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Sheet Pan Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Spicy Yogurt
& my thoughts on the shaming I'm seeing in online food culture
Hi! Welcome to “good mood food” from Kale Me Maybe’s Carina Wolff. If you’ve made it here and aren’t yet a subscriber, come join! You can expect recipes, musings, and faves in your inbox every Wednesday! Paid subscribers get even more! Learn more about my paid membership here. You can also try a week for free!
WARNING: rant ahead!
I’ve been seeing things online that have really been irking me lately (surprise, surprise). In this case, it’s the mean-spirited videos and tweets I’ve been seeing making fun of other people cooking online or shaming them for the way they do certain things.
Let’s start with some caveats. I’m definitely not talking about people disrespecting other people’s cultures by misrepresenting their traditional cuisine or calling it by another name. That’s a different story. And I’m also not talking about people giving out dangerous misinformation around cooking, health, or wellness (you all know how much I really hate that).
I’m talking about everyday people cooking food on places like TikTok and Instagram, and professional chefs coming in and ripping them to shreds, in a really pretentious and critical manner.
Now, I understand it’s probably frustrating as a trained chef to see someone do something the “wrong way,” then see that video go viral. I know there are right and wrong ways to slice and dice, to bake and sear. Cooking is a science, and to some degree, you have to get it right.
However, cooking is also an art form, and in art, sometimes people break the rules, and you just have to accept that. Another added layer is that we all have to eat food. There’s no avoiding it. So cooking isn’t just some fancy science or elevated art form. It’s a way to LITERALLY live and survive. And because of this, I find it pretty disheartening when people shame others instead of just educating them nicely or simply just letting them nourish themselves.
Most people at home are not going to cook the same way a trained chef is, and I think that is perfectly okay. We can create a separation between home cooking and fine dining. When we shame people for cooking at home differently than you would at a restaurant, it sends a message that people shouldn’t attempt to make food unless they’re doing it perfectly right. That’s discouraging, and not a message I like. That’s why food content creators online are so awesome — they make foods feel attainable.
I think it’s wonderful to teach and learn about the correct techniques. I know I cut my onions wrong or use the wrong pans sometimes, and as my career continues on, I like to learn from other chefs and improve how I cook. There’s definitely space for educating, especially when it pertains to making your food better or your kitchen a little safer. But the difference lies in teaching vs shaming. So many of these people online just want to make fun of others in a mean spirited manner, and I think that’s really damaging.
Food is unique in that it’s universal to all of us. It can be personal, emotional, social, evocative. I’d like to see a little less elitism and a little more encouragement.
THINGS I’M LOVING!
My friend and amazing TikTok urban farmer star Carmen in the Garden just came out with a wine collaboration with Pali Wine Co, and she sent me a bottle this week! Grant and I both LOVED it. I particularly love a chilled red, and this one is a mix of red and white wine grapes, so it’s nice and light!
I am on a serious haircare journey right now, so forgive if me I go a little overboard the next few weeks with all my latest finds. My hair had been feeling really dry and unhealthy, so I went and got a cut, and now I’m all about treating it right. I did a deep dive online to find an a highly recommended, affordable shampoo and conditioner that works with wavy hair. In my search, there were quite a few people suggesting Maui Moisture (both shampoo and conditioner), and I love it so far! My hair has been feeling sooo nice and soft.
My in-laws were in town this weekend, so I wanted to keep some snacks around. I went to Trader Joe’s after pilates and picked up a few items on a whim, but it seems I hit the jackpot when it came to the perfect pairing. I got the Organic Elote Corn Chip Dippers with their Cauliflower Jalapeño Dip, and we were all obsessed. I’m going to remake their dip, but a healthy version, this week, so stay tuned for that!
This greens and grains bowl is made with quinoa, chicken, and veggies that all roast in the same pan. The chicken is marinated in a sauce spiced with sumac, paprika, and oregano, and the whole thing is finished off with a spicy yogurt sauce. Filling, easy, and verryyyy flavorful!
Sheet Pan Chicken Quinoa Bowl with Spicy Yogurt
Ingredients (serves 2)
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 small eggplant
1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, divided
1 lb thin sliced boneless chicken breast
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
1 red onion, ends and paper removed and cut into wedges
2 cup mixed greens
Parsley, to garnish
Spicy Yogurt Sauce
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1-2 tbsp sriracha (1 for milder, 2 for spicier)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp cumin
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare quinoa according to package.
2. Cut eggplant crosswise into 1/2 inch rounds. Score with a knife on both sides, and then sprinkle on some salt. Let sit for 15 minutes to bring out the moisture, and then pat dry.
3. Prepare the marinade for the chicken by mixing together garlic, sumac, smoked paprika, oregano, olive oil, juice of 1/2 the lemon, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Add chicken breasts to a medium/large bowl, sprinkle with salt, and then toss in the marinade.
4. Add the chicken breasts to a baking sheet. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, and red onion. Thinly slice the remaining 1/2 lemon and add it to the sheet. Drizzle everything with a little olive oil and add a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until chicken is cooked through, eggplant is soft, and tomatoes are beginning to burst.
5. Prepare the yogurt sauce by whisking together ingredients in a bowl until smooth.
6. Divide quinoa into two bowls. Top with greens, chicken, veggies, sauce, and parsley. Serve warm.