Right now I’m just croaking for fresh, light flavours to brighten up this oh-so-wintery winter. If I wasn’t the absolute worst plant parent, I would still have some fresh herbs at my place to liven up dishes all winter long. Alas, this is not the case. I’m brutal. I’ve killed off every little herb plant I’ve ever been gifted or bought! I have plans to get a little veggie patch in the works next summer so I really need to start doing some research on how not to be world’s most negligent gardener. For now, I leave it to the pros!
Tabbouleh is loaded with fresh herbs that will start up a little middle eastern food party in your mouth! Speaking of parties, this makes a great dish for potlucks, aside some grilled chicken or fish, or just enjoyed as a (vegan!) lunch. It keeps amazingly in the fridge, honestly, it’s best after being left in the fridge over night to get all those flavours a mingling.
1 cup uncooked quinoa
juice of 2 lemons (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-ish teaspoons salt
1 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1 cup chopped parsley
2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half or quartered if they ar bigger
1 – 2 T of red wine vinegar
extra lemon juice, salt and pepper for seasoning
Prepare quinoa according to directions (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water, boil in a covered pot for about 15-20 mins). When it’s done, fluff with a fork, dump it into a big bowl and let it cool a bit. Once cooled, add all the other ingredients, toss it well, and refrigerate until it’s time to serve.
So many things have come from me finally jumping into the world of twitter (@B_versus_B). I have gained a whole gaggle of local foodie lady-friends, have had the opportunity to chat with lots of local restauranteurs, chefs, and farmers, and most importantly, have a new venue to share pictures of my painfully adorable pets.
I connected with my new friend Neil Bailey through the twitter and we met up for a coffee to talk business ventures (we’re both in the event planning/outreach/sustainability field) and food. He loaned me his copy of a cookbook that’s been on my library list for a long time – Quinoa, The Everyday Superfood. This book is a mega-score for me! I really do eat quinoa almost every day, so some inspiration on new ways to work it into meals where it might initially seem a little out-of-place is pretty exciting (for me, at least…it doesn’t take much).
This is the first recipe that I tried from the book. I did change the original one quite a lot, out of necessity though, not just for the sake of screwing with it. The original calls for 3/4 cup (presumably uncooked) quinoa and only 4 cups of liquid altogether, yet claims to have 4-6 servings. Hmmm….that math doesn’t really work out. Quinoa usually absorbs about twice its volume of water. I had to add about double the volume of liquid to make this soup the consistency I wanted. Other than that, the flavour and consistency was really great. And, obviously it’s the sexiest bowl of soup you could ever lay your eyes on! Mega nutritious and pretty-as-a-picture. Man, you B vs B readers are really getting me to up my game!
Dill Beet Soup
Adapted from the cookbook - Quinoa: The Everyday Superfood
- 1 tbsp olive oil or butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 3-4 cups water
- 2 large beets, peeled and chopped small
- 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (or more, to taste)
- 1 tsp salt (or more, to taste)
- pinch ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt or sour cream
Heat olive oil or butter over medium heat, add onion and sautee for about 5 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes. Add the broth and 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Add the beets and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and add more water if it seems to be getting too thick. Puree the cooked mixture with a hand blender or cool slightly and puree in your blender or food processor. Put it back in the pot on the stove and stir in dill, lemon juice, and add salt and pepper to your liking. Serve with a dollop of yogurt or sour cream. This keeps really well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Growing up in a family with four kids and young parents at the helm, I learned pretty early on that I had to earn a buck if I wanted to spend a buck. My first job entailed me dragging my scrawny 11-year-old arse out of bed at 6am to pick strawberries in the dewy fields of rural PEI, all to save some dough for my list of summer must-haves. I needed a new bike, and definitely wanted a new pair of softball cleats. 20 cents a box of berries meant early mornings alongside friends in adjacent rows who had varying levels of berry-picking discipline; some kids were all business, others probably ate enough berries in the run of a morning to almost put the farm out of it.
My paycheques started rolling in and I had my eye on a new ride; a glittery mountain bike in the Zellers flyer….ohhh baby. It was on sale, and I was stoked. I put some serious miles on that bad boy! Back and forth to friend’s places and on the back-country trails, and Irene, if you’re reading this, you know that bike may very well have outrun a killer beaver or two.
