Cooking Club: Week 41

week-41-06.jpg

Hi, my loves. Here we are again! There was a request for some grilled vegetables so we’re doing skewers of those. I know there are all sorts of grilling tools to not lose vegetables through the grates, but skewers solve that problem too. The quinoa salad is a favorite from our Bowl and Spoon cookbook and this easy hummus is now being made weekly in an effort to reduce plastic packaging. It also tastes better and is ridiculously easy - just a dump and blend.
I am going to try a few Instagram lives where I’ll have a friend in the kitchen with me who is stuck on some kitchen things and we’ll work on some solutions together. Hoping this may help some other people too. The first one will be this Tuesday afternoon, around 3:30 PST on the og @sproutedkitchen instagram account. It is a friend of mine who would consider herself a beginner cook, and wants to learn a couple dressings or sauces she can have to pack lunches or throw together easy meals. When I chat with friends who don’t know where to start and are intimidated, I suggest just picking one thing, start there, get comfortable, then you build a repertoire one by one from there. Anyway, if that may be useful to you, or you’d like to contribute to the conversation, I’d love to see you there!

Thanks again for following along. Don’t hesitate with questions!

Hope you all have had a great week.


1-hr. Prep

- Parboil potatoes for #1 while cooking quinoa #3
- Roast tomatoes for quinoa in #3.
- Pre-chop your veggies for the skewers in #1.
- Whip up a batch of hummus #4.
- Rinse your food processor, and then make the dressing for the quinoa in #3.
- Proceed with making dinner, either the polenta for #1 or the quinoa for #3.


News:

- Hugh's Photo Tips are now available via the main navigation here on Cooking Club. Don't forget to tag @sk_cookingclub on Instagram, we love to see your photos!

- Comments, questions or suggestions? Submit your feedback here.


groceries

I am assuming you have sea salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil and a higher heat oil, such as avocado oil or coconut oil. Check your stock on these before you head to the market, and check off any other items you may already have. As you continue to use these recipes, you will see repetition of my favorite ingredients. For example, while real maple and pine nuts are pricey pantry staples, they won’t sit in the pantry, you’ll use them in upcoming weeks. Use bulk bins at your local health food store to buy in smaller quantities if you prefer.

Your List i

Parmesan polenta w/ grilled vegetables Sweet potato nachos (member favorite) Summer quinoa Herby hummus

Produce

Pantry

Meat & Dairy


recipe 01: Parmesan polenta w/ grilled vegetables

serves 4

If you are looking for a meal to host others, this is a great one, because everyone can make their own bowls. You can add a protein or leave them as is. There was a request about grilling vegetables, a few tips: Clean grill. Medium heat. The vegetables need plenty of oil on them to not stick and not dry out. Different vegetables have different cooking times so put the longest cooking vegetable on first. Keep rotating so they don’t burn. 

When I say “par-boil” on the potatoes, I mean they've been in lightly boiling water for about 10-12 minutes, then drained. In my experience, potatoes dry out if cooked on the grill for the length of time they need to cook through, so the par-boil is imperative. A generous par-boil gets you most of the way there and they just get a char on the grill.

week-41-02.jpg

Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: Parboil the potatoes. Assemble the vegetable skewers a day in advance.

Make It Work Twice: Any leftover vegetables will be great in a green salad or stuffed into a burrito or wrap with some avocado.

Kid Friendly: My kids seem to find asparagus, in full form, more entertaining, so I made their bowls with some grilled asparagus and potatoes on top. They also love pesto, so I did a dollop of that instead of the gremolata. Summer time I usually make my own, but the one at Costco is actually quite good.

Dairy Free: Just skip the parm and use a non-dairy butter in the polenta.

Carnivore Addition: Grill up some chicken sausages as you grill the vegetables and add them to the bowl, or skewers some chicken thighs onto the skewers with the vegetables.


Ingredients
 

For the Polenta

3 1/2 cups water or broth
1 cup polenta
1 tsp. sea salt (if you use water)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter/ creme fraiche or non-dairy alternative
2 Tbsp. grated parmesan

For the Veggies

1 bell pepper
1 small eggplant
1 lb. baby potatoes, halved and par-boiled
1 lb. thick asparagus, ends trimmed
1 zucchini, cut in 1” pieces on the diagonal
1 red onion, peeled and cut in thick squares 

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Pepper
Smoked paprika
Dried oregano

1/2 cup chopped toasted pistachios
Zest of one lemon
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped dill
Fresh ground pepper
Flaky salt

Instructions

Preheat the grill to medium heat. 

