Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese

29th January 2015

Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese is a favorite lunch of mine and comes from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook. The salad is not only beautiful, but delicious!

The Sprouted Kitchen originally uses millet instead of quinoa, but I like to use whatever grains and seeds I have on hand when preparing my lunches. The toasted pinenuts, salty goat cheese, tangy pickled onions, and peppery arugula pair perfectly together!

Quick Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled Onions

Quinoa Salad with Arugula, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese

  1. Prepare your quick pickled onions.
  2. Rinse the quinoa well, then add to a small pot with the vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cover for 15-20 minutes until all of the broth has been absorbed.
  3. Using a fork, break up the quinoa and fluff it, add the oregano and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stir, and set aside to cool completely.
  4. Once the quinoa is cool, combine it with the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil and vinegar on top and gently toss to coat.
  5. Drain the desired amount of pickled onion (I use about half a cup) and add to the salad along with the pine nuts and goat cheese, giving it another toss. Taste and add more salt, if necessary, and serve. Enjoy!

Quick Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled OnionsI really love pickling vegetables. It is so easy and instantly enhances a dish!

This recipe is from The Sprouted Kitchen cookbook. Quick pickled onions are a delicious and colorful addition to salads, tacos, and sandwiches! The red onions are combined with vinegar, maple syrup, and cloves to create a sweet and tangy flavor explosion.

Quick Pickled Onions

Quick Pickled Onions

  1. In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, salt, sugar, bay leaf, and cloves and bring to a gentle boil over medium high heat until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the onion, stir, and remove the pan from the heat.
  3. Let the onions cool at room temperature, or transfer it all to a glass jar and put them in the fridge to speed the process along (about 15 minutes).
  4. Add desired amount to your salad, sandwich, or taco and enjoy! The pickled onions stay good for about a week in the fridge.

Basic Pancake Recipe

27th January 2015

Pancakes

Every Sunday my husband and I like to sleep in and start our day in the kitchen preparing a delicious brunch. One of my favorites is pancakes. The combinations and toppings are endless. Sometimes I will mix fruit into the batter, like blueberries and raspberries, or even blend it into the milk, a favorite when making banana pancakes (they come out so smooth and sweet).

Today I’m happy to share with you my favorite basic pancake recipe. I don’t use any sugar in the batter because I always top my pancakes with syrup – maple, apple, pear – and fresh fruit. That’s enough sweetness for me. Depending on your tastes, you can use different flours – spelt, buckwheat, whole wheat – or milks – almond, oat, buttermilk. It’s always fun to experiment and find new favorites!

Pancakes

Pancakes

Basic Pancake Recipe, makes 4 big pancakes

  1. In one bowl combine the flour, baking soda and salt and in another bowl whisk the milk and egg together.
  2. Add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until combined.
  3. Heat up a frying pan and add the oil. Make sure your pan is hot enough before adding the batter!
  4. Pour the desired amount of pancake batter into the pan and then cover. After about 3-4 minutes*, check to see if the top of the pancake is still liquid. If it’s become stiff, flip it over and cover again. Cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  5. If you’re preparing a lot of pancakes, it’s a good idea to set your oven to the lowest possible temperature. Then once a pancake is ready you can place it in the oven until they’re all finished. That way everyone can enjoy hot pancakes!
  6. I like to top my pancakes with fresh fruit and maple syrup. Enjoy!

*The 3-4 minutes is an estimation – if you’re making thin pancakes, maybe check after 2 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.

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Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

25th January 2015

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

I have to admit I first made Spaghetti alla Puttanesca when I found out that it translates into “Whore/Slut/Prostitute’s Spaghetti”. The name is so funny and the sauce is so delicioso!

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca first came to be in the mid-20th century. While Italian housewives woke up early to go the market for fresh ingredients, the ladies of the night had to make do with jarred and canned ingredients. AKA this dish is inexpensive and easy to make.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca is deliciously salty, tangy, spicy, and garlicky. I have experimented with different versions of Puttanesca suga (sauce) and my favorite is from My New Roots.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca, serves 4

  1. Cook spaghetti according to instructions on package.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on low heat. Add the crushed chili flakes and let steep as the oil warms up. When the oil is hot add the garlic and let fry gently for 1-2 minutes, then add the onion and cook until translucent, 5 minutes or so.
  3. While the onions are cooking, pit the olives by lining several up on a cutting board and smashing them with the flat side of a knife blade. The pits are now easily removed. Roughly chop once or twice.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients to the oil, stir well, and cover to simmer for as long as you have (minimum 10 minutes). If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little water until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. Place desired servings of pasta in each bowl. Serve with the sauce on top, and garnish with a few caper berries. Drizzle with olive oil and chopped parsley. Enjoy!

