Us and Bread

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Listen: “Us and Them”- Pink Floyd

Christmas brought me a shiny new Dark Side of the Moon vinyl! I am living the dream–I blasted the record after breakfast (twice), when I woke up this morning, and while I was getting dressed today. Dark Side of the Moon is an expensive record (especially because, although it is a piece of art, I intend to continuously run over it with a needle), so I never expected to own it, and I am ecstatic that I now do. Listening to Pink Floyd is a practice in reverence.

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The other thing that I revere, of course, is bread. Baking bread is wonderful because it is such a sensory process, and because it is a time intensive one; baking bread requires a day of dedication. I appreciate this time-out from my life–it gives me a chance to listen to music (Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, “Lullaby classics…” but more on that later) and be meditative (really, this bread takes approximately 5 hours to make).

I think of this raisin-cinnamon-walnut bread as a breakfast bread, because I baked it for breakfast on Christmas morning, but I also ate it for lunch today and I imagine that it would make a rockin’ cracker.

Here is what I used:

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20-30 minutes before you start, put the raisins and oats in separate bowls and soak them in warm water. Let them soak up the water until they appear plump (for the raisins, the photo on the right)–this way, they will integrate better into the dough. Image

Next, combine all of your dry ingredients (flours, oats, cinnamon, and salt) in a large bowl, and then add the yeast (if you are not using instant yeast, you will need to activate your yeast). Combine wet ingredients (water, milk, oil, and honey) in an additional bowl. Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry, mixing as you go–this is (apparently) called hydrating your bread. Imagine that the flours are post-marathon, and give them some water. Not too much though–nobody can handle very much hydration directly after 26.6 miles (come on).

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As you mix the wet ingredients into the dry, it should form a firm consistency. When it seems like the dry ingredients have handled all that they can of the wet, it is time to knead the dough. Make sure to coat the surface you are kneading on, and your hands in flour before kneading, lest you end up with (scary) dough hands:

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Knead the dough 5-10 minutes, or until it has formed a smooth, springy consistency. If there is too much water, add more flour. If you can’t integrate all of the flour, add more water–you’ve got this, champ. As you knead, knead the raisins and walnuts into the dough. After kneading, it is time for the bread to rise for the first time. Butter a ceramic bowl, then shape the dough into a ball and place it in the bowl, covering it with a heavy cloth. Let the dough rest for an hour–time to listen to that Pink Floyd album!*

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After an hour has passed, the dough should have doubled in size. Now, take the dough out from the bowl, flour your hands and counter again, and punch your dough! That’s right–baking bread is better than therapy–meditative, relaxing, and violent! Punch the middle of the risen dough down, and continue to push down on the dough until it again forms a smooth, elastic round.

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Next, flatten the dough a bit, and then fold it up into thirds (it will look like a cannoli!).

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It’s time for your yeasty friends living with the dough to rest again! Place the folded dough back into its buttery home (bowl) and cover with a heavy cloth for another hour, or until it has doubled in size. Then press down or punch on the risen dough again; let the dough rest about fifteen minutes (or while you listen to Sufjan Steven’s “Christmas Unicorn”), then shape into a loaf. Place into a buttered loaf pan, then wet the top with water and sprinkle with oats. It’s time for the final rest! Cover the loaf pan with a cloth and wait until the dough has risen to the top of the pan–approximately 90 minutes.

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After the dough has risen to the top of the pan, it’s yo time to shine (and bake)! Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Situate your loaf in its toasty vacation spot and bake for 5 minutes; then, turn the heat down to 375 and bake for 15 more. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees, then bake for 25 more minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with butter and honey, or any way that you choose (I had a lovely lunch of thin, toasted slices drizzled with a touch of olive oil and topped with mashed avocado, salt and pepper, and very sharp cheddar). I’m not in a position to dictate your life choices (secret: nobody is! W0w!!).

I baked two loaves of bread with my lovely friend Reyna, and we had a ball (of bread). While the bread was rising, we giggled, listened to Sufjan Stevens albums, and baked snickerdoodles (pictured below, recipe here). We also discovered the dark side of spotify (not the moon…this time)–spotify original playlists. With titles like “happy hipster,” “better off without you,” and “digster indie chill,” what isn’t there to adore? We also explored the many lullaby covers lurking in spotify–if you want your baby to go to sleep to xylophone covers of Nickleback, Lou Reed, and Carrie Underwood, check it out!

