Up Your Cooking Game w/ Natalie Cumberbirch

By Natalie Cumberbirch – Jan 16th, 2019

New year, new you. New goals, resolutions, ambitions, intentions. Drink more water, eat more greens, try new recipes. They’re all great. I’ve set the goal of writing food posts – one per month, maybe you’ll get two. Now I’ve said it, it’s out there; no backing down now!

As I made my dinner tonight, I did some things I wanted to share. Little “tricks” (at least I think they are) that will up your cooking game 100%. All are simple, easy adjustments that bring flavor and body to any meal you’re making.

Tip 1:

ALWAYS use equal parts butter and extra virgin olive oil when cooking. This could be when you’re sautéing an onion, frying an egg, finishing off steamed broccoli or roasting a chicken. You’re going to get that buttery flavor, but also the fragrance of olive oil. Best of both worlds.

Tip 2:

Anytime you’re using aromatics- spices- cook them out first. You’re making curry, chili, tacos, a wet spice rub. Get your butter and olive oil in the pan, then toss in all your spices and let the spices open up. You’ll smell them. They’ll be that much more potent and intense in your meal.

Tip 3:

Whenever you’re diluting something, use a stock. Whenever you’re cooking a starch – rice, quinoa, bulgar – use a stock. Anytime you’re making a sauce from drippings, use a stock.

You get the idea. Where you traditionally would use water, switch it up for a low sodium veggie, chicken, or whatever stock you prefer. Low sodium is key. You’re just adding flavor to your dish, where water would stretch your flavor thin.

Here’s a simple recipe using all these tips. Maybe you’re into it, maybe you’re not. But it’s damn delicious and full of them healthy fats and greens; all things good for you. Suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or midnight snack.

BOWL

In a frying pan, add roughly ½ tsp butter and ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil. Over medium low heat, add your spices. I went for a Moroccan mix. Sweat these out for 5-8 minutes, till the smell intensifies.

Add ½ c red or white quinoa, and toast this up a bit. You’ll hear them popping, crackling; that’s all good. Stir the quinoa in your spices, and once you feel they’re toasted enough, add in your stock. For exact liquid volumes, follow according to package.

Once your quinoa (or grain of choice) is cooked, add in a can of black beans or chickpeas. If you’re well prepared, you’ll have made these from dried bean state. But I’m rarely that organized.

Still on the heat, I add two massive handfuls of raw spinach to the pan, and cook those out.

So you’ve got Moroccan spiced quinoa with black beans and spinach. Great! Now, separately have some water boiling with a splash of white vinegar in it. Poach yourself an egg. I love me a soft – medium poach; that yolk doubles as a dressing.

TO ASSEMBLE

In a bowl, place a handful of mixed greens, arugula, or spinach. Whatever you prefer. Spoon on some of your hot quinoa / bean / spinach melange.

Sprinkle on a tablespoon of hemp hearts.

Crumble a little goat cheese, or feta, on top.

Get half an avocado on there.

And that poached egg.

Salt and pepper.

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