Today is Tasty Plan’s second birthday. To this date I have posted one hundred and thirty seven recipes, discovered at least twenty new ingredients, snapped thousands of photos and inspired you (I hope!) to cook more. Within these two years, I have become more passionate about cooking, and learned to respect photography as a difficult art to master. I now know that no matter how good it tastes, if the sun is not shinning through the kitchen window, Photoshop cannot fix an underexposed photograph. The sun will always be your best friend.
Within these two years I became a Master of Architecture, taught two architecture studios, got married, went to Belize, the Grand Canyon, Vegas, and Brazil. I lived in Cambridge, Miami, to end up in New York City. I started my first ever full-time job, and got two see my first design get built to completion, only to party later in it. I have discovered that I am tougher than what I thought, even though I have broken down at points. But time is powerful and helps heal.
I have discovered that New York City is an amazing place, full of hidden worlds within a door’s reach. I learned that the best food is sold at the Farmer’s Market, particularly when it comes to eggs, lettuces, and sprouts. I have learned not to go into Trader Joe’s after noon on any given weekend day, especially if a hurricane is coming, or wander into New Jersey on a Sunday evening. I have learned that there is always a wait, especially when it involves Botanical Gardens or a art galleries, and sometimes a three-hour wait for a table is worth it, and sometimes it is not. I have discovered Brooklyn as a safe haven from the hustle and bustle of the Big City Lights, and that it is important to value where we came from and how it shaped who we are becoming.
For this weeks post, I wanted to reflect on what has changed and what remains by recreating Tasty Plan’s first ever recipe: “Melt in Your Mouth Quinoa”. Back then I knew little about blogging, color photography, and had yet to pour out my heart to the Internet. The recipe called for simple ingredients (onions, quinoa, and chickpeas) and a straightforward cooking technique. This recipe was rooted in the cooking fundamentals on which I started this blog for: “easy to make, yummy” foods that allowed you to get off the take-out and into home cooked meals.
Because it seemed unfair to post the same recipe, I switched it up a bit to transform an already delicious recipe into something unique, exquisite, and delicious. The quinoa is cooked in caramelized onions. The chickpeas are roasted in spices, olive oil, and salt, for a crunchy addition. Raw asparagus, dill, and green onions add a pop of flavor and texture, making the dish spring-y and fresh. The salad is then drenched in a tangy dressing of mustard and red wine vinegar. Every mouthful is perfect, hearty, and delicious.
Melt in your Mouth Green Quinoa
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 8oz. can chickpeas
- ½ tsp. ground cumin
- 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
- Generous pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse chickpeas under running water. Drain and pat dry. Transfer to a baking sheet. Add spices, salt and olive oil. Mix until chickpeas are well coated. Roast for 25 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove and set aside.
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- ½ tbsp. good French mustard
Whisk all ingredients and set aside until quinoa is ready to serve.
Caramelized Onion Green Quinoa Salad
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- ½ large onion
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp. cumin powder
- ¾ cup dry quinoa
- 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
- 6-7 asparagus spears (thinly sliced)
- 4 green onions (thinly sliced)
- small bunch chives (chopped)*
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
Peel and chop half and onion into small cubes. Pour olive oil into a small pot over medium high temperature. Add onions to olive oil and sprinkle cumin and salt. Sauté for 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat to low and let onions cook for ten to fifteen minutes. Once onions soften and start turning golden in color, add quinoa. Mix quinoa into onion mixture. Coating the quinoa will make a looser, fluffier quinoa.
Add water (or broth) and stir once. Turn heat back to medium high to allow water to simmer. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for fifteen minutes. Quinoa will be ready when translucent. You should be able to see a small white tail emerge from each grain.
Transfer cooked quinoa to a bowl. Add sliced asparagus, green onion and dill. Pour dressing and mix everything together. Top off with pumpkin seeds as serve immediately. Tastes great next day too.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. For year three, I hope to hear more from you! I want to know what you like, what you don’t, and what do you want to learn to make? Enjoy!
* The original recipe called for dill, which would work, but I used chives.
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