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MFK Fisher says that baking bread is “one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with peace, and the house filled with one of the world’s sweetest smells. But it takes a lot of time. If you can find that, the rest is easy. And if you cannot rightly find it, make it, for probably there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of meditation in a music-throbbing chapel, that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.”**

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CINNAMON-RAISIN-WALNUT OATMEAL BREAD (modified from The Fresh Loaf)

Makes 2 loaves

3 & 2/3 cups bread flour

1 & 1/3 cups whole wheat flour

1 cup rolled oats

2/3 Tbsp + 1/3 tsp salt

2 Tbsp cinnamon

1.5 packets instant yeast

2 Tbsp honey

3 & 2/3 Tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk (I used non-fat)

1 & 2/3 cups water (approximately)

1 & 1/3 cups raisins

1 & 1/3 cups walnuts, shelled and broken up

Place raisins and walnuts in separate bowls and soak for 20-30 minutes. Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl, then mix together wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Integrate the wet ingredients into the dry, then place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth (5-10 minutes). Knead in the raisins and walnuts into the dough, then shape dough into a ball and place in a buttered bowl under a heavy cloth to rise for an hour. After the dough has doubled in size, punch it down, fold into thirds, re-shape, and let it rise for another hour. When the dough has doubled in size again, let it rest for about 15 minutes, then shape into a loaf, sprinkle with water and top with oats, and place into a buttered loaf pan. Cover with a cloth and let the dough rise to the top of the pan (90 minutes). Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees. Bake the loaf for 5 minutes, then turn the heat down to 375 degrees and bake for 15 more minutes. Rotate the loaf 180 degrees and bake until the crust is browned (25 minutes).

–Kaiya

*Or whatever activity you choose. Listening to Dark Side of the Moon is certainly an activity that we promote on The Cooking College students, but if you prefer to do something else, that is totally understandable, ya life-hating child of satan.

**I’ve been taking quick breaks from the personal Pink Floyd pants-free dance party that is my life to read How To Cook A Wolf by MFK Fisher. Fisher is exceedingly (but gracefully) clever and funny, and How To Cook A Wolf is wonderfully confessional.

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Sunday Morning

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Listen: “Sunday Morning”- The Velvet Underground*

It’s been a while, and since I last posted, my life has been simultaneously filled with college student-ing and empty of cooking.

Très mal– but it’s winter break, I’ve got a glorious month off, and I’m back!

Kaiya, you ask, what delicious recipe could you possibly offer in apology for three months of absence?Image

Errr… oatmeal. But it’s great oatmeal! Warm, friendly, holiday brunch-y oatmeal!

(The kind of oatmeal you can bring home to your cat, liberal college friends, childhood homies, conservative extended relatives, AND parents!)

Here’s what I used:

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The real trick to this brunch is the fresh fruit, but pomegranate and coconut can be a bit wily. I cut a fourth from a pomegranate and scooped out the seeds with a spoon. Then, I took some fresh coconut that my father had already cut up (thx vati) and grated it with a potato peeler. Potato peelers are vastly underrated kitchen utensils–they are much easier to use than traditional graters, can fit a variety of shapes, and as a bonus, they can be used to remove the lips of jerks!**

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Make sure that you use coconut MILK, not water, for this oatmeal. While you might get a slight coconut taste with coconut water, you certainly won’t get the fluffy texture and nutty tone of coconut milk. If you are worried about your oatmeal being too creamy, pair the 1/2 cup coconut milk with water. I found this coconut milk in the asian food section of Safeway, but if you can’t find any at the average grocery store near you, your best bet is an asian or hispanic supermarket.

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Bring the coconut milk and milk/water to a boil in a small pot. After boiling, bring the liquid down to a simmer and add the oats and spices. After the oats look like they have soaked up all of the liquid (picture on the right), then add the brown sugar and pomegranate seeds. Don’t add the pomegranate seeds too early, because they will boil down and loose their crunch. I also add my brown sugar late so that I can tell how much I am putting in. Lastly, add the shaved coconut directly before serving.

