Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekly Lunch: Super Seedy Veggie Wrap

The top two definitions of seedy (per google) are:
1. Sordid and disreputable
2. Shabby and squalid

This wrap does not fit either of those definitions, although I like the idea of a disreputable (but healthy!) lunch making the rounds to various pay-by-the-hour motels around town. I can see the marketing team now, "Eat more seeds, be less seedy!"

I do have a couple of other things to say about this wrap:
1. I am terrible at wrapping wraps. Maybe I've been overstuffing them?
2. I LOVE seeds.
3. I do not like the wraps I bought. They taste almost sweet, yet cardboardy. Does anyone have a favorite wrap they can recommend? Preferably a whole grain version?

Packed and ready to go.

Super Seedy Veggie Wrap
Makes 5-6 wraps

1 package of whole grain sandwich wraps
Half a head of red cabbage, sliced thin
3 carrots, peeled and cut into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
Baby spinach leaves
Salad sprouts (from radishes, clover, broccoli, etc)
1 bunch of parsley, chopped
16 oz. cottage cheese
2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 1/4 cups seeds (I used 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds and 1/4 cup each of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and hemp seeds)
Freshly ground black pepper

Toast the seeds, if desired, and set aside.
For each wrap, mix together 1/3 cup cottage cheese, 1-2 teaspoons dijon mustard, several grinds of pepper, and a handful of parsley. Stir in 1/4 cup mixed seeds.
To put the wrap together, layer spinach leaves, cabbage, and carrot shreds on your wrap. Spread the cottage cheese-seed mixture down the center of the wrap, then top with sprouts. Roll up as best you can, trying to keep the filling inside. Serve and enjoy.


Monday, April 25, 2011

Roasted Radishes

I may have gotten used to raw radishes in salads, but I never would have thought to roast radishes before seeing them featured in Melissa Clark's column. Roasting brings out the sweetness in any vegetable, and radishes are no different. The sweetness plays off the radishes' natural peppery flavor quite nicely, and I can see these being used as their own side dish, or mixed with other roasted root vegetables, perhaps with some garlic and herbs.

Or you could eat them straight out of the oven for an afternoon snack, like I just did.

Roasted Radishes

Radishes, washed and trimmed
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
White wine vinegar or lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375F. Place the radishes in a roasting dish and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 30 minutes until radishes are tender and getting browned. Remove from the oven and toss with 1-2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Weekly Lunch: Spring Millet Salad

Were you a picky eater as a kid? I was pretty open-minded, but definitely had my quirks, and there were more than a few foods I just wouldn't touch. Radishes were one of them - I don't know why, they seem so mild and harmless now, but there was something I didn't like about them. As I've gotten older, I've enjoyed seeing how my taste buds change and learning to like some of those foods I avoided as a kid.

I have learned to like thinly sliced radishes in salads, and to go with them, I wanted to take advantage of more colorful spring veggies this week, including half a head of red cabbage left over from last week's lunch (one more reason to love red cabbage - it lasts for such a long time!).

To go with the veggies I cooked some millet and some yellow split peas, and toasted some pumpkin seeds for a crunchy topping. I crumbled some goat cheese, made a lemony dressing to keep at work and use throughout the week, and was all set.

Spring Millet Salad
Makes 4-6 servings

1 1/4 cup millet
1 1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 head red cabbage, thinly sliced
Radishes, as desired, thinly sliced
Sugar snap peas, as desired, cut in half
2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled

1 small shallot, minced
Juice of one lemon
White wine vinegar
2 tablespoons plain yogurt
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook the millet: in a medium saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add a pinch of salt, then stir in the millet. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender. Drain any excess water and set aside.

Cook the yellow split peas: bring a pot of water to a boil, then add a spoonful of salt and the peas. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until just tender, then drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

Toast the pepitas in a small saucepan over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and toasty smelling.

