coconut White Balsamic Vinegar drizzled on top I was reminded of a Hazelnut Joy! Oh my goodness it was soooo good!

BTW . . .Chef Jason can be found www.gourmandcookingschool.com Lots of GREAT classes!