Enchanted Broccoli Forest-Fire: A toasty stove-top rendition of the classic casserole

>> Thursday, April 9

The Enchanted Broccoli Forest, one of Mollie Katzen's many beautiful cookbooks, is one that I treasure. Daniel and I got a copy in the states when we visited last summer and backpacked around for two months with it gingerly wrapped in layers of bags so as to get it safely back to the old continent. Here, we hoard it like miserly jewel-collectors, rarely daring to open its gleaming depths to those who pass through Dani's kitchen, where it sits discreetly behind a Moosewood. After all, cookbooks like that are hard to come by here, and you never know what a Swiss foodie might do if she discovered there was more to the kitchen than cheese and bread, so we like to initiate people here to the land of good veggie cooking step by step...

Anyway, the cover recipe, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest itself, is amazing, delicious, wonderful, and today, I wanted it bad. However, being the anti-candida eater I am right now, I felt a little weird eating a meal mostly consisting of rice. Also, I just didn't want to deal with baking anything. It's so warm, the birds are singing, the windows are blowing open in the breeze...all this scene is missing is the sizzle and pop of some nutty roasted quinoa.

By using quinoa as my grain, I'm eating a lot more protein and a lot fewer carbs than if I had used the usual brown rice, and lentils are even lower in carbs, being in the legume family. Plus, they're downright nutritious and delicious. We have heaps of Birsmattehof spinach (fresh from our local organic farm), and i just bought broccoli, and Hari gave me some of the succulent little sundried tomatoes Niki brought back from Israel, so it seems we have a contestant for today's mind-blowing anti-candida cookoff (a competition taking place solely in my head, but none-the-less a worthwhile pursuit). For those of you who don't have candida problems, feel free to spice it up a bit with with...whatever. I actually don't know why you'd want to improve on this amazing dish, I just keep imagining that everyone who can eat sugar must be enjoying something I'm not. But not today. No sirree, I've got one up on sugar cravings this evening.

Enchanted Broccoli Forest-Fire: a toasty stove-top rendition of the classic casserole (for 4)

1 cup quinoa
1 cup beluga lentils
1 medium head broccoli
a few massive handfuls of fresh spinach
1 stalk celery
1 onion, diced, and/or some chopped leek
10 sundried tomatoes (dry or in oil), chopped into strips
any additional veggies you may be craving/have on hand

juice of 1/4 lemon
1 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
odorous amounts of garlic (about 6 cloves), chopped
2 tbsp flax seed or flax seed meal
a tiny bit of sea salt
4 twists of fresh ground black pepper

optional: 10 activated almonds, chopped

Cook the lentils in water until tender, drain, and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat a medium skillet and add your quinoa. Stir almost continuously until the quinoa is browned and smells roasted, 2-3 minutes. Add 2 cups water to the quinoa, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed.

While that's going on, chop up the broccoli, almonds, rosemary, garlic, and all your other veggies (except the spinach).

When the quinoa is done, push it to the side in the pan and add the broccoli, leek, onions, rosemary, and other veggies that need a bit more cooking to the pan. Add a splash of water, cover, and reduce the heat, steaming the veggies for about 4 minutes, or until shiny and tender. then mix it all up, add all the rest of the stuff, and cook until it looks and tastes good, about 4 minutes.
I'm not telling you how to live your life here, but I highly recommend some Lemon Zatar Yogurt Dressing over a nice hot bowl of this for a zingy mediterranean flavor combo that's out of this world.


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