Composed Summer Tomato Salad

Composed summer tomato salad with fresh basil and shaved parmesan in a white shallow bowl.

When you’re in the thick of it (tomato season, that is) you don’t actually have to do anything to tomatoes. Yes, you can stack them up with thick slabs of buffalo mozzarella, heaping dollops of burrata, a smear of ricotta, your best balsamic reduction, and a drizzle of the fruitiest olive oil in your pantry but you can also haphazardly cut them into chunks, sprinkle on some Maldon salt and freshly cracked pepper and call it a day. That’s the thing with heavily ripe heirloom tomatoes, they’re a rare, gorgeous gift we only receive once a year* and when we have them, we need to make the best of them (however that may be.) I’ve been eating tomatoes nonstop this week, usually with a baguette that’s been heavily coated with fresh goat’s milk cheese and maybe some chili flakes. We’re in the middle of a heat wave in Vancouver, no one has air conditioning, and I live in an apartment without the faintest hint of a cross-breeze so I’m thankful for the ease that is fresh tomatoes on multiple levels. Here’s how I’ve been enjoying local tomatoes most nights; with a sense of playfulness based entirely on ingredient improvisation and of course, shining a spotlight on the natural flavour of the tomatoes. You’ll notice I don’t use any oil or vinegar here, feel free to add either or both if you like a more traditional salad.

*Unless, of course, you live somewhere perpetually warm and sunny (which Vancouver is definitively not.)

Composed summer tomato salad with fresh basil and shaved parmesan in a white shallow bowl with baguette slices and goat cheese.

composed summer tomato salad:

Big ripe summer tomatoes, cut into slices or chunks

Pinch of salt (I like kosher or Maldon)

Pinch of white granulated sugar

Fresh basil, cut into a loose chiffonade

Shaved parmesan

Dried chili flakes

Freshly cracked pepper

Arrange the tomatoes on a shallow bowl or plate. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and white sugar. Let sit for 15 minutes. Give the tomatoes a little stir. Top with shaved parmesan, dried chili flakes, and freshly cracked pepper. Eat at room temperature with a glass of lightly chilled pinot noir. Enjoy!

Yellow tomato salad on a white heart-shaped plate on a blue background.

I’ve been listening to Chopin nonstop for about a week – it’s calming and it’s beautiful and I can write at the same time (when I’m writing professionally I find it difficult to listen to music with lyrics at the same time.)

Chopin – Nocturnes

Roasted Green Beans and Broccolini On a Bed of Ricotta

Roasted Green Beans and Broccolini On a Bed of Ricotta

It’s terribly difficult being a food writer who specializes in cheese. I mean, what are you supposed to do when you have copious amounts of ricotta leftover from a photo shoot? Well, in my case, I happily ate fresh strawberries, honey, and ricotta for breakfast and spread it on thick slices of olive bread with slices of tomato and a generous application of Maldon salt and freshly cracked pepper. Despite all my best efforts I still had an impressive amount of ricotta to use before it went bad (once opened, ricotta only keeps for 3-4 days before it starts to smell sour.) I was on the lookout for ricotta recipes that a) weren’t stuffed pasta and b) weren’t dessert (because I’m not a very dessert-y person.) Eventually I found this intriguing recipe for charred green beans with ricotta and lemon on Epicurius and felt inspired by the elegant simplicity of the recipe. The first time I tried this recipe (and with great success, I might add) I followed the instructions to a T and yes, it was just as gorgeous and delicious as I’d hoped. However, me being me, I wanted to fiddle around with the basics and create my own riff on this already brilliant idea (this sort of creative license is why I’m a disastrous baker.) Lo and behold, this recipe for roasted green beans and broccolini on a bed of ricotta was born. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a grill to fall back on but if I did I would be using it for this recipe – the slightly charred green beans and broccolini add a sweet and nutty flavour which complements the light creaminess of the ricotta*. Fortunately, a hot oven can mostly replicate this effect (albeit, without any aesthetically pleasing grill marks.) Don’t skip roasting the lemons with the green beans and broccolini, they won’t get those beautiful char marks food stylists strive for but the moderately high heat results in fat wedges of lemon with meltingly tender, almost buttery pulp. The quantities called for are open to interpretation, you can use more or less of everything depending on how many servings you need.

