China: Episode 1 ~ Pan-Seared Tiger Skin Pepper

IMG_2501As I got off the plane in Beijing, having never traveled internationally before, I was over the moon giddy.

Although I must admit, it was a little nerve wracking watching that video from the Chinese government stating that if anyone seems sick that they will be reported to health officials and automatically quarantined and given a shot of something from an overly happy, smiley nurse with an overly ginormous needle.

So naturally as the video ended I started stating to the person beside me (in possibly – maybe a little louder voice than normal) that my continuous sneezing and nose blowing is purely allergies from the plane of course!  Oh gosh no, I don’t have a cold or sinus infection.  I couldn’t be more healthy!

I quickly take the pile of used crumbled tissue balls and stuff them into my bag, making sure to hide the tylenol cold medicine under my book. As the plane descended into a smoggy abyss I refresh myself with a good teeth cleaning, hair brushing and mascara applying.  I feel ready to embark into China.

Slightly anxious that I will be quarantined and given shots.

Customs was miraculously a breeze.  Hardly any lines.  The Chinese really do have it down to a science.  Very easy to maneuver around.  My smile was undoubtedly bigger than usually as I was going through the process of getting approved to enter the country.

No I am not bringing any diseases into your country (sniffle).

No I did not download a VPN so that I may use Instagram (they don’t really ask that).

WeChat?  Never heard of it (truly they couldn’t care less)…

Smile.

Smile.

Smile.

I had always pictured myself walking onto a new land, setting my bags down and inhaling a big breath of this distant lands air.  After all I had been dreaming about going to China since I realized it existed…

No.  No no no no.  In fact try not to breath at all.  At first I thought, oh man – so much exhaust.  But then soon realized that the smog content of the air was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  It was almost tangible.  Like literal grit in the air.

I was parched and that’s when I realized I was not in Kansas anymore.  Nobody, I mean nobody spoke a lick of English.  Not even at the help desk (that had an English sign that said ‘Help Desk’).  So I show the sweet, young lady behind the desk a yuan and tried desperately to make the water sign which was basically me pointing to my mouth and looking as thirsty as possible.  She takes my yuan and goes to, what I believe is a vending machine and points to a large bottle of clear liquid and I nod. I don’t care what it is-I need to drink something.  She inserts the money and voila!  Water.  That is the first of so many experiences I had with the Chinese peoples.  They are nothing but kind, helpful, happy beings.  What a privilege it was to meet so many lovely new friends.

Back to reality which was standing in the middle of Terminal 2 at the Beijing International Airport.  The extent of my Mandarin is “Do you speak English,” “Thank you” and “I speak a little Mandarin.”  My friend made it clear that I am to stay put.  She will find me.  So when my long distance on my phone was not yet warmed up, I did as I was told.  She knew my airline, the time of arrival and flight number.  I tried to stay out of the way.  I felt invisible.  People rushing by me.  It was like a blur as I stood there.  I was in China.  I knew no one.  Didn’t know where to go and if my friend would ever find me.

Forty-five minutes later I see her.  She is like a glorious angel calling my name.  She is twice as tall as anyone there so I couldn’t miss her.  I started yelling back.

Kristi!

Angela!

Kristi!

Angela!

It was like a romantic novel ~ two people running toward each other with such vigor and passion.  I don’t remember a time I was so happy to see anybody in my whole life.

And then we get on the road with her driver and I experience Beijing driving and suddenly ~ growing up in Southern California with all of it’s amusement parks and tourist driving – makes all the sense in the world.

Stay tuned for China: Episode 2…

While in China, and while my friend was working I decided to take some cooking classes in an old-style housing called a Hutong.  It was beautiful and a blog in of itself.  While there I made many delicious, simple recipes.  Here is one of them.  If you can’t find a green pointed (tiger) pepper I feel that an Anaheim chili would be a great substitution.  But I encourage you to go to your nearest Asian Market.  They are so much fun.

Happy woking friends!

Ingredients

2 large green pointed peppers (or Anaheims)

1 spring onion (or green onion), white part only – finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 tsp oyster sauce

1 tsp light soy sauce

2 Tbsp water

Preparation

  1. IMG_2464

    The pressing of the peppers to the wok is very important.  Here is the chef showing us technique.

