I like when a whole meal is a salad... something substantial where I'm not still hungry afterwards and dive in to the bag of chips (it happens...). So when I saw the original recipe from Bakeaholic Mama that inspired this meal I felt it wouldn't have the oompf that would fulfill that dinner salad need... unless I ate a lot more of it than I really should (which also happens...). So with a few add-ins and a couple tweaks of my own I created this delicious way to use those beets you've been wondering what to do with (you know who you are ;)).
Garlic Roasted Beets and Quinoa Salad with Harissa Sauce
Beets & Garlic
1 lb beets - I used a rainbow variety that makes the salad less red when it sits waiting for me to eat it for lunch
2 tbsp olive oil or melted coconut oil
2 - 4 garlic cloves peeled and left whole (quantity depends on garlicky preference and size of cloves... I like garlic but the cloves were smallish so went with 4)
~1 tsp sea salt
A few twists of the pepper mill (or about 1/2 tsp)
The Heart of the Salad
2 heaping cups cooked quinoa (When using in savoury dishes cook with half a bouillon cube for extra flavour)
1/4 cup red onion, diced and soaked in cold water until ready to mix in salad (reduces the sharp onion flavour)
4 - 6 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup buckwheat, rinsed (I've blogged about this super seed before... get them in to your diet!)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
5 small bocconcini, quartered (used the rest of the Arancini ball recipe)
1 handful of mixed greens per serving
Dressing and Toppings
Additional salt & pepper to taste
1-2 Tbsp (plus extra for serving) Balsamic reduction (we use this awesome pre-made variety from Nonna's from BC. So much easier to always have in the pantry)
Harissa Sauce (I make a big batch of my own but base the recipe from this one and will post details in a later post soon) or any variety of your favourite hot sauce.
Roasting the Beets
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Cut root end off of beets, scrub thoroughly (I'm a fan of leaving on the peel) and cut in into roughly 1" sized cubes.
Place beets and garlic in bowl and toss with oil, salt and pepper.
Wrap in an aluminum foil packet or pour beets in to a baking dish with a lid.
Bake for 15 minutes, turn over foil packet or stir beets in baking dish. Return to oven for at least 10 minutes, checking for fork tenderness and adding time if needed to reach full doneness.
Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the beets roast...
In a large bowl, mix together all of the heart of the salad ingredients *except for the mixed greens*
Add 1 tbsp. of balsamic reduction and fold through the salad ingredients. Taste for flavour and add more if needed as well as salt and pepper to taste.
Serving this great salad!
Remove the garlic from the roasted beets mixture and chop finely. Mix thoroughly in to salad mixture.
Pour beets in to the salad and gently fold in to salad to avoid turning the whole thing "beet red"... ha! It will taste the same if salad folding gets out of control or you have really red beets.
Place a handful of mixed greens on a plate and spoon a generous portion of the salad on top. Drizzle a bit more balsamic reduction and top with a spoonful of harissa or a bit of your favourite hot sauce.
Eat and be well :)
Now back to you my friendly Experimental Approach readers! Do you like a hearty salad? Plan on trying this or your own version? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear about your cooking experiments too!
For anyone who has never heard of floating, sensory deprivation or isolation tanks; at first may think this could be some sort of torture device. But it could not be anything further from that. Really. This experience is a relaxing way to completely disconnect from all forms of external input - no cell phones, no tvs, no light, no sound and no gravity! The water is infused with Epsom salts (which really isn't salt) to twice the density of the Dead Sea and the temperature is just warm enough so that you lose the sense of where you end and the water begins as you float. Your mind can disconnect, leaving your body to relax and be released from the pressure of gravity and the outside world. It's magical. It's healing. It's meditation on super speed.
I've floated three times prior to my first visit at FloatLife so I had mixed preconceived notions. I had been watching their website and Facebook feeds for updates and jumped at the chance to order a discounted 3-float pack to celebrate their opening. Finally, after construction/inspections delays their doors opened on September 11th and I was booked in to float the following Sunday.
