And so September is hurtling toward a close and we are tucking into fall. Before we get into the homey, heartiness of stews and fruit crumbles for Sunday night suppers, let us finish off the month with a bowl of greens that is as cleanly virtuous as it is surprisingly delicious.
And next week, it’s a night on the town. And a cocktail recipe.
In a large pot, bring veggie stock to a boil. Add quinoa and bring back to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cover until cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
Next, toss diced sweet potatoes, onions, and carrots with a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and scatter on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place in a 425F preheated oven and roast until tender, stirring occasionally, for approximately 25 minutes.
While rice and veggies are cooking, steam broccoli and greens until they are tender and bright green, approximately 5 minutes.
To plate: Line bowl with romaine. Scoop quinoa into bowl and layer on steamed greens and roasted vegetables. Top with a handful of beans, diced tomatoes, cucumbers and sunflower seeds. Drizzle with Honey-Sunshine Dressing and season to taste.
Makes 4 servings
When the first of our three boys was born, our extended family started a yearly apple-picking expedition. Over the last decade, we’ve picked countless pounds of Macs, Empires, Honey Crisps, and Paula Reds (everything but Red Delicious, which no one likes). We’ve strolled for miles up and down the orchard rows, debating the readiness of certain trees, twisting (not pulling) the perfect fruits from the branches, letting our babies, toddlers, and now big boys (two-and-a-half, six, and ten years old) romp freely in the fields. We’ve experienced the extremes of early fall weather, from blazing sun to raw winds. And we’ve marked the passing years with annual photographs (we’re not generally picture-takers), which allow us to marvel at the changes…the bald, blue-eyed baby chomping on a windfall at eight months old, for instance, is now in Grade Two.
We lean toward the smaller operations, and what we lose in commercial amenities (petting zoos, gift shops), we gain in an illusion of pastoral vastness. Which is a pretty neat trick considering we never drive more than an hour from downtown Toronto.
You might be expecting an apple pie recipe, but no. Sorry. We’re still on this September quasi-cleanse, so eat your kale with fresh apples as below. (A cocktail entry is coming soon…we promise).
Preheat oven to 350F. Place whole walnuts in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Bake in oven for 8-12 minutes.
Place the diced apples in a mixing bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice, and toss well to coat thoroughly (to prevent discoloration).
Add the cucumber, celery, shallots, mint, and dill, and toss gently to combine.
Add the walnuts and cranberries, but reserve a small portion for plating.
In a separate mixing bowl, add a drizzle of dressing and season with salt and pepper. Slowly add the kale and massage (yup!) the leaves. Add apple and cucumber mixture slowly, continuing to massage and drizzle as needed, until thoroughly coated and flavorful.
Plate and top with extra dried cranberries and walnuts and a few dollops of chevre. Season with a little extra vinaigrette, salt and pepper, and serve!
Makes 4 - 8 servings
The weather may be all over the map but we're holding steady with soup, in our ongoing quest for post summer-purity (okay, maybe that's a little extreme. But we are trying to wean ourselves off months of chips and Slushies and wine).
Below, a soup with enough heft to energize you for all the new beginnings of September (lessons and programs and homework, oh my).
Hot pepper sauce, optional
In a large pot, heat a good glug of olive oil and sauté garlic and onions. Add split peas, potatoes, carrots, peppers, and celery and heat through, stirring regularly. Add seasonings and herbs and mix.
Slowly add stock until all vegetables are covered. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, cover partially, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until peas have broken down and liquid has thickened, about 45 minutes. Add extra stock as necessary and skim foam from the surface as needed.
Once vegetables are soft and peas have broken down, purée with an immersion blender or traditional upright blender in batches.
Season soup with salt and pepper and drizzle with hot sauce, if desired.
*For an extra bit of cleanse-worthiness, add a handful of baby kale, spinach or arugula to your bowl of hot soup!
Makes approximately 4 litres, depending on consistency.