    Cut tops (stem-side) of the peppers off.  Remove seeds by tapping on the pepper and having the seeds fall out.

  2. Heat wok over medium heat and add 1 tsp oil.  Swirl oil around the wok.  Reduce the heat to low and add peppers, skin-side down.  Keep pressing the peppers in the work.  Pan fry until the pepper skins become golden in places and peppers all become tender.  This may take several minutes.
  3. Place peppers onto the sides of the wok.  Add another teaspoon of oil.  Add garlic and onion.  Cook until fragrant.  Push peppers back to the middle of the wok and mix well.
  4. Service hot.

Lasagna Squash Roll-Ups – Stocking the Pantry for Laziness

photo-2I am a big proponent of stocking the pantry.  I’ll always have fresh spices, pasta, marinara, chicken stock (goldfish) and plenty of other worthy components.  I do this out of pure laziness (and fear of the zombie apocalypse my two sons keep telling me about).  It has been cold man!  And it is Thanksgiving week.  Two reason NOT to go to the grocery store.  Well and my bedroom fireplace.  Okay, three reasons to not go to the grocery store.

And cozy pants.

Okay stop!  There is always a reason to not go to the grocery store.  Oooh!  Also I do like a good challenge.  Kind of like Chopped.  I like to see what I have and test my culinary abilities to see if I can come up with a scrumptious and nutritious meal for my family.

Ultimately – pure laziness.

One more: frugality.  Want to make Ben Frank proud.

So here I am (in Christmas flannel pajamas [hotness]and I realize that I’m hungry – never mind my children whining at my ankles.  So I check out my pantry.  In the back of my head I know that I have some zucchini and summer squash that need to be used as well as the remainder of the pumpkin I cooked.  So  squash meal.  Then I eye those lasagna noodles that have been in my pantry for (let’s not go there) so here we go…

This is what I did but please know that this is a very versatile recipe.  Use meat if you so desire.  Use different cheeses (um, yum!).  Add different veggies.

This recipe rocks because:

  • Already paid for
  • All-in-one meal
  • Easy peezy lemon squeezy (compliments of my 4-year-old)
  • Remain in PJ’s all freakin’ day long
  • Guaranteed leftovers
  • Nutritious
  • Warm
  • Delicious

Happy cooking friends.  I’m thankful for you.

 

Ingredients

Cheese "log" I got on clearance and froze until I needed it...today.  Take it out of the freezer the day prior to needing it for proper defrosting.

Cheese “log” I got on clearance and froze until I needed it…today. Take it out of the freezer the day prior and defrost in your fridge.

20 lasagna noodles (19 if you’re on meds)

1 jar of marinara

1 cheese log (NOTHING that is to be consumed should ever have the word log in it – although I am laughing at my clearance purchase – see right)

2 summer squash

2 zucchini

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 cup of parmesan cheese (shredded)

1 teaspoon salt, pepper, garlic powder

1 1/2 cups mashed pumpkin

1 egg

Special equipment: mandolin (or laser)

Preparation

Boil lasagna noodles in salted water until just al dente.  I like to use a deep fry pan so that they fit.

Boil lasagna noodles in salted water until just al dente. I like to use a deep fry pan so that they fit.

I had to do 3 batches, needing to add more water prior to the third batch.

I had to do 3 batches, needing to add more water prior to the third batch.

Using about a 1/2 cup of marinara - cover the bottom of a lasagna pan.

Using about a 1/2 cup of marinara – cover the bottom of a lasagna pan.

Get the laser powered on…

...Or if you are using a mandolin, slice squash and zucch's to about an 8th of an inch thick.  Keeping those first funky stragglers!  Nothing goes to waste...

…Or if you are using a mandolin, slice squash and zucch’s to about an 8th of an inch thin.  Make sure to cut the ends off of each zucchini and squash prior to slicing.  Blanch the sliced zucchini and squash in the noodle water for about 3 minutes.  Not only to get a head start on cooking but also to become more malleable.

Keep those funky beginning and end bits.  Nothing goes to waste!

Keep those funky beginning and end bits. Nothing goes to waste!

Get your big mixing bowl out ready to be filled…

Chop those end bits and mix with parmesean cheese, pumpkin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ricotta and egg.  Blend well.

Chop those end bits and add in that gorgeous mixing bowl: parmesan cheese, pumpkin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, ricotta and egg. Blend well.