Empanadas

23rd January 2015

EmpanadasWhen I first began taking an interest in cooking, I was so excited to successfully bake empanadas! I was so proud of myself for preparing the filling and making the dough from scratch. It was a milestone for me in the kitchen.

I know that empanadas are really popular in America, but for anyone who doesn’t know, I like to describe them as Mexican calzones. The great thing about empanadas is that you can fill them with anything. To make mine a bit lighter, I like to use ground chicken mixed with tomatoes and cilantro. Yum!

This recipe is my adaptation of Martha Stewart’s recipe for empanadas.

Empanadas

Empanadas

Empanadas filled with Ground Chicken and Tomatoes, serves 3-4

Dough

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine all dough ingredients. Knead dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and divide in half. Knead each half 2 or 3 times to form smooth balls. Cut each ball into four equal pieces. Cover with plastic; let stand until slightly risen, 20 minutes.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a skillet over medium-high, cook meat until no longer pink, breaking it up into small pieces, 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Add onion and jalapenos; cook until soft, 5 minutes. Stir in chili powder and tomatoes. Cook over medium until mixture has thickened, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in cilantro. Let cool.
  5. Either roll out the dough into 8″ circles for pretty empanadas, or you can just form the circles with your hands like I did. If you free form the circles, the dough can break when closing the empanadas, but you can just use extra dough to patch it up. Divide filling evenly among rounds, spreading it over half of each and leaving a 1/2-inch border.
  6. Brush border of bottom halves with water; fold top halves over filling to enclose completely. Press edges to seal with your fingertips, then crimp firmly with a fork.
  7. Place empanadas on parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush tops with egg wash, avoiding crimped edges. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes.

Spelt Flour

20th January 2015

Spelt Flour

If I’m baking, I always use spelt flour. I’ve tried many alternatives – whole wheat, buckwheat, rice flour, almond flour – but my favorite is spelt. Not only is spelt flour easily used in any recipe calling for flour, but it tastes great, is packed with protein, and is easy to digest.

What is spelt?

Spelt is an ancient grain (dated back to 5000BC) and species of wheat. The vital nutrients of spelt berry are found in the inner kernel of the grain. This means that once the berries have been milled, the nutrients aren’t lost like with other species of wheat, making spelt a whole food.

Benefits of spelt

Spelt is highly water soluble, which allows for all of the nutrients to be quickly absorbed into the body. Spelt contains more protein, fats and crude fiber than wheat and has large amounts of Vitamin B17 (anti-carcinoma). It also contains special carbohydrates which play a decisive role in blood clotting and stimulate the body’s immune system so as to increase its resistance to infection.

Spelt is rich in protein, and these proteins contain all of the nine essential amino acids needed by the human body. These amino acids are called “essential” because the body cannot manufacture them. If you don’t eat them, you don’t get them.

Environmental benefits

Spelt is a relatively low yielding crop so it doesn’t take as much from the soil as more modern crops. It is therefore a more sustainable crop on a long term basis. Being low yielding it also thrives without the application of fertilizers even on relatively poor soils. Spelt is also very resistant to frosts and other extreme weather conditions and the grain’s exceptionally thick husk protects it from pollutants and insects. As spelt is a pure, original grain and not biologically modified in any way it is very resistant to the crop diseases that often plague modern crop varieties and grows quite successfully without the application of herbicides, pesticides or fungicides.

Spelt is stored with the husk intact so it remains fresher over a much longer period than other grains. It has been claimed that spelt’s hull is so strong that it can protect the grain from virtually every type of pollutant, even radioactive fallout.

 

*The information above is a condensed version about the benefits of spelt flour; for more info check out The Spelt Bakers.

Vegetable Lo Mein

18th January 2015

Vegetable Lo Mein

Often while growing up, whenever my family spent a day shopping at the mall we would head to the food court. We had a standard offering, including pizza, burgers, and fried chicken, but I always loved eating Chinese. I’d always have trouble choosing between sesame chicken and lo mein – I love them both so much!

I am so happy that I’ve found a recipe for lo mein from Eat Good 4 Life that tastes just as good as the food court, without making me feel guilty afterwards. This recipe is easy to adapt if you want to add chicken, shrimp, pork, beef or tofu. You can also make it in under 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a weeknight!

Vegetable Lo Mein

Vegetable Lo Mein, serves 4

Sauce

  1. In a small bowl, add all of the sauce ingredients and mix well with a whisk. Set aside.
  2. Prepare noodles according to package instructions.
  3. While the noodles are cooking, heat up a wok and add the oil. Stir fry the peppers, onion, and ginger until tender, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the noodles and scallions, then add the sauce. Cook for about 1-2 minutes until the sauce is heated and begins to thicken.
  5. Toss in the basil. Serve and enjoy!

