Mixed Greens with Sprouted Quinoa

Ok, so to start things off, I would like everyone to know that today’s advent chocolate was definitely the best one yet. It was also the biggest (I am sorry but the first 3 were kind of skimpy, poor kids, they are going to want to eat the entire thing in one sitting!) – a milk chocolate Lindor ball – yum!
Christmas is getting so close, I can feel it! This weekend my family back in Calgary decorated our Christmas tree. It’s kind of strange, the first time I wasn’t around to take part…But there are plenty of decorations here too. Despite a very apparent lack of snow. There are trees all lined up down Great George Street, the Province House is all lit up with colorful lights and even the Brickhouse is in the spirit with ornaments hanging throughout the restaurant. Time to blast the Boney M! I won’t even try to deny it, I already started with that close to a month ago. The minute Halloween was over I felt perfectly comfortable preparing for my favorite holiday of the year! “Mary’s boy child, Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day! And man will live forever more, because of CHRISTMAS DAY!!!!” By the way, check out the video for that song, it’s hilarious! I know, I didn’t think they made music videos back then either. I WANT one of those jackets. I would also kill to have moves like that. Forget “moves like Jagger” it should be “moves like Boney M”.
I haven’t really been doing any fancy shmancy cookery lately so instead I will share a recipe for a quick snack, mixed greens with sprouted quinoa. Basically I just mixed together some dijon and balsamic in my salad bowl then threw in a handful of greens, some bell pepper and sprouted quinoa. Done. You might remember that a while back, I did a post on how to sprout quinoa, but here’s a quick recap. Just soak the seeds overnight to help them soften up. In the morning, drain off the water, cover and place the bowl (as you can see I opted for a Chapman’s icecream container) in a dark place, not too hot, not to cold. If your quinoa is nice and fresh, you should have sprouts within 6 to 8 hours. You can let it sprout to your hearts content, then pop it in the fridge until you are ready to use.

At this point all that’s in the bowl is aged balsamic, dijon mustard, cracked black pepper and sprouted quinoa.

Aren’t they crazy little buggers?

As you can see the presentation isn’t much to rave about. I was lazy and just tossed it all in the same bowl I ate the salad out of (hence all of the smudges around the rim).

There you have it, mixed greens with sprouted quinoa.

 Get creative, use whatever vegetables you like (fruits too even!), whatever dressing you like, whatever floats your boat, toots your horn, wets your whistle…you get my drift.

Quinoa Patties with Marinated Beets

Oh beets, you and I are starting to develop a bit of a love hate relationship, aren’t we? Yesterday at work I went to great efforts to roast you into a perfect, caramelized state. Yet you refused to give up your peelings without a fight. Then today I spent probably close to an hour peeling, cutting and marinating…
Yet all I received in return was this.
I wouldn’t put myself through all of this if you didn’t taste so darn good!
quinoa patties
Speaking of which, look what Ales brought me this morning!
Just the wrapper, sadly all of the chocolate is gone 🙁
For those of you who aren’t keeping track, I made him chocolate chip cookies and in return, I got these delicious Czech chocolate bars. I have no idea what they are called but they are chocolate and they taste good, so who cares?
This one I am saving for later. Judging by the wrapper, it is hazelnut flavored. Oh my goodness, it’s like a Nutella chocolate bar!!! Woohoo!!!
  Now to get to the point, dinner. Quinoa patties topped with marinated beets. Vegetarian, healthy and delicious. How can you go wrong? You may have noticed that I haven’t made any recipes with meat for quite a while. Well that’s because I am really not eating it. It’s not that I dislike meat, or even think that eating animals is cruel. Instead it all revolves around sustainability – being a conscious eater, knowing where your food comes from and the impact it has on everything around us. I know, I can see all of you carnivores out there laughing at me. Seriously though, as a society we consume WAY too much meat. And the majority of it is pumped full of hormones and antibiotics. It’s not natural and this mass produced livestock isn’t healthy for animals, humans or the environment. I am not trying to tell anyone what to do, but there are yummy alternatives to meat. Switch things up every once in a while. Go eat some quinoa!
Quinoa Patties with Marinated Beets
-1/2 cup quinoa
-3/4 cup water
-salt and pepper to taste
-1 handful of dried cranberries
-1 to 2 eggs
-1/3 to 1/2 cup of bran
-drizzle of white truffle oil (optional)
-olive oil, as needed
To cook the quinoa combine it with the water, salt, pepper and cranberries (I like to allow them to re-hydrate). Bring everything to a boil, turn it down to a simmer, cover and allow to cook for approximately 20 minutes. Or until all of the liquid is absorbed, just like rice.
Allow the mixture to cool, then add your eggs, bran and truffle oil (if you are using it). Basically you want the mixture to be able to form patties. If it is too dry or too wet it won’t hold together, so you need to find a balance somewhere in between. This is why I didn’t put an exact measurement for the eggs or bran. Start at the lower end of the scale and add more if you need to.
Then form the patties and saute in olive oil over medium/low heat. As the egg cooks it will bind everything together but they are still quite delicate so be careful. You want to cook until a nice, golden crust develops on each side.
-2 to 3 cups of raw beets, cut into thin strips or however you feel like slicing them
-1 tsp. dijon mustard
-3 to 4 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
-salt and pepper, to taste
-honey, to taste (if you are using a really good balsamic, this probably isn’t necessary because it will already be sweet enough)
-about 1/4 cup olive oil
Whisk together everything but the oil. Slowly drizzle it in, allowing the vinaigrette to emulsify (the oil and vinegar combine and the mixture thickens). Add the beets. Allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes, preferably 1 hour. It can keep for quite a few days in the fridge.
quinoa patties
quinoa patties
quinoa patties
quinoa patties
quinoa patties
quinoa patties

Enjoy my meat loving friends!

How to sprout Quinoa

No, I have not started a grow-op, I am sprouting quinoa, ok? Actually I seem to have a lot of science projects on the go right now, first the sourdough starter, now the quinoa. Sure makes for interesting conversation when people visit my dorm and wonder what all the containers with mysterious contents/liquids are for.
Quinoa is super good for you in the first place. Not only is it a complete protein, its seeds are gluten free as well. But when you sprout it, the nutritional value becomes even greater. During the process, enzymes in the quinoa help to multiply its vitamin contents. The quinoa also softens, allowing it to be eaten raw. All I did was toss my sprouted quinoa with sliced portabello mushrooms, aged balsamic and a splash of soy sauce to make a fresh, chilled salad. Yum!

how to sprout quinoa
how to sprout quinoa
This was what it looked like after only 12 hours.
how to sprout quinoa
how to sprout quinoa
After 24 hours there was a decent amount of sprouts!

As for the sprouting process itself, it could not be simpler. First, soak the quinoa in enough water to cover whatever amount you are using. I did this before I went to bed, then I drained it the next morning. Rinse the quinoa, drain again and cover. Let it be for another 8-12 hours. You will probably see sprouts already. Repeat the rinsing, draining, covering and wait another 8-12 hours. By this point, the sprouts should be plentiful and the quinoa is ready to use. If not, continue with the previous step until they appear. But it really shouldn’t take that long.
And you’ve got to admit, even if you don’t enjoy quinoa, it’s pretty cool just as an experiment! I know, I’m a dork. But it’s so cool!!! Plus it is healthy for you, plus it tastes good. Come on people, just try it!