Take those al dente lasagna pasta’s out of the salt water and start rollin’ babe.

Start out with your ricotta mixture and place about 2 tablespoons onto a noodle.

Start out with your ricotta mixture and place about 2 tablespoons onto a noodle.

Top with a slice each of zucchini and squash.

Top with a slice each of zucchini and squash.

Gently roll and place, seam side down, into the lasagna pan.  Repeat 18 or 19 more times.

Gently roll and place, seam side down, into the lasagna pan. Repeat 18 or 19 more times.

Shhhh-if you have any leftover squash or zucch, just break in half and add to pan somewhere.  Remember-nothing goes to waste!

Top the rolls with the remainder of the marinara. (Shhhh-if you have any leftover squash or zucch, just break in half and add to pan somewhere. Remember-nothing goes to waste!).

 

If

you

are

OCD

look

away

NOW!

 

Like I mentioned above - use 19 lasagna noodles if you are on your meds.  Use 20 if you are not.  Or use all you had like I did (19).  Thankfully I'm on my meds.

Like I mentioned above – use 19 lasagna noodles if you are on your meds. Use 20 if you are not. Or use all you had like I did (19). Oy.

Top with your cheese "log."  Feel free to top with shredded mozz in lieu of a log.  Log log log log.  If it's so gross, why can't I stop saying it!?  log.

Top with your cheese “log.” Feel free to top with shredded mozz in lieu of a log. Log log log log. If it’s so gross, why can’t I stop saying it!? log.

Bake for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.

photo 1-5

High Altitude Adjustment

  • None

Compost

  • Squash/zucch ends
  • Egg shell

Recycle

  • Marinara jar/lid
  • Parmesan cheese container

Reuse

  • That’s what we be doin’!

Organic Roasted Marinara ~ How to Never Waste Another Veggie, Ever Again

IMG_2646You know those days where you look in your refrigerator crispers and realize, whoops.  There’s that bunch of vine now really ripened tomatoes.  Oh yeah, and those bell peppers that were on sale for a ridiculous steal.  Oh hey, look at you broccolini – you had looked so gourmet sittin’ upon that shelf at the grocery store. OR… Your vegetable garden is just spittin’ it all out at once.  Zuch’s, tomatoes, greens, carrots, etc. Well, why buy it and/or grow it –  and not use it? I had purchased from our co-op at the school and realized that nobody in my family loves bell peppers or tomatoes except me.  And the broccolini is looking pretty limp these days so I decided to roast them all at once, puree and serve the best marinara my fam has ever had.

IMG_2637

Oh beautiful, wilted veggies. You can still be enjoyed…

This is a no-brainer.  But just in case you have forgotten, or needed a gentle reminder or a fast idea, here you go. Also, this is great to make and freeze. OR… Make on Sunday, then cook in the crock pot all day Monday so that you have an easy dinner of just boiling noodles when you get home.  Either way, throw away your Fabreeze (you should never use that crap anyways) because you don’t need any other home fragrance than roasting vegetables.

Them be roasted...

Them be roasted…

You can always puree until creamy and make it into a soup. Yum. Although my littles and I enjoyed this vegetarian meal, I did add some spicy Italian sausages to the mix for my husband who appreciates meat at every meal.

Ingredients

(Here is what I used, please feel free to substitute) 5 organic tomatoes, quartered

Spicy Italian sausage will take your marinara to the wild side.

Spicy Italian sausage will take your marinara to the wild side.

5 organic red bell peppers, quartered

1 red organic onion, quartered

1/4 cup olive oil – about

kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

1 bunch of organic, home-grown garlic – halved

1 bunch organic broccolini

Optional:

1 package spicy Italian sausage, browned in a saucepan

red wine

parmesan cheese

garlic bread

green, crisp salad

Preparation

  1. In a large bowl mix first 5 ingredients together until all vegetables are thoroughly coated with oil, salt and pepper.  Spread out onto a lined baking sheet.  Add garlic and broccolini, sprinkle with more olive oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Roast at 450 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through completely.
  3. Remove garlic cloves from husks.
  4. Either blend in a blender or process in a food processor until…

Soup:

  1. Puree until no longer lumpy.  Add to stockpot and simmer for at least an hour.  Add some vegetable stock until the soup is at the constancy you prefer soup to be at.
  2. Serve with garlic bread.

