One of the many things I love about my husband?
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He's marked our first year of marriage by the seasons
As we approach the end of the fourth season, our first anniversary just a few weeks away, I've come to realize there's really no sweeter way it could be described than the acknowledgment of a relationship in a perpetual state of transition, moving with certainty and consistency, from one season to another
Spring, summer, fall, winter
Each bringing a set of joys and challenges, unique in its own way.
Maybe it was at the front of my mind; maybe I was a bit nostalgic this day after Christmas, maybe I couldn't help but feel blessed by the incredible people who've come and gone from our home the past few months, but
As the sun came up on this quiet winter morning, I warmed hot chocolate, along with a few Christmas left-overs for breakfast. I couldn't help but wonder if the same spirit that so beautifully describes our relationship would also apply to the place we hold most dear
Our home, especially the kitchen
I thought of the seasons that have turned like a clock and the variety of liveliness that each has brought. Bare feet and flip-flops go in and out of the screen door in the summer, while I'm forever shaking the snow off the puppies in the wintertime.
On beautiful summer days, it's all I can do to turn on the oven. Instead, we find ourselves grilling, or grazing on lighter dishes like sandwiches and salads. If baking becomes a necessity, everything is left on the kitchen's window's sill to cool.
When the weather's warmer, much of what we eat comes from our CSA or things, I find as I'm wandering through our downtown farmer's market. In the evenings, the windows are open, and dinner is often served with a glass of wine on our back deck
As the temperature drops, the opposite happens, and the kitchen quickly re-claims its rightful role, as the center of a busy home. The oven and stove-top are always on call, bringing the familiar scents of bread baking, and soup simmering. Our food sourced internally from what's on hand in the pantry, our favorite meat locker, or local co-op.
During these cold winter days, visitors tend to congregate at the island, with a glass of warm cocoa or mulled wine, waiting for the next batch of comfort food to appear on their plate. Because life is less hurried, space easily becomes a gathering place, where conversations are deep and long, and laughter is plentiful
The feel of the kitchen changes as well.
If one were to check the pulse of the house, the sounds, the scents, scratches, and puppy tracks, they would certainly differ from room to room. The chairs and stools that have been on the porch have made their way back to the island, and the lights are a bit dimmer.
I've decided that, even amid constant transformation, no matter the season, one constant will always remain; the essence of this space will be a source of nourishment
For both the body and the soul
Quinoa is a complete protein, as well as comfort food. The cooking method used encourages a porridge-like consistency, that's further enhanced with a bit of butter and feta. Make sure the tomatoes and herb oil are ready as soon as the quinoa is finished, they're a much better addition before the porridge has had a chance to sit.
~ Adapted from Mind Body Green
Feta-Spiked Quinoa Porridge with Roasted Tomatoes and Garlic
- Quinoa Porridge
- 1 ½ cups quinoa
- 4 ⅔ cups vegetable stock
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, roughly chopped
- ½ cup feta, crumbled
- ⅓ cup mint leaves
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 ⅔ cup plum tomatoes, quartered
- 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- salt and black pepper
- Parsley oil
- 1 green chile, split, seeded, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves
- ½ cup mint leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- basil leaves, optional
- Parsley oil
- In a food processor, combine chili, parsley, mint, olive oil, salt. Blitz until a smooth sauce form, about 1 minute. Set aside.
- Roast the Tomatoes
- Preheat the oven to 425° F
- Arrange the tomatoes on a sheet pan, cut sides up, in a single layer. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Sprinkle the garlic, along with a pinch or two of salt and pepper over the tomatoes. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tomatoes are concentrated and beginning to caramelize.
- Remove from the oven and cool
- Quinoa Porridge
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, stir together quinoa and stock. Bring to a boil.
- Lower the heat to medium and cook, uncovered and stirring occasionally until water evaporates and quinoa is thick (~ 20 minutes)
- Fold in the parsley, feta, and mint.
- To serve: in individual bowls, place 1 ½ cups quinoa. Top with roasted tomatoes.
- Drizzle 1 tbsp parsley oil over the top
- Top with basil leaves (optional)