Sunday, 28 August 2011

Secrets from your Sister

Hello!  I hope you've had a great weekend.  I sure have.  My parents came for a visit to see Cirque de Soleil - Totem, on Friday night -- my x-mas gift to them.  After they left in the afternoon on Saturday, Jeremy and I had a really nice, slow, lovely day, and the weekend has been equally slow, wonderful and leisurely since, with perfect late-summer weather.

Today I actually chopped up veggies in front of the TV, while watching episodes of Sex and the City and drinking white wine.  What a great afternoon!  I went on to make a favourite healthy recipe inherited from my sister, and then dinner, which was another idea handed over from her years ago.


And so, tonight, secrets from my sister.

LENTIL & QUINOA STEW

A hearty and healthy stew which makes a terrific lunch to bring to work.  This is a recipe from my big sister, Jen, who has always given me so many amazing ideas for recipes....and life.  Thanks, Jen!  xo

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cup dried green lentils
1/2 cup quinoa
oilve oil
6 cups veggie/chicken broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 large tomatoes, diced
4 medium carrots, chopped
2-3 stalk of celery, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves

Directions

Sautée onions in 1/2 tablespoon olive oil.  When the onions start to look soft, add the red pepper, and a tiny pinch of salt, to bring out the juices.  Add the celery, carrots and garlic.  Sautée for a few minutes.


Rinse lentils and quinoa.  After veggies are sauteed, add the lentils, quinoa, tomatoes, bay leaves, and the broth.

You might find you need to add more broth -- don't worry, you totally can.  The lentils and quinoa absorb a lot of liquid.  This stew is ready in half an hour or so.  But give it a taste for the ultimate approval.  The lentils should be soft, but not mushy.

I add Sriacha for some spice.  The flavours work nicely.  This is definitely a stew, not a soup, so expect it to be thick and hearty.  I love bringing this for lunch, and it makes a great quick dinner when you don't have time to cook.

Tonight, for the first time, I diced up my own tomatoes, as opposed to using canned diced tomatoes.  You remember that canned diced tomatoes are lined with BPA.  It took very little effort, and from now own, I'm just using real tomatoes in my recipes -- NO MORE CANNED!  I'm pretty excited about this.


Voila, the finished product: Lunch for a week!


THE OTHER SISTER SECRET: PINJUR SAUCE

Way back in 2005, I was doing a co-op placement and staying with my sister on Thursday nights in Toronto, just before I headed back to St. Catharines for the weekend.  Every week for 7 months.

One of the amazing dinners she made me. back when I was a 28 year old kid, and she was in her early 30's, and I thought, quite sophisticated, was chicken with pinjur sauce, which is a beautiful roasted red pepper sauce available at the grocery store.  She would butterfly some chicken breasts, and stuff them with pinjur sauce, red pepper, and goat cheese.  De-lish.

Now, for a very simple dinner - tonight's dinner: I take from that sisterly cooking lesson, and simply butterfly chicken breasts, stuff them with pinjur sauce, along with a thick slice of red pepper, and put a generous helping of pinjur sauce on the top.  Cover with tin foil, and bake at 375 F degrees for 20-30 minutes (to be honest, I just take a peek and when they're done, they're done....).


The chicken comes out SO moist and delicious.  The sauce is amazing, full of savoury roasted red pepper flavour.  We steamed up some organic green beans, and it's just that simple: quick, easy, delicious dinner, inspired by my beautiful sister.

My sister, Jen, has been living in Vancouver, British Columbia, for about a year or so.  She made a wonderfully courageous decision to move out west with a man she loved (Ron), about 3 years ago.  They just celebrated their 1 year wedding anniversary, and I couldn't be happier for her.  I've always looked up to her; she's 5 years older, she has always had lots of advice and encouragement, and I've looked up to her my entire life.  I love and miss her dearly.

This is my favourite pic back from when we lived together about 4 years ago.

Left: Jen;  Right: Christine

xo Jen and Ron.  Happy anniversary to my favourite hippies.

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