Curried Lemon Quinoa With Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas


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Oh Yeah! Who doesn’t like Quinoa?
Haven’t heard of it??
It’s got a similar texture to brown rice or couscous (but better, it’s tender with bounce) oh, and it’s landed a “Superfood” title.
Not only high in protein, it’s a complete protein, with all 8 essential amino acids. Oh, and it’s gluten free and easy to digest…. that and it takes about seven minutes to make.

I’ve heard of it in so many rice bowl style recipes as well as served up for breakfast.
So before I continue to sound like an infomercial, what about you? Are you new to this superfood or have you already converted from rice?

This is one amazing, flavour packed recipe! The roasted cauliflower and chickpeas would be so great on their own, but the lemony-dressed, herby kale dotted, lemony quinoa just makes this a memorable dinner!

CURRIED LEMON QUINOA WITH ROASTED CAULIFLOWER & CHICKPEAS

1 Cup Quinoa
3 Cups Kale, Chopped
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3 Tablespoon Olive Oil, divided
1/2 Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoons Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated
1 Head of  Cauliflower, cut into flowerettes
1 15oz can Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 Lemons, Juiced and Zested, divided
2 Tablespoons Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1/4 Teaspoon Cayenne Powder
1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro, finely chopped
4 Fresh Mint Leaves, Finely Chopped
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup tahini.
1 clove garlic, finely minced.
1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon yellow curry powder
½ teaspoon ground turmeric

 

Preheat the oven to 400ºF
In a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the oil ,onion, garlic, dried spices, cauliflower and chickpeas to toss. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet.
Roast until the cauliflower is tender, and the chickpeas have crisped, about 45-50 minutes, checking irregularly to shake the pan.
Meanwhile, in a mesh strainer. Rinse the quinoa very well for about 3 minutes.
In a large saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the quinoa.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and remove from heat after 5 minutes.
Keep covered until ready to use.
Strip the kale from the larger stems and roughly chop. Add the kale to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, “massage” it, by grabbing handfuls of kale in your hands and scrunch it up in your palms to break down the tougher fibers. When the kale is darker green in colour, pour over 2 tablespoons olive oil, one tablespoon grated ginger, cilantro, mint and juice from one lemon. Add the cooked quinoa , salt and pepper, then stir well to combine.
To make the dressing, whisk together the tahini, adding 3-4 tablespoons of warm water to thin, add remaining lemon juice , maple syrup, curry powder, 1/2 tablespoon grated ginger and turmeric.

Divide the quinoa among serving bowls. Spoon over cauliflower and chickpeas. Finish with the lemon zest, a drizzle of the dressing and an extra toss of fresh cilantro, if desired.

Barley Risotto


Returning with something super simple but so delicious.
When first sampling plant-based, I found it easier sticking to familiar things that were already in the pantry. While on the search for various grains to keep things interesting,
I remembered barley.

My mom used to use it in many of her soups when I was a kid. This, of course, makes it an easy favourite for me. It’s hearty and slightly chewy. It’s soft, warm and filling, making it a perfect, but overlooked addition to so many dishes in the winter.

Treating it like a risotto, is a great way to flavour the barley. And in this case keeping it open to so many different flavour variations. It’s no secret that I love spinach, so pair that with some sautéed mushrooms and even a pan fried tofu and this becomes a perfectly satisfying, affordable and easy winter weekday dinner.

BARLEY RISOTTO

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Shallots, minced
1 Cup Pearl Barley
3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
Sprig Thyme, stem removed
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan, adding the minced shallots to sweat.
Add the barley stirring well to coat with oil and lightly toast.
Cover with all of this liquid at once. Once the mixture begins to lightly simmer, stir and reduce the heat to maintain.
Add thyme leaves.
Stir occasionally until broth is mostly absorbed and barley is tender. (If more liquid is needed add 1/2 cup water.)
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

For the Spinach & Mushroom Topping

1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
1 Cup Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Cups Baby Spinach Leaves, packed
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the oil and add the garlic and mushrooms.
Sauté over a medium high heat until mushrooms begin to brown.
Add the spinach, turning regularly to wilt.
Serve hot over top of prepared barley.

Serves 2

Heirloom Tomato Soup



My wonderful father in-law, one of the two lovely in-laws who’ve inspired this blog, also inspired my garden this year. For Christmas, I was presented with the most thorough catalog of seeds I’ve seen in some time. With not enough space to go pumpkin crazy, I opted for rewarding tomatoes. Six varieties to be precise and would you think that would stop my seed gift? No way, he even planted, sprouted and babied these specimens until they were ready to head to earth.

With a late start to the summer and a bit of a back problem, these little babies soon grew into towering providers. Eight feet of unstretchable plant has blossomed into hoards of tomatoes that now, so close to the first of fall, have finally begun to ripen; all at once.

With the more than occasional rain and cooler nights, I’ve summoned my three year old farm hand, who has no trouble crouching, to help with the over abundant harvest.

The soup, I could handle. It was pretty simple and very delicious.