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I made myself some of my favorite, cozy winter tea to match my cozy, pillowy oatmeal.

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HOLLA HOLLA-DAYS. This was a damn good sunday morning–world behind me and all.

COCONUT-POMEGRANATE OATMEAL

serves 1

1/2 cup oats

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup water, milk, or milk substitute

1/2 cup grated coconut, fresh

1/4 pomegranate, fresh

1 spoonful brown sugar

pinch of: salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves

Bring water/milk and coconut milk to a boil in a small pot. Lower heat to a simmer and add oats and spices. Cook until oats are fluffy and have soaked up all of the liquid, then add pomegranate seeds and brown sugar. Add grated coconut just before serving. Serve with black tea and a book!

-Kaiya

*Since last posting on this blog, legendary rocker and ornery old-person Lou Reed has died. I highly suggest reading some of his interviews and lyrics and remembering how cool music is.

**THAT WAS A JOKE; WE DO NOT ADVOCATE VIOLENCE ON THE COOKING COLLEGE STUDENTS. IF A JERK IS REALLY BOTHERING YOU I SUGGEST THAT YOU PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVELY TAKE IT TO TWITTER OR PRINT OUT A WHOLE BUNCH OF INTERESTING AND INFORMATIVE ESSAYS FOR THEM TO READ (GIVE IT TO THEM WITH TEA & HONEY, IT WILL SOOTH THEIR WOUNDED PRIDE, AND NOTHING IS MORE SUBVERSIVE THAN TREATING JERKS WITH PAIRED SWEETNESS AND PASSIONATE WORDS).

Apples Peaches Pumpkin Bread

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Listen: “Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie” by Jay & The Techniques

I have a confession.

DSCN0943I’ve become a bread addict. Which is new, because I used to only eat carbs when I was shoving oatmeal into my mouth with a shovel. But this is different– this the kind of desire that usually only comes with pina-colada-beach nights and heroin, before you’ve decided that yes, you really should check out those self-help books.

So along with the pretzels, cornbread waffles, naan, and amazing focaccia (more on that later) I’ve been making, my lovely friend Claudia helped me to bake pumpkin bread.

DSCN0918Here’s Claudia getting ready to spoon sugar into her mouth, Def Leppard-style. Isn’t she a cutie?

This is what we used:

pumpkin breadPumpkin bread is very forgiving, and baking it is a relatively speedy process. This bread came out so well that I actually made it twice: once with Claudia, and once the morning after. The second time I made the bread, I increased the amount of whole wheat flour I used to 1 cup (with only 3/4 cups of white flour) and decreased the amount of sugar to a (generous) 1/2 cup.

Though you can use 1/2 cup of any type of fat, we chose to use canola oil; using butter in a baking recipe makes a fluffier finished product, but I prefer pumpkin bread to be heavy and canola oil works to make the texture of this bread smoother. I chose to also include honey in this recipe, and the taste and texture played in well.

DSCN0933I like this picture because you can see my feet, and I also think that the colors in pumpkin bread are beautiful.

In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar, then add the pumpkin, eggs, and honey– stir well until the texture is smooth. In another bowl, mix together the flours, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and sugar. Then, alternate between pouring water into the dry mix and pouring the wet into the dry mix, until the texture of the dough is smooth, like cake batter. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, and lightly grease a baking tin. Claudia and I actually used three small baking tins, making our breads perfect breakfast presents!

DSCN0938Bake the bread for about 1 hour 15 minutes, though it will be less for smaller breads. Then enjoy! These are perfect for breakfast when combined with nut butter and berries, like a heavenly pb&j (pbpb&b).

photo (3)Claudia and I having fun in the sun. We’re quite the pair.

If you are interested in how Lesley is doing in Cambridge, you can follow her adventures here. Or if not, check back at thecookingcollegestudents on Thursday! I’ve got some stuff a’brewin.