Start the polenta. Bring the water to a simmer. Stir in the polenta and salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. As it gets thicker, turn the heat to low, stir it more often so it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pot. Stir in the butter or alternative and taste for seasoning. If you want it a bit thinner, stir in some more milk, water or broth. You can’t really overcook it, so err on the side of more liquid. It will thicken as it cools. 

Chop your vegetables into generous 1” squares, spare the potatoes, which should be halved and par-boiled, (halved and boiled for 10 minutes until just cooked through, then drained). Thread them on the skewers, alternating vegetables so they look pretty. Don’t over fill them. Drizzle on the olive oil, a few big pinches of salt, pepper, dried oregano and smoked paprika. Use your clean hands to rub this all over the vegetables to coat - if you have a silicone brush, that works too. Grill for about 12 minutes, rotating halfway through, until the vegetables are browned and tender.

Make a little gremolata by chopping up the nuts, and mixing with lemon zest, parsley, dill and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Stir in the lemon juice. 

Assemble the bowls with a scoop of the polenta, some of the grilled vegetables, and the gremolata on top.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    573
  • fat i
    26 g
  • carbs i
    74 g
  • protein
    16 g

recipe 02: Sweet potato nachos

serves 4

The potatoes get roasted, and then dressed up with your favorite taco ingredients. If you have the time, make the Cauliflower Chorizo from week 16. Or, if you would like more protein, use shredded chicken (Or even the chicken from Melissa’s Tinga Tacos from Week 23!) or prepared carnitas.

Because these will be customized to taste, be sure to reference all the notes below. On the grocery list, I included salsa, cilantro, black beans, and avocado, but the rest will need to be added per your taste. I made the headnote on the grocery list too!

If you have pre-made taco seasoning, which typically includes salt, you can use that in place of the salt, cumin, and chili powder.

week-41-30.jpg

Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: You could roast the sweet potatoes in advance. Give them a quick go in a hot oven to reheat, along with the beans and any meat you are adding, and top from there.

Use it Twice: Any leftover toppings can go into a burrito bowl.

Kid Friendly: I put the potatoes on a plate and let them dress them up on their own…which basically just means beans and cheese, but oh well.

Carnivore Addition: Add warmed, prepared carnitas, shredded chicken, or leftover steak.

Low Carb: You could use roasted cauliflower florets with the same seasoning, and load those up. It will be a little lumpier, but still taste good!

Dairy Free: Try the dairy free nacho sauce from Siete Foods. It can be found in the section with the refrigerated hummus at Whole Foods, in the area with the refrigerated tortillas. Trader Joes also carries a vegan “nacho” sauce near the hummus. It’s not my favorite, but warmed up, it’s better than nothing if you are avoiding dairy.

Extra Credit: Try it with the Cauliflower Walnut Chorizo from Week 16.


Ingredients


FOR THE SWEET POTATO “CHIPS”

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2” coins
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cumin 
1/2 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. avocado or olive oil

FOR SERVING

1 cup cooked black beans, drained if canned
Salsa
Queso fresco or cotija cheese
Pickled jalapeños 
Avocado, sliced
sour cream
vegan nacho sauce – Siete Foods
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Pickled red onions or sliced green onions

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 425’. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment. 

Toss the potato coins in the oil, salt, cumin and chili powder, and spread them in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping the potatoes over halfway way through. 

If you are adding any meat, add it when you flip the potatoes. Add the beans, and warm everything together for another 5 minutes in the oven. 

From there, decorate the potatoes like you would a taco - sour cream, avocado, onions etc. You get the idea. Garnish quickly and enjoy them warm!

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    310
  • fat i
    18 g
  • carbs i
    30 g
  • protein
    10 g

recipe 03: Summer Quinoa

serves 4

This is a recipe from our second cookbook. I use it as a base or side to a grilling dinner - it can be made in advance, and then just add whatever protein I have, or add cooked lentils to fill it out. Leftovers are great for lunch the next day. 