Ricotta

*A note on ricotta: Buy the best, full-fat ricotta you can find (remember, this doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive ricotta you can find.) If you’re in Canada and you can find Quality Food’s Canadian Cheese Grand Prix-winning ricotta I’d highly recommend this particular brand. Another tasty option is sheep’s milk ricotta (if you can’t find it at the grocery store check out your local cheese shop or farmer’s market.) Sheep’s milk ricotta has a light, milky taste and is generally well-tolerated by people who suffer from lactose intolerances or allergies.

roasted green beans and broccolini on a bed of ricotta:

1 lb. green beans, tipped and tailed

1 lb. broccolini

2 Tbsp. + 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly cracked pepper

2-3 lemons, halved

1 – 1 1/2 cups full-fat ricotta

Dried red chili flakes

Fresh parsley and basil, roughly chopped/torn

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Line 1-2 baking sheets (depending on their size) with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  3. Spread the green beans, broccolini and lemon halves (pulp side down) across the baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, gently massaging it into the vegetables. Season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Roast the vegetables for 30-40 minutes, stirring everything two or three times as it cooks. If the green beans and broccolini look like they’re cooking in a shorter amount of time reduce the heat to 350°.
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, spread a generous layer of ricotta across the bottom of a large serving platter (or a smaller one, depending on the number of servings you end up with.)
  6. Remove the roasted vegetables from the oven and loosely pile across the surface of the ricotta, drizzling with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and any juices that may have accumulated in the baking sheet.
  7. Finish the dish by slicing the lemon halves into smaller wedges, nestling them into the ricotta with the vegetables. Sprinkle the dried chilies, fresh basil, and parsley over top before serving.

Roasted Green Beans and Broccolini On a Bed of Ricotta 2

When I was a little kid I was obsessed with Tina Turner (and Lionel Richie, but that’s another story.) I used to wear my leotard from ballet lessons and make up dances to every single song on Tina Turner’s Simply the Best album in my room with the door closed. I’m pretty sure I wore out the tape from overuse, I’d listen to it on my Walkman walking to school, mowing the lawn with a clunky old push mower, and lying in bed at night. I actually hadn’t listened to Tina in a long time, years in fact, but the other day I was trying to do some writing and I felt really stuck and (unsurprisingly) this amazing greatest hits collection saved the day! I’m choosing “Better Be Good To Me” for this post because it has an amazing video involving a werewolf-like man and a song you can strut to.

Tina Turner – Better Be Good To Me

Halloumi Salad with Roasted Red and Jalapeño Peppers, Pickled Red Onions, and Mint

Halloumi Salad with Roasted Red and Jalapeño Peppers, Pickled Red Onions, and Mint in a long, white serving dish on a white background.

As some of you may already know, I love halloumi cheese. This halloumi salad is, in fact, a natural progression from my recipe for Slow Roasted Sweet Pepper and Baked Halloumi Salad with Oregano and Chilies. This version adds smokey-sweet roasted jalapeño peppers, bright pink pickled red onions, and lots of fresh mint and basil to bring the salad together. Just in case you’re wondering, “is it ludicrous to add feta cheese to a baked cheese salad?” I’ll admit that you’d be correct in thinking this is too much cheese but for this recipe I use ultra-creamy (and only mildly salty) Macedonian feta. Surprisingly, the addition of creamy feta really brings the whole salad together (you can also use chèvre if you prefer.) If you have access to a barbecue on this fine Canada Day weekend (which I sadly do not) you can grill the peppers and halloumi, just make sure to brush everything with some oil before you begin. I like to let this halloumi salad sit for a good 30 minutes before serving at room temperature, this gives all the separate ingredients the chance to mingle and develop while you have a much-needed glass of wine or a cold beer. This halloumi salad recipe stands on its own as a main dish or you can serve it the way I prefer, with plenty of other dishes (think corn on the cob, a big green salad, olives, roasted chicken, marinated artichokes, potato salad, etc.)

halloumi salad with roasted red and jalapeño peppers, pickled red onions, and mint:

