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Everything Quinoa Salad

21 Feb


I love quinoa salads.  There, I said it.  I realize I already have a few other quinoa salad recipes on my blog, but I keep coming up with new versions of the quinoa+beans+vegetables and/or fruits formula.  Today I made a salad that was sort of tropical, because it has some mango and plantain, but it’s special because it really has a little of everything.  Raisins, peas, mango, plantains, red and green onion, and more.  It also has a lime juice-based dressing, which I adore.  There is no super strong flavor in this salad.  It’s really a mix a many equally wonderful flavors and textures.

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained

2 cups water

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 cups of cooked chickpeas, or 1 can, rinsed and drained

1 small mango, diced

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

2/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

4 scallions, sliced thinly

1/4 cup chopped red onioin

1/2 sliced steamed or sauteed plantain

Pepper and salt to taste

Juice of 2 limes, about 1/4 cup

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T red wine vinegar

1 T agave nectar or honey

Instructions

Cook the quinoa (this is a good step to do the day before, since the quinoa needs to cool completely).  Bring the water and salt to a boil, add the quinoa, and turn down to medium low heat.  Cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed.  Set aside to cool.

Combine chickpeas, cooled quinoa, mango, pepper, cilantro, raisins, plantain, peas, red onion, and green onion.  Make the dressing.  Combine the lime juice, olive oil, vinegar, and agave nectar in a bowl and whisk together.  Add to the salad and mix until well-combined.  Taste, and add salt if needed.  Add pepper to taste.

Gluten-Free Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Jam

7 Feb

I made these pancakes last week on my snow day, when all of Austin basically shut down due to ice and snow.  They were a perfect antidote to the cold, along with a steaming cup of coffee.  This recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan Brunch. I have been experimenting a bit with gluten-free baked goods.  The ingredients are almost the same as Isa’s recipe, though the instructions are not word for word.  They turned out quite well, and I’m excited to try more gluten-free recipes.  Any syrup or whatever you put on pancakes works of course, though I used some of the strawberry jam I made last May after picking pounds and pounds of them at a local pick-your-own farm.

Ingredients

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup oat flour (recipe calls for 1/4 cup quinoa flour and 1/4 cup corn flour, but I had neither)

2 T tapioca flour, arrowroot powder, or cornstarch (I used arrowroot)

1 T ground flax

1 T baking powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup almond milk or other nondairy milk

1/2 cup water

2 T brown rice syrup or maple syrup

2 T safflower oil or other neutral oil, like canola

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Extra oil or cooking spray for the pan or griddle.

Preparation

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add the wet ingredients and whisk together.  Let sit for about 10 minutes.

While the batter sits, heat your skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Add a bit of oil or cooking spray to your pan (you may need to add additional oil or cooking spray between pancakes to prevent them from sticking).  Use approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Adjust the heat if the pancakes are taking a long time to brown (up) or if the outside gets too dark before the inside is cooked.  Serve with jam or fruit butter, honey, maple syrup, almond butter, or your favorite pancake topping.  Store any leftovers either in the refrigerator if you plan to eat them within a few days, or freeze them.


Smoky Black Bean Quinoa Salad

9 Dec

I recently started volunteering at the Sustainable Food Center.  My first major task was helping with a project to test several recipes for the revision of the Happy Kitchen cookbook, and important part of the SFC’s Happy Kitchen cooking class program.  I picked Smoky Black Bean Salad and Cranberry Sauce.  I had a lot of fun doing this and testing the recipes with different groups to get their feedback.  This particular recipe I’ve made my own, by upping the chipotle and cilantro, and adding some more color with the carrot and red bell pepper.  The salad makes for a really nice, light meal paired with some soup or a vegetable dish, or by itself.  Last night I ate a plate of this salad with some roasted acorn squash I had left over with some honey drizzled over the top.  Yum!  Healthy dinner after a nice run. 

