We are blessed with three very large vegetable gardens. This week, our task list was large for the “veggie volunteers”: tying up the cucumbers and tomatoes, doing our second planting of lettuce, picking and processing kale, beets, and swiss chard, and our other ongoing tasks such as weeding, mowing, string trimming, and watering. We’ve been in near-drought conditions here on the Cape, so we were grateful for our unexpected late Saturday afternoon rain shower.
There is nothing more satisfying to me than harvesting the vegetables you have grown from seed and then being able to create something tasty and delicious. I always wonder if God might be smiling at the pleasure He gives us when we co-create with Him.
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Kale Salad with Blueberries, Beets, Quinoa and Avocado
Rinse the quinoa with cold water in a sieve. Place in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups cold water and 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover, cook for an additional 10 min. or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let sit until cool.
Make the vinaigrette by combining all the ingredients and whisk well. Adjust taste, adding a bit more honey if you want a sweeter version.
Using a spiralizer, spiralize your beets on the "Angel Hair" or "Spaghetti" attachment. You can also buy them already spiralized if you want to skip this step, or you can grate or julienne them by hand. You do not need to cook the beets, they are eaten raw. Set aside.
Place the chopped kale in a large bowl and add the dressing. Massage the dressing into the kale with your hands.
Add the quinoa to the bowl along with the blueberries and feta cheese and toss gently.
Put the salad on a platter or in a serving bowl and add your avocado chunks. Top with your spiralized beets. Sprinkle with toasted almonds or sunflower seeds, if desired.
The spiralizer is a kitchen utensil with fine blades that can slice raw vegetables and fruits into an assortment of shapes. If you don't have a spiralizer - simply grate the beets, or julienne them by hand.
This year, I’ve been doing some teaching where cooking is concerned, and along with that comes learning on my part. Testing new recipes, experimenting with foods of different cultures and also trying my hand at a healthier way of cooking and eating. As I was working with a friend, we decided we’d like to try to find a recipe for a really good veggie burger. First of all, I wasn’t sure those four words really went together… “really good” and “veggie burger”. But, once again, I was wrong. This vegetable and grain-based patty is delightful. It’s bursting with flavors – we commented to each other that you could truly taste each vegetable in it and the bonus is, it’s packed with protein. Even my most lovable meat craving Sister thought it was delicious. That was a real surprise.
So, as we head into Lent, I thought this might be a good time to share this recipe. I really don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Make the herb mayo: In a blender, combine all the herb mayo ingredients. Blend until smooth, then transfer to a bowl.
Make the veggie burgers: In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the water and quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook, covered, until the quinoa is tender and all the water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. Or cook the quinoa in a rice cooker, following manufacturer directions (I used 2 cups quinoa/2 cups water). You will be using 3 cups of cooked quinoa in this recipe.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, parsley and onion, and cook, stirring often, until the veggies are tender and lightly caramelized, 8 to 10 minutes. Then add the baby spinach to wilt along with the corn. Transfer to the bowl with the 3 cups of cooked quinoa - let cool and add the two beaten eggs.
Once the vegetables-and-quinoa mixture has cooled, mix in the remaining veggie burger ingredients until incorporated. Form into 8 - ½ cup patties and shape. Lay out on a piece of wax paper.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the veggie burgers until golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes per side.
To assemble: Top each veggie burger with some of the herbed mayo and top with tomato and avocado. Serve while the burger is still warm with a side of sweet potato fries.
“Some like it hot….some like it cold” Whatever your preference, you are bound to LOVE this hearty, wholesome 5 grain porridge that we have been serving for breakfast at the convent these cold, blustery winter days.
Our snow shoveling sisters are out early every am battling the drifts to clear the walks and entrances so that we can get from building to building. When they come in most of them are ravenous, and this warm cooked breakfast not only hits the spot but also fortifies them for the rest of the day.
If you have not yet gotten into porridge making , this is the time to do it. Don’t wait any longer to try out your own satisfying combination of healthy slow simmered grains. If you don’t have the 5 we used, substitute with what you do have or like. It’s the combining of textures and flavors that gives it its appeal. Top it with fresh or dried fruits and or nuts, seeds or coconut etc. or add them to the mixture the last 10 minutes or so before serving.