Chickpeas, Quinoa, and Kale

31 May

So I’m finally settled in my new apartment and I’m getting used to my new kitchen. I figured I’d try something brand new for my first big meal.

I found a book my cousin, Kristen, gave me for Christmas. It’s called The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott. As I was flipping through, I found the recipe section in the back for Moroccan Chickpea and Kale Tagine with Quinoa. My three favorite superfoods in one recipe! I ran to Whole Foods during my lunch break to pick up some ingredients.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Tagine

1 tbsp safflower oil

1 medium onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, cut in 1/4 inch rounds

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 bunch kale, cut in strips

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp coriander

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1 (14-oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 (14-oz) can of diced tomatoes

1 vegetable bouillon cube

2 cups water

1/2 cup raisins

Quinoa

1.5 quinoa, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

Preheat a large stockpot over medium heat, add the oil, then the onion, garlic, carrots, and cinnamon. Add the kale in handfuls, tirring to combine each batch. Cover the pot and allow the vegetables to soften for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cumin, ginger, coriander, paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper; stir for 1 minute until fragrant. Dissolve vegetable bouillon in boiling water. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, broth, raisins; then bring to a boil. Cover when boiling and reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the tagine simmers, prepare the quinoa. In a small pot, add the quinoa and water, then cover and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the water was absorbed (15 minutes). Remove the quinoa from the heat and keep it covered until ready to serve.

After the tagine has simmered for 10 minutes, remove the lid and simmer uncovered for 10 additional minutes, allowing some of the liquid to absorb. Turn off the heat and serve over a bed of quinoa.

It was unbelievably delicious. I couldn’t help myself from tasting all throughout the process. I wasn’t even hungry and I ate a full bowl. I can’t wait for leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Baby Bok Choy and Bikes

3 Jan

I bought a bike this weekend!

(Looks like a falafel photoshoot in the background)

My parents wanted to get me one for Christmas, but we couldn’t figure out how to get from NY to DC. So they gave me some money and told me to buy one down here.

I was really nervous about getting the right one and I was all ready to head over to a pro bike shop. But first, I stopped in Target to get a helmet.

But I wound up finding a bike that was in my price range there. It was already assembled, so I just rolled it out of the store and took it home on the metro.

I took it on a test run and the bike is a good ride. However, I am bad at riding bikes. I’ve only ever ridden kids’ bikes, ones with one gear and brakes when you back pedal. So my new bike will take some getting used to, especially on hills.

 

And now for dinner, falafel served over baby bok choy.

Now this might seem like a weird combination, but trust me, it was delicious. It all started with a trip to Whole Foods. I’ve been wanting to try some of the more exotic vegetables for a while now. So I picked up a head of baby bok choy and figured that I would find some way to use it.

When I got home, I decided that all I wanted was some falafel. But I didn’t have any canned chickpeas (I’ve been trying to soak my own beans lately –saves money and tastes better). However, I did replenish my stash of chickpea flour and figured that I could use some of that.

After a little bit of internet searching, I found this recipe by Bob’s Red Mill. This is the company I buy my chickpea flour from. Everything they make is good.

What you need:

1 cup Garbanzo Bean Flour (also called Chickpea Flour)

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Cumin

1/4 Coriander

1/2 tsp Onion Powder

2 cloves Garlic

1/2 cup Boiling Water

2 tbsp Olive Oil (for frying)

How you do it:

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Boil the water (I used a microwave) and add to the dry ingredients. Mix until well-combined.

In a frying pan, heat oil on medium-high heat. Form dough into patties and press down on the top with a fork. Place patties in oil and fry until golden brown.

As for the bok choy, I just sautéed it in a frying pan with some garlic.

Result: pure deliciousness.


How to survive the winter- recipe roundup

23 Dec

‘The days are getting longer. The days are getting longer.”

It’s my mantra for the  less wonderful time of the year. I repeat it to myself when I wake up in the morning and the sun’s not up. I say it when I walk out of work at 5 and the sun is setting. I think about it when I get off the Metro and it’s pitch black.

“The days are getting longer. At least the days are getting longer.”

When the sun stays up for 4 seconds, I think to myself “Tomorrow it will stay up for 5 seconds”. It gets me through the long winter months.

Something else you have to deal with during the winter is the lack of lighting. When I get home from work, the sun’s not out so my food pictures come out blurry and dark.

But I realized today that I don’t have to take pictures in my dining room, where there’s a tiny lamp in the corner. I can hold my plate under the light in the bathroom or my bedroom and the pictures will come out ten times better!

Kale chips are so easy to make! Just rip some kale leaves into small-ish pieces, season with olive oil, S&P, garlic and onion powder, nutritional yeast, etc.