Make the dressing: juice the lemon, and add white wine vinegar to make a total of 1/4 cup. Stir in the minced shallot and yogurt, add salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in the olive oil.

Put it together: pour about half of the dressing over the millet and stir together. Layer the millet, split peas, and veggies, then top with the toasted pepitas and some goat cheese. Drizzle some of the remaining salad dressing just before serving.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Butterscotch Cookie Dough Balls

I was looking around the interwebs last week, searching for a tasty treat to make. I had two criteria: first, it had to use ingredients I already had on hand (so no eggs or milk), and second, it had to be fancy enough to be given as a birthday gift. I remembered seeing a recipe for unbaked chocolate chip "cookie dough balls" on Oh She Glows and thought it sounded perfect - and easy to make, too, with a food processor on hand.

I whizzed up cashews, oats, whole wheat pastry flour and salt, then added chopped medjool dates and honey. It took only a couple of minutes to go from raw ingredients to delicious cookie dough - no baking required!

(I added a little more honey after that last picture, to help the dough come together into a ball.)

And instead of chocolate chips, I used butterscotch chips, a few handfuls of which were sitting in the cupboard after being requested specifically by Sweetie to be used in the latest batch of granola bars (which was a great idea, btw).

I mixed a handful of butterscotch chips in with the dough, and melted the rest to use as a topping. Or rather, I tried to melt them, but for some reason they just turned into a paste instead of a liquid... but I made the best of it and kind of "molded" the butterscotch paste onto the cookie dough balls. It worked well enough.

The birthday girl enjoyed them quite a bit! And so did I :) I would definitely recommend Angela's recipe if you're looking for a different kind of cookie-like treat. After all, who doesn't love raw cookie dough?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Weekly Lunch: Apple Crunch Salad with Smoked Cheddar

This week's salad is all about texture. Combining foods with different textures helps keep this meal fun and interesting even after eating it for a few days in a row. Here's what I used:

Crunchy: romaine lettuce, thinly sliced red cabbage, fuji apple
Chewy: wheat berries
Smooth: chickpeas and applewood-smoked cheddar

All tied together with a simple vinaigrette of white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper.

This is also the kind of salad that is very easy to store in the refrigerator all week. On Sunday I:
  • Cooked the wheat berries in lightly salted water, then stored them in the refrigerator. 
  • Chopped the lettuce and cabbage and stored it in a large bowl in the refrigerator. 
  • Opened a can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, and stored that as well. 
  • Chopped one apple at a time and used half per salad, so I did have to chop an additional apple mid-week.
  • Chopped some smoked cheddar into small chunks.
  • Made the dressing, which I stored in the shared refrigerator in my office.
Yay for easy lunches!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fried Rice with Spring Vegetables and Spiced Pork

When I think of fried rice, I usually think of my fifteen-year-old self and my one vegetarian friend at the time, sharing a pound and a half of grease from the food court at the mall. Not a good association! Fried rice can be very healthy and versatile depending on what you do with it.

I saw a recipe for fried rice with spiced pork on Cooking by the Seat of my Pants and thought it sounded fantastic. The marinade for the pork was particularly interesting, filled with warm spices and even molasses. I was intrigued, to say the least. I didn't have five spice powder, so I improvised with a combo of cloves, coriander, ginger, cayenne pepper, and mustard powder. I think it's close enough to the real thing.

But the best part about fried rice is that it can be mostly prepared ahead of time. Cook some extra rice and refrigerate it, mix together the marinade and pour it over your thinly-sliced protein of choice (I think tofu would be amazing with this marinade) and refrigerate it overnight.

The next day, chop whatever veggies you have - I used some lovely shiitake mushrooms and some crunchy broccoli raab, as well as some green garlic (also used in the marinade).

Then it's time to work quickly. In a large skillet or wok, heat a small amount of neutral oil over medium-high heat. Take the pork/tofu/whatever protein you are using out of the marinade and cook for a few minutes on each side, then remove to a plate. Add the veggies to the skillet and cook for another few minutes, then add the leftover rice. Stir to break up the clumps. Beat a few eggs and pour over the rice, stirring well until the egg is fully cooked.