Most of you voted that you wouldn’t mind a red-meat option in here every now and then, and we will include one in a few weeks. Until then, this would be a great place to include a good-quality steak. I am not a beef eater myself, but bought a good-quality ribeye for my people, seasoned it a few hours in advance with just salt and pepper and pan-seared it for about 7 minutes total. Let it rest, then sliced, and served it on top of the quinoa. My meat skills are basic at best, but a simple season and sear alongside a good salad or side-dish, seems to go over well.

week-41-28.jpg

Tips of The Week

Make Ahead: The quinoa can be made a day in advance. The roasted tomatoes can be made in advance.

Use it Twice: I like this for breakfast with an egg on top, or will continue to add greens to stretch it into another salad the next day.

Kid Friendly: I can get a few bites of salad in them, but tomatoes are completely off the table. I’ll give some to them spare tomatoes and add a grilled protein.

Carnivore Addition: This can take any grilled protein - chicken, fish, steak. See note above, or marinate your chicken in garlic, green herbs, lemon zest, oil and grill.

Dairy Free: Skip the cheese, perhaps add some pitted olives to replace the salty, richness.


 Ingredients

3/4 lb. cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon avocado or extra virgin olive oil, divided
sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup quinoa (or one cup cooked and cooled quinoa)
2 ears of corn or 1 1/4 cup corn kernels
2 1/2 cups chopped kale or arugula, stems removed
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup toasted pinenuts
1/2 cup ricotta salata or feta cheese

2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk (plain yogurt is fine!)
1/2 teaspoon each sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325. Halve the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle on 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper and toss everything to coat. Spread the tomatoes in an even layer and roast the tomatoes in the upper third of the oven for 30 minutes until slightly dried at the edge. Remove to cool.

Rinse and drain the quinoa. Put it in a pot with 3/4 cup water or broth. Bring it to a boil, turn it back down to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff it with a fork, turn off the heat, set the cover ajar, and set aside to cool completely. 

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the corn kernels and sauté, for two minutes to just char the outside, only stirring once. Set aside to cool. Both steps may be done a day in advance.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, kale and cilantro. Once the tomatoes and corn are completely cool, add them to the bowl. 

To prepare your dressing, in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle, pulse/smash the garlic cloves. Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, buttermilk, and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and pulse everything to combine. 

Toss the salad with desired amount of dressing. Mix in half of the pinenuts and ricotta salata and reserve the rest for garnishing the top. 

Salad will keep covered in the fridge for three days, add in the nuts and cheese before serving.

Nutrition Information

per serving

  • calories
    411
  • fat i
    25 g
  • carbs i
    40 g
  • protein
    14 g

recipe 04: Herby Hummus

Yields 1.5 cups

I am going to throw in a few fridge/pantry staples into the “treat” section, that we can make together. I buy store-bought hummus so we always have an easy snack with cut vegetables or crackers, but we’re trying to reduce our plastic consumption, and making humus from scratch is so simple if you have a food processor or high-powdered blender. If you’ve been making the SKCC recipes for a while now, you likely have all of these ingredients in your pantry. 

A hummus purist will insist you cook the beans from scratch, and if you have the time, do that. If you use a canned or boxed bean, pushing the beans out of their skin will also result in a smoother hummus. I do not do this myself, but thought I’d pass on the tip.

week-41-07.jpg

Tips of The Week

Make it Work Twice: I use this as a sandwich spread for my kids lunches with a slice of turkey, butter lettuce and cheese. It keeps the fiber-y bread a bit more tender by the time lunch comes around.

Add ins: If you like it spicy? Add a roasted jalapeño. A few jarred roasted red peppers. Spinach if you’re trying to get more green vegetables into your kids.


Ingredients

2 cloves garlic, roasted if you’re fancy
1/4 cup tahini
juice of one lemon
1 1/2 cups (13.5 oz. can) garbanzo beans, drained
Handful of fresh parsley
Handful or fresh basil leaves
Sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Splash of water


Instructions

Into a food processor, put in the garlic and pulse a few times to chop. Add the tahini, lemon juice and garbanzos and run for a minute or two until smooth. Add the herbs, a few pinches of salt and pepper and pulse again. Drizzle in the oil, splash of water and run to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste and store in an air-tight container in the fridge. 

Nutrition Information

per 1/4 cup

  • calories
    210
  • fat i
    16 g
  • carbs i
    15 g
  • protein
    5 g