Toss the leaves on a baking pan and cook at 400F until crispy. Serve with hummus!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Carrot-Ginger Soup is next on the list of food I’ve made this week. This soup is perfect for those cold winter days when all you want is to warm your soul. Think of it as the chicken soup for the vegetarian soul.

What you need:

2 pounds of carrots

4 cups vegetable broth

2 tbsp fresh ginger

4 cloves garlic

1 onion

spices

How you do it:

1. Sauté the chopped onion, ginger, and garlic with the chopped, peeled carrots.

2. Bring vegetable broth to a boil.

3. Once they are soft, add the carrots, onions, and garlic to the boiling vegetable broth.

4. Allow to cook for 30 minutes while adding spices to taste.

5. When the carrots start to break apart, put the soup in a food processor and blend until smooth.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Add shredded carrots to your zucchini chickpea pancakes when you accidentally buy four pounds instead of two!!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Lots of people are going home for the holidays, myself included. That means that you want to use up all the food in your fridge that might go bad.

For me, that meant inventing something with my open package of tofu.

I found some salsa that belonged to one of the girls who lives in the apartment normally. She told me I could use any of the food in the fridge while I’m “apartment-sitting”. (In reality, she’s doing me a huge favor by letting me stay there over Winter Break. Thanks Cynthia, you’re the best! <3)

 So I grabbed my tofu, put it in a baking pan, covered it with the salsa, and let it bake for 15 minutes.

Then I pulled it out, topped it with nutritional yeast and tomatoes, toasted some pita bread, and cut up some carrots.

Easy, delicious, and I got to eat it all with this wacky fork.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I hope you all have wonderful and fantastic holidays. I’m so excited because I’m going home tonight after work. I’m catching a ride with my uncles up to New York, where I’ll spend a whirlwind 3 days singing, giving gifts, loving on my family, and most importantly, eating.

French Toast

19 Dec

I caught a spot of cabin fever yesterday.

Working out and making breakfast were really the only two things I had planned on doing all day. So when they were over by noon, I was faced with an intimidating reality –was I really going to spend my entire sunny Saturday in my pajamas?

Around 1 o’clock, I made the decision to go out. I was going to head downtown and go to the National Gallery of Art.

Since coming to DC last year, I’ve discovered a few places I can go whenever I’m feeling frustrated or lonely. One of them is the National Gallery. It’s always swarming with tourists and art enthusiasts. I find new exhibits and new rooms every time I’m there. The atmosphere cheers me up immediately.

Since I always go to the East Building where they hang the modern art first, I decided to check out the West Building. I saw German sketches, Renaissance paintings, French works, and the only work by DaVinci that hangs in America. They also had a choir singing Christmas carols in the rotunda. It sounded beautiful.

But the trip wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the modern art wing. So I got on the moving sidewalk pictured above and made my trip under the lights. Only the NGA would find a way to make my transit a way to expose me to more art!


I got to watch a movie about Archimboldo that was narrated by Isabella Rossellini. If you don’t know who that is, go watch her short film entitled “Bed Bugs”. You’ve heard of her, I promise.

I was really craving Chipotle when I left the museum, so I walked a couple blocks up to Chinatown. On my way there, I spotted the Downtown Holiday Market and walked through. There were so many vendors selling interesting things.

I’m thinking that this hat/beard/mustache combo might be my next knitting project. Thoughts?

After eating half of my Chipotle burrito, I walked down to the Metro Center metro stop. By along the way, I passed by an Urban Outfitters and had to stop in. I looked around for a while, reading the books and looking at the shoes, before finding the sale section. Inside, I found a dress covered in little anchors. For those that don’t know, anchors are my sorority’s symbol. I took it to the dressing room and it fit perfectly. When I took it to the register, it was even more on sale than it said on the price tag. So I got a cute new anchor dress for 10 dollars. That’s what I call smart shopping!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I knew I wanted something different for breakfast this morning, something I can’t usually make during the week.

French toast was the answer to all of my prayers.


What you need:

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds + 1 1/2 water

cinnamon

nutmeg

3 pieces sprouted wheat toast

How you do it:

1. Make a flax egg – mix the ground flax seeds with water in a 1:3 ratio. Microwave for 30 seconds and let sit for 2 minutes.

2. Mix the flax egg with the coconut milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. Heat a pan on a very low flame, adding a little oil to help the bread cook.

4. Coat both sides of the bread in the milk mixture and place on the heated, oiled pan. Cook until both sides are golden brown.

5. Keep toast warm by heating the oven to 170F and placing cooked bread inside while you wait for the other slices to cook.

6. Cut into strips and top with almond butter, frozen banana slices, and honey.

Raisin Scones

18 Dec

There’s nothing quite like waking up early on a Saturday morning. You can wake up because you want to, not because you have to. There are no alarms to wake you up, no busses to catch, no bosses to report to. It’s just you and the possibility of the completely free day that lies ahead.

And so you do things like work out and make nice sit down breakfasts.