Serve immediately, and top with extra green garlic and some sriracha. I think this is a much better memory of fried rice - I'll keep it around for a while.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Weekly Lunch: Quinoa with Roasted Fennel, Carrot and Kale

Do you ever see a recipe, or a photo of the finished dish, and immediately know that you just have to make it? It happens to me all the time. When I saw Shauna's post on Roasted Vegetable Salad I loved the look of the roasted fennel and carrot, and I liked the idea of cooking kale in the oven, just barely, so that it wilts but isn't crispy like kale chips.

I went to the farmer's market last weekend, and even though it's early in the season, there was an abundance of beautiful produce. I got a huge bunch of lacinato kale, and I bought a fennel bulb for the first time ever. I've enjoyed it in salads before, but had never tried roasting it. I'm so glad I branched out! When was the last time you tried a new vegetable? It's been way too long for me.

From left to right: collard greens, lacinato kale, green garlic, shallots, fennel, broccoli raab, and shiitake mushrooms.

The recipe is simple. Chop some veggies (I used the fennel and a few carrots) into large chunks, toss with oil, salt and pepper, and roast in a 375F oven for about 20 minutes. In the meantime, I chopped up the kale into small pieces. After the 20 minutes, I piled the kale on top of the carrots and fennel, and put it back in the oven for about 4-5 minutes. Afterward, it looked like this:

I also cooked a pot of quinoa, and made a simple dressing with lemon juice, a splash of white wine vinegar, dijon mustard, green garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. I used a small plastic container that I can easily keep in the office refrigerator and shake up each day at lunchtime.

Mix it all together and top with goat cheese and a hard boiled egg. I love how the fennel got so caramelized. The sweet roasted veggies, slightly bitter kale, tangy goat cheese and lemon juice dressing was a great combo.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Make It Homemade

Just a short post today to let you know about a couple of new features on Olalliberry. First, I finally added an About page. I am not one to share a lot of details of my life on the internet, but hey there ya go.

More exciting (for me) is Make It Homemade, my ongoing goal to learn to make different foods, from angelfood cake to hollandaise sauce to pickles. I'll be crossing items off the list and probably adding more and more as time goes on.

Also, we finally got some sunshine this weekend! I celebrated by taking a lovely waterfront walk with Sweetie.

Do you have cooking goals? Anything you've always wanted to make?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Weekly Lunch: Moroccan-ish Chickpea Soup

My quest for new lunch ideas continues! It's still too early for spring veggies, so I'm making do with sweet potatoes and cauliflower, but with a different flavor base. This week's soup is inspired by a Moroccan chickpea tagine, with a spicy tomato-based broth and hearty winter vegetables. Rather than serving over the traditional couscous, I added some millet to the pot. Millet is similar enough in size to couscous, and is a whole grain to boot.

I am impressed that the millet has stayed chewy, even after a few days (unlike pasta, which keeps absorbing broth and becomes soggy overnight). I'll definitely put millet in soup again!

Moroccan-ish Chickpea Stew
Makes 4-6 servings


1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2-3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tablespoons harissa paste (I used a storebought one, but I would love to make it sometime!)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
1 bay leaf
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped in 1/2" pieces

1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted

4 cups vegetable stock
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 1/2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (I used a 15 oz. can)
1/2 cup uncooked millet
1/4 cup raisins (or dried apricots or currants)
optional toppings: toasted slivered almonds and/or fresh cilantro


In a large soup pot over medium heat, cook the onion, carrots and celery in the olive oil for 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the harissa paste, cumin and coriander and cook for another minute.

Add the sweet potato, bay leaf, tomatoes and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, garbanzo beans and millet, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes until the veggies are tender and the millet is fully cooked. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.
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