Pumpkin Bread, adapted from The Pancake Princess

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup white flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

3/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1 tbs honey

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the oil and sugar together. Add the eggs, pumpkin, and honey, and mix well. Mix the dry ingredients in another bowl. Combine, alternating between pouring water into the dry mixture and pouring the wet into the dry mixture, until you have a smooth, batter-like dough. Pour into a greased baking tin and bake for an hour and 15 minutes.

– Kaiya

Summersalsa

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Listen: “Summersong” by The DecemberistsImage

My apologies for our online absence; Lesley is off studying in Cambridge, and I just got back from vacationing with my family, Mickey Mouse, and Sequoia trees (more on that in another post). But now I’m back and ready for cooking action. We have a store of fun recipes to share, and I just went on a library spree… so watch out, interwebs!

A few weeks ago, I was craving salsa. Dying for it, really. So I chopped, mixed, and marinated the best summer salsa there is– sweet and spicy peach salsa!Image

I modified this recipe from She Wears Many Hats. This is what I used:Image

Due to the number of ingredients, this is the most cost-intensive recipe I have posted thus far. But I had a ball visiting Safeway and selecting fruits. Then I went home, blasted Two Door Cinema Club, and danced about my kitchen with my purchases.

To make salsa, all you really need to do is dice! Some ingredients (cucumber, jalapeno, apricot, bell pepper, onion) were easier to dice than others (tomato, peach). Image

Our friend Laura gave me a trick for dicing tomatos that made the process much cleaner. Cut the tomato into slices, but before you dice, clean out seeds and juice and place in a separate bowl. You can use the juice later, and it makes the rest of the dicing process a breeze.

For the peaches, I sliced horizontal sections around the seed, and then held the peach vertically and cut downward. That resulted in cubes of peach, although there was some peach left clinging to the seed (I gave it to my mother as a thanks for letting me take over the kitchen with my fruits and musical jams).

When you have finished dicing all of the fruits and vegetables, mix them all together in a large bowl. I would suggest putting the sturdier elements in first, and leaving the softer ones (especially the peach and apricot) for last. Once mixed, add in the lime juice, excess tomato juice (optional), cilantro, sugar, and spices. Cover with plastic wrap and let chill. Salsa is best when it has marinated for a while, so letting the salsa pre-game in your fridge for a while will make for an optimal party in your mouth. Image

I served my salsa with homemade crackers the first time (which Les was a fan of), but I also ate it with tortilla chips, and slices of portobello mushrooms with cheese (which was my personal favorite).Image

To make the crackers, I thinly sliced a french baguette. In a small bowl, I made my bread a “bath” of olive oil, dried oregano, brown sugar, and salt. I lightly dipped each slice of bread in the liquid, placed leaves of basil on top, and baked in the oven at 350 degrees until crisp. Image

I served my salsa alongside an awesome salad by Lesley (which also contained apricots… we are so N’Sync we occasionally bust out 90’s tunes), bbq expertly grilled by our friend William, dancing, and friendship.

It looked like a sunset and tasted like summer.

– Kaiya

P.S. Our bestie Marissa is a snarky New York journalist now, and featured thecookingcollegestudents on one of her articles! Check it out here.

Sing Sing (with Ginger)

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Listen: “Sing Sing (with a Swing)” by Benny Goodman

Ginger ale is my favorite kind of soda, hands down. It’s also the soda I only get to drink when I’m on an airplane and the steward or stewardess comes down the aisle and asks, “What would you like to drink?” I’ll prompty answer ginger ale and if I’m in an especially adventurous mood, I’ll also ask for cranberry juice. The two mixed together is the nectar of the gods, or at least it comes in at a close second after ginger ale made with this homemade Orange Ginger Honey Syrup.

The closest I ever get to real ginger is the ginger chunks my mom adds to soups and I make sure to stay far away from them. I still cringe every time I see her munching on ginger chunks. Bleh. But this Orange Ginger Honey Syrup reminds me of when my grandmother used to give my sister and I ginger candy when we were kids. It was the only form of ginger I would eat as a child.

To make this syrup, I used:

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Cut orange in half and juice. I used my fancy-smancy orange juicer thing-a-ma-bob.

