Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Full of surprises...

... this stew is. I promise.
I love recipes that come from the Sunset Magazine; they're always surprising but simple. And tasty. Since it is a magazine for those who "live in the West", I find that the recipes are often for a palate requiring a bit more than just "meat and potatoes" and perhaps this is what attracts me to them - a nice change of scenery!
This stew contains ingredients that may not necessarily go together, or you may just think that initially. The combined flavors work together really well. I chose to make a vegan version, excluding the chicken and substituting it with tofu and using vegetable broth instead of the chicken one. However, if you would like to stay true to the recipe, you can find it here. Otherwise, you can follow my directions below!
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 container extra hard tofu
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoonchile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 can fire-roasted diced canned tomatoes 
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzos), rinsed if canned
  • 1 cup pimiento-stuffed small green olives
I don't enjoy soft tofu that falls apart as you try to stab it with your fork, so I broiled it to harden the edges, you may also saute it. I marinated it with olive oil and just a bit of the spices listed in the recipe, so the flavor of the whole dish stays true. While the tofu was broiling in the oven for several minutes (don't forget to supervise it, it may burn easily!), I sauteed the onion in some olive oil till soft and added all the spices, including garlic. I added the rest of ingredients, besides olives and beans, let it boil and then simmered for about 10 minutes, so the quinoa can cook. At the end I added the chickpeas and olives and of course the tofu. I chose to chop the olives coarsely, as I thought that adding them whole would make the meal look as if I went to the fridge and asked myself "what else can I add to this dish? Perhaps some olives could do"! ;)
Overall, the dish is very satisfying and light at the same time. I couldn't stop eating it!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Heaven on Earth

Yes, it does exist. And it's just in Arizona, if you're willing to hike to it...
We flew into Las Vegas and spent there a night a a part of the morning. For those looking for the best meal of their lives, I recommend the Bellagio's breakfast buffet that overflows with fantastic food and mimosas, which proved to be very satisfying before the next night...

Since the closest hotel to the beginning of the trail was 3 hours away, we decided to camp in front of our rental car to avoid getting up at 3 am to make the drive! Right, Melissa? First time sleeping under the stars, it was pretty amazing. 

Good thing we got some rest for the hike ahead in the incredibly hot weather.
Mules, mules everywhere...
Hiking through the Havasupai tribe village. We thought we were so close, but oh how wrong we were...
Is this it? You would think so since it looks amazing. Just some falls we passed on our way down the canyon...
Finally, bathing in the lower pools of the Havasupai. Amazingly clear, cool water, just what I needed after almost dying to get here!
Incredible Havasupai Falls...
Ahh... A nap is in order after such a busy day! The key is for the girls to nap and for the boys to set up camp.
Mooney Falls. 200 feet of amazing.
Helicopter out from the village back to civilization. It's either that or walking for hours again, and though I love hiking, after that big, home-made burrito I had for breakfast, I was every more glad to take the very first ever helicopter ride! What an adventure! Looking at the top of the canyon was truly amazing.