I knew my upcoming trip to Austin was going to involve meat, fried things, queso, and more meat. I wanted to eat salads for a week or so to preemptively make up for the damage I was about to do to my body. But…it’s March. In Idaho. Even though it has been sunny and the snowpack has melted off, it’s not the kind of warm yet when you’ll have a carrot for dinner and call it good.
Plus, I have a husband to feed. And despite my best efforts, “vegan” is a four-letter word to him. He will balk at any dinner that too blatantly seems to be made entirely of vegetables and microwave a frozen lasagna instead, which makes me feel like a total failure and like trying to make a nutritious meal is a waste of time. So. I try to stave this off.
It immediately became clear that stir-fry was the only option. Continue reading
You know those days when you just want to eat a sandwich and go to bed? That’s pretty much how my life has been for the past two weeks. The “Polar Plunge,” as CNN has taken to calling it, has hit Idaho hard. While I expect living in the Rocky Mountains to be cold, of course, this is definitely the kind of cold that generally we don’t see until January, when we’ve already had two months to ease into it.
When it’s this cold, I have a hard time eating vegetables. Or, you know, anything that isn’t a carb and covered with cheese. This is lasagna weather, Minnesota “hot dish” weather, weather that demands meatloaf, mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s hard for me to get excited about salad when it’s so cold, my dog won’t go outside.
This is a recurring problem in my life and on this blog. Thankfully, this salad has pretty much solved all of my problems with goat cheese, beets and a deliciously warming orange-cardamom dressing that not only made me feel all warm and cozy inside, but also infused a little bit of brightness into my otherwise lackluster, Vitamin D-deficient day.
And, because it’s winter, I bulked it up with kale and quinoa. No fussy, summery frisee or baby greens here — this is a winter salad that is more than up to the task of filling that winter-hungry tummy. Eat it for lunch, feel virtuous and full, and then go eat lobster mac and cheese or something for dinner. It’s winter — you totally have permission.
Beet Salad with Orange-Cardamom Dressing
A gluten-free and meatless winter salad that you actually want to eat — beets, kale, quinoa and a bright orange-cardamom dressing keep things fresh and interesting even in the darkest polar plunge.
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- pinch ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp honey
- zest of one orange, divided
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cup water or vegetable stock
- 2 medium beets, roasted
- 1 bunch lacinato kale, de-stemmed and sliced into ribbons
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- First, whisk the first four ingredients and 1 Tbsp of the orange zest in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Bring quinoa and water or stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Add remaining orange zest and stir. Lower heat and cover, simmering for about 15 minutes or until quinoa no longer has a small white dot in the middle and the “springs” have become uncoiled. Set aside and let cool.
- Meanwhile, cube the beets. Set aside in a bowl. Pour half of your dressing over the beets, then pour the other half over the quinoa. Stir to combine.
- If you want a pretty layered salad like the one I have pictured, place kale on individual serving plates, then top with quinoa, beets, goat cheese and almonds. If you would like a beautiful, brilliantly purple salad, combine everything in a very large mixing bowl and toss. Serve, or keep in the fridge for up to three days.
For a vegan version, use maple syrup in place of the honey and eliminate the cheese.
Welcome to Comfort Food Week! This week, I have three recipes designed to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even though it might be cold and sad and disgusting outside.
Guess what, you guys? It’s cold and flu season. That means that we always have a can of chicken noodle soup in the pantry, ready and waiting for the moment someone in our house gets the sniffles.
I should say that most years we have that can of soup in the pantry. This year, I have plenty of this soup in the freezer, because it’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and additive-free — unlike that can of condensed soup we usually buy. It takes a little bit of time, but not nearly as much time as you think, especially if you skip making bone broth, like I did, and buy good chicken stock at the store.
However, the bone broth does give this an extra boost of nutrition. With all of that good stuff in the broth plus the protein of the quinoa and chicken and the amazing flavor of the lemon and dill, you’ll be feeling better in no time. And if you aren’t, that’s okay too, as this recipe makes a ton. You’ll be well on your way to recovery by the time you get through this batch.
Chicken Soup with Quinoa
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8-10 servings
A perfect sick-day soup. Keep this in the freezer for when the flu strikes.
- 1 chicken breast
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 2 large carrots, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 8 cups broth (homemade or carefully selected store-bought)
- juice of one lemon
- 2 Tbsp minced fresh dill
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roast chicken breast on a foil-lined pan for about 30 minutes. (You can also pan-fry, but I preferred to roast).
- Heat olive oil in a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrots and sautee for about 10 minutes, or until the onions and celery are soft.
- Add broth (I strained mine directly from the slowcooker into the pot). Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer until the chicken breast is done roasting.
- Shred cooked chicken breast with two forks and add chicken, quinoa, lemon juice and dill. Simmer until the soup is completely heated through. Serve immediately, refrigerate for up to three days or freeze, if desired.
For this recipe, I used bone broth that had been made in a slow cooker with a chicken carcass, about three center-cut marrow bones, a carrot, celery and several peeled cloves of garlic. No ginger, no fish sauce, no vinegar.
You guys are about to be all, “Oy with the poodles already! Kate, what is the deal with the quinoa salads?”
Because, I mean, I do make a lot of quinoa salads. There’s my favorite one ever, then there’s the Greek one, the Sun Valley one and the power bowl. That’s a lot for a blog that hasn’t even been around for a year yet, and for a blog that was originally started to be Paleo.
I am really, really bad at themed food. The second I try to come up with something to fit a certain holiday or season, every idea I might have had flies straight out of my head. Then, I come up with tangential ideas that only kind of fit the theme and try to make them fit, usually with disastrous results.
But every once in a while, a recipe comes beautifully and gloriously together and happens to fit a perfectly appropriate theme. This salad is a perfect example. The recipe reads like I just threw every superfood at my disposal into a salad bowl and mixed thoroughly; the reality is that the flavors all meld deliciously together, complementing each other in complex and satisfying ways.
After Monday’s fake mac and cheese, I felt like I needed more veggies in my life.
Yes, squash is a vegetable, but don’t you just feel more virtuous eating things that are green? I do, for whatever reason, and kale always intensifies that experience. It’s certainly not time for garden salads yet, though, or ethereal whipped things with berries, or bright lemon-infused pesto on zucchini noodles or whatever people eat when it’s not snowing out.
So I had to come up with something green that packs a punch. Continue reading
Allow me to brag for a minute?
I live in the first ski resort town in the country. My house is fifteen minutes from the mountain; I work next door to the Sun Valley Lodge, former playground of people like Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball. When I’m feeling fancy, or when the women in my office have a little extra time on a Friday afternoon, we head up to Sun Valley Village and have lunch at a little cafe called the Konditorei.