Autumn Eats & Beats: Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Fall Tunage

This delicious and nutritious stuffed squash recipe was inspired by a number of things:  some of our veggie friends subtly hinting that we haven’t given them enough love, the squash at the Tremont Farmer’s Market looking too good to pass up, but mostly we wanted to post a seasonal recipe that would give a proper nod to Autumn because we have yet to do so. Since typical fall weather seems to be in full-effect and those glorious Indian Summer days seem to be behind us, now seemed like a good time to pay tribute.

Fall is an absolutely beautiful, fun, and delicious season and we’re well aware that most people share that same sentiment. In addition to the other glorious aspects of fall (Flannel and cord fashions, football tailgating, changing leavesIMG_6374, Halloween concerts, etc.), the food is one of the best factors. It’s tough not to crave all of the great fall flavors and dishes when you’re constantly reminded of them every time you hop on social media, flip through a magazine, or stop at the grocery store. I wanted to capture those fantastic fall flavors in this recipe, while also keeping it veg-friendly and relatively healthy.

It seemed appropriate to pair a fall inspired meal with a fall inspired playlist. Certain genre’s, songs, bands, etc. remind me (and maybe you too) of a particular season or time of year. While some are more obvious, like reggae in the summer or Yonder Mountain String Band’s “Snow on the Pines” in the winter, others just seem to just have a feel and mood that fits the season at hand. Whether it’s because you always heard that one song the first couple weeks back at school or you paint a picture in your head of a late autumn street-scape whenever you hear that particular band or for whatever other reason, these artists and tracks remind us of fall.

 The Grooves

I compiled an Autumn playlist with some songs that I think have a “fall vibe” as well as those that more obviously fit the season. What songs, musicians, and music remind you of fall?

The Grub

These squash tasted as delicious as they looked when I scooped them up at the farmer’s market and the filling is loaded with different textures, flavors, and nutrients. You can add more spices if you want a bigger kick and/or lose the goat cheese if you want to make it vegan.

Ingredients:

  • IMG_63602 squash of your choosing (I used 1 butternut and 1 acorn)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2-3 small carrots
  • 1 cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup spinachIMG_6361
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 3.5 oz. goat cheese
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. coriander
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • Oil and water for cookingIMG_6367

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375° and lightly oil baking sheet. Cut squash in half and scrape out seeds. If using butternut squash, you can cut off skinnier part and create a small valley/canal to place quinoa mixture in later. Brush insides of squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
  2. While squash is baking, wash (shrooms), clean & peal (carrots), chop (spinach), slice (garlic) etc. your veggies. Slice the garlic and cut carrots into small pieces. Sauté garlic, carrots, and mushrooms in cooking oil – I used and highly recommend coconut oil – until carrots are soft. Season with salt and pepper and about half of each of other spices.
  3. Rinse quinoa in cold water. You need to use a fine mesh strainer and since I have NO IDEA where mine is….I used one from a large tea pot. Took a bit longer than usual, but got the job done :)IMG_6369
  4. Toast quinoa with a pinch of salt in small pot with a small amount of melted coconut oil for 2-5 minutes. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer (med-low), and cover. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  5. While quinoa is cooking, turn pan with veggies up to med-low and stir in chopped spinach and pine nuts. Cook for 1-2 minutes and then add mixture to quinoa, along with dried cranberries and remainder of spices. Taste and salt & pepper as needed.
  6. Fill squash with quinoa mixture, top with spoonfuls of goat cheese, and broil for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melty and starts to brown slightly. Then, enjoy!

IMG_6373

 

Grooving & Grubbing Locally: Cincy Stylee

This past weekend we took a short trip to Cincinnati (and Covington, Kentucky) to visit some friends and see two of our favorite bands at The Madison Theater:  The Werks and Zoogma. It was fun to get together with so many of our friends we don’t see very often and the concert was an absolute blast as expected. Our friends know we LOVE trying new spots, and they do as well, so we did some pretty hardcore food-ing even though we were only there for less than 48 hours.

