Roasted Vegetable Herbed Quinoa

I realized something today.

It is not my calling to be a fancy food blogger.

I l-o-v-e to cook. I enjoy trying new recipes with interesting ingredients and sharing my culinary adventures here, with you. But as I scroll through my photos from last night’s delicious meal preparation, I’m noticing little hints that solidify the fact that I’ll never be a Joy the Baker or How Sweet It Is. You’ll see what I mean. But let’s talk food.

How does Citrus-Soy Grilled Porkloin with Roasted Vegetable Herbed Quinoa sound? Yep. I thought so. Let’s start with the marinade!

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A quick search of “porkloin marinade” brought up plenty of simple, yummy-sounding recipes. I just took the parts that I liked best (and used ingredients I already had). I started with soy sauce, then lemon juice. Oops Moment #1: I realized that between the two recipes I was using, I wouldn’t have enough lemon. I sliced open a juicy orange and decided any citrus was close enough.

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Oops: messy cutting board. Oops: more wrist than ingredients.

Into the bowl went some red wine vinegar, then some olive oil. I tried to get an “action shot” of the dashes of Worcestershire sauce – oops.

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After adding dried thyme and basil (to make up for the dried parsley I didn’t have- oops), I diced up a little bit of shallot.

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It’s not the happiest-looking shallot, is it? Oops.

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Once the marinade was all whisked together, I poured it right into a plastic freezer bag. I sealed it up with the pork loin inside, gave it a good rub, and let it get delish in the fridge for a while.

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(Sorry for the blurry photo. Oops.)

While the pork was marinating, I got started on the roasted veggie quinoa. Yum!

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How beautiful are those ingredients? I didn’t notice my large pile of recyclables in the shot…hello, wine bottles. Oops!

I started by blistering an ear of corn. It’s simple, and adds a tasty char flavor to the sweet corn. Using tongs, I just turned the corn over the flame on the stove. I probably should have cleaned the burner first…oops.

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The kitchen smelled a little bit like buttery popcorn. Mmmm. I let the corn cool while I chopped up my rainbow of veggies: zucchini, yellow squash, and red bell pepper.

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In a bowl, I tossed the chopped veggies with a little olive oil, garlic salt, and cracked black pepper. I spread the veggies on a baking sheet to roast them. (Action shot: fail. Also, time for a new baking sheet. Oops.)

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The veggies got toasty under the broiler while I cut the charred corn off of the cob. Hubby caught me munching on the leftover sweetness. Oops.

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Quinoa time! I cooked it in some chicken broth with a little bit of lemon juice (less than the recipe called for, because I didn’t have enough, remember? Oops.)

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While the quinoa did its thing, I chopped up some fresh herbs. Fresh herbs make any recipe better. I didn’t have as much fresh basil as I thought I did (oops), but I had plenty of thyme and Italian parsley. I also decided to chop up a few chives that a friend brought over recently. Aren’t they lovely?

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The dressing for the quinoa is simple: the fresh herbs, some lemon zest, whatever lemon juice I had left (oops), olive oil, salt, and pepper. I decided to shake in a little crushed red pepper for heat.

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Major oops. Note to self: always check to see if there’s a shaker lid on the hot stuff.

After picking out as much crushed red pepper as I could, I stirred the herby dressing together. I hoped it wouldn’t be too hot!

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The veggies were done! I let them cool just a tad before adding them to the bowl of corn. (Action shot… well, you know.)

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The quinoa turned out perfectly light and fluffy. In a big bowl, I combined the quinoa, the roasted veggies and charred corn, and the now-spicy herbed dressing. On a whim, I sprinkled in the last of some feta cheese I had in the fridge. I love the vibrant colors of the veggies in there!

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John was busy grilling the pork loin outside- I didn’t get any photos of it. Oops. Meanwhile, I boiled the marinade on the stove and added a little flour to make a gravy.

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And now, the most embarrassing part: I took zero photos of the final product. Not one shot of the juicy, perfectly grilled pork loin. No pictures of the plates, the sliced pork laid perfectly over a colorful pile of quinoa, with a light drizzle of steaming gravy and fresh Italian parsley sprinkled on top. What kind of blogger who cooks forgets the money shot?

After I cleared my plate and realized my mistake, I did capture proof that we thoroughly enjoyed the porkloin…

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Oops.

