Rustic Sweet Onion Tart

The days are getting *cue Oprah voice* loooooongeeeeer!

Caramelized Onion Tart

It doesn’t seem like it today though, but I swear spring is coming. This week for the first time in a long time I gave the treadmill the finger and ran outside. Sure it was along an extremely busy street in Ottawa, and sure I had to wait for traffic lights, but I actually felt like I was moving! Such a triumph. I came home around dinner time without anything planned and decided to make something quick. I took out some refrigerated pie crust, caramelized some sweet onions, and threw some Gruyere cheese on top. Heaven, my friends!

Caramelized Onion Tart

All you need to do is preheat your oven to 425. In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook 8-12 minutes, or until tender. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until onions are browned and caramelized. *Swoon*. Stir occasionally while cooking.

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Shape pie crust on a lightly floured surface by rolling out into a 12-inch circle. Do this on parchment paper to make the transfer to a baking sheet easier. Then transfer that beauty.

Caramelized Onion Tart

Brush with egg white, and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over dough.

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Top with onions, leaving a 2 1/2 inch border.

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Sprinkle remaining cheese, and fold the pie crust over the edge of the onions, pleating as you go. Leave a 4-inch wide opening in the center. Brush crust with egg white.

Caramelized Onion Tart

Bake at 425 for 17-19 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown and cheese has melted.

Caramelized Onion Tart

Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Yum!

Caramelized Onion Tart

Rustic Vidalia Onion Tart
adapted from Rustic Vidalia Onion Tart

Ingredients:
2 tbsp butter
3 large sweet onions, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sugar (optional)
1/2 recipe pie dough, or 1 refrigerated pie crust (I used Pilsbury)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese (can sub Swiss cheese)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. In a dutch oven, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, herbs, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stirring occasionally, cook 8-12 minutes, or until tender. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until onions are browned and caramelized. Stir occasionally while cooking.

Shape pie crust on a lightly floured surface by rolling out into a 12-inch circle. Do this on parchment paper to make the transfer to a baking sheet easier. Transfer over to a baking sheet.

Brush with egg white, and sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over dough. Top with onions, leaving a 2 1/2 inch border. Sprinkle remaining cheese, and fold the pie crust over the edge of the onions, pleating as you go. Leave a 4-inch wide opening in the center. Brush crust with egg white.

Bake at 425 for 17-19 minutes, or until crust is golden-brown and cheese has melted. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

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Smokey Vegan Mac and Cheese

One of the things on my list of 30 things to do before 30 was “to be vegan for a month”. An item I checked off in November.

Smokey Vegan Mac and Cheese // Warm Vanilla Sugar

It was hard when with friends, but really easy to do when I was by myself. I tried a lot of great recipes and have been making a lot of vegan meals since.

Smokey Vegan Mac and Cheese // Warm Vanilla Sugar

This recipe for smokey vegan mac and cheese is a total keeper, and one I’ll be making again. The “cheese” sauce is made with soaked cashews, almond milk, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast, giving it a smooth texture and cheese-y flavour. Also, this dish has brown rice noodles making it gluten free! I loved this meal, and I hope you do too!

Smokey Vegan Mac and Cheese // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Happy weekend!

Smokey Mac and Cheese {Vegan}
Adapted from Manifest Vegan

Ingredients:
16 ounces brown rice pasta, macaroni, penne, fusili, shells all work well
2 cups cashews, soaked in water at least 3 hours and drained
1 1/2 to 2 cups almond milk, to thin
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups chopped (and de-stemmed) kale
1/2 tablespoon coconut or olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to package directions, undercooking just slightly by a minute or so. Drain well and rinse completely with cold water to remove any starch.

Transfer the pasta back to the pot and set aside.

Place the soaked and drained cashews, 1 cup almond milk, lemon juice, lemon zest,nutritional yeast, garlic, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt into a food processor. Blend very well, at least 7 minutes, until completely smooth and silky, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add about 1/2 cup more almond milk until thinned, pulsing between each addition. Add the sauce to the pasta in the pot, and then stir in the remaining almond milk to thin. Warm up gently over medium-low heat, stirring often until desired temperature is reached. Sprinkle on the smoked paprika and fold just to combine.

In a small frying pan over medium-high heat, toss together the kale, coconut oil and sea salt and saute for about 3 minutes, or until bright green and slightly wilted. Stir into the pasta and serve immediately.

Egg Salad Sandwich with Crispy Leeks

January has been all kinds of crazy. My bank account got hacked, I realized my passport was expired 6 weeks before leaving the country, my dentist gave me sad news….and other, bigger, things that I’m keeping to myself. I don’t have triskaidekaphobia, but I’m starting to think I should, because 2013 pretty much hates me.

