Exploring new flavors

This week’s assignment inspired me to go to a Co-op and purchase some vegetables and fruits that I’ve never bought before or don’t often use. It was fun to go around the produce isle to explore new ingredients that were in season and local. I bought several things but chose 4 for my home assignment: turnips (never tried it before), red kale, and shallots. Kind of embarrassing, but I’ve never prepared dishes with any of them (!). I searched on the internet for side dish recipes using at least one of the ingredients. I ended up preparing roasted turnips with ginger and honey, mashed turnips and carrots and garlic kale and quinoa.

Roasted Turnips with Ginger

Recipe: Peel and cut turnips into wedges. Toss with sliced fresh ginger, canola or olive oil, salt, and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with honey and roast at 400° F until tender.

Results: The recipe I found had no measurements for the ingredients but I still wanted to try it because I liked the combination of using ginger, honey and turnips. Indeed, the flavor was very unique and I enjoyed it. However, I didn’t like the texture of the turnips so much. I’m willing to try another recipe with roasted turnips and better instructions to make sure I didn’t do something wrong this time.






Mashed Turnips and Carrots

Recipe: Simmer peeled and cut-up turnips and carrots in boiling salted water until tender. Drain and mash with butter, salt, and pepper. In a saucepan, cook 3 chopped shallots in ½ tablespoon of butter for about 5 minutes. Add the mashed turnips and carrots and stir. Add chopped chives and shaved Parmesan to taste.

Results: The original recipe did not call for shallots, but I decided to add them because of the extra flavor. This was really good! I had it with grilled chicken and raw red kale (seasoned with salt and lime juice), it was a great and balanced meal. I was so hungry and excited with my dinner that I forgot to take a picture before I ate.

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Garlic Kale Quinoa

Ingredients: 2/3 cup water; 1/3 cup quinoa; 1 tablespoon olive oil; 1 cup chopped kale (I used red kale instead); 1 clove garlic, minced; salt and ground black pepper to taste; 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil; 1 tablespoon water, or as needed.

Directions: 1) Bring 2/3 cup water and quinoa to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. 2) Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; sauté kale and garlic in the hot oil until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. 3) Stir quinoa into kale mixture and add sesame oil; cook until flavors blend, about 5 more minutes. Add 1 tablespoon water to mixture to keep from sticking.

Results: Besides being a healthy side dish, this was very easy to make and very tasty! I’m excited to eat this with my lunch tomorrow at work. Instead of using black pepper, I used a Brazilian pepper called ‘beak pepper’, because it is very flavorful but not spicy (and it added a nice red color to the dish). My recipe turned out less green than the picture on the website (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/235966/garlic-kale-quinoa/) probably because I used less kale than was required. I’ll try to put more next time!

Overall, this whole experience was a lot of fun. I usually like to try new and exotic things at restaurants but I’m not that adventurous when it comes to cooking. I’m looking forward to cooking more new vegetables and incorporating them into my meals. Thanks for encouraging us!

PS: I did not make any of the recipes for breakfast but I think the roasted turnips and the garlic kale quinoa could be a great addition to breakfast.

Discovering gluten-free recipes

I live alone so it’s pretty easy to get in the bad habit of eating out or buying prepared meals. However, I’ve been trying to eat healthier and do a better job of going grocery shopping more often. So, I was very pleased when our assignment required us to use ingredients that we currently have at home because my fridge and pantry were pretty full with great foods, spices and condiments (also, I had gone to the supermarket the day before class). I had a lot of fresh produce, beef, fish, cheese, Greek yogurt, several condiments, apples, bread, frozen berries, frozen mangoes, rice, beans, canned chickpeas, tapioca flour, honey, dried herbs, nutmeg and several spices.

To find a recipe, I decided to look through a book called ‘101 Best Gluten-free Foods’ which was a gift from my mom that I had never opened. As I browsed through the book, 2 recipes caught my attention: spicy roasted chickpeas and butternut squash bisque. I decided to make both as the chickpeas sounded very easy and could possibly be made while I prepared the bisque. Also, I had most ingredients required for the 2 recipes. The recipes are listed at the end of this post.

Results: I had a lot of fun cooking these 2 recipes! I had some music on while I cooked which made me enjoy even more the process of preparing each ingredient. I had to make some substitutions (noted below) but it was no big deal, I got creative and the results turned out great.The chickpeas tasted so good and I could not believe how easy it was to make them. I will definitely make this again! The bisque was also very easy and very very tasty – perfect for cold winter days.

Recipe 1: Spicy roasted chickpeas

1 can of chickpeas

3 tablespoons olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

¾ to 1 tablespoon chili powder

1/8 to ¼ teaspoon ground red pepper — did not have this

1 lime, cut into wedges — this added an amazing flavor to the dish!

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine chickpeas, oil, salt and black pepper in large bowl. Spread in single layer on 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
  3. Bake 15 minutes or until chickpeas begin to brown, shaking pan twice.
  4. Sprinkle with chili powder and red pepper. Bake 5 minutes or until dark golden-red. Serve with lime wedges.

Makes 4 (1/2-cup) servings



Butternut bisque

1 teaspoon butter or margarine

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 medium butternut squash (about 1 ½ pounds), cut into ½-inch pieces

2 cans of gluten free reduced sodium chicken broth, divided — substituted with broth made with chicken bouillon cubes

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Plain nonfat yogurt — substituted with Greek yogurt

Chopped chives — did not have this

  1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir 3 minutes. Add squash and 1 can broth; bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes or until squash is very tender.
  2. Purée soup in batches in blender or use a hand-held immersion blender. Add remaining can of broth, nutmeg and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Serve with yogurt and chives, if desired.

Makes 6 (3/4 cup) servings