In truth, I’m pretty chuffed that I lasted four months before my soul crumpled under the figurative and literal weight of snow and unrelenting cold. After all, I’ve always been a summer girl at heart, and I can’t even begin to tell you how many people back home laughed at me when I proclaimed I was moving to Canada in time for its winter.
For the past four months, the cold and snow and blizzards and “feels like -32C” and thermals and winter boots and dumpling jackets and sunshine-on-white days and piercing nights have been a novelty. An adventure. A triumph of survival for this Australian who used to mope when Canberran days sank to the single digits.
I’ve appreciated the beauty of snow, the magic of winter clothing, and the comfort of morning cups of coffee here in Toronto.
But, this weekend, every single fibre of my being cried out “Enough! Enough! I want to be able to slip on a dress and lightweight shoes and dance out the door into radiant heat without spending fortybillionthreeveteen minutes bundling up! I want to walk outside for more than half an hour with my head uncovered without feeling like my brainmind has turned into an icicle! I want to drink a Starbucks Frappuccino and feel bad only because it’s Starbucks and I’m a terrible person for supporting that corporate behemoth, and not because I can’t feel my lips anymore!”
Please come soon, spring and summer. Please. I’ve tried my hardest, I’ve kept my head high, and I’ve danced in the snow as much as I can. I’ve even kept up a constant supply of delicious, warming, hearty, healthful, vegan winter soups and stews.
Dear Canada, will you accept this offering of Vegan Tomato and Artichoke Quinoa Risotto as a mark of my good faith? Of my commitment to you? If I give you this lovely bowl of joy, will you give me a week of warmth in return so that I can buy a pair of polka-dot short-shorts and twirl around in circles on the street until I think I might just fly up into the clouds?
Let me know.
Artichoke and Tomato Quinoa Risotto
- 1 tb olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp grated ginger
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup tomato passata
- 1 cup quartered canned artichoke hearts, drained
- salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast (optional, to taste)
- Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan, then sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger for five minutes until the onion has softened. Stir in the smoked paprika and cumin and sauté for another minute, until fragrant.
- Add the quinoa and toast for one minute. Now, a true risotto would involve adding the liquid slowly, but a true risotto would also be made with rice, so we’re going to wild and add the stock and tomato passata all at once. Whee! Kitchen rebels we are, yes indeed!
- Once you’ve added the stock and passata, bring the pot to the boil then reduce heat and simmer, partly covered, for 20 minutes.
- Gently stir in the artichokes and season to taste with salt and pepper. If you’re a nutritional yeast fiend like me, throw in a few tablespoons at this point. It adds a wonderful creaminess and nuance to the flavour. Now you can serve! Hurrah!