{Local Grub}

On Saturday, we grabbed brunch with some of our favorite ladies in Over The Rhine. OTR is a really unique area that has experienced an impressive evolution. Adrienne’s older brother graduated from Xavier University in 2001. That year, OTR hit the news for rioting and looting and bouts of extreme violence. In recent years, this area has done a complete 180. Similar to Cleveland’s Tremont and Ohio City, locally-oriented stores and restaurants dot the streets. Even a hilarious puppy parade was happening in Washington Park! (We’re looking at you, yorkie terrior dressed as Elvis!) We grabbed some food at Taste of Belgium and it was hands-down AMAZING. As a result, we wanted to make it the highlight of our post. It definitely lived up to the sensational reviews and it’s crystal clear why Guy Fieri made a stop there on Triple-D. Also, thanks to a very generous and outgoing patron near us, we were able to try a of couple dishes we didn’t even order! He insisted that we sample his sandwich and appetizer - while his daughters rolled their eyes, saying he does this all the time. Either way, in addition to being friendly, he also has great taste in menu items.

Amanda ordered their famous Chicken and Waffles and here are her thoughts:

SO good. Their waffles have a very unique texture and are very dense – almost similar to that of a biscuit, but still crispy on the outside. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was a nice surprise and the flavor was on point as well. The chicken was equally impressive. It had the perfect amount of breading, seasoning, and sauce on the outside. The inside was juicy and tender which made it one extremely tasty piece-o-chicken. I’ve had my fair share of chicken and waffle renditions and this is one of the best I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.

Adrienne ordered the brunch burger and here is what she thought:

Everything about this burger was great! It was a brunch burger, so there was a patty, egg, cheese and bacon, and it was all sandwiched between two waffles. It was delicious, but the best part was the maple syrup as a dipping sauce on the side. The bacon and cheese were salty, so the sweet syrup really rounded out the taste. I did try to pick up the burger– huge mistake. It all fell apart. Looking back, I’m not sure why I thought picking it up was a good idea. Back to the point: use a fork and knife and get this burger!

                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

That evening we went to Eli’s BBQ for dinner before the concert and, while  it’s a very different atmosphere than Taste of Belgium, it was still very tasty. The policy is BYOB, so most diners eat out back on picnic tables and enjoy the  beverages of their choosing. The weather was absolutely gorgeous all weekend which made the down-to-earth atmosphere even better. Their pulled pork was tender and flavorful. That, along with their solid southern side dishes, made for an extremely delicious dinner. Be sure to check this place out if you’re a BBQ fan (and/or a cheddar jalapeño grits fan) and happen to be in the area! Get there early though – we arrived right before the line got reallyyyyy long.

{Local Grooves}

We won’t be featuring The Werks or Zoogma for this post since they are from Dayton and Mississippi, respectively. However, you should definitely give them a listen and DL their tunes because they both have a great sound, impressive musicianship, and most of their tunes are FREE.99. Check out The Werk’s bandcamp page and Zoogma’s website to give ‘em each a listen and get some music.

For our Cinci installment of Grooving and Grubbing locally, we put together a playlist of some standout area artists. Peridoni actually opened for The Werks and Zoogma on Saturday, but we unfortunately had some scheduling obstacles and couldn’t get there in time to catch all of their set. Hopefully we’ll get another chance to see them soon and we highly recommend that check them out as well! On another unfortunate note, the Skeetones “mutually decided to pursue personal interests” for an indefinite and possibly infinite amount of time and Pharaoh Loosey seems to be on a possibly unending break too.  At least we can still enjoy their recorded tunes and dream about their return.

Although it’s short, this playlist is packed with cinci-bred talent and we are loving each group’s sound. Did we miss any key artists? Let us know! We couldn’t find Rumpke Mountain Boys on SoundCloud and couldn’t leave them out, so we included the video below too!

This city should definitely be proud (much like us Clevelanders) of what it has to offer. It was a great trip and I hope we can make it back down there soon. Thanks for a wonderful weekend Cincinnati – we’re glad we get to share the beautiful state of Ohio with you <3

Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce

This is one of our favorite times of the year:  The Indian Summer days of Autumn. The unseasonably warm weather is great because the leaves are already changing into beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow, but the grass is still green AND you can comfortably take off your jacket. It offers nice little breaks between all of the cold spells and allows you to slowly get used to that impending REALLY frosty weather that will be upon us (too) soon.

Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready to Enjoy!

I thought this summery salmon recipe would be a fitting nod to these relieving, semi-sunny temps. As much as I LOVE fall recipes…if you’re also feeling like you could use just one short break from them, this might give you a brief relief from all that pumpkin spice and apple flavor we’ve been bombarded with recently. It’s fresh and relatively healthy too – which is very helpful when your body’s vitality is tested by all these changes in the weather.

