What the heck is Pilaf anyway?

According to Google, a Pilaf is: A Middle Eastern or Indian dish of rice or wheat, with vegetables and spices, typically having added meat or fish.  Dictionary.comsaid its: a Middle Eastern dish consisting of sautéed, seasoned rice steamed in bouillon, sometimes with poultry, meat or shellfish.Well, that’s not what I made for lunch yesterday, regardless of what Madame Stewart calls it. *sigh*


Lunch: a Quinoa-Spinach Pilaf and a Cauliflower-Pecorino Tart.  Both are from who-knows-what-issues of EveryDay Food.  (I’ve been going through *all* the recipe magazines in the house and tearing out all the recipes I want to make One Day – and I didn’t even realize that the EveryDay Food pages aren’t labelled with month/year.  Apologies).

So I was sitting with the babies while ripping out pages, sorta looking at the recipes, and I happened to think a) these two recipes looked yummy and b) I have most ingredients on hand.  Voila! Lunch Menu!

I defrosted the puff pastry on the counter, gathered all the other ingredients – did you know that in professional kitchens there’s a PHRASE for gathering all the ingredients together?  Mis En Place.  Don’t we sound all educated now?

Spinach – check.  Quinoa – check. Puff Pastry – check. Pecorino – check.  Broccoli – nope.  Have Cauliflower…TAA DAA!  Ooooh – I have gruyere…a nice melting cheese… should I sub out the Pecorino Romano for gooey Gruyere??  I tried to channel C’s voice in my head…Ok ok, only 1 substitution allowed per recipe.  *sheesh*

Once the puff pastry was thawed I rolled it out on top of a Silpat(I ran outta parchment paper like a week ago) and then transferred the Silpat to a baking sheet – wait, a Silpat is a silicon sheet that sits inside your baking sheets, like a reusable parchment paper.  Cleans easier than scrubbing the baking sheet.  You season the veg with a little garlic, olive oil, s/p and crushed red pepper flakes.  You score the edge of the pastry to make a border (I also rolled the edges in a bit to make a more distinct edge to the tart) and then add the seasoned cauliflower florets, top with shaved Pecorino and pop into a hot oven for 30 minutes.

Just outta the oven

C said that Next Time(I love when he uses those words) I make this, I should add another 1/2 cup of cheese to the pastry 1st, THEN layer on the veg and the other 1/2C of cheese.  He said it was good, but more cheese would make this even better.  Baby review:  J ate all the cauliflower off the tart, R only ate the pastry.  They make a good team.

A nice side dish

The Quinoa – meh.  It’s an ok side dish.  Nothing spectacular.  R wouldn’t even taste it.  She’s being funny about spinach lately….  J had some.  Seemed to like it.

To make it, you fry a small onion in some olive oil, add in some garlic and then the washed/drained quinoa – that must be where the ‘pilaf’ part comes in, the frying in the pan….  So you’ve got some onion, garlic and quinoa all set to go – and you add some water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer away on the stove for 20 minutes or so until all the water is absorbed.  Then you add in the spinach.  I didn’t have 5C of fresh on hand, so I used 10oz of defrosted.  When everything is all mixed together, you add in some lemon zest and season with s/p.  I dunno that I’d try this recipe again…  I really wanna like quinoa.  I really really do….  I keep remembering the Quinoa salad my friend Barbara makes…THAT was good.

Hot outta the oven

Cauliflower-Pecorino Tart from Everyday Food Magazine

Printable Recipe HERE


1 Sheet Puff Pastry, thawed

1 Head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2T Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic, I used crushed.  If using whole cloves – slice thinly

1/2t Red Pepper Flakes


1/2C Shaved Pecorino Romano (2 ounces)

How To:

Oven at 400ºF.

Roll out puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface (I just used the Silpat), then transfer to either a parchment lined baking sheet, or just lift the Silpat off the counter and onto your baking sheet.

With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry 1/2″ from the edge, creating a border.

Toss Veg + Oil + Garlic + Red Pepper.  Season with Salt/Pepper.

Scatter atop the pastry.

Bake until pastry is a deep golden color and puffed up, about 30 minutes.  Let cool slightly before cutting into squares.

Serve warm or room temp.

**I used the entire head of cauliflower for this recipe and it turned out to be twice as much as I needed for the tart.  I threw the rest of the florets onto a separate baking sheet and roasted them to eat later in the week.

A bowl full of Quinoa

Quinoa-Spinach Pilaf from Everyday Food Magazine

Printable Recipe HERE


1 Tablespoon Butter

1 Small Yellow Onion, finely chopped

1 Clove Garlic, chopped/minced

1 cup Quinoa, rinsed & drained

1 1/4 cup Water

5 cup Fresh Spinach (I used 10 ounces defrosted)

1 Tablespoon Lemon Zest


How To:

1- Melt butter in a large saucepan.

2- Add in onion, stir.  Add in garlic, stir.

3- When softened (3-4 minutes) add in Quinoa, stir.

4- Add water and bring to a boil.

5- Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook until water is absorbed (about 20 minutes).

6- Off heat, add in spinach and zest, then season with salt and pepper.


One thought on “What the heck is Pilaf anyway?

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