IMG_2639Marinara sauce:

  1. Puree vegetables until the consistency of your desire for a marinara sauce.  I like it a bit chunky, but not much.  Remember, the chunkier – the larger noodle to serve with.
  2. Add puree to either a crock pot on low or a braiser.  Add sausage and simmer for several hours.

High Altitude Adjustment

  • None

Compost

  • All vegetable trimmings

Recycle

  • Olive oil bottle, if empty

Reuse

  • The epitome of this recipe

Southwest Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos ~ The Smell of Crisp

photo 2-2Do you smell that?

Heavenly scent.

Go ahead, take a moment and smell that air outside.  Especially at night.

When the world has settled,

your day has calmed,

and all responsibility has dimmed.

I’m not sure what it is about this crisp, Autumn air.  Why my mind and body react the way they do when I smell it.  I remember smelling that crisp air growing up.  You could catch me at any given age, on any given night with my nose pressed against the screen of my cracked-open window.

Sniffing.

Smelling.

Embracing the changing seasons and all its glory.  Fall.  We all know my fascination.  Obsession.  The magical – all too crisp air.

This dish is perfect for such a night.  All day long the crock pot was doing the cooking as I was doing the working.  I spent just about 4 minutes preparing the crock pot in the morning and when the kids and I walked into the house at the end of the day we were enveloped with the most tasty smells.  Even my youngest was like “Mom!  Do you smell that delicious smell!?”

Yes.I.Do.

My good friend had inquired if I had any good crock pot recipes up my sleeve and so I decided to do some experimenting.  This my friends, was a successful experiment.  Now I am all about using fresh, local, organic foods but seriously – if none are available…look harder!

No, just use frozen organic corn if you don’t want to use fresh.  Make it as easy as you want.  All I gotta say is please, please don’t tweak the measurements of the seasonings.  The taste was perfection.

Do you live above 5000 feet elevation?  Check out an addition after the recipe.

Vegetarian?  Supplement bell peppers, sliced onions, chayote, tomatillos instead.

Like red meat instead?  Add a roast to the pot instead of chicken.

Add a fresh side salad consisting of some organic greens with crisp radishes, jicama, carrots and green onions and you have yourselves one heck of a well balanced – healthy meal.

Happy slow-cooking friends.

Ingredients

2 large chicken breasts
1 (16oz) jar salsa
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained/rinsed
2 corn on the cobs, corn removed
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp cumin
2 cloves of garlic, minced
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt

Trimmings: shredded cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped onions, sour cream, corn or flour tortillas

Preparation

1. Add everything except the trimmings to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water.  Stir well.

2. Turn slow cooker on low and cook 7-8 hours.

3. Near the end of the cooking time shred chicken or beef using two forks.

4. After 8 hours of cooking and utilizing the trimmings, build yourself a delicious tacos/burritos.

High Altitude Adjustment

  • Add two cups of chicken stock at Step 1.

Compost

  • Corn cobs/husks
  • Cilantro trimmings

Recycle

  • Salsa jar/lid
  • Bean can/lid

Reuse

  • Double recipe and freeze some for another time…

Spicy Thai Roasted Spaghetti Squash – The Flurries Are Back

photoThat’s right.  You read that correctly, there were snow flurries here in Colorado on Friday, September 12, 2014.  I was there to witness.  So were my kiddos and crazy ass dog.  It also, obviously, marked the first fire of the season.  ‘Twas quite the cozy day.  There are several things in life that get the butterflies going in my gut, one is obviously a good book, falling in love again, sweaters, UGGs, pumpkin everything….that’s right.

Fall, or

Autumn, if you will.

So here we are.  Officially in it.  My aspen grove concurs as their yellow leaves sing the Autumn songs – morphing into a deep rust and then floating to the Earth where each one will give back what was so freely given to them.

Enough of that.

Listen, it is no secret that I am in love with everything Fall.  It does come at a perfect time as things are overwhelming at work and at the same time, the Capricorn that I am and Pisces that my husband is…

photoI’m actually not sure what that means,

although when I explain our situation

and people ask what sign we are

they give an “all in the world is right,” kind of look.

