Friday, May 30, 2014

beetroot risotto + chunky kale pesto

Oh, how I love beets. And I love finding new ways to cook with them! This beetroot risotto recipe is adapted from A Beautiful Mess, and is a simple yet delicious way to incorporate (a lot) of beets into your meal!

I'll start with the chunky kale pesto, because if you are going to make it, you are going to want to make it first! Risotto isn't one of those meals you can put on the stove and then get other dishes going at the same time. Its pretty much a full time job of stirring and adding broth, maybe with a glass of wine in hand.

chunky kale pesto

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup fresh herbs (I just use whats in my garden; basil, parsley, and chives. But many others will work too, or just all basil would be good too!)
  • 2 large kale leaves
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

I found this guy living in the kale, I hope he likes his new home in the compost!

Rinse and trim herbs. Rinse and de-stem kale leaves. Add everything to a food processor at the same time and process to desired consistency. Chunky is good with this dish because the risotto is so creamy!

Now for the risotto.

This recipe makes 4 generous portions, or 5 smaller portions. To make a half batch, just 1/2 all of the ingredients, but start with 2 Tbsp olive oil.

beetroot risotto

  • 2 medium beets
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cups aborio rice
  • 1/2 cup red wine (you could use white but I was going with the red beet theme)
  • 4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese (yes, cheese! If you want a vegan version just leave the cheese out, and add a little salt, or 1/2 cup nutritional yeast.)

Start by thoroughly cleaning the beets. I like to leave the skins on, so I use a scrubby sponge to get all the dirt out. You are more than welcome to peel them if this bothers you. Chop beets into large chunks and then process in the food processor until teeny tiny.

Now, lets get started! Combine veggie broth and water in a small pot and start heating, you want this to be simmering the entire time you are adding it to the risotto. Heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan, add onions and cook until translucent. Add rice and stir to coat in the oil. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Make sure the heat is on low because you are about to add liquid and you don't want to steam your face off. Add the red wine and cook until completely reduced. Start adding the broth one 1/2 cup at a time, making sure each one reduces completely. After about 2 cups of broth have been added, add the beets. Continue adding the broth, stirring constantly the entire time. This is when you get very hot and when that cold glass of white wine comes in handy.

From the time I added the rice, to the time the rice was cooked was about 30 minutes. This time varies but it usually takes at least 30 minutes for the rice to cook completely. Add the last 1/2 cup of broth/water and the parmesan cheese (or substitutes), stir in completely and then cover for just a few minutes while you get your plates out and fill your wine glass. Risotto is best served immediately so top with kale pesto and enjoy it now! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

quinoa + nori wraps

I have been making these for a while now, and I don't know why I haven't shared them with you earlier! The best thing about these little wraps is you can keep them for a couple days, this is why I make four at a time. They don't usually last more than two days in my fridge though, if you know what I mean. Another great thing about them, unlike lots of other sushi and raw rolls, they don't need any dipping sauce! Although they are quite good dipped in miso dressing, or with a little squirt of Bragg's Amino Acids, they are full of flavor from the nutritional yeast.

So, here it goes. Start by making quinoa. 1 cup of quinoa to about 2 1/2 cups water (this is 1/2 cup more than I would normally do because I want it to be sticky). When quinoa is cooked but still wet, mix in 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, this should make it very sticky and almost pasty. Allow to cool in the fridge or freezer while you prepare your other filings.

As for the veggie filling, I have done everything from tofu and green beans, to asparagus and beets. But for today, I used the classics. 1 carrot (cut into thin strips), 2 green onions (cut into similar size and shape), 1/2 cucumber (cut into strips), 1/2 avocado (sliced), and any kind of sprouts.

Lay rolling mat, flat side up on countertop. Place nori wrap, shiny side down, on the mat lined up with the mat on the side closest to you.

Spread 1/4 of the quinoa onto the nori, leaving 1 to 2 inches of the nori uncovered on the edge farthest away from you.

Stack up your fillings (about 1/4 of each ingredient) onto the quinoa closest to you.

Now, if you have rolled sushi before, roll away, if not, listen closely. Have a little bowl of water ready near you for when you need to seal the wrap. Lift up the side of the mat closest to you and start to roll away from you. Sometimes you need to push the fillings in while you roll, keeping your thumbs on the outside of the mat rolling, and your fingers tucking the fillings in. When it gets to a point of nori on nori, don't roll the mat into your roll! You can gently tuck the nori in with your fingers, then the mat rolls over to fold in half with the nori roll inside it it. at the end of the nori, wet your fingers and run them along the nori seam. My rolls are usually a little oddly shaped so I give them another roll in the mat to shape them more evenly. And don't be afraid to make it tight and put some pressure on it while you roll, I go harder each time and I still have yet to bust a nori!

Repeat with the other three rolls. Cut rolls in half with a sharp knife. It helps if you clean the knife after each cut and wet it a little.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

olive oil + maple granola

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I look forward to getting up in the morning, fueling my body with nourishing food (and coffee, of course), and getting my day started right. That is why its so important to me to know exactly what it is I'm eating in the mornings, its going to effect me for the rest of my day! I love cereal, but something I don't really love about cereal and granola is that it can be super processed, sugary, and in some cases, preserved. So, today, make breakfast from scratch, so you know exactly what is going into your body, and you know it is going to support you throughout your day.

Tap in to something real.

olive oil + maple granola

  • 10 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
  • 2 cups raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup natural sesame seeds
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla

It seriously doesn't get any easier than this. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spread oat mixture onto two large rimmed baking sheets.

Bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to make sure the top layer doesn't get too toasted and that the bottom layers get toasted. 

When granola is done you can add whatever kind of dried fruit you like! Cranberries, blueberries, raisins, coconut.... I just kept my batch of granola as is because I like to top my smoothies with it, and they are full of fruit!