Quinoa-Spinach Salad

Sometimes it’s nice to make dinner and lunch at the same time, which is exactly what I did last night. I was in the mood for something lighter and healthier (after a ton of heavy eating in cottage country) so the first thing that came to mind was, of course, quinoa.

However, I am starting to get real sick of quinoa salads where quinoa is used as the base, so I decided to use spinach as the base instead and use quinoa as one of the many lovely toppings.

Everything I put into this salad was quite easy to prepare. First I roasted a couple sweet potatoes.

Because I didn’t have much patience to roast the potatoes for a long time, I chopped them up quite small and roasted them at 475° F for 20 minutes. They turned out quite nicely, aside from a couple burnt pieces, they were crispy and tender.

I prepared two cups of quinoa and spread it across a tray when it was done so it would cool down quickly. As the potatoes were roasting and the quinoa was simmering, I halved cherry tomatoes, and chopped up avocado and herbed goat cheese.

In my vinaigrette was olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and honey — easy peasy.

I ate this meal for dinner and I plan to eat it for lunch today 🙂

Oh and I also made some for my sisters and boyfriend — they are quite excited for their lunches.

Here is the recipe, enjoy!

Quinoa-Spinach Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette

Makes 5-6 Servings

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp oregano leaves
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups of dry quinoa
  • 6 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 2 avocados, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used herbed)

For the vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 475 ° F. Line baking sheet with tin foil.
  2. Mix cubed sweet potatoes with olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Spread across baking sheet and roast about 20-25 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, place 2 cups of quinoa and four cups of water in medium pot. Bring to a boil then down to a simmer until all the water is absorbed.
  4. Once quinoa and sweet potatoes have cooled, place spinach leaves, then quinoa, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocado, and goat cheese in serving dish.
  5. Whisk together ingredients for vinaigrette and drizzle over salad. Serve cold.

Yours edibly,

Elana

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Kale Eatery

My friend Ali and I both share a special love for vegan, gluten-free, raw foods. When Ali told me about Kale Eatery, I was very excited to try it out.

Kale Eatery is probably the only place in Toronto where you can pile a plate high with stews, salads and slime, and feel great about eating it all.

We chose to eat from the salad bar. When colourful food stares me in the eye like that I just really don’t have the patience to order off an a la carte menu.

So this is Ali’s plate:

I am going to try my best to name everything on her plate from memory, from the top, going clockwise: green pea and cucumber salad, squash stew, cole slaw, portobello mushroom and egglant salad, steamed kale and broccoli with tofu miso dressing.

Now my plate:

Clockwise from the top: squash stew, tomato, avocado, and celery salad, portobello mushroom and eggplant salad, tofu, lentil, and leek salad, tofu miso dressing, herbed artichokes, and tofu curry salad in the center.

This place is delicious and nutritious — seriously. If you’re into this sort of thing then you should definitely pay Kale a visit. Although some of the salads were slightly under-seasoned for my taste buds, I have to cut the chefs some slack. It’s not easy making simple, raw food so tasty, and Kale’s selection of salads is pretty good.

You can find the menu on Kale’s website – check it out and let me know what you think.

Yours meatless-ly,

Elana

Birthday BBQ

In celebration of my friend Lynn’s birthday, we decided to have a pot luck barbecue. It was a nice, chilly evening with cheeseburgers, salads, dips, and lots of condiments.

Ali did a marvelous job on the grill, cooking all the beef burgers, chicken burgers, and chicken dogs until they were juicy and tender.

While waiting for our meat to cook, we munched on pita and some amazing dips — courtesy of Sofra.

Clockwise from the top: hummus, eggplant, mystery dip, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki.

Here is a delicious salad with mixed greens, pears, walnuts, and blue cheese — sophisticated and stinky.

Creamy coleslaw — so much better than plain old vinegar coleslaw.

And… more beautiful salads!

From the left: edamame and kale salad, mango salad — with big chunks of mango that everyone thought were butternut squash, and roasted red pepper chick pea salad.

And finally, a delicious quinoa salad.

What would a party be without quinoa?

Quinoa salad with black beans, edamame beans, red pepper, and broccoli — I packed some leftovers for lunch.

Some things I forgot to photograph: beer, condiments, cheese, buns, vinegar coleslaw, chicken dogs — sorry, I must have been so hungry I forgot.

Dessert pictures to come.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Mother’s Day Festivities

It’s been a hectic weekend, lots to make and lots to bake, but all for a great cause — mothers (and grandmothers).

We finally had some beautiful weather this past weekend, which only means one thing — bbq.

Smokey cedar plank salmon and greek chicken kabobs were a no-brainer.

When you’re using a cedar plank for bbqing salmon, just a little lemon and olive oil will do the trick — the salmon was so moist and delicious, and SO easy to make.

I prepared the greek chicken skewers like this:

Ingredients

  • 12 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1” cubes
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup dried oregano
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper
  • bamboo skewers

Method

Combine herbs, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in bowl. Place cubed chicken in large bowl and pour marinade over chicken. Mix well. Keep covered in fridge for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes. Place chicken on skewers, about 4 pieces per skewer.

Grill on bbq about 5 minutes each side, medium high heat. Serve immediately. Delicious!

Now for some sides..

My bf offered to help me prepare the big meal, so I let him slice grape tomatoes (about 3kg) and juice some lemons — it was a huge help!

This here is the roasted tomatoes with white kidney beans.

I served this mixture over a bed of spaghetti squash, it turned out beautifully!

You can find the recipe here.

I also prepared a basic greek salad which paired well with the greek chicken skewers.

Finally, I baked Barefoot Contessa’s chive biscuits.

