Monday, January 29, 2007

Leek-Potato-Barley Soup, Heirloom Quinoa with Tomatilla Salsa, Spinach

Tonight a friend is coming over for dinner. We feel bad that he is so busy that he doesn't eat well. I have offered to drop meals off for him, but he hasn't taken me up on my offer. For tonight, he asked for a meal with lots of vegetables.

Around 1p, I started the slow cooker going with (maybe 6-8?) Russian Fingerling potatoes cut into large chunks, medium diced leek (washed carefully - leeks often collect dirt), a small yellow bell pepper that I had diced into medium-small pieces, a half cup of hulled barley, a cube of vegetable bouillon, fresh herbs from my garden (maybe a tablespoon or a little more of rosemary and a teaspoon or so of oregano which, surprisingly, still exists above ground in my garden though it's been cold recently), about a teaspoon of grated ginger, 2 1/2 cups water, and a little salt and freshly ground pink peppercorns. The soup cooked till almost 8p (my friend said he would have enjoyed the barley more cooked, but my wife and I loved the soup and enjoyed the barley, cooked but still a bit firm).

I made a saute of spinach with onions. I also prepared a brownish-red heirloom quinoa (Ancient Harvest brand "Inca Red") simply, just by putting it in a pan with twice as much water, bringing to a boil, reducing the heat and simmering for a minute or two, then turning the heat off and covering the pan for about 15 minutes. I topped the quinoa with some tasty tomatilla salsa that we had purchased from Whole Foods, and also served some tofu with cilantro pesto (it's interesting that I didn't used to like cilantro at all but recently my taste buds have changed their minds! I think the thing that precipitated this may have been some of this tasty tofu that I sampled last year).

Yesterday I was planning a meal, but my Mom and Dad had a get-together at their home and invited us to eat with them. We had some of the best okra that my Mom has ever made, as well as other good Indian dishes. On Saturday, we had one of our best vegetarian society potlucks with around 30 people in attendance (including one person who just moved here and immediately recognized me as having interviewed him at a human-computer interaction conference in Minneapolis in April 2002!) and very good and ample food. I made a rice and tempeh dish for that event.

Though I'm not a big fan of winter, one thing that I enjoy about the cold weather is the abundant citrus that we get from warmer climes at this time. Yesterday, I was delighted to see Page orange (actually a tangelo) availability, and had a big glass of its freshly squeezed juice with breakfast today. The more tart Minneola tangelo is my reigning favorite citrus, but maybe I should switch to Page; it is so sweet, that it seems like somebody has mixed sugar in to its juice! Of course, I also like the Pixie tangerine, which should become available in another month or so. I love the color of the Blood orange (and Ciao Bella brand Blood orange sorbetto is divine!), but its more acidic and slightly bitter juice keeps it from being a favorite taster for me.


At Mon Jan 29, 10:46:00 PM EST, Blogger bazu said...

Have you tried raspberry oranges? I discovered them last year after moving to upstate NY. I think they might actually be cross-bred with raspberries... because there is a faint berry taste. It looks like a blood orange, but is a bit sweeter. I love them because they're slightly crazy!

At Tue Jan 30, 02:39:00 AM EST, Blogger Dilip said...

Hi, bazu. Thanks for your comment. I have not heard of raspberry oranges! I did a google search on "raspberry orange" and "raspberry orange variety" but didn't find any promising hits. If you can get more information, maybe a picture, please do share! Thanks!

At Wed Jan 31, 12:31:00 AM EST, Blogger bazu said...

Hi Dilip,

These are oranges I see in our local Wegman's supermarket, from the Sunkist brand.

I looked them up, and the closest I could come was the Moro oranges listedhere

I don't know if they are both the same thing, but now I realize it is probably silly to think they are actually cross-bred with raspberries!

I posted a photo on my blog at the bottom of this post if you want to see.

Interesting trying to figure out what they are...

At Wed Jan 31, 12:27:00 PM EST, Blogger Dilip said...

bazu, I hope that you are recovering from your dental work and can eat harder foods soon. Thanks for the link - the orange that you show looks like a Moro blood orange or maybe some other kind of blood orange. Have you seen my blood orange pictures?

At Thu Feb 01, 11:03:00 AM EST, Blogger bazu said...

Yes, I went back to the supermarket and the mystery is finally solved! While our supermarket (Wegman's) advertises them as raspberry oranges, a closer look at the label revealed that they are indeed regula moro oranges. I was a little disappointed, but love these anyway. Your pictures are beautiful by the way!

At Fri Feb 02, 01:29:00 AM EST, Blogger Dilip said...

Thanks, bazu! Too bad re: the oranges - I was excited to hear of a variety that I could try and photograph anew! Do let me know if you do see "new" varieties.


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