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Kirk has been sick for the last few days, so last night (Saturday) I decided to make a feast for us in the hopes that it might lift his spirits. While at Trader Joe’s yesterday, we spotted a small (2lb) pork roast. I immediately felt inspired to try Giada De Laurentiis’ Pancetta Wrapped Pork Roast, which I had seen on a re-run of her show “Everyday Italian”. To go with it, I decided to try my hand at making my own Italian-inspired side-dish creation. Hence, Basil Goat Cheese Quinoa served over a bed of fresh arugula that we had bought at the Oak Park Farmer’s Market that morning.Along with the pork roast, I think this might have been the best meal I have EVER made. It probably helped that it was accompanied by a homemade citrus-rhubarb tart for dessert, which I will post about in my next blog installment.

The Basil Goat Cheese Quinoa is actually fairly easy to make, though it contains a lot of different ingredients. I decided to serve it over a bed of fresh arugula since I had some on hand, but I think this dish could be great over any kind of salad green, or evern on it’s own (though the arugula really lends a nutty-spicy flavor that complements the falvors of the quinoa quite well):

Basil Goat Cheese Qunioa:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups cooked Quinoa
  • 1/4 cup Hot Water
  • 5-6 oz soft crumbled Goat Cheese
  • 4 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped Sundried Tomatoes (oil packed)
  • 1/4 cup toasted chopped Pine Nuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Basil
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  • Cook the quinoa per package instructions – typically one part quinoa to two parts water, boiled until quinoa open and absorb most of the wtaer (I used our rice cooker).
  • While quinoa is cooking, toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium-heat until lightly browned, mixing and turning constantly (about 3-5 minutes)
  • Add water and goat cheese to hot quinoa, the cheese will melt and become creamy. Mix well.
  • Add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, minced garlic, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and fresh basil. Mix Well.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • I chilled the dish in the fridge for about 1-2 hours so that it wouldn’t wilt the arugula immediately, and once it was cooled it tasted incredibly light and fresh. However, I think it also tasted good warm, so if you want to serve it immediately I think that could work too.
  • Serves 4-6

Bon Appetit 🙂

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