Thursday, April 19, 2012

Farmers market finds and Quinoa Soup, plus a giveaway


It’s getting to be prime farmers market season again. And I could just squeal with delight.

I know I spend a lot of time talking about how much I love farmers markets, but I can’t help it. The moment I walk down that first aisle of stalls, I’m in my own little world. It’s a wonderful world full of endless possibilities that causes my brain to go into recipe overdrive and I have to stop myself from buying more than I can use in a week. If we had a daily farmers market, I’d be in heaven.


But what I love even more than the market itself is our routine of going to the market. We get up and wander to our sleepy downtown, maybe stopping in somewhere for coffee before perusing all the fresh, local produce. It’s a perfectly lazy morning, full of hand-holding and laughter that brings us closer and has us walking on air the rest of the day. It’s no wonder I love these mornings so much.


We’re lucky to have markets year-round here in California, but to me, it isn’t until April or May that I really get excited. So when we made our first walk of the year a couple weeks ago, I was ecstatic. And when I saw this spectacular bunch of greens streaked with bright pink, even though I had no idea what it was, I wanted it. After a not-so-informative conversation with the vendor, I at least walked away knowing it was Chinese spinach. And after a little internet research, I now know it is also called amaranth.

Now I have to admit that I didn’t care for these greens raw. The leaves are tougher than regular spinach and to me, didn’t have a lot of flavor. But in this soup? Yes, please!


Quinoa and Chinese Spinach Soup

Serves 2 as a main course, 4 as a starter

1/2 cup quinoa
5 cups chicken broth, divided use
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped leeks
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 a carrot, shaved into strips
2 tablespoons chopped jalapenos
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 large bunch Chinese spinach, leaves removed from stems (about 2 big handfuls of leaves)
salt
pepper
lime wedges

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain. Put quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup chicken broth. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes until broth is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork and reserve.

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté shallots, leeks, celery, carrots and jalapenos until softened. When bottom of pot starts to brown, add white wine and scrape bottom to deglaze. Let wine reduce and finish cooking vegetables. Add garlic and ginger and cook about 30 more seconds. Add 4 cups chicken broth and cooked quinoa. Season with salt and pepper. Bring soup to a boil, then stir in spinach. Let simmer for about 1 minute to wilt spinach, then turn off heat and cover. Let sit for about 5 minutes to finish cooking spinach.

Serve with a squeeze of lime juice over the top of the soup.

Note: Soup thickens when refrigerated. When reheating, add more chicken broth as needed to thin.


This soup surprised me. It’s spicy and aromatic, but I was worried it might be too thin. I was wrong. For such a small grain, the quinoa is quite hearty and the spinach saved the day by really beefing things up. I wouldn’t make this without some sort of leafy green, and I’m not even a huge fan of leafy greens.


Don’t go away yet…I’ve got an OXO 5-pound digital food scale to give away! This product is part of the OXO Healthy Eating campaign, so you can weigh out portions or ingredients and know exactly what you’re eating…I think this soup qualifies as healthy eating, right?


The kind folks at OXO provided me with a scale to try out, and one to give away to a lucky commenter. I’ve been using my scale for weeks, and I keep thinking that I should include it in a baking post where I’m using it to precisely measure flour and sugar, but truthfully, I use my scale more for cooking than I do for baking, for everything from meat to veggies. So even if you’re not a baker, I think you’ll find it to be a very useful tool. And I love the pull-out display that makes it easy to weigh even large items…definitely my favorite feature with this product.

So, here’s the nitty gritty on how you can win this scale for yourself…

Giveaway will run through midnight PST on Thursday, April 26 and then I’ll pick a winner at random. US mailing addresses only, please.

To enter, do any or all of the following (be sure to come back and leave a separate comment for each entry):
  • Tell me how you would use your food scale
  • Check out this scale on the OXO product page and tell me which feature you’re most excited about
  • Tweet the following: Enter to win an @OXO digital 5-lb food scale #giveaway from @tastytrials http://bit.ly/IAF3Bu
  • Follow @tastytrials on Twitter
  • Follow @OXO on Twitter
  • Pin this post 

Disclosure: While I received this product from OXO for free, all opinions are my own. 

75 comments:

  1. I definitely need a food scale to help me measure out ingredients for baking. P.S. I can't wait for my local farmers' market to open up. I feel the same giddyness that you do!

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  2. This soup sounds lovely! Great pictures.

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  3. Food scale ?! I couldn't live without it ! Will use it to measure ingredients in both baking and cooking . What I like about this OXO food scale is that you can pull out the display from the base if you're using a large bowl when measuring thus you can see clearly the screen .

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  4. Wow that looks amazing! I'd use a food scale to help me weigh food to watch my calories.

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  5. I often create my own recipes and would love to weigh the hard to measure things...great recipe

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  6. tweeted https://twitter.com/#!/RebeccaEParsons/status/192958492666101760

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  7. I am following you @tastytrials ;) Love this post, the recipe looks delicious by the way!!!

