Comfort Food: Tacos & Quinoa Cakes with Soup

i love food.  it fuels me with happiness.  

also, can i just say that despite how horrible i am adapting to Daylight Savings time, this is the first time i was able to take dinner photos without my flash!  i have been waiting for naturally lit dinner photos for what has seemed like FOR-EVS.  WOO HOO!!!  

in an attempt to curb any anxiety that could lead to potential meltdowns, i am thinking about planning weekly meals.  kevin's family use to have a white board where they filled pretty much the same thing for everyday of the week, back in the late 90's early 00's.  god those days don't seem like 15 years ago! i used to hate it because to me, it signalled less enjoyment of food and less room for trying new things.    now that i am older and have a family of my own, i get it.  life is too hectic and i am definitely feeling the wear and tear of shopping every one to two days for groceries and figuring out what to eat THAT SAME DAY.   i have enough recipes that i could probably at least plan one week at a time and shop accordingly.  yes, it would take a little more planning up front, but i know it will beat the stress of same-day planning.
 taco nights are the best.  however, this doesn't mean making it a weekly thing.  one of the dangerous things of having a family favourite is letting it get old.  tacos might have to be a once every 3-4 weeks thing to keep it fresh and in demand.  
 we use so much guacamole between the 4 of us that 2 avocados are no longer sufficient.  3 is the new 2 which allows just enough for lunch leftovers for kevin.
introducing the new favourite drink for Summer 2014:
Coconut-Infused Tequila, Grenadine, Sprite
 Moses-Antoinette
 he has worn every single one of Chloe's party dresses over the course of the last week, and he finally got the balls to ask her if he could wear her FAVOURITE "Cinderella" dress.  SHE SAID YES TO THE DRESS!  he was very stoked.
 Jamie Oliver's Beef Tacos
I use the salsa recipe as well although i love slicing up tiny cherry tomatoes
I've stopped making a full on guacamole for tacos and usually just add lime and cilantro
We also heat up a can of refried pinto beans with a tablespoon of juice from jarred jalapenos
And if i remember, I'll pick up some radishes
family feasting
 i dread the day she is too big for me to pick her up

FENNEL-APPLE SOUP
 i know that my memory doesn't serve me well whatsoever, but i think this soup might be the best soup i have ever made and it was dead simple.  i was so pleasantly surprised by how delicious this ended up tasting considering it asked for TWO fennel bulbs and only ONE apple.

Serves 6
2 Tbsp (30mL) olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 medium fennel bulbs, stalks, fronds, and core removed; sliced about 1 cm thick
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
1/2 tsp (3mL) salt
1/2 tsp (3mL) pepper
1 bay leaf
4 cups (1L) chicken stock (use vegetable stock or water, if you prefer)
1 Tbsp (15mL) red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30mL) butter
minced fennel fronds, to garnish

Into a large stockpot over medium heat, add the olive oil. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, or until soft and translucent, but not browned. Add the garlic and fennel, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple, salt, pepper, and bay leaf. Pour in enough stock to just cover the ingredients, reserving any excess liquid. Cover, bring to a boil, and simmer for 30–45 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Blend the soup, either by transferring the soup in portions to a blender or by inserting an immersion blender directly into the stockpot. (Either way, be careful, as the soup will be hot and steamy.) If you prefer a thinner soup, you can thin it out with your reserved stock or a bit of water.

Add the red wine vinegar and butter, and stir to combine. Check the seasoning, adjusting with salt and pepper if necessary. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with a sprinkling of chopped fennel fronds.
This Cozy Vancouver Spring soup was accompanied by Cheese & Chive Quinoa Cakes

kevin usually makes these for lazy nights with an organic carton of creamy tomato soup, so when i decided to make tonight's soup, the perfect protein-packed addition of quinoa was a no-brainer.  AND GLUTEN FREE.

Garlic and Chive Quinoa Cakes

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 cups cooked red quinoa
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 0.25 teaspoons salt
  • 0.25 teaspoons pepper
  • 0.25 cups shallots, diced
  • 0.125 cups chives, chopped
  • 0.67 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 0.33 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 0.25 cups all purpose flour
  • 0.25 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Mix quinoa, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, shallots and chives in a bowl. Add mozzarella, Parmesan, flour, bread crumbs and mix. Let stand for 5 minutes. Press the mixture into 12 round cakes. Heat olive oil in pan until shimmering. Saute 6 patties at a time, flipping halfway through until dark brown (about 5 minutes per side). Place on paper towels after cooking to drain excess oil. Serve warm.

Servings:  6

i did my best to eat as little as possible because it was 6:30 and i had to leave at 7 for my yoga class.  i kept telling myself that i could gorge myself as soon as i got home.
and that's what i did.

i should totally add hot sauce next time.


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