My apartment building has a sketchy gym downstairs that no one ever uses. That’s good news for me because I accidentally left my running shoes in my dorm when I moved. And now the dorms are closed, so I can’t go get them. But I read this article on running barefoot the other day.

It turns out that when you run with shoes on, you’re more inclined to land on your heel which puts more stress on your ankles and knees. When you run barefoot, your foot lands towards the front or middle, more evenly distributing the force of the impact.

All of this was good news for me because I suffer from pain and popping in my right hip. It’s aggravated when I run or exercise in almost any capacity.

So I ran a mile and a half, wearing socks for the sake of cleanliness. My workout flew by and I found myself running on the balls of my feet. It was infinitely more comfortable than any workout I had done while wearing sneakers.

I’m going to try barefoot running for the next few days and let you know how it goes.

And when I was done, I made myself some raisin scones.

What you need:

1/2 oats

1/2 whole wheat flour

1 tsp flaxseed

1 1/2 tbsp shredded coconut

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup coconut milk

1 1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

honey

raisins

How you do it:

1. Put the oats and flax seeds in a food processor. Pulse until the oats turn into a powder.

2. Add flour, oil, milk, baking powder, and salt to the food processor. Pulse until the mixture becomes dough.

3. Add honey to taste, coconut, and a large handful of raisins to the food processor. Mix until most of the raisins are broken up.

4. Form dough into small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes.

5. Serve with hot tea.

I was really happy with the way these came out. They were crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. I think putting the batter in the food processor was a really important step.

Not too shabby!

Quinoa Kale Soup

17 Dec

Easy cold weather recipe –quinoa kale soup.

Look at the steam coming off of that soup!

I used a vegetable bouillon cube, some sautéed kale and carrots, and half a cup of quinoa.

Served with a side of fried tomatoes and sprouted toast with nutritional yeast.

 

TGIF. I plan to spend the rest of the night watching The Daily Show and knitting my scarf. And catching up on my sleep 🙂

Butternut Squash Ravioli

17 Dec

Yesterday afternoon marked the first snowfall of the season.

And as the snow got heavier, the roads got worse and the bosses got more inclined to let their staff members go a little early.

American sidewalks can’t stand up to the quick snowplowing efforts of the Japanese government.

After a bitter cold walk home from the Metro stop, I knew exactly what would warm me up on this cold winter day – butternut squash ravioli.

I found this recipe on IowaGirlEats.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups baked butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • package of eggroll wrappers

According to this recipe, it should have made about 40 small ravioli. I had over 80. Not sure how I ended up with so many.

But before we get into the recipe, I want to first talk about How-To Cut and Cook a Butternut Squash (without removing any fingers).

1. Start with a large butternut squash.

2. Use a small knife to pierce the bulb of the squash four times (one on each side). Microwave the squash for 3 minutes on high. This will make it easier to cut.

3. Next, cut the top and bottom off of the squash.

4. Then, cut the squash down the middle, making sure to keep the knife straight. GO SLOW. This is the part of the tutorial where people start cutting themselves.

5. When you’re done, you’ll have two halves of the squash. The bulbs will be full of seeds, so you’ll want to scoop those out. Looks like I let mine sit for a little too long.

A little plant started to grow inside!

6. Then, arrange the halves on a baking sheet. Cover them in oil and bake in the oven at 400F for about 50 minutes.

I seasoned these guys with a little salt and pepper.

7. Now, scrape the squash away from the peel. The peel is edible, so it’s not the end of the world if some gets into the food. It just tastes better without it.

You will now have 3 cups of cooked butternut squash.

————————————————————————————————

Now, on to the ravioli.

1. Chop and saute the onion for 5 minutes. Add chopped garlic and cook for another minute.

2. Add onion, garlic, cooked squash, and cinnamon to a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients are well blended.

3. Transfer the squash mixture to a bowl, adding more salt and pepper to it if necessary.

4. Break out the eggroll wrappers.

The original recipe calls for wonton wrappers, but they didn’t have any at Whole Foods. I was told that four wonton wrappers equal an egg roll wrapper, so I cut them in quarters.

Also, it never even crossed my mind that EGG roll wrappers had egg whites in them until I looked at the ingredients. So while these aren’t technically vegan, they could be if you had enough foresight to buy vegan wrappers.

5. Place a quartered wrapper on your cutting board. Moisten all four sides with water and place a small blob of squash in the center.

6. Fold.

7. Repeat until all of the squash is gone.

8. DO NOT pile them all on top of each other. They will stick together and turn into a giant glob like this:

Instead, put them on a wax covered baking sheet and freeze them for 1 or 2 hours. Then, you can put them in little ziplock bags. They’ll keep for 4 or 5 months in the freezer.

9. When you want to eat them, heat some oil in a frying pan and fry the raviolis for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.