Monday, August 5, 2013

Caprese Quinoa with Homemade Basil Oil

1. Pretty Timothy Sue Removable Wallpaper. I'm starting to think I need a focal wall...
2. Treehouse Hotels? I want to go to there...
3. These Cheeseburger Knitting Needles make me want to learn how to knit.
4. I WANT!!! I WANT!!! I WANT!!! I want for HHHHHHHHERBS!!! Aquafarm: Aquaponics Fish Garden
5. Funny...

I can't seem to get enough basil lately. The smell, the fresh flavor, the clipping-it-yourself-ness...

I am also starting to get Happy Hubby to enjoy tomatoes. What?!? I know. I'm shocked too. I made this salad thinking he was going to make an effort with the tomatoes but not eat them all. Then I looked on his plate and there was NOTHING left! I know he at least appreciates the tomato-basil combo that is most magical. He then said that this was his favorite quinoa salad that I have made so I knew it was time to share with you. If you have a lot of excess basil you don't know what to do with, make basil oil. Make a lot of basil oil and put it on everything!

Caprese Quinoa with Homemade Basil Oil
makes about 3 cups worth

Caprese Quinoa
1 cup uncooked quinoa
16 oz container of grape tomatoes, quartered
3/4 cup fresh mozzarella pearls (or just buy a fresh mozzarella ball and cut it into chunks)
10 large basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Prepare quinoa according to directions on box (which is most likely: 2 cups water + 1 cup quinoa, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes). Depending on whether you want your quinoa hot or cold (it’s great both ways) either let it cool completely or immediately add in the tomatoes, cheese, basil, salt and pepper. Drizzle about 2-3 tablespoons of basil oil over top and serve!

Basil Oil
1 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups packed basil leaves (I used 3 handfuls), coarsely chopped

Blend oil and basil leaves in a blender or food processor for 30-60 seconds, just until the two are mix. Pour mixture into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat, just until bubbles appear around the edges. Heat for about 5 minutes, the remove from heat and let cool completely. Once cool, pour through a fine mesh strainer and press on the basil leaves to release all the oil. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks – stays fresh best if set in the fridge.

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