Either way – we took some hammers to some walls and, well, the project has morphed into a full remodel of our first floor.  Everything is in a disarray.  Everything.  Yesterday, for my husband to move some pipes, the water was turned off in the house.  As soon as I saw the bucket of water next to the toilet I grabbed my kids and we went off for the day.  My counter tops are full of crap, my furniture surfaces have a 1″ thick layer of drywall dust and the hot water has yet to be turned back on due to a welding issue with the copper pipe.

What?

I don’t know.

During chaotic times both at work and during our unplanned remodel at the house I find comfort in cozy clothes, thick socks and boots.  Hot chai, crisp air and pumpkins.  It’s the little things, people.  And my gratitude for getting a beautiful house?  Through the roof.  My husband is literally Superman.  He can do anything and I could not be more proud of him.

To top off all of this goodness, I have been placing weekly orders at our school co-op.  I buy the vegetable and fruit boxes (and uncured pepper bacon).  All organic, all local foods I get delivered to the school once a week.  I never know what I’m going to get, but so far it has all been scrumptious.  Fresh, local, organic onions, garlic, zucchini, peppers, and this last week….spaghetti squash.  I decided to spice it up with some peppers, sesame oil, ginger and other yummies to bring to my girlfriends house where a fun ‘lil shindig will ensue.

Nothing like having some good friends to make going to work tomorrow bearable.

Happy cooking friends.

Ingredients

3 to 3 1/2 pounds spaghetti squash

olive oil for brushing

3 tablespoons sesame oil

2″ piece of fresh ginger, skins removed, grated

large cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 medium-large mild Fresno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 medium-large medium-heat Fresno peppers, chopped 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

chopped roasted peanuts and lime wedges, for garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. Cut squash in half lengthwise, remove membranes and seeds, brush lightly with olive oil, and place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast for 55–60 minutes, until flesh shreds easily with a fork. Cool slightly, remove flesh into strands with a fork, and set aside.
  3. In a large, deep sauté pan, heat sesame oil over medium-low heat. Add ginger, garlic, coriander, and peppers; sauté until fragrant and tender, 3 minutes. Stir in salt. Add squash threads and toss; add cilantro and toss until well combined.
  4. Serve garnished with peanuts and a squeeze of lime.

High Altitude Adjustment

  • None

Compost

  • Spaghetti squash membrane/seeds
  • Ginger trimmings
  • Pepper trimmings
  • Cilantro trimmings
  • Lime rinds

Recycle

  • Any used spice or other containers

Healthy Lasagna: Embracing the Roller Coaster of Change

Notice the little boy running to his seat in the background.  The savory, delicious smell permeated the whole house.

Notice the little boy running to his seat…the savory deliciousness permeated the whole house.

Wow.

What a week.

To say the least.

The roller coaster of going through an experience is exhausting.  When I first got on the ride, it was in August and although hectic, it was not scary.  So then I hit the first major dip of the ride and instantly I am struck with panic:

No.no.no.  I want to get off this ride.  I can’t handle it.  Too scary.

Enter life lesson:

Don’t get off the ride prematurely.  Don’t act on those first initial emotions.

As soon as I was able to welcome and honor the sadness, betrayel….change.  I was then able to let all of the rest go…embracing the latter.  I was able to feel those extreme emotions, sense that I wanted to jump but hung in there knowing that as long as I am in that emotional place, I am not connected to my higher power.  That I need to work past that initial shock, regain my balance, see the bigger picture (primary purpose), put my hands up in the air and fly.

So that’s what I did.  Along with my fellow co-workers.  The ride is far from over.  But what I will forever hold dear was honoring all our different emotional stages without judgement.  Ultimately we stand as one, shoulder to shoulder with our intentions on the primary purpose.  We will prevail.  And we will be stronger for it.  So will the school and ultimately…the children.

My major life lesson, which helps me to know that I actually am teachable and that I do retain new thoughts and actions:

I was able to sit comfortably in my uncertainty with blind faith.

So after that week I was still a mom, a wife and hungry.  I wanted something comforting, yet healthy so I chose this lasagna dish compliments of Food Network Magazine circa May 2013.

