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A Kale Salad To Celebrate Fall

Ah kale. With your rise in popularity, you’ve often become the butt of many vegan jokes. But no matter what others may say about you, you’re still one of my favorite greens to add to a salad. Hearty, but not too bitter, and with an outstanding ability to hold up under the weight of dressing, choosing a kale salad is often a great way to go when you’re entertaining.

I originally developed this particular gem for a Rosh Hashanah menu. Around the world, Jewish communities have added a ritual revolving around symbolic foods to help usher in a happy and prosperous New Year. The chosen ingredients might seem a little random at first glance. Carrots, leeks, black-eyed peas, cabbage, what do all of these have in common?

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The Perfect Breakfast Muffin

Tower of muffins!

Tower of muffins!

These muffins were created as a twist on my new favorite breakfast: quinoa porridge. For whatever reason, I was never into quinoa porridge in all the years I worked at Peacefood. Not that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t my thing. When it came to having breakfast there, I generally opted for the tofu scramble with roasted potatoes if I wanted something warm (either that or a fresh baked pastry). In the few weeks since I moved into my new apartment here, however, I’ve been craving something warm for breakfast, and being a little too lazy to go out and get oatmeal, I settled on quinoa as my breakfast grain of choice. Generally, I like to cook it in a combination of water and soy milk, though if I’m out of that, I add a little nut butter to add some richness while it cooks. The real secret I find to good quinoa, is to make sure you add salt while its cooking, regardless of whether you are intending the grain for a sweet or savory application. The salt will remove any lingering bitterness that is sometimes present in quinoa, which is especially important for a sweet application such as this. In keeping with Peacefood Cafe’s quinoa porridge, I also add a touch of coconut oil and cinnamon while it cooks. This is where I deviate, and make my breakfast just a little more Israeli. I top the porridge with a tablespoon or so of silan (date syrup) and tehina, which adds a perfect amount of sweetness, as well as a richness of flavor. It is delicious and perfect for this Israeli winter thing.

Israeli quinoa porridge

Israeli quinoa porridge

The only problem with my porridge is that I do have to have time to cook it in the mornings. As my schedule gets more and more hectic with the approaching premiere of the show I’m working on, I’ve spent an increasing number of mornings stopping for a pita and coffee on my way to work. I needed a way to save time and have breakfast ready in advance, as well as to make it portable, so today I decided to make it into muffins.  These muffins are really hearty, packed with rich rolled oat, crunchy quinoa and soft apple bit.  They’re also wonderfully flavored with the slightest hint of sesame and some caramel undertones from the silan.  They really are the perfect breakfast muffin.

Fresh from the oven

Fresh from the oven

Quinoa Apple Oat Muffins

  • 1 1/4 c flour (I used all purpose because that’s what I had, but whole wheat or spelt or even a gf mix would be great)
  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small apple, chopped
  • 3/4 c nondairy milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c silan (date syrup)
  • 1/4 c melted, unrefined coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350F degrees and fill a muffin tin with liners (or alternatively, grease the muffin tin).

Mix together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, including the diced apples.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the non dairy milk and lemon.  Let sit for a minute, then add the flax, whisk again, and set aside again (this is a great time to melt the coconut oil).  Add the remainder of the wet ingredients to the flax mixture.  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and add the wet mixture to the dry.  Mix until just combined.  The batter will be very thick and lumpy, but that is perfect!  Fill the liners about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool.

The quinoa adds a lot of texture to the muffins, because it stays pretty firm, and slightly crunchy. If you would like it softer, I would recommend soaking the grains in warm water for about 10 minutes, then draining before adding to the batter.