4 large sweet peppers

4 jalapeño peppers

1 + 1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

1 medium-sized red onion, cut in half and then into thin slices

Juice of 2 limes

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

2 packages of halloumi

1/2 cup fresh mint, roughly chopped

 1/2 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped

1/2 cup crumbled Macedonian feta

Freshly cracked pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Add the red onion slices to a bowl and toss with the juice of 2 limes and 2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.
  3. Pierce each pepper with a sharp paring knife (both sweet and spicy), this will prevent any accidental pepper explosions in your oven. Rub the peppers with 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and evenly spread out on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast the whole peppers, turning occasionally, for 45 minutes. They should be evenly charred on the outside.
  5. Carefully remove the peppers from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a large plate. Set aside.
  6. Slice the halloumi lengthwise into pieces that are about 1-2 centimetres thick (or about the thickness of your pinky finger.) Add the remaining grapeseed oil to a large rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Cover the halloumi slices with the oil in baking sheet, turning once or twice to evenly coat.
  8. Bake the halloumi in the same hot oven as the peppers for 10-15 minutes, turning once. The cheese should soften and spread only slightly, halloumi will keep its shape when heated. Remove the halloumi from the oven and set aside.
  9. Go back to the roasted peppers. Remove the plastic wrap or plate and carefully peel away the charred skin (it should come off easily, use gloves if you feel more comfortable.) Using a sharp knife, cut the peppers into large thirds or halves and lay flat.
  10. To assemble the salad alternate slices of halloumi, roasted peppers, and pickled onion. I like to do this on a flat, narrow serving platter but any serving dish will work.
  11. Drizzle the remaining red onion pickling liquid over the layered salad. Top with crumbled Macedonian feta, fresh mint and basil, and freshly cracked pepper.
  12. Allow the salad to sit for 30 minutes before serving at room temperature.

Halloumi Salad with Roasted Red and Jalapeño Peppers, Pickled Red Onions, and Mint in a narrow white serving dish on a white tablecloth.

There’s something really calming about Kurt Vile’s music, it’s almost like listening to someone talk to themselves for a prolonged amount of time (and I talk to myself all day long since I work from home, alone.) It’s good, twangy summer music, too; even on a cold rainy day like today. At the very least it makes me feel like there’s a warm end in sight (and I hope that’s true, because I really want to go to the beach!)

Kurt Vile – Was All Talk

 

 

 

Quick and Easy Meat Sauce for Busy Weeknights

Shallow earth-coloured bowl on a turquoise tablecloth. The bowl contains a tomato and ground meat sauce, butternut squash "noodles" and shredded fresh basil.

Although it would be lovely to have a pot of bolognese sauce magically simmering away on the stove when you get home from work on a particularly hellish Tuesday, it’s not something one typically indulges in during the week (I mean, if we’re going the magical route I’d also like to request a nightly boulevardier while I sit with my legs dangling in my completely fictitious backyard pool). So, in the same way I settle for a slightly chilly shower and a glass of ice water in place of a bourbon-based treat, this recipe is a perfectly delicious way to “settle” when you’re short on time and energy. You can use ground turkey, chicken, beef, or pork (or any combination thereof), you can even use crumbled tofu, tempeh, or lentils if you’re looking for a meatless version. The finely chopped mushrooms have enough umami heft to blend in with the ground meat, I like to use a mix of portobello and shiitake mushrooms if I have them but more often than not I use regular white button mushrooms (with great success, I might add). Don’t leave out the oil-packed sundried tomatoes, they have an intensely tomato-y taste that gives occasionally lacklustre canned tomatoes a huge boost in flavour. This recipe makes a lot of sauce (is it even possible to make a small amount of pasta sauce?) so go ahead and freeze it for even easier weeknight dinners. To make things ever easier at the end of a long day, prep the onion, mushrooms, garlic, and sundried tomatoes the day before, the ground meat can also be cooked ahead of time. Depending on what’s in my pantry and fridge at the time, I like to use this sauce on both traditional pasta and spiralized vegetables (especially butternut squash and zucchini noodles).

quick and easy meat sauce for busy weeknights:

1+1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 1/2 lbs. ground meat (the picture above is of the sauce made with ground turkey)

1 medium-sized white onion, finely diced

2 cups finely chopped mushrooms

1 tsp. kosher salt (plus more to taste)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried Italian seasoning

