February 29, 2012

marmalade, vgourmet, vegan breakfast, Ruth Richardson

We’re just back from a trip to Tulum on the Mayan Riveria in Mexico – v:gourmet heading south to discover all sorts of new vegan treats. The first morning is always the most delicious. Waking up to the sound of bird song, and the wind in the palms. That first footstep onto the warm sand. The wind and the cold and the snow quickly evaporating into the clear blue sky. We had breakfast on a terrace overlooking the beach – fresh orange juice, organic mint tea, a plate of fresh fruit, and this housemade marmalade with toast. Of course the marmalade was different each morning depending on which fruit they needed to use up. One morning papaya. The next pineapple. This recipe is so simple, verstatile, and tasty, and it will infuse your mornings with the spirit of the south.

fruit, pineapples, papayas, or oranges

equal amount of organic cane sugar (for 1 large pineapple for example use about 2.5 cups sugar

a little lemon or lime juice (juice from 1 or 2 lemons or limes)

herbs if desired, mint or lavender

Peel and core the fruit. Chop as finely as possible or to your desired consistency. Put the fruit in a large heavy-bottomed pot with the sugar. Add the lemon or lime juice and the herbs if using and bring the mixture to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and let simmer for 1/2 hour, or until the fruit is tender. Take off the lid, turn up the heat and boil until the mixture thickens. Remove the marmalade form the heat, discard the herbs, and let cool. Transfer to a glass jar and keep refrigerated.

I was chatting with my new friend and colleague, Meaghan Calcari from San Francisco, and she mentioned that she has quinoa every morning for breakfast. Don’t get me wrong – I love my dulse in the morning and will stick with it – but I thought for a change it might be nice to try something different. So taking my inspiration from Meaghan I cooked some up this morning topped with maple syrup, and toasted almonds. You could also add dried cranberries, and a dusting of cinnamon. This super-food is super yummy!

Super-food? For those of you that don’t know, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is really the superhero of grains. Actually, technically it’s not a grain but the seed of the Goosefoot plant. It’s used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its grain-like characteristics. The Inca have cultivated it in the South American Andes since, oh, about 3,000 B.C. In fact the ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. That alone makes it a super-food, but alongside being sacred it’s easy to prepare, has a great nutty flavour, and is packed full of protein, amino acids, calcium and iron. Need I say more? Eat up!

1/2 cup coconut milk

about 1 cup water

1 cup quinoa

1/2 tsp. fine-grain sea salt

1 1/2 tsp. poppy seeds

grated zest of 1 lemon

1 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup or to taste

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

dried cranberries

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the coconut milk, water, and quinoa to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer the mixture, stirring often, for 5 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is creamy but still retains some texture. If the liquid in the pan is absorbed before the quinoa has fully cooked, stir in more water, 1 tbsp or so at a time, until done. Stir in the poppy seeds, lemon zest, and maple syrup. Serve hot in individual bowls topped with the toasted almonds. Serves 4.