CREAMLESS CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Small Onion, diced
3 Cloves Garlic, minced, about 1 1/2 teaspoons
2 Lbs Assorted Heirloom Tomatoes, I used Black From Tula, Snow White Cherry, Roma & Riesentraube, diced (or one large 300z can)
1 Bay Leaf
1 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 teaspoon Brown Sugar
1 Slice of Bread, crusts removed, torn
3/4 teaspoon Salt, more or less, to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, optional, to taste
Fresh Basil, chopped, optional for garnish

Heat the oil in a large pot.
Dice and add the onion, minced garlic and bay leaf.
Sauté over medium until the onions are soft and translucent but not browned.
Add diced tomatoes and cook for about 10 – 15 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened, released their juices and lost their skins.
Stir in the sugar, bread and broth, then bring the soup to a boil then reduce it to a simmer.
Once the bread is soft and begins to break down, remove the bay leaf.
Using a hand immersion blender, mix the soup until smooth.
In batches if necessary, pass the soup through a mesh strainer and return to a cleaned pot.
Reheat as necessary.
Add salt, and pepper if desired. Seasoning to taste.
Garnish with fresh basil.

Serves 4

Whole Garden Gnocchi


Who knew I could feed myself from a front yard garden alone? Other than the flour, I grew everything for this dish in my small, urban yard; potatoes, garlic, chard, tomatoes and squash.

I may have mentioned my front yard transformation last spring. With the help of a great neighbour, a dumping of dirt, a seed catalogue and some eager kids, we transferred lawn into an edible space.

Less the brussels sprouts and the chard, most of the garden now harvested. There were the three varieties of potatoes; Peruvian Reds, Blue and Russian Fingerlings, Rainbow Swiss Chard, Butternut Squash, sweet Yellow Pear Tomatoes just for this dish alone. (It doesn’t even hint at the edamame, peas, beans, beets, asparagus, blueberries, herbs, okra, cabbages, zucchini, pumpkins… corn… wow!)

After digging up a surplus of potatoes, I needed a few ideas on what to do with them. With BBQ season pretty much a thing of the past, potato salad wasn’t topping my list as much as the gnocchi. Besides, I just had to when I saw the light pinkiness of the potatoes and the great texture that was perfect for such a thing.

Feeding yourself all on your own, that’s local.
Now, that’s something to be thankful for!

PERUVIAN PINK POTATO GNOCCHI

1Lb Potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed (you can use other starchy potatoes, like Russetts as well)
1 Cup All Purpose Flour, plus more for rolling.
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, finely mash the cooked potatoes so they are lump free.
Add the salt and half of the flour then add 1/4 cup at a time stirring to combine and bring everything together in a smooth dough. You may not need it all.
Depending on your work surface, third or quarter the dough. Take one piece and cover remaining pieces.
Roll the dough into long “snakes” and cut into 1″ pieces.
Roll each piece off the back of a floured fork and repeat finishing all of the dough.
Drop into salted boiling water and cook gnocchi until they float; about 3 – 4 minutes.

While the gnocchi were boiling I made the “sauce” of tomatoes, chard, squash and garlic.
I cubed the peeled, cleaned squash and sautéed it, covered in a large, lightly oiled pan. Once the pieces began to soften, I removed the lid to let the stem escape and pieces brown.
I added two cloves of finely chopped garlic and the chard to cook for another two minutes.
Once the chard had wilted, I added 1 cup of sliced yellow pear tomatoes, salt, pepper and a palmful of chopped basil.
Simple and delicious.

Crispy, Roasted Kale


I’ve heard them called kale chips too. They can be roasted or dehydrated raw to get this crisp, practically preserved autumn leaf.

I grew a few plants in my new garden and now that the season is starting to chill, I couldn’t resist picking the biggest one. I know I was supposed to wait for the first frost, at the very least, but these were so worth the sacrifice. They literally only took minutes to prepare just to simply be left in a low oven.

Since NO ONE in my house would eat them but myself, I carefully dropped them into an oversized bag and brought them to my brother-in-laws birthday party last weekend. They were quickly identified and inhaled by the other guests, which certainly made up for my households curled noses.

Perfect as a snack but I could see these garnishing soup or even getting crushed and stirred into a fresh pot of mashed potatoes.


CRISP, ROASTED KALE CHIPS

1 Large Bunch Kale, stems removed
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Zest of ONE Lemon
Sea Salt

Pinch Sea SaltPreheat the oven to 250ºF.
To remove the stems of the kale, hold it up side down, stem side up with one hand and pinch the stem with your other thumb and forefinger to tear it up and away from the leaf.
Toss the leaves with the oil and lemon zest in a large bowl to coat evenly.
Lay the leaves out in a single layer on a baking sheet and lightly sprinkle with salt.
Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until crisp.
Cool on brown or  paper towel to remove any excess oil.

Not Your Aunt’s Creamy Potato Salad


The bounty cometh, it is summer after all. Not only is it the season for all things grown fresh it’s also BBQ, picnic, firework celebrations and stay up late season.

With company on it’s way, I wanted a classic tasty side to go with all things grilled and what summer meal would be complete without a potato salad? I’ve made a potato salad with a vinaigrette before but this time I was more craving the old fashioned creamy style only lighter.

I like potato salad when it’s still barely warm, but this can easily be cooled and packed perfectly for a picnic.

CREAMY POTATO SALAD WITH AVOCADO

1 1/2 Lbs New Potatoes, scrubbed
1 Large Ripe Avocado
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt, or to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Mixed Chopped Herbs, Try dill&chives, cilantro&scapes or parsley&tarragon – or mix and match them all together.

Steam the potatoes until they are just fork tender but al dente.
Cool until the potatoes can be handled, then quarter.
Peel and dice the avocado and combine with the potatoes and lemon juice in a large bowl.
Stir in the herbs, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Toss well to coat everything and to break down some of the softened avocado.

Serves 4-6