Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Wonderful Weird Wecipes

Yes. I know how to spell recipes. I'm trying to be funny. Geez. =)

These aren't just wonderful and weird, they are also delicious, nutritious, vegan or vegetarian and gluten-free.

Kale-Quinoa Salad
I originally created this as a way to save time. I was having kale chips and quinoa and I thought "I could mix these together and this whole eating thing would go a lot faster." (Not that you should EVER rush eating, unless you have somewhere to be in 20 minutes and won't get to eat for another eight hours after that. Cut me some slack, here). =) As it turned out, the crispy kale was a lovely texture to compliment the soft quinoa. An idea was born. Soon thereafter I was making dinner, and decided to get a bit more creative. I roasted cherry tomatoes AND kale, and mixed both with quinoa. It was DELICIOUS served hot alongside poached salmon! Hooray! I had some leftovers and realized it was even good cold the next day, and although the kale was no longer crispy, it did still have a lovely roasted flavor. That led me to try a version intentionally served cold, almost like a pasta salad to have with a cookout. I also played with garlic, herbs, the cooking liquid for the quinoa, adding additional roasted vegetables like beets for color contrast, adding nuts; the possibilities are really endless. Here are two versions I like - one hot and one cold.

Warm Kale-Quinoa Salad
(serve on its own - quinoa is a complete protein, you know! - or as a side dish with fish).
Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh kale, destemmed, rinsed, and pat dry with paper towels.
1 box (about 1.5 cups?) cherry tomatoes 
1 cup quinoa (if it isn't pre-washed, you need to rinse it).
2 cups water or vegetable stock.
2-6 cloves of minced garlic.
1 tsp cumin (or whatever you're in the mood for, honestly. I love cumin).
2 tablespoons olive oil (approximate. You'll roast the kale and cherry tomatoes in it and need some to saute the garlic for the quinoa. I don't really measure olive oil, normally! Sorry I can't be more precise).
salt to taste (optional)
lemon or vinegar to taste (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toss your kale with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. On a separate baking sheet, toss your cherry tomatoes (DON'T cut them) with just enough olive oil to lightly coat them and a light sprinkle of salt. Remember when salting the components that they are all going to end up in the same bowl, so you don't want to overdo it! This is like Jenny Schecter's book, you guys. Any L Word fans know what I'm talking about?? Roast in the 325 degree oven and check every 10 minutes, shaking the tomatoes to roll them around and flipping your kale over. You want the kale to be mostly crisp and not too brown. (The reality is if you put an entire bunch of kale on one baking sheet, it's never going to get perfectly crisp. So if you have two ovens (lucky!) and lots of baking sheets, you can be crazy meticulous about spreading your kale out so it ALL gets perfectly crisp. I don't have the time or the luxury. Alas). The tomatoes will get all nice and wrinkly like they spent too much time in the bathtub. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes, but check back frequently!

Meanwhile, heat about a teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan (that you have the matching lid for on hand. Not that I have mixed and matched pots and pans in MY house), on medium-high heat. Saute your garlic and cumin for about a minute, until it just gets golden, and then add the quinoa. Stir, stir, stir, and listen to the lovely sound of the quinoa beginning to roast and pop. (Toasting quinoa DRAMATICALLY improves the flavor, in my opinion. You can (again) be really meticulous (with your 12 ovens) and do this on a cookie sheet so each individual grain turns the same lovely color of brown. I, however, cheat and stir it up in the pot for about a minute. I'm getting really jealous of your 12 ovens, though). You'll start to recognize the SMELL that means it's as toasted as it's going to get without burning. =) Add the water or vegetable stock, stir, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for 10-15 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed.

Put your quinoa in a big bowl. Add the roasted kale and the roasted cherry tomatoes. Mix it all up and taste it. You might dig the rich, olive oil flavor and be good to go. You might want some acid to balance it and squeeze a lemon into it, or sprinkle some type of vinegar over it - I like red wine or apple cider. Ohhh, but I've not tried balsamic with this... hmm!

EAT IT. Yum. =)

Cold Kale-Quinoa Salad
Ingredients: 
1 bunch fresh kale, destemmed, rinsed, and pat dry with paper towels.
1 box (about 1.5 cups?) cherry tomatoes 
1 cup quinoa (if it isn't pre-washed, you need to rinse it).
2 cups water or vegetable stock.
2-6 cloves of minced garlic.
1 tsp cumin (or whatever you're in the mood for, honestly. I love cumin).
Cold Kale-Quinoa Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil (approximate. You'll roast the kale in it and need some to saute the garlic for the quinoa. I don't really measure olive oil, normally! Sorry I can't be more precise).
salt to taste (optional)
lemon or vinegar to taste (optional)
1-2 ripe avocados

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toss your kale with about a tablespoon of olive oil and a light sprinkle of salt. Roast for about 20-30 minutes, checking and turning/tossing every 10 minutes or so. I like the kale as crispy as possible for this one, but not burnt. Prepare your quinoa as directed above. Mix it all up and add olive oil and an acid (lemon or vinegar) to taste. Toss the qunioa with the kale and refrigerate. When you are ready to eat it, add the cherry tomatoes (sliced in half) and the avocado (cubed) and toss together. Check for seasonings - add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes - whatever floats your boat. SERVE! Yum.

Poached eggs in Cabbage Nests
Poached eggs in Cabbage Nests
Quarter a Savoy cabbage and cut out the core. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Pour a bit of olive oil (a teaspoon, perhaps) onto each of four squares of aluminum foil. Roll the quarters in the oil so it is covered and season with salt and pepper, then wrap the aluminum foil tightly around the cabbage. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum foil and bake for another 15 minutes until they are roasted to your liking.
Serve one or two poached eggs inside each quarter of cabbage. If you really want your eggs to be in a nest, remove a few of the inside leaves (and eat them!) so the eggs have somewhere to go.
It's a weird but super delicious combination, and avocado goes well with poached eggs ALWAYS.
Enjoy!


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