Egg Salad with Crispy Leeks

I’ve written about the importance of good friends before, but you never really realize how lucky you are until you need to call on them for support when life gets real. In one of my crazy lady moments, I called a friend crying and babbling about the goings on in my life, and she raced over with a bag of gummies, mini brownies, and Reese’s peanut butter cups. My other friend has been listening to me (not crying, I’m cool now) on the phone almost every night with offers of sleep overs and girlie movies. These two ladies know me, and when times are tough they have my back. I honestly couldn’t be happier.

Egg Salad with Crispy Leeks

Because of the wildness in my life, I’ve decided to give you something easy today. This is one of the best meals I’ve had all month. I love a good egg salad, I love the blog A Thought For Food, and I need things to be simple, so enjoy this magic piece of awesomeness. It’s the leeks that make it taste like heaven!

Egg Salad with Crispy Leeks

Egg Salad Sandwich with Crispy Leeks
Recipe taken from A Thought For Food
Serves 2

Ingredients
4 eggs
1 tsp fresh dill, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 fresh leek, green parts only, washed and sliced
1 tbsp butter
Slices of multigrain or whole wheat bread (I used a baguette)

Directions
Place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold tap water, until there is about an inch over the eggs. Set burner to high and bring the water to a rolling boil. Once it reaches that point, you can reduce the heat to low-medium. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Once cooked, immediately remove from heat and run cold water over them, or immerse in an ice bath until completely cooled.

Peel the eggs and place in a medium-sized bowl. Begin mashing the eggs until the salad is fairly chunky. Add in the dill, olive oil, mustard, and shallot, and continue mashing until it reaches your desired consistency. Set bowl aside and begin working on the leeks.

In a pan, add the butter and set the burner to medium high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the leek greens and cook for 5-7 minutes, until browned.

To assemble an open-face sandwich: take one slice of bread and spoon half of the egg salad on top. Spread evenly across and then top with some of the crispy leeks. Repeat with other slices of bread.

Black Bean Burgers

School started up again this week and with the craziness of life sometimes it’s hard to eat right.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

During the holidays I didn’t fall too far off the wagon, but I find myself eyeing bags of Tostitos and big blocks of cheese at the grocery store instead of my regular hummus or almonds.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

With the craziness of life, whether it be back to work or school, I like having a bunch of black bean patties on hand so that I can grill/fry them up whenever I need a quick fix that satisfies both my healthy girl needs and that holiday chip devourer I was a few weeks ago. I hope you like them too!

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

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Place 3 cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth.

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In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture and toasted panko. Stir together until evenly combined.

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Place half of the mashed bean mixture in a food processor along with bell pepper and shallot and blend together until the red pepper looks nicely blended into the beans. Add this mixture back to the bowl with the mashed beans.

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties, and they’re ready to cook. Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Black Bean Burgers
slightly adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Healthy Family Cookbook
Makes 6-7 burgers

Ingredients:
Patties
1 cup panko
3 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 (15 oz.) cans black beans (3 cups), drained and rinsed, divided
2 large eggs
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
1 shallot, minced

Toppings
Sharp Cheddar
Avocado
Tomato
Red onion slice

Directions:
Place a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Combine the panko with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and mix with a fork to blend. Add the mixture to the skillet and toast the panko, stirring frequently, until light golden brown. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Place 3 cups of the beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork until mostly smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, 1 tablespoon of the oil, cumin, salt and cayenne. Whisk to blend. Add the egg mixture and toasted panko. Stir together until evenly combined.

Place half of the mashed bean mixture in a food processor along with bell pepper and shallot and blend together until the red pepper looks nicely blended into the beans. Add this mixture back to the bowl with the mashed beans.

Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions, about ½ cup each. Lightly pack into 1-inch thick patties. (At this point the patties can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking.)

To cook:
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Carefully lay half of the patties in the skillet and cook until well browned on both sides, about 8-10 minutes total. Transfer the cooked burgers to a plate, tent with foil, and repeat with the remaining oil and bean patties.

Serve with whatever toppings you have on hand!

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts

I didn’t make any resolutions for 2013, or maybe I just don’t want to call them resolutions.

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Whatever the case, I do have a few goals:
I want to qualify for the Boston Marathon (high hopes), and I want to make this blog a bit more consistent – posting every Tuesday and Thursday, etc. Also I want to test out a few new segments. Running topics for example, and overall “favorite things” from the month. We’ll see how they go, but hopefully you like them!

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts // Warm Vanilla Sugar

I posted a big a beautiful cookie recipe last, but I wanted to give you some green stuff. This particular salad makes me swoon. It’s full of candied walnuts, goats cheese, buttered croutons and fancy arugula. Get in my belly! Also, it’s another recipe from Shutterbean, who has been filling my weekly menus lately. Thanks Tracy!

