For the third year in a row Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve at the De Feijter home. Everyone – all the parents and children – create and bring delicious food to share while catching up and playing games. In 2012 Koen and I made mini tomate aux crevettes with grapefruit, 2013 we made meatballs, and now for 2014 we took it to the next level with: parma ham wrapped smoked duck and Belgian endive on top of nut and seed bread with quince peer jelly. Koen smoked the duck and made the quince pear jelly and I made the nut and seed bread! Mmm mmm mmm. The nut and seed bread recipe comes from My New Roots and I’ve already made it again because it was so delicious!
This dish came about by accident. Originally I wanted to make Green Kitchen Stories’ Involtini di Melanzane, or rolled stuffed eggplant, because I had tomato sauce left over from a couple of nights before. But it turns out I am awful at slicing eggplant. You have to slice the eggplant very thinly, but mine were uneven and all but a few weren’t the entire length of the eggplant. Because the eggplant needs to be grilled in the oven before rolling, I had an idea for making lasagne after seeing the slices laid out in a casserole dish. So instead of pasta, I used the eggplant slices! Mmm…it turned out very well!
I love a good salad and Sprouted Kitchen’s Coconut Quinoa + Spinach Salad is delicious! So many flavors – raw spinach, quinoa cooked in coconut milk, shallots cooked in coconut oil, pistachios, pomegranate, and a lemon-thyme dressing. Fresh and perfect for the hot weather we’re having right now in Belgium! Although there aren’t too many ingredients it still takes time to make. First, I had to open all of the pistachio shells. Second, I never realized how hard it is to get all of the arils (the red drops holding the seeds) loose from the fruit. Normally I press the pomegranate for its juice and I wasn’t even sure you could eat the whole aril but luckily I have access to the internet and found out via Live Strong that not only are they edible but nutritious.
Now that it’s almost Christmas, I realized I still need to share my photos from Sinterklaas! In case you don’t remember from last year, the “surprises” are homemade gifts tailored to the likes and hobbies of the person whose name you’ve drawn. This year I drew Dook, Koen’s dad. Because Dook is the biggest wine lover I know, my surprise had to do with wine. I fingerpainted a map of the world, then created a pathway through the major wine countries. Starting in California, Dook had to answer questions about wine to move forward. After successfully completing the game Dook was able to open his gift!
Yum! I am so happy I found Jamie Oliver’s recipe for a South American-style brunch. I had an avocado and cilantro at home, so I did a search on Jamie’s website and found this dish. The quinoa is topped with warm pan-fried black beans and eggs and cold diced avocado, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, self-pickled chilli peppers, cilantro, and mint!
Koen and I are back from New York, so now I’m back in the kitchen trying new recipes. For this evening I wanted a recipe that was fresh and easy to make. On the plane I watched an episode from one of Jamie Oliver’s cooking shows, and was inspired to make lettuce wraps! I did a Google-search and found this recipe for Quinoa Lettuce Wraps with Easy Peanut Sauce. Really delicious and crunchy!
When the weather is warm, I really love to eat salads! I choose this recipe, Quinoa Salad with Arugala, Quick Pickled Onions, and Goat Cheese because I liked the idea of pickling my own red onions. They were so delcious – sweet and tangy! I had some leftover from the salad and added them to other salads later in the week. The only change I made with the recipe is substituting millet with quinoa, because I had quinoa on hand.
Because of my success with the Summer Samosas, I decided to try yet another recipe from My New Roots – Summer Stuffed Patty Pans! The main ingredients are patty pan squashes, quinoa, peas, kale, onion, garlic, and goat cheese. I know kale is difficult/impossible to find in Belgium outside of the winter season and had already planned to use spinach, but I thought for sure that I could find a summer squash. But after visiting the Natuurhuis (Antwerp’s organic grocery store) and the Delhaize, I gave up and on the spot decided on bell peppers. Luckily the spinach and bell peppers worked well together! This was also my first time using caraway seeds, and the combination of all of the flavors were so delicious!
I wanted to find a recipe so I could use some leftover quinoa I had on hand. I decided to look up recipes on My New Roots, because I had used the site for the Chickpea Wraps, and I knew that would be my best bet for a healthy unique recipe! I was so excited when I found the Quinoa Spring Sushi + DIY Quick-Pickled Ginger! The sushi rolls and pickled ginger were easy to make and the results were so fresh and delicious! I will never buy store-bought pickled ginger again – there’s no comparison!
I have always enjoyed quinoa salads, but after making this delicious dish I wondered why I didn’t eat more healthy grain salads. All of the flavors were so nice and fresh. I ate the leftovers for lunch and realized I’d much rather being eating this than my normal sandwiches. So now I’ve been having fun finding and creating different quinoa based salads with various meats, fish, vegetables, and dressings.