Conveniently Sloth-like [Red Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Radishes]

I do so love convenient eating. And frozen foods are just so convenient sometimes. Like when it’s 300 degrees outside and sweating into a pot over the stove seems only slightly less than glamorous.  I’ve more or less been living out of the freezer for the past few days. Frozen pizza? Yes please. Frozen chicken fingers and fries? How did you know? Frozen meat pie? OK, maybe it’s time to re-think this strategy. 

While obviously easy and not terribly unappetizing (to people like me who love crappy boxed food…. I know, it’s a problem), it doesn’t really sit as well as a home cooked meal does. I find myself feeling sluggish and heavy when I start eating like this. So with the first tiny bout of cool(er/ish) weather we’ve had this week, I decided to shake the dust from my lazy bones and get back in the kitchen. Admittedly, I’d be lying if I said we weren’t out of anything good in the freezer and didn’t want to go to the store. But hey, at least I’m honest about being a total sloth, right? I love when we agree.

Thankfully, Mr GL works right beside a grocery store, which saves my food-blogging buns so very often, so he was nice enough to bring me home some very fresh looking asparagus, radishes and goat cheese. Which I thought would be most delectable and especially healthy folded into some toasty almonds and red quinoa. And thankfully, I was right. Which only happens on occasion.

The combination of asparagus and goat cheese has always been a favourite under my roof, but with the nutty addition of the red quinoa and almonds, and the peppery sharp flavour of the radishes, it made for such a alluring combination of flavours that were as delicious as they were healthful. I hate leaving things to go to waste so I used the radish greens for a quick and beautifully vibrant vinaigrette that pulled everything together so perfectly. A home run suitable for dinner or, as I’ll be using it, for lunches for the next few days.
So if you’re slothing it out at home, eating your frozen chicken fingers, do yourself a favour and snap out of it for just an hour and you’ll have yourself a fresh, filling dish that feels damn good. 

Red Quinoa Salad with Radishes and Asparagus 

The salad will likely be warm when you first finish making it and it is perfectly delicious just like that, however, I sort of like it better cold the next day so be sure to save yourself a little bit for the next day! 

1 cup red (or white/black) quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear
2 cups water
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed into bite sized pieces
salt and pepper
4-5 large radishes, sliced thin
1/2 cup almonds, toasted, chopped
1/4-1/3 cup goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Pour quinoa in and bring back to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 12-14 minutes or until quinoa is soft but still has a bit of a bite to it. Pour into a mesh strainer and let cool for 20 minutes. 

While quinoa is cooking, place bite-size asparagus chunks into a pan and drizzle with oil. Sprinkle a pinch of two of salt and a few crack of pepper. Roast until bright green and still slightly crunchy in the middle. 

Add the radishes, roasted asparagus, quinoa and almonds to a large bowl and toss lightly until combined. Taste and season to your liking with salt and pepper. Set aside. 

Lemon & Radish Green Vinaigrette

handful radish greens (approx 1 cup), clean and dried 
1 1/2 tsp (about half a lemon) lemon zest
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3-4 tbsp olive oil 
1 small clove garlic (half of a large clove)
salt to taste 

Put all ingredients other than salt into food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and season to your liking with salt.  

Add half of the vinaigrette to the salad and toss to combine. If it’s still slightly dry, add more until you have the desired coating.

Spoon into serving bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese. 


Pickled Pink!

Happy Tuesday! I thought I’d share a quickie recipe for pickled radishes I came across on The Kitchn (If you’re not already an avid reader of The Kitchn, take one look and I promise you’ll be an instant fan!). It took me 5 minutes to put together and after sitting for 3 days (though you could probably eat them happily after one) they’ll be all pretty, pink and ready to plop beside a sandwich for lunch!

Pickled Radishes

3/4 cup hot water (can be from the tap)
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 bunches red radishes, rinsed and drained

Cut the radishes into halves or quarters (try to keep them similar in size).

In an airtight jar or non-reactive  (i.e. copper bowl) combine the hot water, vinegar, sugar and salt and shake or stir until the sugar/salt are dissolved. Add the radishes.
Shake it all up, put it in the fridge for about three days (but as previously mentioned, you can eat them after 1 and they’ll be just as tasty!) and eat eat eat!

(this photo was taken immediately after putting the radishes in the pickling brine, but they’ll likely be completely pink by the time they are done sitting!)


Roasted Radish, Asparagus, and Brussels Sprouts with Dijon/Balsamic Vinagrette

It’s been hot here in Ottawa lately. And when I say “hot”, I really mean HOT. It’s cooled in the past few days but for a while there I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be able to peel myself off the hardwood to make/eat anything but freezies, ice cream [specifically Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream in Fifth Town 70% Chocolate Chevre. Mega swooon!] and raw veggies.

When your weather in Ottawa is hotter than Cancun, Mexico… you know there is something wonky going on up there. [Despite my best friend/boyfriend/any sane person telling me I’m being ridiculous, I’m totally one of those panicky 2012 cases that thinks everything is going to im/explode on December 31st, 2011. I can’t help it!]

Anyhow, moving right past my extremely delusional, gullible take on our weather… I decided today was a good day to turn on the oven for the first time in a week and a bit. I needed something I could add to some leftover cooked quinoa for lunch this week.

After digging through the crisper, I decided that radishes, asparagus and brussels sprouts were probably a good choice. [Which are, without a doubt, some of the best vegetables to roast.]
I’ve never been a huge fan of radishes, but when they are roasted they take on this much mellower, nutty taste than when raw. I tossed the roasted veg with a dijon/balsamic vinagrette which was just bang-on.


Roasted Veggies w Dijon/Balsamic Vinagrette

2 bunches radishes, halved lengthwise if large or left whole if small
2 cups asparagus, cut lengthwise into 2 inch pieces
10-15 brussels sprouts, halved lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil
coarse salt

Dijon/Balsamic Vinagrette

2 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 green onions/scallions, rough chopped
1 tbsp honey
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Add brussels sprouts/radishes to a large roasting pan with olive oil and a few pinches of salt. Toss well to combine. Roast for about 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes, take the pan out and add the asparagus to the other veggies and give ity all a good stir. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until everything is nice and carmelized on the outside.

Meanwhile, add all vinagrette ingredients to a food processor and pulse until green onion is in small pieces.

Once veggies are cooked, toss with vinagrette.

At this point you can serve the veggies/vinagrette as a side dish, with a salad, on top of your favourite grain or pasta etc etc etc.