Quinoa & Mixed Grain Breakfast


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There’s a way to make oatmeal “healthier”?
It took me a couple of days, but I realized that the rice cooker makes more than, well, rice.

With the cold weather just about everyone’s been having lately, there’s been a lot of oatmeal filling the bowls around here. Since it’s the weekend, to keep things a little different, I tried a combination of quinoa and mixed grains like; cracked rye, flax and Irish oats. Fancied up with maple caramelized banana and it almost made for a showy brunch option instead of a detox meal.

MIXED GRAIN PORRIDGE WITH CARAMELIZED BANANAS

1/2 Cup Red Quinoa, very well rinsed
1/4 Cup Irish Oats, Steel Cut
1/4 Cup Cracked Rye
3 Tablespoons Flax Seed
2 1/3 Cups Water
Pinch Salt

2 Bananas
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup

Rinse the quinoa well and add it along with the other grains to your rice cooker or a large saucepan.
Add the water and the pinch of salt. For the rice cooker, follow the manufacturers directions (which is turn it on) and for the stovetop version, heat to a boil then reduce to a simmer over a low heat.
Stir, then cover until the water has been absorbed and the grains are tender; about 15 minutes. Stir to fluff when done.
Meanwhile, slice the bananas about 1/4″ thick on the diagonal and heat along with the maple syrup in a frying pan, over a medium-high heat.
Maple syrup will reduce and thicken. Flip bananas to cook and coat with the syrup on both sides.

Serve bananas over the prepared porridge with a splash of soy milk.

Tofu & Chickpea Tagine


Ever wonder what came of those preserved lemons? Or just what to do with them?
Now that I’m detoxing and the only fruits allowed are lemons and bananas. I couldn’t have been happier now that I’ve made them. One of the key ingredients in several Moroccan dishes, these mellowed lemons add just the perfect flavour, lifting something that could have been heavy to a fresh new height.

Since this was the first meal that I would be making for visitors while I’ve been on the detox I was obviously compelled to be sure it wasn’t boring. The last thing I wanted was to showcase the potential dark side of a detox. Really, the truth be told, I’ve been having a great time being challenged to get creative in the kitchen again and I wanted it to show. This lively dinner, with it’s combination of spices and the lemon certainly didn’t disappoint.

TOFU & CHICKPEA TAGINE

1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, pressed to remove excess liquid
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 scant teaspoon Sea Salt
1 scant Tablespoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
2 Tablespoons Cilantro, well chopped
1 Large Onion, sliced
1 – 540ml/19oz Can Chickpeas, rinsed
1 – 540ml/19oz Can White Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 1/2 Preserved Lemons, rind only – rinsed
1 1/2 Cups water

Press the tofu between two plates to remove execss liquid. Then, slice into 1 inch (2cm) cubes.
Combine the olive oil, spices, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add the cubed tofu and toss to coat. Cover and let it sit to marinade for at least one hour.

Heat a large sauté pan and fry the tofu over a medium-high heat until it is dry and beginning to crisp.
Remove from the pan and add the sliced onions to cook being sure to soak up any remaining bits of the marinade.
Rinse and remove the pulp from the preserved lemons. Dice the peel and add, along with both the onions and the tofu, to a large pot. Add the rinsed chickpeas and settle over a moderate heat.
In a separate bowl add the white kidney beans and the water. Using a potato masher, crush the beans, then add to the other ingredients, stirring well to combine.
Heat through, adjust seasoning where necessary.
Serve over a chewy brown rice, couscous (if not detoxing) or quinoa with a handful of extra cilantro.

Serves 6 – 8

Chi Chi Chi Chia


Chia seeds, which used to be mostly known for growing kitchy green hair, is now coveted as a omega-3 rich supergrain.

I always secretly yourned for the terra cotta collectable, so I wanted in on the healthy fun.

With a kid that has just started her career in brown bagging lunches, I’m certainly learning that it’s tough enough getting them to eat, let alone eat well. One food I know will not return home again are bagels and since I usually try to make my own of everything, I thought I’d give them a go.

CHIA SEED BAGELS

1 1/4 Cups Warm Water
1 1/2 teaspoons Instant Yeast Granules
2 Tablespoons Sugar
3 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds

Measure off the warm water and add the yeast and sugar, stirring to dissolve.
Leave the yeast mixture to sit, activate and bubble while you add the flour and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer with the hook attachment. (Alternatively, a large bowl and a wooden spoon still works:) Mix to combine.
Once the yeast has begun to bubble turn your mixer on low and continuously pour the yeast mixture over the flour and salt.
Keep the motor going, it should come together into a elastic dough. If you find it’s still sticking to the bottom of the bowl, feel free to toss in a small handful of flour and keep mixing.

Remove the dough, shaping it into a smooth ball and transfer it to a lightly greased, deep bowl to rise, loosely covered it with plastic wrap.
Let your dough rise, doubling in bulk, for about 2 hours or over night in the refrigerator, but bring it back to room temperature before proceeding.
Turn the dough out to a lightly floured surface. Dust a knife in flour and cut the dough in half.
Cover one half and cut the other into 4 or 5 pieces.
Beginning with the first piece, roll out the dough into a long rope, about 1″ (2cm) in diameter, shaping into a ring and secure. Leave it to rest, covered, on a baking sheet while you continue with all of the remaining dough.
Preheat the oven to 400ºF and bring a large pot of water onto boil.
Once the water is boiling, drop 2 – 3 of the bagels in for about 1 minute on each side.
Remove with a slotted spoon and return to a new, parchment lined baking sheet. Carefully sprinkle over the chia seeds and return to boiling the rest of the waiting bagels.
Flick or lightly spritz water into the oven and place the bagels on the center rack. Bake for about 5 minutes and spritz water into the oven again to create steam (and crispier bagels).
Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes more or until golden.

Tabbouleh


I’m not quite sure what it is with grains and rice that, at least whenever I make them, there is always a scoop left over.
This scoop, of course, is too big to toss and just big enough not to waste it.

Recently I’ve been revisiting quinoa. I love it! Soft but chewy, a little nutty and it’s so hypnotizing to look at once it cooked with it’s little, spiral fronds. With all this increase in quinoa around here, I have had a few little spoonfuls left over. Up until now I’ve been making great hot dishes from my quinoa, so when I needed a quick refresh, I had a craving for tabbouleh salad. Tabbouleh is a Mediterranean salad typically made with bulgar, parsley and a hint of mint but I had a bit of fennel so why not use up what you’ve got?

Light, fresh and delicious, I think I may just stay on this quinoa kick.

TABBOULEH

4 – 5 Romaine Lettuce Leaves
1 Bunch Flat Leaf Parsley, about 1 cup stemmed and finely chopped
4 Scallions
2 Tablespoons Mint Leaves
3 Tablespoons Fennel Fronds
1 Cup Quinoa, Cooked and cooled
1 Cup Tomatoes, seeded & chopped
1/2 Cup Cucumber, diced

DRESSING

1/4 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 Clove Garlic, minced
Pinch of Salt

Whisk the dressing together and set aside.
Wash, seed and dice the tomatoes into 1/4″ – 1/2″ pieces.
Chop the cucumber into a 1/4″ dice.
Chop the lettuce in the bowl of a food processor.
Follow with the scallions and parsley, finishing with the mint and fennel; chop well – everything should end up a uniform size.
Transfer the greens into a large bowl.
Add the quinoa, tomato and cucumber, tossing well to combine.
Pour over the whisked dressing, mixing to coat.
Chill prior to serving.