 The beauty of this recipe is not only the fact that it is quick enough to make after work, or that it can technically be a one-pot meal, but that it is so very interchangeable.  And an excellent way to hide the goodness of vegetables to those picky ones who despise anything green.  Some options that would be delectable in lieu of the celery and carrot mixture:

  • Spinach and mushroom
  • Butternut squash and kale
  • Pumpkin and sausage

The light bechamel sauce that you make is outstanding.  You would never know there are no creams or milks in this dish.

Relax and relish in the fact that this lasagna is healthy.  I hope we all can learn to embrace the ever inevitable change that life brings us.

Happy cooking friends.

Ingredients

9 sheets no-boil lasagna noodles

1 small shallot

3 cups fat-free low-sodium organic vegetable or chicken stock

3 tablespoons all-purpose unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh organic parsley

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped celery

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped carrots

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 4 ounces)

1 large egg

2 plum tomatoes, chopped

Preparation

  1. Position a rack int he upper third of the oven and preheat to 475 degrees.  Fill a bowl with hot water; add the noodles and soak 10 minutes.  Drain and hang side by side over the bowl’s edge so the noodles don’t stick.
  2. Meanwhile, mince the shallot in  food processor.  Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the shallot and 1 cup of broth; cook 3 minutes.  Add the flour and nutmeg; whisk until smooth, 1 minute.  Whisk in the remaining 2 cups broth; cook, whisking, until thickened, 7 minutes.  Whisk in 1/4 cup ricotta and the parsley; remove from heat.
  3. Mince the celery and carrots in the food processor.  Add the remaining 3/4 cup ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella and the egg; pulse until smooth.  Spread 2 tablespoons of the shallot sauce in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.  Top with 3 noodles and half of the mozzarella mixture.  Repeat the layers, ending with the noodles.  Top with the remaining shallot sauce, the tomatoes and the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella.  Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

High Altitude Adjustment

  • None

Compost

  • Shallot, parsley celery, carrot and tomato trimmings
  • Egg shell

Recycle

  • Broth container/lid
  • Ricotta cheese container/lid
  • Mozzarella cheese packaging

Reuse

  • Plastic bags vegetables came in

Spicy Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes

quinoa2Spicy.  Quinoa.  Sweet potatoes.  Then my eyes wander to the ingredients.  Cilantro.  Red onion.  Ancho chile powder.  Red jalapeno.

I want to marry this recipe.  How lovely to spice up an ordinary chicken dinner with a side dish such as this.  Or instead of bringing a store-bought cake to your next potluck, throw this together and wow your friends with how healthy you are (even if you did eat a slice of pie for breakfast, who needs to know?!).

I’ve made some changes to this recipe that originates from Food Network.  How does one simplify an already simple recipe you ask?  Well, maybe you are unaware of the genius that is my mind.  Or possibly that I’m lazy.  Or maybe, just maybe I forgot to read the recipe all the way through and I botched it.  Or did I?

Happy healthy cooking friends!

P.S. Easily made vegetarian, simply exchange the chicken stock for vegetable.

P.P.S. Oh yes, it would be super simple to just use the regular chile powder that occupies your pantry.   But oh how you would be missing out on that ancho goodness!  Make that extra trip to your local spice shop and indulge!  The smokiness my friends!  You’re welcome.

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups quinoa

3 cups low-sodium chicken broth

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small red jalapeno pepper, seeded and thinly sliced (keep a few seeds in there if you want to add spice to your life)

2 small sweet potatoes, roasted to a slightly soft consistency, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/3 cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro

1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Directions

  1. Put the quinoa in a bowl and cover with water; drain. Repeat twice; drain well. (This will help remove bitterness, um, I did a one rinse deal and it turned out fab.) Transfer the quinoa to a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly until the quinoa is dry, about 8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer, then cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar to let steam escape; reduce the heat to medium low and cook until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red onion and garlic and cook until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the chile powder, coriander and cumin and cook, stirring, until the spices darken, about 1 minute. Add the jalapeno, sweet potatoes and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Increase the heat to medium high and bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
  3. Add the sweet potato mixture to the quinoa, then add the cilantro and lime juice and toss; season with salt.

High Altitude Adjustment

  • Increase broth to 4 cups
  • Cooking time for quinoa will be longer

Compost

  • Red onion, garlic, jalapeno, sweet potato, lime and cilantro trimmings

Recycle

  • Chicken or vegetable broth carton or can/lid

Reuse

  • Plastic bags vegetables came in