1/4 cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes, finely chopped

14/-1/2 tsp. dried chili flakes

1/2 cup red wine (optional)

1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 14-oz. can puréed tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

1/2 cup fresh basil (plus more for garnish), cut into a thin chiffonade

1/2 fresh parsley (plus more for garnish), roughly chopped

  1. Cook the ground meat in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet until the meat is no longer pink inside. Drain off the fat and set aside.
  2. In a large pot heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat and add the diced onion and chopped mushrooms. Sprinkle the kosher salt over the onion and mushrooms, allowing them to cook for 8-10 minutes or until softened.
  3. Add the minced garlic, dried Italian seasoning, sundried tomatoes, dried chili flakes, and optional red wine. Continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes before adding the diced and puréed tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the ground meat and stir to combine.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the sauce to cook for another 30 minutes, covered. Stir in the fresh herbs towards the end of the cooking time, taste and adjust seasonings as needed before serving.

PJ Harvey makes some of my favourite “being alone” music, everything she does sounds like it’s somehow a secret just for you. This album came out in the middle of my high school career, I had heard PJ Harvey before but never felt intimately acquainted because I was a few years too young for her earlier work. I remember Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea was considered her most commercial work at the time, but it was a perfect diving-off point for me as a 16-year old. It clearly had an impact, this is still the album I turn to when I’m alone most often – especially when I’m alone and cooking.

PJ Harvey – A Place Called Home

Super Creamy Cashew Butter Stir-Fry Sauce

White bowl on an orange and blue-flowered tablecloth full of vegetable stir fry topped with cashew butter sauce, chopped fresh basil and cilantro, sambal oelek, and crushed cashews.

When people find out you have a peanut allergy this is what they always say: “You mean you’ve never had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? Man, you are missing out!” It’s never any other candy, it’s never a peanut butter sandwich, it’s always Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (which, c’mon guys, are they really that great? Wait, don’t tell me). I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, however, so I’ll tell you what I always think I’m missing: Peanut stir-fry sauce topped with plenty of crushed, salty peanuts (my sister assures me that I’m correct, peanut stir-fry sauce is actually incredible). So I took it upon myself to make something close using cashew butter (although you could use something entirely nut-free like SunButter if all nuts are off the table). I’ve made several versions of this sauce, each feeling a bit like trial-and-error, especially when you consider the fact that I’ve never had the original to compare it with. This is the version I’ve been making lately, it’s rich and creamy yet tangy and vibrant, all at the same time. I like to make it in my blender because it turns the cashew butter stir-fry sauce-making into a 2 minutes-or-less type of activity, but you could use an immersion blender or even a whisk to incorporate all of the ingredients together. This recipe is for a vegetable stir fry but feel free to add the protein of your choice, I like to carefully fold in small cubes of creamy tofu towards the end of the cooking time with the vegetables.

super-creamy cashew butter stir-fry sauce:

1/2 cup smooth cashew butter

Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 Tbsp. lime juice, total)

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. mirin

1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. chopped ginger (use store-bought pre-prepped ginger if desired)

1-2 Tbsp. sambal oelek (garlic chili paste)

1/3 cup warm water

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth, adding more water to thin if necessary.

vegetable stir-fry:

1 Tbsp. grapeseed oil

4 cups of your favourite vegetables, thinly sliced (I’ve been on a real sweet pepper, carrot, baby bok choy, and scallion kick lately)

2 cups spiralized zucchini

1 cup basmati rice, steamed

1/2 cup fresh basil, loosely chopped

1/2 cup cilantro, loosely chopped

1/3 cup roasted and salted cashews, crushed (I like to put a handful of cashews into a resealable bag and whack them with the flat-side of kitchen mallet)

Extra sambal oelek and lime slices, for serving

  1. Add the grapeseed oil to a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet and heat until very hot over medium-high heat (the oil will start to look shimmery once it’s hot enough).
  2. Carefully add the vegetables and stir-fry until tender-crisp, stirring frequently. A minute or so before you think the vegetables are done, add the spiralized zucchini and keep cooking until they begin to soften.
  3. Turn the heat down to low and pour the cashew butter stir-fry sauce over the vegetable mixture. The cashew butter will thicken quickly, keep stirring to prevent the sauce from burning or sticking to the bottom of the skillet.
  4. Serve the stir-fried cashew butter vegetables with a scoop of rice, plenty of fresh basil and cilantro, a generous sprinkling of crushed cashews, a dollop of sambal oelek, and a lime wedge.