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts // Warm Vanilla Sugar

To start making this, get your candied walnuts ready. Combine brown sugar, water, butter and salt in a heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts and stir.

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Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes.

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Transfer nuts to sheet of foil sprayed with oil and quickly separate nuts with fork. Cool.

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Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Place arugula in large bowl. Drop in croutons, and goat cheese.

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Add the candied walnuts on top and then toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Enjoy!

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts // Warm Vanilla Sugar

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese and Candied Walnuts
Recipe adapted from Shutterbean
Serves 4

Ingredients:
Candied walnuts:
1/3 cup golden brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups walnut halves

Salad:
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 5-ounce packages baby arugula
1 5-ounce packages soft goat cheese, broken into 1/2-inch pieces, chilled
4 tablespoons of packaged croutons (I used honey-butter flavour)

Directions:
For candied walnuts:
DO AHEAD: Can be made the day before or 1 hour ahead.
Combine first 4 ingredients in a heavy large skillet. Bring to boil, whisking. Boil 1 minute. Add walnuts; stir. Toss until syrup forms glaze on nuts, about 3 minutes. Transfer nuts to sheet of foil sprayed with oil and quickly separate nuts with fork. Cool.

For salad:
Whisk oil and vinegar in small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper.

Place arugula in large bowl. Drop in nuts, croutons, and goat cheese. Toss with enough dressing to coat lightly. Enjoy!

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Today is one heck of a special day. Like jump up and down, and square dance like you did in high school (or was that just me?) kind of day. My friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic just had her first cookbook released: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair!!

I was so pleased when Faith asked me to be a part of her virtual book launch party and share a recipe from the book with me. The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. After hearing Faith’s story, I am dying to go to the Middle East and eat the food. DYING!

Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, and after returning home, couldn’t stop going back to visit making sure to take in the culture and food more and more each time. Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but made totally easy for the home cook. Faith explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. I’m totally buying it, and am heading over to order it on Amazon right now! (you can also get it from Barnes and Noble).

After you check out the recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, head on over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtual book launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes, which you will totally want to enter for! Even I’m entering…because I like free stuff. DUH!

This recipe for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts is perfect for my November vegan month, but it would also be a perfect side dish for you meat eaters out there. Faith recommends serving it with chicken, beef, or lamb (or any curry dish).

Let’s make this, shall we? Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.

Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.

Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.

Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts
“ROZ MLOW’WAN”
Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.
Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

Ingredients:
1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

Directions:
1. Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
2. Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
3. Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
4. Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
5. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

OPTIONAL: Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

Crockpot Bourbon Baked Beans

Four years ago today I started dating a boy, and I can’t think of any better way to celebrate than by eating cake.

We went to our favorite place to grab some cake in the market in Ottawa, ordered a Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake, grabbed two forks and devoured the slice. I was so into the cake that I begged Paul to not let me lick the plate! My manners go out the window at dessert restaurants. Thank goodness I live in a big city where I know no matter what there are weirder people than me – like the guy who sells popsicle sticks downtown. They’re $2 if you’re interested.

This recipe is obviously not for cake, but it is a recipe that is one of my favorites. It’s one that the boy and I love to have on cool nights, especially with the cooler weather we’ve been having. Hope you enjoy it!

To make this, make sure to add beans to a large pot the night before and cover with water . Drain the next morning.

Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain.

While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until caramely and soft. Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine. Add beans and onions to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more. I actually prefer these the next day – so awesome.

Enjoy!

Crockpot Bourbon Baked Beans
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
Serves at least 6-8

Ingredients:
1 pound dry navy beans
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups water
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons molasses
1 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tablespoons ground mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

Directions:
The night before, add beans to a large pot and cover with water. Drain the next morning.

Bring beans to a boil in a large pot of water, let simmer for 30-40 minutes, then drain. While beans are cooking, heat a large skillet to medium-low and add onion, cooking for 8-10 minutes, until caramely and soft. Add in garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then turn off heat.

Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, bbq sauce, ketchup, ground mustard, vinegar, molasses and worcestershire sauce to the crockpot and whisk well to combine. Add beans and onions to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, stirring occasionally. After 10-12 hours, turn crockpot to “warm” setting or turn off completely and let sit anywhere from 30 minutes-2 hours, which will help the sauce for the beans thicken even more. These are awesome the next day!

Note: after 10-12 hours the liquid may still seem “liquidy.” It is important to let the beans sit for a while on the lower setting (or on the off setting, still covered) so they become thick and syrupy like traditional baked beans.

