I attended my third cooking class at Sur la Table this weekend with my adventurous sidekick, Pam (aka Nick’s mom). She took me to all my doctor’s appointments and now that we’re done with that for awhile, we’ve decided to replace those outings with fun ones. We hit the jackpot this time because no one else signed up for Grilling Your Veggies. It was a private cooking class with just us and the chef, Kat Marris.

This was our favorite class by far. It was a combination of having the room and cookware to ourselves plus we had a great chef. Kat is a former PR professional turned chef / caterer / food blogger. Sounds like a dream job to me. She focuses on fresh, healthy ingredients and while this class was meat free, the veggies were hearty enough to fill you up.

We had also experienced Fogo de Chao the night before, so we were not low on protein. As a side note, I need to work on my Fogo skills because I had no idea what to do with the tongs. The server in the MC Hammer pants just looked at me like, “Come on lady,  use your tongs to get the beef off my giant sword.”

We made four dishes: grilled cauliflower steaks, beet risotto, zucchini squash salad, and a grilled kale salad with grilled apricots. I’ve included recipes for two of the dishes below, but if you’re interested in the other two, here you go: shave the zucchini into thin strips, place on top of arugula and add lemon, olive oil, and parm. The grilled kale salad had goat cheese, walnuts, grilled apricots, and a honey balsamic glaze.

The beet risotto was the best of the four in our opinion and I immediately made it for Nick the next day. I improvised with quinoa since we prefer it to risotto and it was still as creamy and delicious as the original. The beets turn the grain a fun pink color and it would be perfect for Valentine’s Day or for a little girl’s birthday party if you wanted to sneak some vitamins in there.

Tip: I always make extra servings when I make a grain (quinoa, risotto, rice, farro), so that I can flavor it different ways throughout the week. I store the plain grain in a Tupperware and then I add to it in smaller servings. Maybe peas, asparagus, mushrooms, even lemon.

I usually buy the beets already roasted and peeled at Trader Joe’s, but they are so easy to roast in the oven. I also loved this recipe because I always pair beets with goat cheese and this is another way to enjoy beets.

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My version: beet quinoa with a tomato mozz salad

Now, for my latest discovery and game changer: Amazon Prime Now + Fresh Thyme. My friend Annie mentioned the app to me last week and I already use Prime for my pantry items, so I thought ‘Why not?’ With Marsh closing, I have been avoiding going to the grocery. So, I downloaded the app and within ten minutes I had saved my shopping list and scheduled my delivery for the next day between 6-8 PM. I even found some of the harder to find items: Kefir (probiotic drinkable yogurt. Putin is a fan), Hope hummus, and Boar’s Head deli meat.

Around 4 PM on delivery day, my shopper texted me that she was on it! They let you know if they have to substitute anything and then it’s on its way to you. A nice hipster man showed up with my two bags and I was even able to tip him via the app.

Here’s the part of the blog where I add random things that make me happy. First, my friend Carrie’s golden retriever puppy, George. I could not be more in love. He really liked my Starbucks iced coffee (especially that green straw), chasing around my Longchamp bag (sophisticated taste), and cuddling.

Second, gingham sneakers. I had my eye on the Superega ones at JCrew, Talbot’s, and Shopbop, but I was not about to pay $98. My thrifty mom got me a pair at Target for $17 and they’re surprisingly comfy. I got a 7 (I’m usually a 7.5-8), so size down.

Beet Quinoa

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small shallot, diced
  • 1 cup quinoa or risotto
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 3 – 4 roasted beets, diced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook shallot until golden brown and soft.
  2. Add grain and stir. Add wine and cook until reduced by half. Add 1/2 cup broth; simmer, stirring, until almost all is absorbed. Add remaining 2 1/2 cups broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until liquid is absorbed before adding more. This takes about 20 minutes.
  3. Stir in beets, butter, and parm. Add salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Cauliflower Steaks with an Olive Tapenade

  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • Orange zest (Optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1-2 heads of cauliflower
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients for the tapenade together and set aside.

Cut the cauliflower into steaks by leaving the green stem intact. Rub with olive oil, salt + pepper and place on a hot grill pan. Grill both sides until they are soft enough to eat, but not mushy. You still want a little crunch. Top with the tapenade and serve!

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XO, Libby

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