It’s kind of funny that The War on Drugs always makes me think of my dad, considering the fact that it’s highly unlikely he’s ever heard them. They remind me of Neil Young, which reminds me of some of his first “single dad” apartments (children of divorce, you know what I mean). Staying at those apartments every other weekend as a little kid was surreal, in retrospect. Not quite comfortable with just doing nothing with my sister and I, as we would be at my mom’s house, we would always have planned activities to keep everyone from feeling well, under the pressure. We did a lot of painting (my dad loves to paint), I remember once time we tried to make a papier-mâché horse using taped up newspaper and old Penny Savers. My dad’s visiting me in Vancouver for the first time in a couple of years next month and I’ll finally have to play him a War on Drugs album and see if he remembers the oddity of that time in my life the same way that I do.

The War on Drugs – Under the Pressure

Salmon and Great Northern Bean Salad with a Garlicky Tomato and Caper Salad Dressing

Thinly sliced cucumber, salad greens, chunks of salmon, and a dressed Great Northern Bean salad on a white plate and background.

Mellow Great Northern beans are combined with delicate chunks of baked (or poached, or grilled) salmon and then topped with an intensely garlicky tomato and caper dressing for a punchy yet elegant entrée salad. I’ll be the first to admit, the tomato and caper salad dressing is the main event with this salad, coating each ingredient with a burst of savoury flavour that needs to be tasted to be believed. Double the dressing recipe and store in a jar in the fridge for up to a week (although, really, who are we kidding ourselves? It’ll be gone long before then) and use it to dress up a thinly sliced flank steak, a sweet corn salad, that boring tangle of greens you’ve been eating all week for lunch, scrambled eggs, chopped salads, sliced ripe or roasted tomatoes, that lone can of chickpeas that’s been sitting in your pantry for the past 6 months, or a pasta salad packed with marinated deli vegetables. I prefer a dressing with some body so I stick to finely dicing and mincing all the ingredients, but feel free to blitz it if you like a smooth result. I like to mix the Great Northern beans with about a half of the tomato and caper dressing before composing the rest of the salad, if only to make sure every single bean is coated with plenty of piquant flavour.

Lotus-shaped white bowl on a white background filled with a tomato and basil salad dressing.

tomato and caper salad dressing:

1 medium tomato OR 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, cut into a small dice

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. capers, minced

5 fresh basil leaves, cut into a fine chiffonade

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp. sherry vinegar

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Kosher salt and plenty of freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together with a fork, applying gentle pressure to really work together the tomatoes with all the other ingredients. Alternately, throw everything in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside to use for the salmon and Great Northern Bean salad or store in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.

salmon and great northern bean salad:

(makes enough for 2 people)

2 baked salmon fillets, cooled to room temperature and flaked into large chunks

1 can Great Northern beans, drained (mixed with half of the Tomato and Garlic Salad Dressing)

4 cups iceberg lettuce, mixed spring greens, etc.

About 1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumber

In a large shallow serving dish or over 2 plates, arrange the salmon fillet chunks and dressed Great Northern beans over a bed of lettuce, greens, and cucumber slices. Carefully portion the remaining tomato and caper salad dressing over the remaining salad ingredients and serve immediately.

Thinly sliced cucumber, salad greens, chunks of salmon, and a dressed Great Northern Bean salad on a white plate and background.

When I hear !!! (Chk Chk Chk) I think of two things: that time when I was 19 and flew across the country (and into another country) and met my now-husband for the first time and stayed in his dorm room at the Evergreen State College for a week (I think !!! were on a Best of Pitchfork from the early 2000s we listened to throughout the entire visit). The other thought is less specific, it’s more of a “why am I not dancing my ass off at some amazing house party where !!! is playing?” The answer is usually, “oh right, I’m in my apartment alone, on a Tuesday afternoon.” Does this stop me from having my own personal kitchen dance party? Um, hardly! (I write, while somehow dancing at the same time).