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Combine water, sugar, honey, and freshly squeezed orange juice in a large saucepan. I used about 1 quart of water.

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Next grate your ginger. Ginger graters exist and are probably the easiest thing to use, but I didn’t have one so just used a normal zester. Ginger graters are a lot safer for grating small things like ginger, so with a normal zester you just have to try really hard not to zest your fingers off. No one like finger chunks in their ginger syrup.

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Mix the ginger into the saucepan. Stir and let simmer for a bit.

I had a bit of some orange slices left over from a second orange I was eating so I added in some extra chunks.

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Strain the syrup and let sit.

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Once cooled, jar it up and have fun!

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I like making bubbly water and adding the Orange Honey Ginger Syrup to it to make my own ginger ale. You can also add it to salads as a sweet dressing or add it to your tea. The left over ginger chunks can also be eaten. They taste like a little bit of heaven. It’s essentially candy but way more delicious because it’s wasn’t processed in a factory. My favorite is adding it to ice cream as a topping. MmmmMm. Delish.

ORANGE HONEY GINGER SYRUP

Makes about a quart of syrup

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 3 oz. fresh ginger, peeled & grated (about 1/2 cup)
  • juice of 1 orange

Combine the water, sugar, honey, ginger, and orange juice in a large saucepan, and stir to mix. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves. Continue simmering for 15 minutes, uncovered. Remove from heat, let cool for 30 minutes, and strain out the solids. Pour into container and refrigerate for up to 2 months.

– Lesley

How Can You Swallow So Many Pancakes

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Listen: “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep”- Bombay Bicycle Club

Joyeux fête de Pères! J’espére nous sommes contents et en bonne santé.

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This Father’s Day, my family was planning on our usual festive fare of can-based cinnamon rolls, bacon (for my dad and sister), OJ, and coffee, when I mentioned that I wanted to try making peanut butter pancakes.

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If you don’t already know, I’m a peanut butter enthusiast. At least 1/3 of my daily caloric intake comes from some form of nut butter. I eat it with everything (but I’m especially fond of an almond butter/carrot/cinnamon/oatmeal combo). This level of devotion is sort of weird for my family, because when I left for college a year ago, I had avoided peanut butter for 18 years. Also, I had a protein deficiency.

Anyway, scientists are still figuring out exactly what happened, but the basic equation goes something like this:

Kaiya Malou + Portland (rain?? coffee?? birds?? runs??)= nut butter for ALL THE MEALS.

My Father likes peanut butter too, so under the guise of celebration, my dream of a peanut-buttery breakfast delight was realized.

I used:

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First, whisk together the whole wheat flour, white flour, and baking powder in a large bowl. Baking powder is a double-acting baking ingredient and already includes an acidifying ingredient, so unless you are already using an acidic ingredient in your pancakes (buttermilk, yogurt, etc.) it is important to use baking powder, NOT baking soda. After mixing the wet and dry ingredients together, allowing your batter to sit will give the double-acting powder more time to leaven the batter, resulting in fluffier pancakes (for more really helpful tips for fluffy pancakes, click HERE).

Next, heat the milk in a small pot or sauce pan. Don’t turn the heat up too quickly or your milk will scorch!

peanut butter and brown sugar

Add the peanut butter and brown sugar (YUM) to the milk and stir. Both should dissolve into the milk and you will end up with a beautiful brown ambrosia (really– this is what god’s drink).

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When everything is dissolved in the milk, it’s time to whisk your wet and dry ingredients together! Add the milk mixture and eggs into the flour mixture and stir. Don’t worry too much about clumps– over-stirring will make your pancakes too thick.

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Time to griddle those suckers! I ate mine with bananas and drizzled honey on top;

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but I also made a chocolate-chip version for my siblings and Dad;

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which made for a pretty awesome breakfast. Ah, peanut butter. I’ll see you again in my dreams.

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PEANUT BUTTER PANCAKES:

serves 5-6.

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup white flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1 & 1/2 cups milk

honey, banana, chocolate chips (OPTIONAL)

Whisk together the flours and baking powder in a large bowl. On the stove, heat milk and stir in peanut butter and brown sugar until it dissolves. Add milk mixture and eggs to flour and combine. Fry pancakes, top with banana slices and honey, chocolate chips, jam, or fruit, and let your taste buds love you.