In spirit of the variety of temperatures we’ve been experiencing and will continue to have through November (and maybe even December), I chose a playlist that features a medley of genres. Each song was selected based on the ingredients due to it’s album, artist, content, and/or track name.

The Grooves

While this is very subjective, I think the playlist below includes a decent amount of summer-esque tracks, as well as those with more of a fall feel. For whatever reason, early fall seems like one of the best times to enjoy some ‘grass and the mellow Coconut Records and Bright Eyes songs also fit very well with the Autumn months in my opinion. On the other hand, bands like Phish and DMB remind me of summer – probably because of their large tours during that time of year. Upbeat jams and beats from musicians like Big G pair well with warmer weather too.

I tried my best to incorporate a wide range of genres, but honestly struggled with the ones I’m not as familiar with. However, it still turned out to be pretty diversified so I hope you find at least a couple that you enjoy for your meal prep and/or dining experience.

The Grub

The garlic, jalapeño, and cilantro added the perfect amount texture to the filet and the flavor comes just about full circle with lime, salt, and pepper in the mix. It could easily be served as is, as a sandwich, or as tacos. However, I wanted to make more of a traditional dinner and keep it on the healthier side, so I chose to serve it with steamed rice. The sauce just added some additional flavor and texture to the dish.

Now, this sauce was a bit of an experiment for me which was fun and a good learning experience too. At first, I was just going to use coconut milk with lime, but quickly realized it didn’t have quite enough flavor. I wanted it to remain relatively subtle and avoid adding something spicy because I didn’t want to take away from the taste of the salmon and Jalapeño-Garlic topping, so I decided saffron was the best way to go. The nice shade of yellow it gave the sauce offered a great color contrast to the overall plate as well. Also, I used light coconut milk because it was what I had in the pantry at the time, but I would highly recommend using the regular kind to make the sauce a little thicker. 

Ingredients:Jalapeño-Garlic-Lime Salmon with Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ingredients

  • 1 large salmon filet (about 6- 8 oz.)
  • 2 tbs. chopped jalapeños
  • 1 tbs. minced garlic
  • 1 bunch/handful of cilantro
  • 1-2 limes
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • salt and pepper
  • oil
  • 1 cup steamed white rice (optional)

Directions:Salmon Ready for the Oven

  1. Lightly oil glass baking dish and preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Salt and Pepper filet and place in oiled baking dish.
  3. Cut lime into thirds. Cut 1/3 into slices, use 1/3 to squeeze on filet, and set aside last third for sauce.
  4. Cover filet with minced garlic, chopped jalapeños, and lime slices.
  5. Place in oven and bake for 18-25 minutes -depending on size of filet
  6. While salmon is baking, place coconut milk and saffron in small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn down to simmer on low. Squeeze and stir in last 1/3 of lime before serving.
  7. Once salmon filet is cooked through, plate with steam white rice, pour sauce over fish and rice, and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Coconut Saffron Sauce - Simmering        Coconut Saffron Sauce - Ready for Plating

Salmon - Finished Baking!

Happy National Coffee Day!

Happy National Coffee day to all! There are few gestures that mean the same thing in every language, but we’re convinced that the event of sharing a coffee with someone is universally understood.  Most can relate to grabbing a cup of java and catching up with a friend. Even Hollywood has picked up on this trend, which is why Friends had the Central Perk and Jerry Seinfeld started his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee - everyone does it.

To celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite local coffee shops paired with a handful of standout acoustic acts from Ohio, and one particular classic rock tune that is arguably the best song about coffee (in Amanda’s opinion at least…).

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Great CLE Coffee Spots:

We hope you check out some of these solid spots and dig the jams and pics as well. What are some of your favorite spots to get that coffee fix?

Interview with Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli

vacatreated

Vacationer’s Kenny Vasoli

I’ve been excited for this post for quite awhile – since the Vacationer concert at Musica on February 7, 2013 to be exact. I know the date because the concert coincided with my training schedule for my one and only 5k. I ran the morning of the concert and let’s just say jogging + black ice = chipped front teeth and a swollen lip. Goodbye Vacationer show, hello emergency room. So when they came back in 2014, I was excited to make up for lost time. Amanda and I went down to the show, grooved to their chill, beachy music and we were lucky enough to send a few brief questions to  the lead singer, Kenny Vasoli, about food.

Garnished with Grooves: What’s your favorite food on tour?

Kenny Vasoli: I’m basically addicted to sushi. It’s great. If I only have a limited amount it’s perfect, it’s quickly made and does not sit in my stomach like a brick.

