Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

i’ve been doing yoga consistently for 2 months
which is to say,
i go once a week.
that’s a big deal.
it’s part of my
I’m Getting Old AF concession
so i do the crusty bendy breathing stuff
and my dr doesn’t give me shit for being lazy.
speaking of lazy though,
i have been lax this summer with cooking.
i tend to make a big pile of food
and call it lunch for the week.

when Friends of Great Kids Farm reached out to me
to participate in a back to school healthy lunch challenge
i was going to decline.
i sat on it for a day and decided to join after all.
i pack a lunch for dw + me everyday,
it’s hard sometimes when i’m uninspired or tired.
i’m assuming it’s like that for everyone,
whether you’re a parent,
or just feeding yourself.
this particular week’s lunch is a repeat,
i make it often because
it’s easy
affordable
nutritious
delicious.
what do you usually have for lunch?

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Friends of Great Kids Farm is a 501(c)3 foundation partner to Baltimore City Public Schools’ Great Kids Farm. Friends financially supports, enhances, and promotes the Farm’s experiential gardening and nutrition education and career training programs to benefit as many of Baltimore City Schools’ 85,000 students as possible. In 2008, an overgrown, unused property owned by City Schools was transformed into a working farm and dynamic outdoor classroom. This unique facility now provides: a working farm where students connect with healthy foods through cross-curricular, hands-on learning activities; fresh produce for school cafeterias and nutrition education programs; a professional kitchen where students cook and taste Farm produce guided by a chef educator; classrooms for healthy food demonstrations and tastings linked to core instruction; internships for high school students in agriculture and the culinary arts; and support for the development of schoolyard gardens throughout the district. The Back to School Healthy Lunch Campaign seeks to bring attention to healthy eating and support innovative education with local creativity.

for more information, hit up
Back to School Healthy Lunch Challenge

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

Crunchy Quinoa Salad with Miso-Tahini Dressing

*note: this salad is never the same every time, it’s usually whatever is available at the markets and offered from our csa and the season. you’re aiming for a balance of freshness, tart & salty & sweet, and most important: your preference. if you’re feeling fancy, add some kind of protein, ranging from grilled chicken to chickpeas to tofu. sometimes, time allowing, i add a hard boiled egg. if you’re super fancy, cook the quinoa in stock for even more flavor.
**note: any miso paste is fine, i have the mellow brown rice miso but i’ve used red, yellow or white before, it’s according to your flavor preferences.
***note: this dish is best as a leftover and at room temp, which makes it a perfect lunch. the flavors meld and you’re not having to worry about heating it up. if making for a picnic or potluck, make it the day before, so it makes for a stress free dish.

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup amaranth
1/4 red cabbage, shredded
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 jalapeno, deseeded and diced fine
1/4 small red onion or shallot, diced
1 carrot, shredded
bunch chopped cilantro
3 stalks scallions, diced
sunflower seeds, optional
cashews or peanuts, very optional
lime wedges, to garnish at the end
toasted sesame seeds

DRESSING
1/2 cup tahini
1 2″ knob of ginger, freshly grated
3 TBL tamari or coconut nectar (or soy sauce)
1 TBL maple syrup
2 TBL rice vinegar
1 TBL miso paste
1 tsp sesame oil
salt/pepper to taste
water to thin

rinse quinoa in a mesh sieve under cool water for a few minutes.

cook quinoa + amaranth according to quinoa package instructions. adding the amaranth doesn’t change cooking time. fluff, set aside to cool.

mise en place everything that you’re wanting to add to the salad.

to make the dressing, use a big bowl to mix everything, or use a vitamix to do the heavy mixing. add in the tahini & miso paste with a splash of water. blitz it up until well incorporated, the aim is to break down the miso. add in the rest of the dressing ingredients, with splash of water if needed. i shoot for 3/4 cup to a full cup of dressing, season to taste.

in a big mixing bowl, add in the quinoa with the vegs. drizzle the dressing in, starting off with just half of it and mix through. you can add as much as you want, keeping in mind that the quinoa will absorb it. you don’t want soup though. you may not use up all the dressing, and it makes for great dipping or regular salad dressing.

top with diced scallions, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds or cashews/peanuts if using. spritz with lime juice.

serve cold or room temp.

BAM!

Crunchy Quinoa Salad + Miso Tahini Dressing

3 years ago: chicken masala
2 years ago: spice poached pears
1 year ago: steamed egg loaf

zucchini ravioli

Zucchini Ravioli

we had a massive storm here in MD over the weekend
mayhap you saw the headline in your fb feed
or you’re local and you were hunkered down in your abode
like we were in the city,
the lightning and thunder really close.
at one point,
i turned to dw to ask him if he even
knew where the flashlights were.
like the lazy asses that we are
we decided that our phones can suffice
as torches.
meanwhile, with Stranger Things on tv
the kitchen was slowly flooding.
the deluge of water falling from the sky
could not be contained by the fancy gutters
we bought when we fixed the roof last year.
just kidding.
it wasn’t slowly flooding,
it was fucking gushing,
from the back door and onto my new tile floors.
and so, with winona ryder crying in the background
dw & i spent our saturday night
catching water and wringing out towels.
we’re such party animals.

prior to the storm
we picked up our csa and
it’s full on zucchini season,
this week’s recipe really makes good use of this summer veg.
for more inspiration,
hit up maria’s space.

zuch ravioli gif

zucchini ravioli
inspired and adapted from delish
makes about 12-13 raviolis,

*note: i made a full on dairy version with mozz & ricotta cheese for a friend returning from vacation, and i made a completely vegan version for us. click the link for the cheese.
*note**: i doctored up a jar of marinara sauce: sauteed onions + diced garlic scape, chunky over-ripe csa tomatoes and a few TBL of tomato paste.