– Kaiya

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Cooking Jams by Kaiya

The first in a series of playlists suitable for rockin’ out in the kitchen. Lesley and I disco’d to these songs while making our “kale slaw,” and it was perfect.

“Hong Kong Garden”- Siouxie And The Banshees
“Rave On”- Buddy Holly
“A Lion’s Heart”- The Tallest Man On Earth
“Heart of Chambers”- Beach House
“Ya Hey”- Vampire Weekend
“Into The Wild”- LP
“Lightning Bolt”- Jake Bugg
“Emmylou”- First Aid Kit
“Lay, Lady, Lay”- Bob Dylan
“Runaway”- Kanye West, Pusha T
“Runaway”- Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Liner Notes:

1. I find myself placing “Hong Kong Garden” in almost too many of my playlists… the opening rhythms are really compelling and I love Siouxie And The Banshees’ lyrics.

2. The Tallest Man On Earth moves me more than any other modern artist. I am going to see him at Outside Lands this August and I cannot contain my excitement. (Spoiler alert: I’ll probably cry).

4. From Vampire Weekend’s newest album, Modern Vampires Of The City. If you haven’t listened yet, please do. MVOTC is an incredible mix of sharp, eloquent, elegant, and true. My favorite album of 2013 (thus far) and definitely the most intelligent.

5. Lesley and I saw LP live on Saturday at San Francisco’s “Cultivate Festival.” LP’s voice is astounding, honestly. Her sound is vivid.

9, 10. I love pairing together songs by name, because they often have more in common than one would think. These “Runaways” are a wonderful combination of hard and soft– my favorite aesthetic for summer.

– Kaiya

Tangle in This Trampled Quinoa

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Listen: Tangle in This Trampled Wheat by The Tallest Man On Earth

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Now that it’s officially summer, I love using quinoa in everything I make. (Nutritional fact: Quinoa is a complete protein! 1 cup of cooked quinoa (185 g) contains 8.14 grams of protein) This quinoa salad so so easy to make. Chop everything up, toss it all together, squeeze a little lime on top, and voila! Also, if you can’t find any bell pepper or aren’t a big fan of kale, you can always rummage around your refrigerator and add in veggies you like better.

And we’re off!

ImageI used quinoa from Trader Joes’, but what I’ve found is that if you go to Whole Foods you can buy quinoa in bulk and pay by the pound and it’s way cheaper.

I made my quinoa like oatmeal. Boil 1 cup of water for every 1/2 cup of quinoa you’re making, add the quinoa to the boiled water, and let cook until you can see the germ ring around the grain and most of the water is gone. Drain and drizzle some olive oil on top.

Be extra careful when deciding how much quinoa to use. It expands as it cooks and I almost always end up with too much.

ImageWhile the quinoa is cooking, chop up all your veggies! Slices or chunks, whatever what your heart desires! I used avocado, kale, cucumber, tomato, yellow bell pepper, and spinach.

ImagePlace quinoa and vegetables in bowl and mix. If you’re like me and go overboard with vegetables, at this point you’ll realize that your vegetable to quinoa ratio is a bit off. But no worries, it’ll be salad with quinoa instead of quinoa with vegetables. But look at all those yummy veggies.Image

Mix together and serve!

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I has some kale and spinach left over so I threw it all in a blender with some milk, frozen bananas, frozen strawberries, and peanut butter to make a vegetable smoothie. Kaiya and I are really on this vegetable smoothie hype right now.

ImageI love this quinoa salad, but I definitely noticed that I favor the avocado. 2 minutes into eating, all the avocado was gone and I left with everything else. The amount of ingredients I used served 2 people, so I ended up having it for lunch and dinner. Enjoy!

QUINOA SALAD WITH KALE AND SPINACH

serves 2

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 bunch spinach
  • 1/2 avacado
  • 1/2 tomato
  • 1/4 bell pepper
  • 1/5 mini cucumber
  • 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (amount varies)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Cook quinoa according to instructions on package.Set Aside

Chop up vegetables into strips or chunks.