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  8. i would use it for baking bread. Measuring by weight is so much more accurate (especially with flours) and gives more consistent results. Thanks for the opportunity!

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  9. I love the tare function that lets you just zero out the screen and measure the next ingredient!

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  10. I'm following you on Twitter.

    --sugarfooteats@gmail.com

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  11. I tweeted the giveaway. http://twitter.com/busyathome/status/193011314518532097

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  12. I follow OXO on Twitter too.

    --sugarfooteats@gmail.com

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  13. I follow you on Twitter. @busyathome

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  14. I follow OXO on Twitter. @busyathome

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  15. I pinned the post. http://pinterest.com/pin/142707881912513161/

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  16. https://twitter.com/#!/blp3/status/193070461024874497

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  17. I adore OXO products...I recently got to try their handheld mandoline! I think the scale would be a great way for me to be more precise with measurements when baking. I can use all the help I can get!

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  18. I would love this scale! I would use it to measure out my bread dough so I get equally sized bread loaves!! Thanks for the opportunity.

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  19. Checked out OXOs page - I love that it goes up to 5lbs...perfect for loaves of bread!

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  20. Pinned it here: http://pinterest.com/pin/183592122279761311/

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  21. I'd use it for portion control and baking.

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  22. I like this feature-Display pulls away from base to prevent shadowing from large plates or bowls

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  23. https://twitter.com/#!/tcarolinep/status/193161456290758657

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  24. http://pinterest.com/pin/177329304047953966/

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  25. looks like a lot of us would like the scale!

    Pinned it like i do most of your recipes

    Say Hi to Andy for me!

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  26. looks like a lot of us would like the scale!

    Pinned it like i do most of your recipes

    Say Hi to Andy for me!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hi Karen! I would love to have a food scale, first off I love baking & some recipes I have seen weigh ingredients, but I would use it daily for portioning-weighing out food. I am now following you on twitter love your recipes & photographs!I am @DearCreatives
    Thanks for the chance!!

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  28. Love the pull out display & sorry I forgot to comment separate for twitter! Thanks again!

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  29. I love to bake and cook and so I can find a lot of uses for this scale. I would primarily use it for weighing portions I think. By the way, GORGEOUS pics!

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  30. I know I'm all out of whack when it comes to knowing portion sizes. That's for sure!

    And I've never tried quinoa...at least that I can recall. That looks delish!

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  31. I cannot WAIT for the farmer's market to open!! What a wonderful recipe you posted, it looks awesome! I am starting to buy more in bulk, so a food scale would help a ton in figuring out what's what!

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  32. Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/trishhall79/status/193357667530575872

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  33. I like that the platform can be removed for easy cleaning.

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  34. I am following TastyTrials on Twitter - trishhall79

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  35. Pinned! http://pinterest.com/pin/230879918367107575/

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  36. We are so lucky here to have a year-round daily market. and they just announced that they
    are expanding!

    Love the looks of this soup, and that you added leeks. They are my fav!

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  37. Tweeted: https://twitter.com/#!/jenron1/status/193437371499425793

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  38. Pinned: http://pinterest.com/jenron1/kitchen-cooking/

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  39. I would use the scale to help me when converting recipes from grams to cups.

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  40. I would use this for measuring portions for eating.

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  41. The scale has a way to measure the container first and give the difference.

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  42. Oh, what an amazing idea! I love quinoa and after seeing this I now know it makes a marvelous soup ingredient. I'd love a scale to measure out my chocolate accurately :)

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  43. Well, I tried to follow them on Twitter, but they are blocking me :/

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  44. Chinese Spinach? I have never seen this before but it is beautiful and your dish looks divine. I learned something new today! Great post. Thanks.

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  45. I love baking breads and weighing out ingredients is the best way to change a recipe and insure it still turns out!

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  46. tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/notimeMom/status/193932781225652224
    andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  47. I follow @OXO on Twitter (@notimeMom)
    andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  48. I follow @tastytrials on Twitter (@notimeMom)
    andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I would probably use it mostly for weighing out ingredients and portions!
    ziggyga athotmaildot com

    ReplyDelete
  50. tweet!
    https://twitter.com/#!/gnwg/status/193933911208902656
    ziggyga athotmaildot com

    ReplyDelete
  51. I like that it weighs in 1/8 oz increments so it can be pretty accurate!
    ziggyga athotmaildot com

    ReplyDelete
  52. I follow you on twitter @gnwg
    ziggyga athotmaildot com

    ReplyDelete
  53. I follow oxo on twitter @gnwg
    ziggyga athotmaildot com

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  54. I love quinoa. Never thought of putting it in a soup. So clever!

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  55. I'd use it to help weigh my ingredients.
    lyndadawinda1074 at yahoo dot com

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  56. I tweeted - https://twitter.com/#!/Lyndadawinda/status/194546094078828544
    lyndadawinda1074 at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  57. Those spinach leaves are beautiful and so is this soup! Such lovely colors. Sounds delicious, I love the addition of quinoa in it.

    ReplyDelete
  58. tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/notimeMom/status/195748114378915841
    andrea.kruse at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete

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