I’ll never be a fancy food blogger. My “how I made it” cooking posts won’t ever look like Hungry Girl Por Vida’s– but that’s ok with me. That’s not really what this blog is about. It’s about real life, and this is how I cook. It’s how I live! I’m messy. I make mistakes. I forget to get the right ingredients and have to wing it in the kitchen. I burn things. I do it wrong. I accidentally dump the whole jar of crushed red pepper into the bowl. My adventures in the kitchen don’t always work out the way I imagine, but I have fun in the process. The food is usually scrumptious, and turns out looking pretty fabulous! But I guess you’ll have to take my word for it this time.

Oops.

(**gratuitous “forgive me” puppy shot**)

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Citrus-Soy Porkloin Marinade

You’ll need:

  • ¾ soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup citrus juice (I used lemon and orange)
  • ½ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 3-4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • Teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • Tablespoon dried basil
  • Tablespoon dried thyme
  • Tablespoon ground mustard
  • ½ cup finely chopped shallot

Combine all ingredients. Pour into a freezer bag and add a whole porkloin. Let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour until ready to grill. Save the marinade and reduce it for 10 minutes. Stir in a handful of flour for a tasty gravy on the side.

Roasted Vegetable Herbed Quinoa (adapted from Giada de Laurentiis)

You’ll need:

  • 2 ¾ cups chicken broth
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cups quinoa
  • One ear corn, charred over the stove
  • One zucchini, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • One yellow squash, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • One red bell pepper, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • ½ cup chopped basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4-5 chives, chopped
  • zest of one lemon
  • Garlic salt and cracked black pepper
  • Crushed red pepper to taste
  • Sprinkle of feta cheese (optional)

For the quinoa: In a medium saucepan, add chicken broth, ¼ cup lemon juice, and quinoa. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover the pan, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

For the veggies: Slice the charred corn off of the cob and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the chopped zucchini, yellow squash, and red pepper with a drizzle of olive oil and a little garlic salt and black pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and place under a broiler for 10 minutes or so, turning the veggies once, until they are blistering and browned.

For the dressing: In a small bowl, mix together the olive oil, lemon juice, basil, Italian parsley, thyme, chives, and lemon zest. Season with garlic salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (careful!).

In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, roasted veggies and corn, and the herbed dressing. Sprinkle with a little feta cheese and serve as a side dish with a perfectly beautiful porkloin and gravy. Be sure to take a photo. Yum!

**More culinary successes and failures, on the FOOD BLISS link above!**

12 replies »

  1. I don’t care if you are a food blogger or not. I love your food posts! Colorful, fun, easy to follow. I’ll do without the pork loin, however, and just stick with the salad. Great veggie combo. 🙂

    • Aw, thanks, Shannon! I took a peek at my Food Bliss page yesterday- I’ve cooked A LOT of fun stuff this year! I do want to try to remember to mention how to make the recipes vegetarian when it’s possible. This quinoa is a super yummy veggie dish- we had it with salmon last night, but today I think I’ll keep it meat-free. 🙂

      • I blog about growing food, but I’ve only written one post (in more than a year) on MAKING food. It was only because there was just nothing else out there on the subject, even with all the WP food blogs out there!! I know you’re a dairy drinker, but one day you may decide to make milk (and cheese) of your own. Cheaper, easier, healthier — don’t need to steal from babies either. (http://wp.me/p28k6D-RP)

      • Wow! Cool post. I had no idea one could make their own “milk”…
        We are mid-way through finishing our little garden zone. I can’t wait to get some herbs and veggies in the ground. They are living in my bathtub right now…

  2. Oh, I just LOVE your big-batch salad recipes. I just whipped this one up to accompany our grilled dinner tonight, and it will make fabulous leftovers for lunches later this week. Keep ’em coming, Amber! Who needs fancy styled food to make an awesome recipe post, anyways?! Yay for summer food!

    • You made the quinoa? Yummy, right? We ate it last night , too- a bed of arugula, then warmed quinoa with diced mozzarella sprinkled over it, some halved cherry tomatoes, and then grilled salmon skewers over the top. A drizzle of Italian dressing over the quinoa/salad was really tasty! I’m so glad you liked it!

  3. I think you might be the one of the best food bloggers I know, Amber! Your food always looks sooo yummy. I wish I had the passion to cook healthy but tasty food like you do!

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