Once inside the centre it was quite apparent that they were brand spanking new. I assumed signage and general décor is on its way as it is an open blank slate just waiting for some love. For the few minutes I waited in the reception area it became abundantly clear that there is plenty of interest in floating here in Calgary. There was one fellow looking to purchase a gift certificate for a friend, another guy just wanting to learn more about the centre and a couple in which the boyfriend was floating and the girlfriend dropping him off just wanted to check the place out. It was a bit hectic for the two good looking owners, Dustin and Isaac, who were a tad sleep deprived from finalizing pre-opening details and the onslaught of interest in their business. Nonetheless, I could tell they were passionate about what they have created and I was excited to get in the tank.
After a quick tour/briefing of the space with Isaac I was ready to float. I requested 5-minutes of music to begin the float as I was given the option of none, five or 10 minutes which was an unexpected happy surprise. Just prior to getting in I wondered if the music was even playing, however, once I closed the door, turned off the light and laid down with my ears under water I could hear the melodic drums clearly. Next thing I knew I realized the music had stopped but wasn't sure how long it had been since it had ended. There were a few moments of muscle twitching and I was consciously feeling my body relax, letting go of the tension in my neck and hips. It took a while to completely be calm as time is impossible to gauge - could've been a few minutes could've been over 30 minutes. Then, as if I travelled through time and space, the music quietly started playing again indicating my 90 minutes of float time were up. I reached up behind my head, touched the overhead door to get an idea of where I was and slowly came back to reality. Once showered, dressed and fixing my hair at the end of the hall prep area (FloatLife even offers a great hairdryer with diffuser - good call, fellas!) I headed to the reception area and shared my experience with Dustin and a few people who were waiting to check out the place.
I truly love the floating experience, have already booked my next appointment and am confident that the guys at FloatLife are able to get a good foot hold in to this business in Calgary. I truly believe everyone can benefit from this experience. With plenty of glass towers in the downtown core and major roads filled with stressed out people FloatLife could not have opened soon enough.
So now to you, my lovely Experimental Approach readers! Have you tried floating/sensory deprivation/isolation tanks before? Have you booked in to FloatLife yet? Do you have any other questions about my experience? Please let me know through the comments as I would love to hear from you!
It's been nearly a month since my last post so I decided to kick myself in the ass and get back in the kitchen to devise something delicious. I did not disappoint myself and was really pleased with my first attempt at these traditionally Sicilian stuffed rice balls. There are a few steps but once everything was arranged it really didn't take too long to put them together. One note - this isn't for the dainty - you just have to get your hands in there to form and shape these packets of flavour. Your hands are the best tools in the kitchen and this dish needs them! This recipe was roughly inspired by this recipe over at Oh My Veggies - but as always I've change nearly everything and here's my take on these balls. Ha! Yes, I giggle a little bit every time...
Baked Arancini Balls
2 heaping cups of leftover rice (I had also cooked this rice with some bouillon as it gives extra flavour)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
Salt and pepper
4 small rounds of bocconcini - cut in to halves (any cheese cut in to small cubes would do though)
2 heaping soup spoons of all-purpose flour*
1 egg - beaten
1 C breadcrumbs*
*these could easily be replaced with gluten-free
Olive oil or parchment paper
Marinara sauce for serving
Making the balls:
The coating process:
*Having a cooking partner helps with this next step but otherwise just try to use your finger tips most often to avoid completely caking your hands*
Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat the ball making and coating process until all of the rice mixture is used up. I was able to make 8 balls.
Bake for 25 minutes, checking on them half way through to turn to ensure all over goldenness.
While the arancinis are baking warm some marinara or your favourite tomato based sauce.
Serve a pair with the warmed marinara sauce and a glass of wine for a knock your socks off appetizer or with a salad (think replacement for falafel!) for a complete meal :)
So that's it - Have you made these before? Will you try this recipe? I would love to hear from you so let me know in the comments!