Whoa, I have SOOO much goodness to blog about today—and I already blogged once already this morning! It was a really amazing day filled with some really amazing food, so let’s get right to it!
First off, lunch! After yesterday’s meager food offerings, I was ready for a nice big noon-time meal today. I started it off with a simple bowl of miso soup, following the classic “3 Bowls” recipe:
Good as always. I was happy with the tofu I picked up yesterday and the white miso I picked up this morning, and also about the fact that I have plenty of this soup left over for me in the fridge!
Along with this I made myself a BIG salad. Like too big. I mean, just check it out:
If I remember everything correctly, this salad consisted of: kale, rapini greens, plum tomatoes, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, pepitas, an avocado, and Uncle George’s Place’s Variety Blend of sprouts (flax, fenugreek, arugula, mustard, red clover/cabbage, radish, alfafa, lentils—did you even know all those things even had sprouts?). Now, like I said, this salad was too big, so much so that I couldn’t finish the whole thing. I think it was mostly the kale’s fault, though; I didn’t realize how filling raw kale can be! Unfortunately, my inability to finish this deal also owed some to a select few disappointing ingredients, namely, all the ones I bought from the Organics on Bloor shop yesterday: the kale (which just didn’t seem very fresh anymore), tomatoes (half my container had already gone yucky and the half was just so-so), and avocado (completely bland—what a letdown!). So I’m giving Organics on Bloor the big thumbs down. Thankfully, the other ingredients were very satisfying and didn’t ruin my entire salad experience. I’m looking forward to my next salad which will call for no kale and much more rapini.
After lunch, I set off on my afternoon adventure, a charity soccer tournament being held a good 45-minute bike ride away from my place. I enjoyed the ride, although it was more traffic filled than I hoped; I got to bike alongside the water and see the harbor area of Toronto for the first time. I got there a little before 4, and by that time it was already in full swing. There were four fields playing simultaneous 5 vs. 5 matches made up of local soccer enthusiasts. Here are some photos of the action (along with the beautiful Toronto skyline in the background):
Now although I enjoyed watching these energetic matches, the real reason I went was because I heard a few certain celebrity players would be joining in on the action. At first, I didn’t see anyone and was starting to think that I had either missed them or had read the ad wrong, but then, as the second match was about to begin, I turned my head, and there he was—my middle school hero!
For those unaware, that man of the left there is Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of Weezer! And in addition, a total surprise—his allstar teammate, Michael Cera!
I really couldn’t believe I was seeing these two people that I’ve only known from TV and CDs. And because this whole tournament was a pretty casual affair, I was able to stand literally ten feet away from them! It kind of blew my mind. I decided not to ask for a picture, though, as they had games (and then, later, reporters) to deal with. But here’s a really cute team photo from the end of the game (which, I’ll add, Rivers’ and Michael’s team won!):
Other notes of interest: Ted Leo, famed indie rock musician, was also originally scheduled to be at this event, but apparently he got stopped at border security and couldn’t make it (or, in addition, open for Pearl Jam the night before!). Also, Rivers Cuomo was there with his Japanese wife and 2-year-old Japanese daughter!! Exciting, eh?
Well, enough about soccer. I biked back home around 7 at night, really eager to get some dinner in me. With all the groceries I had picked up in the past couple days, I was ready to bring forth some kitchen spectacles. And, amazingly, I did! Seriously, this was one of the best dinners I have ever made, enjoyable from start to finish. It started humbly enough…
This is just sauteed kale, whipped up Dreena style. After my unpleasant kale experience at lunch, I knew that I would need to add some flavor to this kale if I was going to stomach it. This simple preparation involving just sesame oil, Bragg’s, salt and pepper really did the trick. And now all of my less-than-stellar kale is gone.
Next up, an irresistible plate of Ying Ying’s tomato flavored tofu:
I told myself that I would wait and use these tofu packages in sandwiches and salads, but I just couldn’t wait! And I’m glad I didn’t. This tofu is absolutely delectable. You’ll really just have to try it to understand. Don’t worry—I will make sure to facilitate the experience for you.
But it was the main course that really stole the spotlight tonight, what I’m calling “Laurel Wreath” Red Quinoa Pesto!
Oh my god just thinking about this makes me want to eat it again. It was seriously that good. But perhaps you’re wondering what exactly it is. Fair enough. Here’s the scoop: This inspiration for this dish came courtesy 101 Cookbooks and her recipe for Arugula Pesto Wheat Berries. I was very intrigued by the idea of an arugula-based pesto, and I loved the concept of eating pesto with a grain, so I decided to tweak it a little to make it match my pantry. First, I swapped the wheat berries with red quinoa, my new fav. Second, although I really did want to use arugula, there was none available at the farmers’ market this morning, so I decided to go more traditional and buy a lovely and bountiful bunch of basil being sold at one of the stands. This, I think, was really the key—the basil was just so delicious! If you’re ever going to try this recipe, I think you have to go with freshly picked basil (or arugula, if you can find it). Other than that, I basically followed 101 Cookbook’s instructions. One creative thing she did that really stepped this recipe up in my opinion was to mix a good hunk of the pesto in with the grain, then topping it off with additional pesto to your liking. And because this recipe was just so incredibly delicious (like never-want-to-stop delicious), I’m going to post my slightly tweaked recipe below, in hopes that you will soon try it.
“Laurel Wreath” Red Quinoa Pesto
- 1/2 to 2/3 cup red quinoa
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup nutritonal yeast
- 2 pinches salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- additional basil leaves, pine nuts and nutritional yeast for garnish
- Cook quinoa according to package instructions, or just cook it in about 3/4 cup simmering water. When done, put in a mixing bowl.
- Combine basil leaves, pine nuts, nutritional yeast, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor and pulse until ingredients are well mixed.
- With the food processor still running, drizzle in the olive oil.
- Take out about a 1/2 cup of the pesto and mix it in with the cooked quinoa.
- Serve pesto quinoa mixture with an extra dollop of pesto with additional pine nuts and nutritional yeast sprinkled on top and a laurel wreath of the remaining basil surrounding.
Note: This recipe is written to serve one (fairly hungry) person, but there should be extra pesto left over, which you can enjoy in many other fun ways.
After writing up this recipe, I realized that you’d need a food processor to make it. Sorry! Maybe this will give you an excuse to ask for one?
And that’s all for this very satisfying day. I really don’t know how I’d ever top this tomorrow, so I think I’ll not even try to outdo it and just go for a long run in the morning and make myself feel horrible and achy. Or then again, maybe it’ll go great! We’ll see…
Until we eat again,