So here I am, a good 15 years later, and I still get all tingly inside when I see a clearance sign. I have a super hard time paying full price for anything, which is probably why my wardrobe is completely schizophrenic and I have an email inbox full of pending groupons. End of season sales and onling gimmicks aside, there ain’t no sale sticker like a grocery store sale sticker, folks. I can spot one of those pink 50% off labels from a mile away, and often show up at the checkout with a basket with nothing but half-off items. It makes me look like a stingy lunatic but honestly, I have discovered some of my favourite foodie finds by taking the plunge on something I would never have tried full price.
My most recent shopping basket from the superstore had a whole lotta pink stickers going on. I picked up some old bananas (pretty much the only kind I buy, they’re the best in oatmeal!), some interesting PC chocolate ginger sauce that caught my eye, Vitasoy soy milk, and a bag of shiitake mushrooms. I’ve never used them before…which is so dumb. I love all mushrooms, in everything. I picked em up, a big bag for $2, and went home to start brainstorming what to do with them!
I have been on a big quinoa kick lately, it makes a great lunch that keeps me full for hours. I picked up some button mushrooms at the Farmer’s market on Saturday and my mind wandered to a place of mushroom-on-mushroom action. Mushrooms and quinoa. With butter. And thyme. And a splash of balsamic. Done. Like dinner. And lunch for tomorrow.
Many Mushrooms Quinoa Pilaf
- 1 tbsp butter or olive oil
- 1 clove garlic (optional, I love garlic)
- 1 shallot, diced
- 2-3 cups assorted mushrooms
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup broth or water
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1.5 tbsp dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare quinoa as directed with broth or water, set aside.
In frying pan, add butter and shallot on medium heat and let it sweat a little. Add mushrooms, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook until softened and glistening, about 5-7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium/low and add cooked quinoa and balsamic vinegar, mix together and allow the flavours to mix a little, making sure not to burn. This would be fantastic served alongside any meatatarian entree, grilled fish, or served up with some smokey, marinated tofu.
I bragged a few posts ago about how I get to walk home for lunch, I live a few blocks away from my office, and am a ‘walker’. Just like those lucky little bastards in elementary school who walked home to a steaming hot bowl of freshly made KD, while the rest of us were stuck with soggy tuna fish sandwiches. To my mother’s defence, apparently I was a big fan of the fish sandwich as a child, and I got what I asked for.
Anyway, now I’m the lucky bastard. I get to trot home, enjoy a hot lunch, and maybe even get some tinkering done around the house for an hour. It’s weird, it seems that when I only have 15 minutes left of my lunch break, I feel more inspired than ever to put in a load of laundry or do dishes. I perform better under pressure, I guess.
This recipe is one of my lunchtime faves, because it’s healthy and hearty, but doesn’t leave you feeling stuffed and ready for a nap. It has lots of belly-filling protein from the tofu and quinoa, and is a flavour party in your mouth. The raisins and pumpkin seeds add great sweetness and texture, so don’t skip ‘em!
The flavours in this dish really do taste better as leftovers. They mingle and meld after a day or two in the fridge, I often make it, split it into four servings, and have it to look forward to for most of the week!
Curry Spiced Cauliflower and Tofu
Adapted from Clean Eating Diet website.
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size pieces
- 250 g extra-firm tofu
- 1/3 cup raisins
- 1.5 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tbsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup roasted pumpkin/sunflower seeds
In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and salt to boil and stir in quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to simmer until all water is absorbed (10 minutes or so). Remove from heat, fluff, cover and set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until starting to brown, about three minutes. Stir in cauliflower, tofu, raisins, spices, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer until cauliflower is starting to become tender, about three minutes. Uncover and continue to cook until broth reduces by half, about five minutes.
Remove from heat, stir in seeds reserving a few.
Calories from Fat: 52
Total Fat: 6 g
Total Carbs: 44 g
Fiber: 8 g
Protein: 16 g
Sodium: 395 mg
Cholesterol: 0 mg