In a large bowl, toss cooked quinoa with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix in chopped vegetables and squeeze lime juice on top to finish off the dish. Season with salt & pepper if so desired.

Enjoy!

-Lesley

INTO THE SALAD

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Listen: “Into The Wild”- LP

We are salad fiends. Monsters, even. We strive to eat green at every meal. Kermit didn’t really know what he was talking about (it isn’t hard being green).

(Also, Kaiya is a vegetarian. Lesley’s a jealous omnivore.)

So yesterday, we had a few friends over and made not one, but two salads! That’s right folks, feast your eyes on these plates– our veggies are ready for their close-ups. 

SALAD #1:

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SPINACH- MINT SLAW (adapted from Shutterbean)

Gather together fresh ingredients. We used:

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Shred bunches of spinach, cabbage, and mint. Make sure the sections are longer than they are wide. 

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Lesley’s a pro shredder. 

Chop the scallions into even, coin-sized segments (we only used the bottom part of the scallion, but feel free to go all the way to the top!). 

Crush the almonds. We put the almonds into a bag and crushed them with a meat mallet. We recommend using the flat end of the mallet– Lesley used the textured end and accidentally broke the bag!

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If you want to chop the almonds, feel free to do so. In the end, the almonds should be in small, even-sized slivers. 

Mix together the salad in a large bowl. We recommend putting the almonds in last, otherwise they will sink to the bottom. 

Gather together ingredients for the dressing. We used:

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Mix together all dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl. We also diced up two cloves of peeled garlic, and added that to our dressing. 

We left the dressing on the side, since this recipe makes a rather large serving, and we each have a different idea of how much dressing to put on a salad (Kaiya likes hers desert dry, ’cause she’s a stone cold fox). 

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Babe with a bowl (of awesome salad).

SALAD #2:

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MANGO APPLE SALAD WITH SUGARED LIME ZEST (by Shutterbean)

Cut the mango and apples into slices. Our mango slices were… more than a little messy. Try to cut with the grain of the mango to ensure a less messy result. We would also recommend using less ripe fruit so that it will hold up when cut. 

Layer apple slices over mango slices. This salad tastes best when the two fruits are together, so try to make sure that there are even numbers of mango and apple slices. 

Zest two limes.

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We thought that the “naked” limes were really funny. Classic. 

Mix the sugar and the lime zests together. Shutterbean suggests using a food processor, but we mixed with a fork and did just fine. Maybe we just have really great arm muscles. 

Sprinkle the sugared lime zest over the fruit. So fresh the prince of Bel-Air would cry.

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This was a bomb meal. Really. Beautiful company (just look at this girl gang below) and clean, classic flavors. 

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We also think that we’ve found our new favorite salad ingredient– mint. The mint in the first salad really pulls it all together (especially with our substituted almonds) and packs such flavor that you barely need dressing. 

We have modified the original recipes for both salads below. For the fruit salad, Shutterbean suggested using 1/4 cup of sugar, but that was way too much! We halved that amount and substituted a few other flavors.

SPINACH-MINT SLAW:

  • bunch of spinach leaves, shredded
  • bunch of cabbage (we used asian), shredded
  • bunch of mint leaves, shredded
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1/3 cup of almonds, crushed

DRESSING:

  • 2 tbs orange honey ginger syrup
  • 2 cloves peeled garlic, minced
  • 2 tbs sesame oil
  • 4 tbs rice vinegar
  • olive oil, to taste
  • salt & pepper, to taste

Mix together the fresh ingredients in a large bowl, adding the almonds last. Drizzle salad dressing on top, or serve on the side. Enjoy!

APPLE MANGO SALAD WITH SUGARED LIME ZEST

  • 1 mango
  • 2 apples (we used Granny-Smith)
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 2 limes

Cut the mango and apples into thick slices. Try to cut with the grain of the fruit to ensure clean lines. Layer the apple slices over the mango on a large plate. Zest the two limes. In a small bowl, mix together the lime zest and sugar with a fork. Sprinkle sugared lime zest over fruit and serve!

Until next time, may the forks be with you (spoons too, if you’re into soup).