Caprese Barley Salad

16th January 2015

Caprese Barley Salad

I have a lot of barley. I didn’t realize the word for barley (gerst) and millet (gierst) in Dutch were so simliar and wound up with a lot of barley by accident. This has allowed for a lot of experimentation in the kitchen and I’m happy to share with you this Caprese Barley Salad by The Sweetest Occasion.

A caprese salad is a delicious combination of flavors – the light, slightly sour taste of the tomatoes, with the mellow, saltiness of the mozzarella, topped with the freshness of basil…yum! Combined with barley, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar, you have a delicious, healthy salad for lunch!

Caprese Barley Salad

Caprese Barley Salad

  1. Combine barley and vegetable stock in a pot and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes. Once most of the liquid is absorbed, remove pot from the heat and cover for 10 minutes.
  2. While the barley is cooking, slice the mozzarella into bite sized pieces and the cherry tomatoes in half. Wait until just before serving to chop up the basil.
  3. Once the barley has finished cooking, mix all of the ingredients together and enjoy!

Hot Sauce

13th January 2015

Hot Sauce

I love hot sauce. Until a couple of months ago I never thought to make it myself. Now I’m starting on new batches every couple of weeks, experimenting with peppers – cayenne, habanero, chili, bird’s eye, jalepeño – and additional flavors – garlic, flavored vinegars (white wine, apple cider,…), fruit.

Before making my first batch, I did a lot of research about fermenting peppers to make hot sauce. It’s not difficult. Fermentation just requires patience. You need to let the peppers ferment for 4 to 6 weeks. I really enjoy checking on my conconctions every couple of days to watch the tiny bubbles forming.

The recipe I most closely followed comes from Tales of a Kitchen. It an easy, forgiving recipe that allows for variation.

Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

Hot Sauce

Fermented Hot Sauce

  1. Wash your peppers. Cut off the stems, and weigh. Calculate 2% of the weight – that’s how much sea salt you will need to add.
  2. Roughly chop your peppers and add them to a clean jar. Add sea salt, garlic (I like mine really garlickly, about 1 clove per 50g of peppers), and enough water to cover, plus 1/2 a centimeter extra. Give it a good stir with a clean spoon.
  3. Cover jar with a paper towel or cheese cloth, and secure with an elastic band. This allows the peppers to breathe, but stops any dust or bugs from falling in.
  4. Place jar a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. I kept mine in a kitchen cupboard.
  5. Every other day check on the jar. You should see tiny bubbles forming. If any mold forms on top, simply grab a clean spoon and gently scrape it off, followed by a good stir and place the jar back in the pantry.
  6. The fermentation is finished when the tiny bubbles stop. This takes 4 to 6 weeks.
  7. Once the process is finished, pour the entire contents of the jar into a blender or food processor. If you’re adding any fruit, like mango, this is the time to add it. Puree for a few seconds until the mixture is very fine.
  8. Strain this mix through a fine sieve and press it with a spoon to get as much juice out as possible.
  9. Measure the liquid. Add half that amount in vinegar to the fermented pepper juice.
  10. Stir the contents, and add to a clean jar with a lid. Allow the hot sauce to rest for one day. This way the flavors really have a chance to mix.
  11. Keep the hot sauce in the refrigerator, and it’ll stay good for a year!

Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Dark Leafy Greens

11th January 2015

Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Dark Leafy Greens

This recipe for Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Dark Leafy Greens comes from Food 52, a food lover’s community website. It is healthy, easy, and inexpensive to make. You can also easily adapt the recipe, making it spicier, more peanutty, changing the dark leafy greens, adding shrimp or chicken, etc.

I really love udon noodles. Every time I am in Chinatown, I can’t leave without at least 3 packets. They are perfect in soups and wok dishes. These thick noodles perfectly compliment the peanut sauce and leafy greens.

Spicy, Peanutty Udon with Dark Leafy Greens, serves 2 people

  1. Heat 1 quart of water in a saucepan to boil.
  2. In a sauté pan over low or medium-low heat, add sesame oil and sauté the garlic for about 2 minutes. Add the soy sauce, Sriracha, and fish sauce. Stir ingredients and let cook for about 30 seconds. Add peanut butter, stir to combine, then turn off heat. The sauce will be very thick, but it will be diluted later when the noodles are added.
  3. When water is boiling, blanch greens for about 30 seconds. Drain the greens, and add it to the sauce in the sauté pan and stir to coat.
  4. Bring clean water to boil. When the water is boiling, add the noodles and cook following instructions on the packet.
  5. Use tongs or a large fork to add the noodles straight from the water to the sauté pan with the peanut sauce and the kale. The unstrained noodles will carry enough water to dilute the peanut sauce.
  6. Garnish with chopped scallions and chopped peanuts.