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Creamy Spaghetti Squash

Use fresh oregano and thyme if available

1/2 large spaghetti squash

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves garlic

2 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp. dijon mustard

1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

salt to taste

bake spaghetti squash until cooked. try to scoop out flesh without burning yourself. separate strings until it’s all spaghetti-like.

sautee onion in butter until soft (med. heat), add garlic, thyme, oregano, and pepper and sautee a little more.

when onion is starting to brown, add squash, mix well. mix in nutritional yeast, flaxseed and mustard. stir lots until the mixture is creamy and hot.

add balsamic vinegar, parsley, and salt to taste.

eat!

In the middle of July, usually the last thing I’d make is a thick lentil soup. However, since the summer has been cold and rainy, the food has been warm and hearty.

So, instead of a sliced heirloom tomato salad, we’re still picking scapes and spinach from the garden.

 

Spinach Lentil Soup

serves 5 as a meal. I made a half-recipe, and it served two of us as a meal, with enough leftover for one  lunch the next day.

1 T. olive oil

1 medium carrot

1 small onion

2 stalks celery

8 garlic scapes (or four cloves garlic)

2 bay leaves

pinch anise seeds

fresh sage, oregano, thyme

10 c. water

2 potatoes

2 c. puy lentils

4 c. diced (fresh) spinach

4 more garlic cloves

fat-free yogurt, julienned basil and olive oil for garnish

Soup base: Dice onion, carrot, celery  and scapes (or garlic) and sautee with the bay leaves, anise seeds and some fresh-ground pepper in olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot until the onions are translucent and celery is getting soft.  Dice the sage, oregano and thyme and add. Sautee a little more.

Add the water, lentils, and diced potatoes.

Cover, bring to a boil and simmer until the lentils are soft (~30 minutes).Use an immersion blender to blend everything together to a coarse blend.Add the diced spinach and the second 4 cloves of garlic (crushed fine). Mix the spinach in, and keep warm on low heat until the spinach is soft (depends on how large the leaves are). Salt to taste.

Garnish with a dollop of yogurt, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of basil.

I served this with a caramelized onion and garlic focaccia made from leftover pizza dough and a glass of red wine. Enjoy!

For dessert:

Wildberry mint sauce: before dinner, mash 2 cups very ripe wildberries  with a fork and add a couple of diced mint leaves. Cover and let stew until dessert. Alternatively, add a tablespoon of frangelico (or other similar liqueur) instead of the mint leaves. Delicious either way!



Serve on top of angel food cake, vanilla ice cream or yogurt… garnish with a sprig of mint :)

I’m really busy finishing up my thesis for my master’s, so this is a short post with no photographs (but my parents wanted the recipe.)

And they taste really good! Especially good if you have leftover cooked quinoa that you froze after making spicy quinoa salad :D

Quinoa Patties

use this recipe as a base and add whatever fresh herbs you have handy

1 c. cooked quinoa
1 large, overflowing handful chopped kale leaves (around 2 c. uncompressed)
2 eggs
2 T. flour or breadcrumbs (I used chickpea flour. Any sort should do the trick.)
2 T. diced tomato
2 T. cubed cheese (1/2 cm cubes or smaller)
2 T. walnuts
1/4 red onion, diced
1/4 c. chopped herbs (I used parsley and chives)

Dressing: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard, sour cream, and more chopped herbs.

Start a pan warming up on medium-low heat. Place the kale in it to wilt a bit, so it will mix in better to the patties. When kale is wilted, put aside and sautee the onions in some olive oil.

Beat eggs. Mix in quinoa and flour until well combined. Stir in tomato, cheese, walnuts, chopped herbs, and kale. Mixture should be very wet. If it’s not dripping with egg, you might want to crack another in.

Push the onions to the side of the pan, and drop big spoonfuls of mixture into the pan. Egg will dribble away a little, but not too much.

Don’t Touch!

Let the patties sit until the bottoms are edging past golden brown. Then you’re allowed to touch them. Flip, repeat. When golden on both sides, enjoy with a balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious!

I love going to farmers’ markets. Perusing the fresh vegetables, seeing what’s in season, getting soaked in the rain… it’s all part of the experience.

Here, we have two markets (three in the summer, but the Waterloo market isn’t open yet): St. Jacobs and Kitchener. When I first visited the St. Jacobs market, I was shocked. People there aren’t selling the fruits of their labour- they’re selling the same, imported vegetables that the stores do! Granted, the produce is usually cheaper than at the grocer, but its often way past its prime. At the market I grew up frequenting (and selling garlic at!), if you didn’t make it, bake it, or grow it, you couldn’t sell it, and that’s what I believe a farmer’s market should be. That being said, there are honest farmers sandwiched between the stalls selling mangoes, grapes, and bananas.

Lately, I’ve been visiting the market with a friend and taking orders for the 30-odd people in my residence. So, while we scrounge for the cheapest bulk bananas and mangoes (by the case!), I sneak off to find the little guys. Last weekend, I made off with locally grown rhubarb, wild leeks, asparagus, apples, and hothouse cucumbers and tomatoes (something I learned- it’s too cold in Ontario to grow hothouse in the winter. Not that this surprises me, after fully experiencing a “proper” Canadian winter.) Of course, I also grabbed as many mangoes as I could possibly consume in a week!

