red quinoa, rainbow carrots, jicama,

Red Quinoa Winter Casserole

I found beautiful rainbow carrots and jicama at the farmer’s market in Palo Alto, and inspired by how delicious they tasted oven-roasted last night, threw together this red quinoa casserole for lunch today.

What I used:

Quinoa: 1 cup, uncooked

Vegetable broth: 1 cup

Rainbow carrots: 2, big

Jicama: 10-12 strips, about 3/4 of a regular sized vegetable

Garlic: 4-5 cloves, cut in halves/ chopped roughly

Cayenne: 1 tsp

Black pepper: 1 tsp

Salt: To taste

Olive oil: 2 tbsp

Parmesan & Pecans: Optional, grated over.

What I did:

In a saucepan, I heated one cup of water, and added one cup of broth when it was warm. To this, I added one cup of red quinoa. While this was cooking, I cleaned and peeled my carrots and jicama, dicing them into chunky bits. I like chunky roasted garlic in my food, so I sliced the cloves into 2-3 big bits each.

In a bowl, I mixed together a tablespoon of EVOO, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of cayenne, and 1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper. I microwaved this for 30 seconds to make the oil easier to move, and then tossed the vegetables in this mixture and let it sit until the quinoa was done.

I greased a pan with the rest of the EVOO and preheated the oven to 425 F. I added a layer of quinoa to the bottom, and poured in any leftover broth/water from the saucepan. A pinch of salt and black pepper over this make it come together with the rest. A layer of vegetables, and quinoa alternatively and finally some crushed pecans on top with sliced parmesan make it all better!

Baked this at 400 F for about 20 minutes, and voila!

Topped it off with some chopped chives for color.

ImageEnjoy happy quinoa times, but not without:

Masala Kale Rice

Masala Kale Rice

Here’s a quick and easy masala-kale-rice recipe I tried out and absolutely loved.

What I used:

Rice: 1 cup, cooked

Kale: 3 cups, chopped

Green peas/sweet corn/minced carrots: 1/2 cup, optional

Onion: 1/2 jumbo yellow, sliced

Garlic: 4-5 cloves, sliced

Ginger: about 1.5″, minced

Green chillies/Serrano pepper: 2-3

Red chilli/ cayenne powder: 1 tsp

Roma tomato: 1

Fennel seeds: 1 tsp

What I did:

In a pan, I heated a tablespoon of lightly flavored oil, and fried fennel seeds in them. To this, I added the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies. I proceeded to sweat these together and added the chopped tomato once the mixture turned slightly golden. Then, I added the chopped kale, salted it to taste, and a tiny pinch of sugar; then I allowed it to cook to a mellow, masala-y state. To this, I added cayenne and green peas, sautéed it for a minute, and let it rest with the lid on, off the heat.

Cooking rice well is my huge achilles heel, I absolutely bomb every time I don’t use a rice cooker. Moving in with my best friend, I could hide behind her rice making skills. But tear stricken pot blackened meals later, we went ahead and bought a rice cooker. It made beautiful fluffy rice, that I added to the mix and tossed it around until I had a beautiful long grained crazy kale fiesta. I garnished it with cilantro, and was joined by aforementioned roommate/bff to demolish our iron and Vitamin A filled carb fest.

To make better food, substitute rice with quinoa and add 2 tbsp of chia seeds to your Masala Kale Quinoa. But until then, go forth and be fabulous with:

Indian Kale recipe masala greens

Masala Kale Rice

Happy Holidays! Here’s this now:

Caramel Bread Pudding for the twenty something soul

Do you have a sweet tooth? Do you like sweet fixes? It doesn’t matter. Here’s this now.

Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce

Caramel sauce bread pudding

Caramel Bread Pudding

For the pudding:
7 slices of bread (these were small slices, like store brand whole wheat)
Sultanas/Raisins/Walnuts/Pecans
Sugar- 1/2- 3/4 cup (total)
Star anise- 2 (use Nutmeg if you’d like)
Eggs- 2
Milk- 3/4 cup (I used 2%)
Butter- about 1/4 stick.
 

For the sauce: 

2 tbsp cooking oil (preferably canola)

4 tbsp sugar

1/4 cup whole milk/ 2 tbsp heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
a pinch of salt
 
 
 
 
 
Make the pudding:
Take about 1 tbsp of sugar and spread it evenly on a plate. Very lightly grease a heated pan. Press each slice of bread into the sugar on both sides and toast on pan (this is a ‘sugar’ toast, which you’re probably familiar with.) I like to get them dark brown, so the bread has a nice semi-charred flavor. Toast all slices and cut them up.
If you are using pecans/walnuts, I’d add 1/4 tsp of salt to the leftover sugar , roll the nuts in it, and toast them in the pan as well. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 F and melt the butter in a baking dish. Once it has melted, throw the  bread+nut/dry fruit mixture and coat in the butter.
In a bowl, beat the eggs. Add the rest of the sugar and beat until you get a nice sugary-eggy yellow colored mix. Fold the milk and the spices in. Beat some more. The more you beat, the more fluffy your pudding will be.
Pour this over the bread-nut mix and toss to coat evenly. Let it bake for about 45- 50 minutes.
 
