[As always, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined-sugar-free!]
Yes, this title is a bit of legal/business humor (corporations law on the brain), but hear me out…
There are few greater joys for me than open-air markets. So if fair market value would just be the price of the food, my experience of the market was worth so much more.
The colors, the smells, people living with purpose, families preparing for the coming week–I adore markets: farmers’ markets, clothing markets, grocery stores, even floating markets (I’m thinking of the floating market on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam–a market lovers’ dream!). It’s in this space you can begin to sense a culture.
Chicago’s farmers’ markets are as vivacious as they come. With Saturday off, indulging myself in the Lincoln Park Green Market is a priority. Lucky for me (and you), there were incredible finds that have becomes this week’s nurture menu.
What can you do with micro greens…
…sweet potatoes, and mustard greens? If you thought summer sushi, you’re so right! But I can’t do just any sushi. I need more substance to withstand my dynamic week of law and yoga. Thus, I went with a quinoa creation.
Quinoa has the most protein of any grain, its a great source of vitamins & minerals – iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, amino acids, fiber, and it’s ideal for vegetarian or vegan diets. Not to mention, it takes about 15 minutes to cook!
When you wrap up these market finds in quinoa and seaweed, you have the ultimate lunch–beautiful, nourishing, and portable!
- 1 ½ cups quinoa (white, black, red, or a combo)
- 3 cups water
- 1/2 of Tezu (see below)
- 6-8 nori sheets
- vegetables–I used sweet potatoes, micro greens, asparagus, avo, and mustard greens
- sesame seeds–roast them in a dry pan until they smell fragrant
- bamboo mat
- If time allows, soak your quinoa for up to 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Put quinoa in a pot with water. Bring to the boil, reduce to simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 15-20 minutes until the water has been absorbed (do NOT stir!). When the quinoa has cooked, transfer it to a large bowl to halt the cooking process and cool it down.
- When it is no longer piping hot, you may add just under half (only half!) of your tezu, the vinegar preparation. Fold to incorporate and taste for seasoning. Add more salt if necessary. Cover loosely with a towel and let the quinoa cool completely.
- While the quinoa is cooking, prepare all the filling ingredients. Cut all the vegetables into a consistent width, so that you don’t create a “bulge” in the roll – this can encourage the nori to split.
- Blanch the vegetables you want cooked.
making the sushi
- Keep a small bowl of lukewarm water next to where you are working so that you can continually dip your hands as needed. You can also use this water to moisten the bare end of the nori sheet to create a seal so the roll stays closed.
- Lay out your bamboo mat with the slats horizontal. Place the nori on the mat (shiny-side down) and cover the middle third of the nori with the quinoa. You should leave about two inches at the furthest end of the nori.
- Place your veggies in the center of the quinoa. Don’t over do it! You don’t want to overstuff your roll.
- When you’re ready to roll (pun intended), wet the furthest end of the nori and roll the mat away from you, tucking in the contents as you go. The wet end of the nori acts to bind the roll.
- Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll. Wipe blade of the knife clean with a damp cloth between every slice! It is crucial to wipe the blade after every single slice of the roll, otherwise you’ll have smashed up mess.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds, arrange the ginger, pour some soy or shoyu, and you have yourself a delicacy!
- 4 Tbsp. (60 ml) brown rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 2 tsp. liquid honey (or light agave)
- 2 tsp. sea salt
- *1 tiny piece of beet root added to the tezu will colour the ginger a lovely pink hue, but this is optional, as it is only cosmetic.
- 2 oz fresh ginger root, organic if possible
- Whisk ingredients together. Set half aside to dress the quinoa.
- Peel the ginger and slice it thinly on a mandolin, grater, or peeler.
- Sprinkle the ginger with salt, toss to coat, and let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Using your hands, squeeze the peeled ginger out over a sink, rinse well with cold running water and squeeze out again until it is as dry as possible.
- Soak the ginger in a glass jar with half of the tezu (it should be submerged; if not add a little more). Let marinate for 15 minutes. Serve. [Cover and store leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.]
[adapted from mynewroots.blogspot.com]
the sweet finds!
The market had some essentials for my sweet tooth creativity. I found pecans, honey, and oats–oh my! The name of this creation may need some work, but carrot cake cookies, sandwiching creamy, healthy goodness–not sure if the name really matters.
For the cookies, protein-filled chickpea and almond flours, mixed with the oats and pecans from the market, makes for a thoroughly nutritious treat with minimal sugar.
For the filling, soaking chia seeds, created a yogurt-type consistency, mixed with the local honey…voilà! A healthier cream-cheese frosting substitute!
One chia seed is a complete food that offers almost all the possible nutrients that all of us badly need. As much as 27 minerals, vitamins, amino acids as well as omega-3 fatty acids and fiber content can be found in chia seeds! I know it doesn’t taste like a carrot cake’s cream-cheese frosting, but with all the love packed into just one little chia seed, you may not miss it.
- ½ c raisins
- 2 tbsp flax meal (blended flax seeds) AND ½ c water OR replace with 2 eggs
- ½ c unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ c coconut palm sugar
- 1 tbsp real vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 c shredded carrot (not store bought- freshly grated in a cheese grater)
- 1 c chickpea flour
- ½ c almond flour (I used almond meal from my homemade almond milk)
- 1 c gluten-free oats
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 3/4 c chopped pecansFilling:
- 1/2 c chia seeds
- 3/4 c almond milk
- 2 tbsp local honey or maple syrup, grade B
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Oven to 325’. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl, pour about half cup of hot water over the raisins and let them soak.
- In a bowl, make egg replacer mixture or whisk eggs well. Add applesauce, coconut oil, vanilla and coconut sugar. Stir.
- Drain the raisins and add them, and the carrots to the wet mixture.
- In another large bowl, mix all dry ingredients and the nuts.
- In thirds, gently add the dry ingredients to the wet. You should get a pretty thick dough at this point, firm enough to keep form on a baking sheet, but still moister than your typical cookie.
- Use an ice cream scoop for large cookies, or a tablespoon for smaller ones and set them 2’’ apart. Bake for 12-16, depending on cookie size, until edges brown a little and the middle is just set. Timing will vary.
- In the meantime, mix all filling ingredients with a whisk and put in fridge to firm up.
- When cookies and filling are cool, place no more than a teaspoon of the filling for the small cookies and a tablespoon for the large ones. With any remaining you can have a dipping sauce. [Lasts in the fridge for about a week.]
Make your joys, like going to a farmers’ market, cooking, painting, walking your dog, kicking the soccer ball, etc., a priority.
Make you a priority.