So, how to battle the rain that’s been pouring down lately? A nice, citrus-y, fruity salad!

Spicy Quinoa Salad

I’ve made this in many different variations; this is just one. If you don’t have/want/like mangoes, substitute another soft fruit (I think peach or nectarine would be best), or replace it with a couple of chopped tomatoes for a more savory salad.

1 c. cooked quinoa (~1/2 c. uncooked)
1/2 long english cucumber, peeled + chopped
1 ataulfo mango*, peeled + chopped
1 lime
1/3 c. plain, fat-free yogurt
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. garam masala
1/2 t. cumin
1/4 t. ginger (or a small nub of fresh ginger, finely grated)
salt + cayenne or hot sauce, to taste
romaine lettuce, for serving

*I only specify ataulfo mango because of the size. Any mango will work, but if it’s exceptionally large, you might want to snack on a piece while you’re cooking ;)

Dressing: Mix yogurt, olive oil, spices, lime rind, and juice from half of the lime.

Place quinoa, chopped cucumber, and chopped mango in a large mixing bowl. Toss with dressing, and spice to taste. Serve on a bed of romaine lettuce, garnished with a slice of lime.

Helpful hint: do not add cayenne (or anything else spicy!) by trying to sprinkle from a container with a half-centimetre diameter opening, or you’ll be scooping out cayenne for the next five minutes and enjoying a very spicy salad.

(Note: In the photos, the salad appears to have a lot of dressing, but I decreased the amount appropriately for the recipe.)

Enjoy on its own, or serve as a side to your favourite entrée (I had mine with asparagus, wild leek, and tempeh pot pie).

Despite having been “warm” outside (I deem anything above 15C warm) for the past few weeks, the leaves are still not out yet. However, the trees outside my apartment are covered in rather large green buds- I’m crossing my fingers for leaves before the weekend. It just can’t be spring until there are leaves.

But there’s nothing like a little citrus to make it feel like summer, right? So lately, things have been flavoured with lemon (chard and leek quiche), lime (quinoa salad), and now orange.

My roommate went out of town for a few days, and left behind an increasingly stale loaf of sourdough bread (you know, that mild, not-actually-sour bread that you get at a grocery store bakery).

After browsing recently though the lovely blog dash and bella and reading about their adventures with bread pudding, I was sufficiently inspired to throw together some bread pudding of my own.

Without further ado….

      chocolate orange bread pudding

(Chocolate) Orange Bread Pudding

This makes a small bread pudding- at most, five servings. I’m only one, so I usually scale back recipes. Double or triple the recipe and it will fit nicely into a 9×13 baking dish (depending on how you like the gooey-to-crust ratio). Inspired by dash and bella: Recycled Bread Pudding.

3 c. very stale sourdough*
2 eggs
1.5 c. milk (I used a combination of vanilla rice dream and 1%)
1 T. orange zest
2 T. freshly squeezed orange juice
3 T maple syrup
1/4 c. coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cacao)
*any fluffy bread should do the trick, just make sure to adjust for moisture content if the bread is dense or not very stale.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Tear bread into bite-size chunks and place into a 1-qt baking dish (I used a pyrex glass dish). Place eggs in a separate bowl, beat well. Add in milk, maple syrup, orange zest, and orange juice. Mix well. Pour mixture over the bread – the bread should be completely covered (some rearrangement of bread chunks may be required).

Sprinkle chocolate chunks on top and gently mix in. If chocolate isn’t your thing, I imagine almost any sort of nut would substitute brilliantly. Or some chopped fruit… (now I’m getting ideas for my rhubarb!) If you like a crunchy top, sprinkle with some cane sugar. I’m completely out of sugar, as you can tell by my use of maple syrup as the sole sweetener in this recipe (though it works quite well).

Bake, covered, for 40 minutes, then uncover and bake another 30, until the top starts to brown. Note that your oven rack placement should allow room for expansion, as the top will puff up.

Serve warm.  I scarfed mine down with a helping of plain yogurt and a drizzle of honey.

Enjoy!

Hello world!

I’m leaving the title, because that’s essentially what a first post is about.

This blog is going to document my culinary undertakings: what happens when a graduate student on a fixed budget with no spare time, a love for creating everything from scratch tries to sustain themselves. Cooking is my way of escaping from the crazy, scientific land of physics. The only uses for the measuring cups in my kitchen are as scoops and containers, to mixed success. I hope that documenting the the things I cook leads me to more consistent results… and the important thing (as is always emphasized in experimental science)- duplicability!

My loves: local, vegetarian food. Creating new things. Making food from scratch, because it will taste better than anything store bought even if it’s, well, not. Throwing a bunch of ingredients into a pot and seeing what happens. Sharing what I cook with the others in my building so I have more justification to make more things.

I love going down to my parents’ hobby farm in the late afternoon and letting it inspire me for dinner. Being able to make dinner solely from homegrown things. I’ve recently moved across the country into an apartment, and it’s definitely one of the things I miss the most!

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