 
 
Make the sauce:
Heat the oil in a pan, add the sugar and stir until it melts. You want the sauce to brown but not become a bitter brittle. I like the caramel to be a tad bit bitter just to complement the sweetness of the pudding. Stirring continuously is the trick. Stir until it reaches a gooey consistency and is a nice brown, but not too deep. If you can pull it up from the pan like a sticky, fluidly string, you’ve reached a good point to take it off the stove. I like to take it off the pan so there is no additional residual heat. Transfer to a bowl and fold in the cream/milk. Do this slowly so the dairy does not break. Add the salt and stir continuously.
 
I like to pour the caramel sauce in and let it cook with the pudding for about 10 minutes before it rests and cools. You can add it in after you take the pudding out as well.
 
The pudding is done when you a knife comes out clean (or coated in only the caramel!)
 
Cut yourself a piece and enjoy!

Kale and Coconut milk soup

This was quite straightforward to make, really. A handful of ingredients and you end up with delicious soup. I used half a bag of kale, about a pound. Here’s what to do.

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Makes 6 large servings

Kale- 4-5 cups

Jumbo yellow onion- 1

Garlic- 4-5 cloves

Tarragon- 2 tsp (best if fresh; I used fresh tarragon that I had frozen)

Light Coconut milk- 1 small can

Olive Oil- 1- 2 tbsp

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Sweat chopped onions and garlic with the olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan with a lid. Throw in the massaged and chopped kale and continue to sweat. Add water slowly as the greens reduce. Overall, I added 2 cups of water while the greens were cooking. Add the tarragon and cook while keeping the lid on the pan. Once the kale is softened, allow it to cool and puree in a blender or with a pureer. Add in the can of coconut milk as you puree, and add more water if you want. I added about 1.5 can fulls after I mixed in the coconut milk.

Salt and enjoy! I think it tastes best with toasted cracked pepper. Try red pepper flakes or enjoy as it is.

I initially made this as a side for pasta but have not been able to finish this because it is so filling!

 

 

Kale chips & Watermelon Salad for your Arrested Development marathon

So you’ve watched the Fourth Season of Arrested Development on Netflix already. (You haven’t? Here is a review and some cross promotion). It’s time for another viewing already. An important consideration whenever you have a TV-show viewing marathon is what to eat.

Pizza is too filling. A third regrettable slice later, you’re wishing someone would suck all this unhappiness out of your stomach. And what’s sadder is that there is still a large amount of viewing left.

So here is a solution to your first-world quandary:

Kale Chips

Image

Mix the following up in a bowl:

Lightly Flavored olive oil: 2 tbsp

Red Wine Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Ground Red Pepper: 2 tsp

Salt: 1 tsp/ To taste

Toasted Sesame seeds: 1 tbsp

Next, prepare your kale. Tear it off the stem, massage it to soften it, wash it, and dry it. Drying is important so you bake and not steam your kale. Toss this in your mixture and bake at 475 F for 10-12 minutes. I smelled my chips when they were done.

Kale Chips

Watermelon Salad

Now, get your watermelon on. Here is a cool place to learn how to cut your watermelon. That’s where I learned how to cut my watermelon.

For the dressing, mix the following in a vinaigrette maker:

Lemon Juice: 3 tbsp

Vinegar: 1 tbsp

Honey: 1 tsp

Chaat masala: 2 tsp

Red Chilli powder: 1 tsp

Grated ginger: 2 tsp

Cilantro: A handful

A pinch of salt. Sweeten if desired with Maple syrup.

Shake this up and pour lavishly over cut up watermelon. Spike with vodka for added fun if you want to.

Watermelon Salad

Forgive my shoddy pictures in the spirit of Cinco de Quatro, and enjoy your party.

Curried tofu Scramble wrap

Sweat onions in a non stick pan with oil until they brown. Add diced tofu, a tbsp of tomato sauce (or a 1/4 tomato) and 2 tsp curry powder.
Add salt and mix the spice and sauce in while mashing the tofu. To this, add some frozen peas/carrots/corn/beans and a pinch of turmeric. Cook until browned.

I used a garden herb spinach wrap for color. Alternatively use a tortilla!
Here are some pictures

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Turmeric Powder