 

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – NRGQ

 

 

 

 

Ginger-Garlic Grain Bowl with Roasted Golden Beets, Broccoli, and Baked Tofu

Ginger Garlic Grain Bowl with Roasted Golden Beets, Broccoli, and Baked Tofu

Because I work from home I’m always looking for ways to make my daytime meals as easy as possible. If I’m being completely honest this means I eat a lot of poached eggs and toast and drink way too many glasses of cold-brewed coffee on a daily basis. When I have my organizational act together I like to make grain bowls; specifically, two to five components which I can combine with some kind of grain to make a filling meal in minutes. Grain bowls can be made from any grain although quinoa is my favourite, I like to cook it ahead of time and then add a generous couple of tablespoons of minced garlic and ginger (there’s nothing worse than boring grains in a grain bowl). Roasting one or two vegetables for the week will also help expedite the grain bowl-making process, I’ve used golden beets and broccoli for this particular bowl. Grain bowls need some sort of protein to round out the meal and I find that baked tofu has a delightfully chewy texture and will keep in a tightly sealed container throughout the week. Pickled onions add a bright flavour contrast and some added  crunch and a tahini yogurt sauce brings all the components together. When the building blocks of a gorgeous grain bowl are all right in front of you it becomes that much easier to make them a daily part of your life. Packed with fibre and vitamins, grain bowls are an all-in-one way to incorporate more vegetables and grain into your diet.

for the roasted golden beets and broccoli:

3-4 golden beets, scrubbed and cut into a medium-sized dice

1 head of broccoli, broken into medium-sized florets

Olive oil

Kosher salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl, toss together the diced beets with a generous drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Spread the beets on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. While the beets are roasting and using the same bowl as before, toss the broccoli florets with with some more olive oil and another pinch of kosher salt.
  4. Add the broccoli to the baking tray with the beets and roast for another 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve warm.

for the baked tofu:

1 block of firm or extra firm tofu

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

1 Tbsp. dark sesame oil

1 Tbsp. sambal oelek

1 Tbsp. honey

About 1 inch of fresh ginger, finely minced

2 cloves of garlic, finely minced

1 Tbsp. thinly sliced scallions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Cut the tofu into thick slabs and arrange in a single layer on a baking dish.
  3. Whisk together the rest of the ingredients to form a marinade. Pour over the tofu, turning each piece over to coat.
  4. Bake the tofu for 30-40 minutes, turning again once or twice.
  5. Remove from the oven and cut the baked tofu into cubes, if desired.

for the garlic-ginger quinoa:

3 cups cold cooked quinoa (made from about 1 cup of dried quinoa)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 Tbsp. minced ginger

4-5 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds

  1. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced ginger and garlic to the oil and sauté for a few minutes before adding the cold quinoa. Keep cooking and stirring for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Stir in the toasted sesame seeds and serve warm.

for the tahini yogurt sauce:

1/2 cup of plain yogurt

2 Tbsp. tahini

Juice from half a lemon

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey

Pinch of kosher salt

2-3 Tbsp. cold water

Combine all of the tahini yogurt sauce ingredients together in a bowl or a blender until completely smooth, adding water as needed to thin out the sauce until it’s a consistency that can be easily drizzled. Extra tahini yogurt sauce can be refrigerated for 5 days.

for the pickled red onions:

1 red onion, thinly slice

2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar OR lime juice

Combine the red onion with the red wine vinegar or lime juice, tossing to combine. Let the red onion sit for at least 30 minutes and up to several days in the refrigerator.

to make the grain bowl:

To assemble a Ginger-Garlic Grain Bowl with Roasted Golden Beets, Broccoli, and Baked Tofu begin with a generous scoop of quinoa as the base. Pile on equal amounts of roasted golden beets and broccoli and baked tofu. Drizzle with tahini yogurt sauce and a handful of pickled red onions. Extra add-ons I’m a fan of include chopped pickles, cilantro and parsley, feta cheese, toasted seeds and nuts, and sliced green olives.

Oh, this is lovely. I’ve been obsessively listening to The Japanese House the past couple of weeks. I can’t resist, Amber Bain’s sublime synth-heavy songs sound like perfect little soundtracks to bitter-sweet daydreams.

The Japanese House – Face Like Thunder