Browsing Tag

dinner

Turmeric and Ginger Quinoa

Sometimes the best recipes are so simple, it’s almost easy to overlook them as not being important enough for a whole blog post. But mastering these simple building blocks are how you learn to really cook.  I recently made a pot of this quinoa to mix in with a crunchy Vietnamese inspired salad of purple cabbage, kale, carrots, cilantro and mint (hence the photo). We ate this every day for lunch and never got tired of it.

I love to make quinoa risotto-style. This means starting with olive oil, then adding aromatics (the ginger and garlic), the adding the grain (quinoa) and toasting it for a few minutes. Then deglazing with liquid. I’m not gonna lie, making risotto might be a little more fun because there is parmesan cheese, wine and whipped cream involved. But hey, that’s for another post. The point is, even before you dress it up with your favorite accompaniments, there is A LOT of room to make a pot of quinoa amazing on its own.

You could add onion, jalapeno and lime for a taco filling or to pair with avocado and salsa.
You could add shallot, garlic, white wine and fresh thyme to pair with roasted veggies or chicken.
You could add raisins, nuts, cinnamon and a nut milk to make a hearty breakfast.

Ingredients
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1” piece of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 t. ground turmeric (or 1 T. fresh, peeled and chopped)
1 c. dried quinoa
2 c. water or veggie stock

Method

  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add ginger and garlic and cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add turmeric and cook another minute more.
  4. Add quinoa and stir for a minute.
  5. Add water, bring to a simmer and cover cooking on low for around 20 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed and quinoa is cooked.
  6. Fluff into a bowl with a fork and let cool.

Component in Action
-Use as a taco/wrap filling
-Spoon into a bowl of soup or stew
-Enjoy as a hearty breakfast
-Add cold to salads
-Add hot over greens that just need a bit of wilting, like kale or spinach. drizzle a bit of vinaigrette over, sprinkle with toasted nuts…a perfect side.

How to Build a One Pot Wonder

Tonight I needed to make dinner fast for many reasons. Fox is four months and teething and River is four years and wanted to put together every puzzle in the house…together. This is what life is made of. This is what I’ll think of longingly 20 years from now I’m sure, yet I always feel like I am trying to do stuff so I can go do other stuff. For some reason the other stuff seems more pressing, like dishes and laundry and even making meals. But today we made all the puzzles, I nursed the baby so many times I lost count and Hans was able to come home for a quick dinner before heading back out again. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, i was feeling stressed by the time five rolled around. After all, I had been trying to make a cup of tea since 1pm. All of this is to say that we have to make choices everyday and sometimes those choices need to include more time with family and less time in the kitchen.

There are a few things I try to keep on hand in the pantry and fridge: fresh garlic, fresh ginger, lemons, coconut cream or milk, fresh dark greens like spinach or kale and turmeric. It just so happens that these ingredients saved the day. But just because these specific ingredients saved my day, doesn’t help you much if your fridge and pantry tell a different story. This is why learning how to build a one pot wonder is so much more important than just following a recipe. You are the pot stirrer. You are the flavor expert for you and your people. Once you know what blocks to use, then you can start to riff in the kitchen and feel more confident.

You build a one pot wonder from the pot up. A hearty glug of olive oil over medium heat and then you begin building, stirring as you go.

Ingredients
1 onion
a couple T. of fresh ginger and garlic (chopped)
a heaping t. of curry powder
a t. of ground tumeric (or if you have fresh add it chopped with the ginger and garlic)
salt (to taste)
big splash of white wine (optional)
juice from half a juicy lemon
1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream (unsweetened)
1 head of chopped cauliflower (or riced cauliflower)
around 10 dates (chopped)
1 can black beans (rinsed)
1 c. frozen peas
a bunch of fresh spinach (washed well)

Method
1.) Add onion (chopped or sliced)
2.) Add some aromatics, in this case I added finely chopped fresh ginger and garlic.
3.) Add dried spices. Tonight I added curry powder, ground turmeric and a sprinkle of salt.
4.) Deglaze. This means add a bit of liquid to release everything from the bottom of the pot. I had an open bottle of white wine in the fridge so I added a big splash of wine, a half a lemon juice and a can of coconut milk.
5.) Add in hard vegetables and anything you want to cook. I added a bag of riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s and some chopped dates. Let it cook for fifteen minutes.
6.) Now add anything that doesn’t take long to cook. I added a rinsed can of black beans and a cup of frozen peas.
7.) A few minutes before you sit down to eat, throw in a bag of fresh spinach (or other cooking greens) and put a lid on for five minutes. Boom!

