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How I became a creative cook

Chicken veggie noodle soup with lots of ginger for the sick - CARROT illustration and recipe by EDIE EATS Food Blog by Edith Dourleijn

What are we eating tonight?

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This illustration of carrots was the first I made, and finally have a recipe to use it with. It’s a lovely Summer-ly Buckwheat salad with peach and roasted carrots.

One of the hardest questions to make up an answer for may be “what are we eating tonight?”. Especially if you’re a home cook. My grandmother hardly had a choice and cooked traditional Dutch dishes with veggies that were available, sometimes accompanied with some meat or fish. Boring, we might say now, but convenient in a way, I think.

Nowadays we can get every ingredient from around the world, fresh veggies out of season or that won’t even grow in the place where we live, can eat fresh fish even if the nearest sea is thousands of miles away. You might say that’s very helpful when deciding what to cook. But I think it’s not. To me, this abundance is too overwhelming. When everything is possible, I sometimes get paralyzed by all the possibilities.
So I cook with restrictions to keep my creativity flowing. One day I’ll eat pasta, than next day it has to be rice, so I can cook with potatoes the day thereafter. Or in any other order. Even so with meat, fish and vegetarian dishes; I’ll alternate them like the radio plays new songs ever three minutes.

But most of all; I try to honor the veggie seasons. Just like my Grandmother did. By restricting myself to green beans in spring, tomatoes in summer, squashes and pumpkins in fall and cabbage in winter, I have to come up with new ways to cook them not to become bored after a while during their season. Not to mention they come from a farm near me which is a nice thought, right? From grilling beans to stewing cabbage, from combining them like the Indians do, the Chinese, the Italian of just my way, the possibilities are still enormous and inspiring to create new dishes every day. Too bad my grandmother never could cook this way, she would have loved it!

 

CARROT illustration and recipe by EDIE EATS Food Blog by Edith Dourleijn

RECIPE BUCKWHEAT SALAD WITH PEACH AND ROASTED CARROTS [vegetarian|vegan]

This recipe has Summer written all over it. The last peaches get ripened and this vegan and gluten free lunch salad of buckwheat, peaches and roasted carrots are a great way to serve them. The salad is a bit sweet and therefor great for a lunch. But next to some roasted or grilled chicken or fish I guess it’s a fun dinner meal as well. Vegetarians can add some soft goat cheese (or feta) and roasted hazel nuts.

You need for 2:
1/4 sweet onion
1 orange
1 lb | 500 gr carrots
1/2 teaspoon grinded cumin seeds
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon honey
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup | 100 gr buckwheat groats *
1 cup vegetable stock
1 ripe peach
1 stalk celery
1/2 teaspoon mustard
6 tablespoon olive oil – or a nice nut oil
handful of butterhead lettuce leaves

* You also can use kasha, which is a Russian name for toasted buckwheat groats. These are a bit sweeter than normal buckwheat groats.

You do:
Preheat the oven at 400F/200 C degrees.

Pickle the onion. Peel and cut the onion into small pieces. Squeeze the orange and let the onion pickle in it for a while.

Roast the carrots. Scrape them. Mix half of the cumin, cinnamon, honey and olive oil and rub the carrots with this marinade. Roast them for about 30 minutes in the oven.

Prepare the buckwheat. Preheat a skillet at high fire and toast the buckwheat until they start smelling great – even with already toasted buckwheat I do this, just to enjoy the smell of toasting it myself. Lower the heat to medium, add the stock and bring to a boil. Immediately lower the heat and let the buckwheat simmer until done to your taste (approx. 15 minutes). Aim for a beautiful dry buckwheat that doesn’t stick to each other.

Prepare the other ingredients. Peel the peach, which is easy to do with a sharp knife or your nails. Cut into very small pieces (brunoise).  Cut in the celery into half, then lengthwise into 3 or 4 pieces and then into very small pieces.

Make the dressing. Mix mustard, the rest of the cumin, 2 T orange juice (steel it from the onion) and the olive oil for the dressing. Clean and dry the lettuce leaves.

Plate. Divide the lettuce over two plates. Mix buckwheat, sieved onion, veggies and dressing and put on the lettuce. Top with the roasted carrots. Or cut them into small pieces as well for a more convenient eating experience.

Enjoy! This recipe is gluten free, vegan and easy to make!.

 

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