Here they are just before baking…and before I brushed them with egg wash.

And here they are after.

The meal was a great success.

By the way, pictures of dessert are on their way. Stay tuned!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Chicken Enchiladas

I know what you’re thinking — yum, yum, yum. My mouth is watering.

My cutie friend Ali and I made these enchiladas for Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta! They were super easy to make and super tasty.

The best part is putting the filling into the tortillas.

We used PC Blue Menu Chipotle  & Red Pepper Whole Grain Tortillas.

It made the enchiladas healthier and tastier.

We almost used canned enchilada sauce but then we realized it tasted nasty and cheap. So we made the sauce from scratch instead!

Much better idea.

Ali poured the sauce and I took some pictures…

Then Ali added lots of cheddar cheese (light) while I took more pictures.

Serve the enchiladas with sour cream – it helps reduce the face sweats!

You can find the recipe here.

Thanks for the good times Ali 🙂

Gourmet Club: Mexican Fiesta pictures will be up shortly – stay tuned.

Yours edibly,

Elana

Savoury Bread Pudding

If you’re getting sick of the usual potatoes or rice side dish, try this please.

This recipe is one of my favourites from school, but I decided to change it around a bit at home to make it lighter and healthier.

The original used tons of butter – I’m talking Barefoot Contessa style – and I knew my family wouldn’t be happy if I served them bread and butter pudding for dinner.

I started by heating the onions in a small bit of oil until they were translucent.

Then I deglazed the pan with chicken stock and added some herbs – chopped thyme and rosemary.

I brought this mixture to a boil and removed it from the heat.

I gradually added 6 eggs, whisking rapidly – this made the custard.

I drizzled a little olive oil on the cubed bread and mixed it into the custard.

Let this mixture sit for about 10 minutes until the bread absorbs all the liquid – there should be no excess liquid.

Then pour mixture into a medium-large sized baking dish.

Place the dish into an even larger baking dish or roasting pan and fill the larger pan with warm water until it reaches about halfway up the bread pudding dish…

The picture explains this step a lot more easily – this is called a bain marie!

Keep an eye on the pudding – it should be done after about 45 minutes – make sure that when you insert a toothpick it comes out clean.

I cut you a slice…

Savoury Bread Pudding (Adapted from GB Recipe)

Ingredients

  • 3 medium onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 6 eggs, whisked
  • 2tbsp olive oil
  • 12 slices whole wheat bread, cut in 1cm cubes
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat oven to 325°F and grease medium-large baking dish with Pam spray or oil.

Heat the onions thoroughly in a lightly oiled pan until translucent – do not brown. Add the chicken stock and herbs and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and place in large bowl.

Slowly add the eggs into the onion mixture, whisking rapidly. Season with salt and pepper – this is the custard.

Drizzle the cubed bread with olive oil and add to custard.

Allow bread to absorb custard for about 10 minutes.

Pour mixture into baking dish and place into large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with warm water until it reaches halfway up baking dish with bread pudding mixture. This is called a bain marie.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Enjoy!

Yours edibly,

Elana

Hungarian Goulash

Hungarian Gou!!!

I figured it was about time for me to end my Irish shenanigans and move on to different foods.

Over the summer, my boyfriend and I went to Budapest – an amazing city which we both loooveedddd (maybe more than Dublin?). Anyhow, we had an incredible goulash at this restaurant called Klassz and I basically tried to relive that experience with this recipe.

If you’re sick and tired of your typical beef stew, then you really got to try this. But just keep in mind, good gou needs several hours of simmering and it really is best the day after — I learned this the hard way 😦

I started by browning the bacon and meat – I chose beef, though I was very tempted to try lamb.

After browning, I set aside my meat and started cooking everything else.

Then I added back my meat and let the gou simmer for hours – about 4 in total plus a little extra heating the next day.

After all that waiting, I finally got to eat this…

Was it worth the wait??

You betcha!

By the way, the best wait to tell if the gou is ready is to test a piece of meat with a fork. You don’t have to eat it, just check if the meat tears easily with a fork.

If it does, you know the meat is tender and ready to eat 🙂

Also, sweet paprika may be hard to find, but you need it so find it.

I found the recipe here, but I changed it just a little.

Hungarian Goulash

6 pieces bacon (any kind should work)
4 lbs stewing beef, diced
4 medium onions, diced
2 large garlic cloves, pureed
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs thyme
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
3 cups green sweet peppers, diced
5 tbsp sweet paprika
2 cups canned tomatoes diced
2 tbsp tomato puree
4 cups beef broth
3 cups water
5 cups potatoes, peeled & diced into ½ inch cubes

Salt & pepper to taste

1)  In a large cast iron or thick-bottom pan, fry the bacon over high heat until light golden brown. Some of the fat has been rendered.  Remove the bacon.

2)  In the same pan, fry the diced beef that has been seasoned with salt and pepper.  Continue frying until the meat has a light golden brown colour, then remove from the pan.

3)  Turn down the heat, add the onion and garlic, and sauté gently for 4 – 6 minutes.

4)  Next, add the bay leaf, thyme, caraway seeds, green peppers and paprika, followed by the tomato and tomato puree.

5)  Return the beef and bacon to the pan.  Add the beef broth and water, and gently simmer on the stove top for approximately 2 hours or more – depending how close your meat is to being tender.

6)  During the last 30 minutes of cooking, add the diced potatoes.  Check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.  The meat should be tender and moist, and the sauce slightly thickened.

7)  Once cooked, remove from heat and remove the bay leaf.

Serves 8 – 10

Try serving with a dollop of sour cream – delicious!

Let me know how the gou tastes.

Yours edibly,

Elana