Quinoa

Garam Masala Quinoa

Quinoa.  I’d say it’s a great grain, but it’s not really a grain.  It’s a seed.  I learn new things all the time.  I used to think it was a grain.  Why wouldn’t I?  It look like a grain and you can use it like you would a grain.  But, it’s a seed.  A seed that is a complete protein.  It is high in folate, phosphorus, and iron.

Quinoa is coated with saponins which are bitter.  Some manufacturers process the quinoa to remove the saponins.  Some don’t.  I learned this after making this dish.  Chaz kept tasting something bitter.  I didn’t.  So, I rinse my quinoa to remove any potential saponins now.

When it comes to fixing quinoa, I tend to use other people’s recipes.  Or to fix it plain.  Several weeks ago, I decided to play around with it.

I knew I wanted to use mustard seeds and garam masala.  My imagination took me from there.

Garam Masala Quinoa

1-2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 onion chopped

1-2 tablespoons mustard seeds

2 teaspoons garam masala

1/2 – 1 cup carrots chopped

1 cup quinoa, uncooked (rinsed)

1 1/2 – 2 cups water

1-2 cups bell peppers, diced

salt

Warm coconut oil in a large skillet.  Add onions, mustard seed, garam masala, and carrots.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add quinoa and water, stir.  Add peppers and salt.  Stir.  Cover and cook until water is absorbed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

Adopt-A-Gluten-Free-Blogger: Tasty Eats At Home

 

Gluten-free Lemon Earl Grey Cookies

 

By the time I saw this month’s round of Adopt-a-gluten-free-blogger I had a difficult time choosing.  Almost everyone was taken!  Then Alta posted her Lemon Earl Grey Cookies.  I love lemon cookies.  I’m also a fan of using tea leaves in dishes.  If I remember correctly from one of Ming Tsai’s shows several years ago, using tea leaves helps aid in the digestion of your meal.  Or something like that.  Whatever it was, I just remember that it’s good for you.  Who can argue with added antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in a dish?  I also decided that I needed to bake something.  I rarely bake anymore and I kinda miss it.

I first went to Alta’s blog, Tasty Eats At Home, after reading another blogger’s adoption post last year.   Since then, Alta is my go-to blog when I want something different and vegetarian.  She tempted me last Fall with many different truffle recipes, like her Chocolate Cherry Nut Truffles.  I haven’t given in to that temptation yet.  I just might when I have more time to spend in the kitchen.

When you check out Alta’s pictures of her cookies, you’ll notice a big difference.  I used coconut crystals instead of regular sugar.  Coconut crystals are not refined and are a dark brown, much like brown sugar and raw sugar.  I also didn’t think to flatten them a little before putting them in the oven.  Hey, I’m still getting the hang of the gluten-free baking thing.  Cooking I have down pat.  Baking, is another story.  I also flubbed and added too much baking powder, but I couldn’t tell in the end when I tasted the cookies.  Even though they didn’t bake flat, they did bake through and through.  The center was a bit soft and chewy.   Just the way I love my cookies.  I plan on making a cup of Earl Grey later (decaf, of course) and enjoying some more cookies.

 

Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice

 

I wanted to share this dish of Alta’s that I made a few months ago.  It’s her Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Brown Rice.  Three things drew me to this recipe.  1) Chaz was going through a 21-day vegan starter while we were still commuting to see each other.  2) Anything with garam masala intrigues me.  3) I love adzuki beans.  Typically, I’ve always had adzuki beans in Japanese treats that I can no longer have, or with ice cream and/or shave ice.  If you haven’t tried adzuki beans with ice cream or shave ice, you should.

Something happened the weekend I planned to make this when Chaz was home and I wound up making it just for myself.  It makes for great comfort food.  In fact, I need to make this again.  I had plenty of leftovers that got turned into easy breakfasts.  Just add a runny egg!

 

Leftover Masala-Spiced Adzuki Beans with Pears and a Runny Egg

 

Alta is also into the Daring Cooks Challenge and reading her posts has helped me to step outside my comfort zone of doing what is easy for me in the kitchen.  Her post on Vegan Cassoulet inspired me to make an attempt using the recipe she posted.  I have never had Cassoulet so this was a big step in making something I knew nothing about.

Not only did I enjoy the Vegan Cassoulet, I fell in love with the bread crumbs I made for it using the recipe.  Chaz even enjoyed the bread crumbs.  I made quite a bit extra and wound up using them for my last meatloaf.

Thank you, Alta, for helping me expand my limits in the kitchen!

Green Chai Smoothie

Green Chai Smoothie

There are a lot of smoothies being posted in the gluten-free blogosphere this month for Detox January.   There are a lot of good recipes out there so check them out when you have a chance.  I’m not in detox mode since I really had no indulging going on around the holidays.  The posts have inspired me to go beyond my usual smoothie and get a little creative.

I love chai and have been adding a touch of garam masala to my smoothies for a little bit of a kick.  So, when I decided to veer off a little I wound up doing a take on the Coconut Chai Smoothie.  It turned out light both in texture and color.  I was pleased enough to make it several times to go with my breakfast before work.

Green Chai Smoothie

mmmmmmm

1 banana

Handful of spinach

1 tablespoon raw local honey

1 teaspoon (or more) garam masala

Coconut milk (I use So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)

Add banana, spinach, honey and garam masala to your blender.  Add coconut milk – I fill my blender to the mark just below the 500ml mark, the smoothie will fit perfectly in my glasses at that mark.  Blend well, pour, and enjoy!