Component in Action
-In addition to adding the onion at the beginning, you could also add carrot, celeriac, celery or tomatoes, bell peppers or even bacon.
-some other options for aromatics? try lemongrass, fresh tumeric, rosemary (finely chopped or whole sprigs so you can pull out later, fresh thyme finely chopped)
-Instead of curry, you could add herbs de provance, or even dried chilis or chili powder. You could also skip this step and wait until the end and add lots of fresh herbs like basil or cilantro or parsley or chives.
-for deglazing you could also use stock or even a few big splashes of cream.
-Instead of cauliflower you could add butternut squash, sweet potatoes, soaked dried beans…
-Instead of canned beans and frozen peas you could throw in towards the end other green vegetables like broccoli
-Instead of a bunch of spinach at the end you could also throw in other greens like swiss chard, rapini or kale.

Butternut Squash Soup

It’s been one of those weeks where on Thursday I was sure it was Tuesday, and small tasks like going through a stack of paperwork on the desk was the big project of the week. Such is life with a six week old baby and we are soaking in every moment of getting to know our sweet Fox. This week we learned that he likes to have his arms raised above his head and he rewards us with the biggest smile each time, which is pretty much the best thing ever. When River was born (who is almost four now), I was always looking ahead, eagerly anticipating the next phase or shift in development. I have thrown that anticipation to the wind with Fox, because now I know how freakishly fast it all goes. So it’s been blissful and exhausting all jumbled together.  All of this is to say, it took me three days to find a window of time to throw this soup together and it took less than an hour!

This week, when planning out our meals, I knew a soup would be easy and would last for a few lunches and dinners. I had a butternut squash and a big yellow onion that needed to be used. I checked the cupboard and saw a box of chicken stock hiding behind a box of ziti. I opened the fridge and saw there were a couple apples with bruises, and Oh! I found a can of coconut milk too… This is how soups can be a great way to save food from going to waste. This is also a perfect playground to let yourself wander away from a rigid recipe, enabling you to practice trusting your instincts and taste buds.

Ingredients
1 butternut Squash (halved and seeds scooped out)
2-3 T. olive oil (or butter)
1 large yellow onion (cut roughly into 1 inch pieces)
1-2 Apples (peeled and cut roughly into 1 inch pieces)
1 t. ground turmeric (or 1 T. fresh peeled and sliced)
1 t. Ground cinnamon
2 T. brown sugar (optional)
1 can, unsweetened coconut milk or cream
Vegetable or chicken stock to cover by one inch

Method

1.) Rub both inside halves of squash with olive oil and season with salt.
2.) Roast in the oven at 400 f. Until tender when pierced with a knife.
3.) While the squash is roasting, heat 1-2 T, of olive oil or butter in a heavy bottomed soup pot.
4.) Saute onions and apples over medium high heat, stirring frequently until they turn a golden brown.
5.) Add brown sugar if you want, turmeric and cinnamon. Stir and cook for another minute.
6.) Pour in the can of coconut milk to deglaze, and with a wooden spoon scrape all the caramelized goodness from the bottom of the pot.
7.) Once the squash is roasted, scoop the squash into the simmering pot.
8.) Cover by one inch with stock.
9.) Bring soup to a simmer and season with salt to taste.
10.) Working in batches, blend the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Enjoy!

Component in Action

-substitute the butternut other kinds of squash or pumpkin
-use a little less stock to make a thicker version and use as a base under grains like quinoa or brown rice
-use as a sauce under fish or scallops
-spread on toasted garlic bread
-use as a warm dip for pita chips and apple slices (great for kids)