When it comes to cooking, I am constantly on some kick or another. I rely heavily on the cookbook section of my library to support my changing moods and will post frequently here about the many cookbooks I check out. My kicks run the gamut from slow cooker recipes to low fat recipes to five ingredient recipes to meatless recipes to cheap recipes to all of the above (not easy to find, I might add). Sean and I recently watched the film Forks Over Knives and it led to a lot of discussion about the foods we eat. We were both vegetarian for many years before moving to Mongolia for Peace Corps (that's where we met), where vegetarianism isn't really an option. And while we do eat meat now, we don't eat much. The film really impacted both of us, mostly because we both have family members dealing with the health issues addressed in the film. Anyway, in the weeks following, I have had some different approaches to cooking, two of which worked their way into tonight's dinner.
Quinoa. The stuff is amazing! A complete protein source and full of essential amino acids, it has the added benefit of also being really pretty; when you cook it up, the grains separate into delicate little curlicues. The other featured component of tonight's dinner was part of my effort to bake more bread from scratch; I made two loaves of multigrain bread based on the recipe on the back of a bag of wheat bran that I found in the cupboard. The bread was very good, though I'd probably use part whole wheat flour the next time I make it. All in all, it was a delicious dinner and received rave reviews from all around (except from Emmett, who dumped not one but two bowls onto the floor...)
South American Quinoa and Corn Soup
(adapted from Vegetarian Soup Cuisine)
1 tbsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes in juice
1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tsp paprika
6 cups vegetable broth (I use Better than Bouillon) or water
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups frozen corn kernels
1 15 oz can red kidney beans, drained
In a large saucepan heat the oil. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and jalapeno and saute for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasonings and saute for 3 to 4 minutes more, until the mixture forms a thick pulp.
Add the broth, quinoa, and corn and cook for 25 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. Stir in the beans and cook for about 5 minutes more. Let the soup stand for 10 minutes before serving.
(adapted from the label of Bob's Red Mill Wheat Bran)
1 cup water
1 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup oatmeal, uncooked
1/3 cup wheat germ
1/3 cup wheat bran
5 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached white flour (see note above)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 packages fast-rising yeast
2 tsp salt
Heat water, yogurt, and vegetable oil to boiling. Transfer to large bowl. Stir in oatmeal, wheat germ, and wheat bran. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Stir in cooled bran mixture, 1 egg, and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half. Roll each half into a rectangle, 7" by 12". Roll up tightly from short end. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Place seam side down in two greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 30-45 minutes.
With sharp knife, make three short diagonal slashes, 1/4" deep, on each loaf. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes or until done. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.