GG: Are you a culinary dynamo or a master of fast-dialing take out? What’s your favorite recipe of restaurant?

KV: I don’t know if I’m a dynamo but I do love to cook. I’ve become increasingly conscious of nutrition, so I like knowing exactly what is in my meals. When I cook I usually bounce between breakfast food, stir-fry and stews. Simple breakfast tacos with egg and avocado have been my obsession as of late.

GG: What would be the best food to pair with your music?

KV: Pineapple! Especially if you happen to have cottonmouth.

The Grooves:

Both Amanda and I love Vacationer’s sound and really enjoyed their show this past Spring. It was perfect for a chill Sunday evening. Their songs have a slight upbeat, dance-y feel with world beats and a wide variety samples. The timing of the vocals are perfect, whether it’s Kenny singing the main lines or the chill, wispy layered vocals. Their instrumental style varies from island-esque accents to indie/alternative riffs to solid bars of post-rock sequences.  All of this comes together to make a really unique sound that provides a chill groove sprinkled with some upbeat layers. Here‘s the upcoming tour schedule, so be sure to check out Vacationer when they come to your city!

Vacationer’s 2nd album, Relief, came out in June. Here’s the music video of the single “The Wild Life”:

I discovered Vacationer through their 1st album, Gone. The whole album plays below.

The Grub:

Vacationer’s pineapple wish is our culinary command. Because Kenny mentioned he liked tacos, we decided to make these Korean pineapple tacos. We followed ALMOST this entire recipe from Closet Cooking because the description sounded too delicious to pass up. The one ingredient we skipped: Asian pears. The selection at the grocery for Asian pears looked a little rough, so we ended up just skipping them. And we can absolutely confirm that the recipe still tasted fantastic. To make the recipe vegetarian friendly, substitute seitan for the chicken.

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Giveaway: 4 Tickets to The War On Drugs Show (9/19 at HOB CLE)!

The War on Drugs: Lost in the Dream

Relix Names ‘Lost In The Dream’ #3 in 40 Best Albums Of The Year (So Far)

We’re VERY excited to announce our first (hopefully of many) Garnished with Grooves giveaway! We received FOUR TICKETS to giveaway to our readers for a concert this Friday:  The War On Drugs (The band…NOT the controversial political initiative) will be playing a show at HOB Cleveland for the CLE Downtown Festival.  This show+great food from any of the wonderful East 4th Street restaurants sounds like a solid night to us. One lucky winner (and 3 of his/her friends) will have their Friday night plans set and get to experience some great live music fo’ FREE 99. Scroll down to enter!

If you aren’t familiar with the indie sounds of The War On Drugs, give the playlist below a listen or two…or five. We haven’t seen them live yet, but it sounds like it will be a super fun, high-energy show — perfect for a Friday night!

Concert info:

  • Date: Friday 9/19/14
  • Time: 7 PM
  • Venue: CLE HOB

Giveaway Info:

  • Opens: 9:30 PM EST on 9/15
  • Closes: 1:00 PM EST on 9/18
  • Winners will be notified within 6 hours
  • Winners have 12 hours to accept

CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Grooving & Grubbing Locally: The Cleveland Garlic Festival

Last Sunday, some friends and I stopped by Shaker Square to dig all things garlic and learn where reggae comes from (aka – dig CLE’s favorite reggae act: Carlos Jones and the Plus Band).  I heard great things about last year’s Garlic Festival and while I’m sure a lot of those positive reviews were partially fueled by seeing the collective musical genius that is Snark Puppy, I knew we were still in for a major treat with the various vendors and jammin’ reggae beats. And I was definitely correct in my assumptions.

We were only there for a couple of hours, but our visit was still jam-packed with unique samples, garlic lessons and tips, foodie splurges, and more from the very friendly and informative vendors. We caught a couple of classic Carlos songs on our way in and stuck around for a solid handful of wonderful reggae grooves and vibes while we digested our garlic feast.

Since the festival both features AND supports local food producers, in addition to including local musicians, I figured it would be very fitting to do a Grooving & Grubbing Locally post to highlight our experience. Check out the pics, dig the videos, and don’t miss out on next year’s Garlic Festival!

{Local Grub}

{Local Grooves}

Carlos Jones and The Plus Band play gigs all over Northeastern Ohio throughout the year.  If you like reggae and haven’t had the chance to check them out yet, DO IT.  Cleveland is very fortunate to have a solid local act like them.