Two Potato Chili and Cumin Gratin

Did someone say October? Good, because this month is my favorite.

When I think of October I think of fall colours, cute boots, and the first hints of rosy cheeks. I start getting excited for pumpkin sweets, tea, and comfort food. But most importantly a lot of great “life” things happen this month.

October is the month of my boy’s birthday, our dating anniversary, and our soon to be wedding anniversary. It’s the time of year where we get to go hiking amongst the changing leaves and not sweat every ounce of water we drink. Overall, it’s good. It’s the month I look forward to every year, and by far my favorite season to cook in.

Here is a recipe for potato gratin made with sweet potatoes, white potatoes, cheese, and a creamy chili-cumin flavour to kick it up. I highly recommend this dish, and hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Pour over some of the cream mixture.

Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

I like to add some cheese on top at the end – it’s a good idea. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°C for 35-45 minutes.

Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving….then devour!

Two Potato, Chilli and Cumin Gratin
Recipe taken from K.O Rasoi
(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients
3 medium potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
3 medium sweet potatoes (500g), peeled and sliced thinly
1 1/4 cups half and half (or heavy cream)
60g cheddar cheese
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp chilli powder
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt or to taste
¼ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp garam masala

Directions:
1. Whisk together all of the ingredients except the potato slices.

2. Make a layer of potato and sweet potato slices in a deep 9 x 13-inch baking dish and pour over some of the cream mixture. Repeat until all of the ingredients are used up.

3. Cover with aluminium foil and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes.

4. Remove the foil and continue to bake until golden brown. Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.

5. Grab a spoon and devour.

Kick Ass Black Bean Skillet Nachos

I feel like I’m getting on this train late, but have you noticed that pretty much anything can be baked in a well seasoned cast iron skillet?!

The idea is pure genius. I have an unreasonable amount of recipes bookmarked under “skillet meals” like this fun breakfast idea, this cookie and this monkey bread. People are freaking creative!

I’ve seen skillet nachos on blogs before, so I can not take credit for the genius behind this recipe, but I used what little knowledge I had about baking things with a skillet, threw some nacho fixings in a pan, and went to town.

There’s something about nachos that has me giddy. It must be the cheese, sour cream and salsa mixture with those salty tortilla chips…the other fixings are optional, but with the right ratio, this skillet recipe is deadly!

To make this, turn on your oven broiler. Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

Heaven.

Black Bean Skillet Nachos
Serves 2
A Warm Vanilla Sugar Original

Ingredients:
2 Handfuls of good quality tortilla chips
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Nacho toppings to bake: jalapenos, chopped scallions, olives, corn, goats cheese and sauteed onions
Post oven toppings: avocado, salsa, sour cream, chopped tomatoes

Directions:
Turn on the broiler in your oven.

Using an 8″ cast iron skillet, place your tortilla chips across the bottom of your baking dish. Add the beans evenly across the chips, add the shredded cheese. Then add any extra toppings that you’d like to bake. I used sauteed onions, chopped green olives, and goats cheese.

Place your skillet in your oven and check frequently to make sure you don’t burn the cheese on top (it took me 5 minutes). Remove from heat, serve while hot and add your favorite cold toppings!

So easy, and so, so, delicious!

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad

After my sister and I were about 3 km (1.9 miles) in to our 6.5 km walk today, I noticed that I did not have any sunscreen on…or any protective clothing or water in my backpack. It’s 33 degrees C (90 F) outside.

Shit. Yes, that was the only word that came to me. Now I’m at home, can barely touch my arms, and find sitting painful. WOO HOO! Sunscreen matters people. Don’t be silly like me.

Since my brain and body are a bit fried, I can only handle cold salads and ice cream right now. That’s it! And this salad is perrrrfect! It’s filled with black beans and grapefruit and totally made me happy.

Hope you like it too! I recommend in on non brain-fried days as well.

To make this, bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water and a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing.

Toss well and serve.

Now that’s a summer salad.

Black Bean, Quinoa and Citrus Salad
Recipe lightly adapted from Eat, Live, Run
Serves 5-6

Ingredients:
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion, minced
1 large grapefruits, divided into segments and chopped
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
2 ears fresh corn, kernels chopped off’
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 large (ripe but firm) avocado, diced
1 small bunch cilantro, minced (optional)

Dressing:
juice of 3 limes
2 tsp cumin
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:
Bring quinoa to a boil with three cups water with a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from stove and let cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Place black beans, red onion, grapefruit, cilantro, bell pepper, avocado and shucked corn kernels in a large bowl. Toss to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together all dressing ingredients. Add quinoa to salad then pour over dressing. Toss well and serve.

Salad will keep in sealed tupperware containers for up to five days in the fridge.