3-4 zucchinis, sliced thin, with a knife, peeler (which is what i used) or mandolin
1 package of firm tofu, pressed of excess water
2-3 garlic scapes, rough chopped
healthy/generous bunch of parsley
salt&pepper to taste
1 cup of shredded vegan mozzarella, i used daiya
marinara sauce, jarred or doctored or homemade
shredded basil, to garnish

preheat oven to 350F.

slice the zucchinis as described. any nubby bits leftover can be added to the filling, or used for baking, or added to soup.

to make the filling: in a food processor add the pressed tofu. pulse it a few times to break it down. add the garlic scapes and parsley, pulse to incorporate. add in salt & pepper to taste and pulse a few times more. you’re aiming for a well combined ricotta-like mixture.

assemble the raviolis: lay two zucchini slices one way and another two across it, you’re aiming for a lower case T. spoon/scoop about 1.5-2 TBL worth of the tofu mixture in the middle (i used an ice cream scoop). fold the legs over, alternating, until a package is made. continue with the rest of the slices and remaining filling.

in a casserole dish, have a thin layer of marinara sauce. lay out the raviolis, seam side down. spoon sauce over and around the raviolis. they don’t need to be covered, but the amount is entirely up to you. finish with the shredded cheese.

depending on the size of the casserole dish you used, bake for 30-35 minutes (for the smaller batch, i baked for 20 min). the zucchinis came out just at done which dw loved, but i would’ve liked it to go a smidge longer.

garnish with shredded basil.

BAM!

zuch ravioli casserole

3 years ago: chocolate + coconut macarons
2 years ago: banh cuon chay
1 year ago: popcorn

fast ‘n dirty bread & butter pickles

bread & butter pickles

after 2 hours of driving
we stop off at a small town
down by the shore.
there are long limbs that require stretching
and growling stomachs in need of food,
plus, Pokemon to be caught
(for the record, it’s dw who’s playing,
not the kids)
we sit at table that is in a cafe
that also fronts as a pharmacy.
the boys consume everything in front of them
everything except the gherkin pickles,
which are delicious
crisp and sweet and sour.
they remind me of my grandfather
who loved that combination.

with that in mind,
i picked up 4 pounds of pickling cukes
from the market saturday morning,
and spent minimal time in the kitchen
preparing them.
they came out with such snap.
dw could’ve done without the coriander seeds
but i like them.

i made enough to keep a large jar
but also a smaller jar to gift for a sick friend.

hope your summer is going swell.
be good to each other.

bread & butter pickles

fast ‘n dirty bread & butter pickles
makes 1 half gallon + 1 quart jars <= how’s that for crazy measurement?

*note: you can up the amount of sugar if you want it sweeter. i was more interested in getting the crunch and the salt step is key to getting that.

about 3-4 lbs of pickling cucumbers, cleaned and sliced about 1″ thick
3 generous TBL kosher salt
1 large onion sliced
2 scant cups of coconut sugar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds, optional
healthy dash of ground tumeric

in a big mixing bowl add the sliced cukes and sprinkle in the salt. mix it all and then cover in fridge for about 2 hours. them cukes are going to pee liquid something fierce. you’ll be amazed. drain the cukes and rinse thoroughly. drain as much of the water out as possible. add in the sliced onions and toss together.

in a saucepan heat up the rest of the ingredients until simmering and the sugars have dissolved. turn off heat.

in jars divvy up the cukes and onion. pour the hot vinegar liquid over the vegs. allow to cool to room temp and then lid and fridge. will keep for a month, but must be well covered and anytime you pull pickles out, use a clean utensil.

BAM!

bread & butter pickles

3 years ago: spicy cantaloupe salad
2 years ago: pickled beets
1 year ago: apparently i was a bum last year around this time

Raw Blueberry Coconut Tart + Nut Crust

Raw Blueberry Coconut Tart + Nut Crust

it’s reached a point in the season
where sometimes i wonder if it’s cooler
outside or inside.
i broke down earlier in the month
and turned the ac on.
some mornings it’s still hovering at the
upper 60sF (approx. 16C, fyi)
and i’m chilled.
dw loves it,
reminds him of upstate.
around this time of year
we trek out to do some blueberry picking.
we try to go first thing in the morn,
before the sun is at its strongest,
before the crowds.
dw loves blueberries,
it’s his favorite,
and we managed to pick 5lbs
opening weekend.
an ode to these summer jewels
and still on the no gluten and dairy kick
i made this tart.
best chilled,
topped with even more fresh berries,
and so good for breakfast
or tea
or dessert.
happy summer!

Raw Blueberry Coconut Tart + Nut Crust

raw blueberry coconut tart + nut crust (gluten free & vegan)
inspired and loosely adapted from the bojon gourmet
serves 6-8

*note: i did roast the hazelnuts to get rid of the skins and to sweeten them but it’s optional. so technically, this isn’t fully raw… also, hazelnuts have a stronger flavor and you want to strike a balance where it doesn’t overwhelm everything else. aim for maybe 1/4 hazelnuts and the rest cashews and almond, or whatever nuts you want.

crust:
1 1/2 cups of nuts: i used a combo of cashews, almonds and hazelnuts, quantities of each are up to you
1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes
2 TBL scant maple syrup
pinch of salt

filling:
230 grams raw cashews, soaked in boiled water for 1 hour
2 TBL finely ground chia seed
scant 1/2 cup maple syrup, depending on how sweet your berries are
zest from 1 lemon
juice of said 1 lemon
pinch fine sea salt
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup melted and cooled coconut oil
5-6 basil leaves, optional
about a cup of blueberries, washed

topping/side:
BLUEBERRIES, amount to your heart’s desire

Raw Blueberry Coconut Tart + Nut Crust

to make the crust: in a food processor add the nuts and coconut flakes with the pinch of salt. blitz until it’s ground to your preference. i went for finely ground. drizzle in maple syrup and process till the nuts start to clump. dump the mixture into pan with removable bottom tart pan, i used a rectangle one but an 8-9″ pan would be fine. press the mixture along the sides and bottom. set aside or chill in fridge while you make filling.

to make the filling: soak the cashews in hot water for an hour, or in cool water overnight. drain and rinse the nuts. in a vitamix add the softened cashews with the blueberries, along with the finely ground chia seed, maple syrup, lemon zest and juice, along with the water, coconut oil, pinch of salt and basil leaves, if using. blend until smooth, scraping down the sides if needed. pour mixture into crust and use a spatula or off set spatula to smooth the top as desired. the mixture will be thick. cover and chill overnight.

serve with fresh berries.

(will keep, covered, for a few days.)

Raw Blueberry Coconut Tart + Nut Crust

BAM!

3 years ago: baked yeast s’mores donuts
2 years ago: 3 veggie dumplings in spicy sauce
1 year ago: meringue cups + mango curd

summer greens vichyssoise + spicy mint sauce

summer greens vichyssoise + spicy mint sauce

we lasted 12 days on the Whole30.
technically, shorter than that,
because we had peas a few days prior.
a diet that has something against
fresh, in season peas is no diet for me.

bitterness aside,
i do appreciate the
blank slate that was this experience,
no matter how brief it was.
we introduced rice back in a few days ago,
a little bit of sugar
but i think we’ll maintain the
mainly protein + vegs thing
WITH RICE EVERYDAY LIKE A GOOD ASIAN
awhile longer.

meanwhile, pea season is
around for another week or so
and we’ve made variations of this soup
2 times already.
i’m doing everything i can to
break the rules of Whole30,
there is no way i’m gonna let this
season go by without trying to at
least get sick of it.

summer greens vichyssoise + spicy mint sauce

summer greens vichyssoise with spicy mint sauce
makes enough for 4, OR, 2 really hungry wannabe Whole30ers

soup
2 leeks, sliced and cleaned (i like to soak them in a bowl of cold water and let the dirt fall to the bottom)
2 garlic scapes, sliced/diced
1/2 pound of FRESH PEAS, rinsed
handful of kale
1/2 can of coconut milk
splish splash of olive oil
1 seedless english cucumber
half a avocado
salt/pepper to taste

spicy mint sauce
bunch of fresh mint, aim for 1 cup
bunch of parsley, aim for 1/2 cup
1 garlic scape, diced
1 TBL spicy brown mustard
1 thai green chili pepper
1/4 – 1/3 cup of olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

to make the minty sauce, put everything into a vitamix and blitz it till completely smooth. can be kept in clean container for up to a week.

to make the soup, in a large saucepan head up the olive oil. add in the leeks and garlic scape and season with salt/pepper. saute til the leeks are soft. add in half a can of coconut milk and bring up a gentle simmer. turn off heat and add in the peas and kale, mix through til the kale is wilted and lid it.

allow the soup to cool sufficiently before blitzing either with a handheld immersion blender or in the vitamix until smooth. add in the cuke and avocado, and blitz it some more. depending on how thick you want the soup, it may be fine as is, or you can add a ladleful of water/veg stock. season to taste.

serve the soup chilled and topped with a spoonful of the spicy mint sauce.

BAM!

summer greens vichyssoise + spicy mint sauce

3 years ago: PB & Chocolate Cakelettes
2 years ago: diy sperm cornhole
1 year ago: pulled pork taco