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

2 cups cooked black beans, or 1 can, drained and rinsed

3-4 green onions, thinly sliced

1/2 cup cilantro

1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

1 medium carrot, grated with a box grater or finely chopped

2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped

1 tsp adobo sauce

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup fresh lime juice

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Instructions

First, rinse and drain the quinoa.  Bring the water and salt to a boil.  Add the quinoa, lower the heat to medium or medium low.  Cover and cook for approximately 20 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed.  Remove the pan from the heat, and allow the quinoa to cool completely before proceeding with the remainder of the recipe.  If you use hot quinoa to make the salad, the texture becomes mushy. 

Place the quinoa in a large bowl suitable for mixing.  Add the black beans, green onions, carrot, red bell pepper, and cilantro.

Next, make the dressing.  Combine the chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in a small bowl.  Whisk together until everything is well combined.  Add to the quinoa mixture and stir to mix until the dressing is well distributed.  Serve cold or at room temperature.  Use the salad within a week of making it.

Baking with Vegetables: Pumpkin Muffins and Sweet Potato Brownies

21 Nov

My original thought for making a vegetable-added brownie was to make a beet brownie.  I eventually will, but I had a sweet potato to use.
Sweet potatoes in particular add sweetness to the brownies such that less sugar is necessary.  I also had to make pumpkin muffins because I had yet to make them this fall, though they are one of the things I most look forward to making in the fall and winter.  The pumpkin muffins are inspired by the Yammy Muffins recipe from the Sustainable Food Center’s The Happy Kitchen cookbook, which I’m currently doing some recipe testing for.  I changed up that recipe quite a bit, reducing the amount of sugar, increasing the pumpkin, eliminating the oil, and using pumpkin in place of sweet potato.  Overall, using vegetables in baking adds moisture so that less oil and eggs are necessary, and in the case of beets and sweet potatoes, adds sweetness so that you don’t need to add so much sugar.  Of course, there’s also the added nutrition factor.

Pumpkin Muffins

Ingredients

1 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinammon

1/2 cup barley malt syrup

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk will do)

1 15-oz. can pumpkin

2 T ground flax mixed with 6 T water, or 2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with papers, or dab some vegetable oil or butter in the cups to keep the muffins from sticking.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another smaller bowl combine the pumpkin, flax mixture or eggs, vanilla, barley malt, and almond milk.  Then, mix the dry and wet ingredients together, until just combined.  Fold in the chocolate chips.  Evenly distribute muffin batter in the muffin pan.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.

Sweet Potato Brownies

Ingredients

4 T (1/2 stick) butter or non-hydrogenated margarine (I think coconut oil would be good here too, though I haven’t tried it yet.)

1  4-ounce bar of 100% cacao chocolate (I used Ghiradelli brand)

1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup turbinado sugar

About 1 cup mashed sweet potato (about 1 large sweet potato)

1 T ground flax mixed with 3 T water, or 1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Peel the sweet potato, cut into chunks, and boil until tender.  (Another alternative is to cut a few slits in the potato and microwave until it’s cooked, usually about 10 minutes.)  Mash in a medium bowl.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Melt the butter with the chocolate bar in a medium saucepan or skillet over medium low heat until completely melted.  Stir during the process to facilitate the combining of the butter and chocolate.

Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) together in a small bowl.  Mix the flax mixture or egg with the sweet potato, vanilla, and sugar.  Add the chocolate mixture, then add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Place in a square 8×8 pan, or a loaf pan for thicker brownies (that’s what I did).  Bake for about 25 minutes.  The brownies will be very fudgy, not cakey.

Peruvian Quinoa Potato Soup

5 Nov

This is a quick, tasty, hearty soup I made on a weeknight.  The recipe if from the Urban Vegan cookbook, by Dynise Balcavage.  This makes a ton of soup, so be prepared!  You could halve the recipe, or just cut the amount of quinoa in half to make less soup.  You will almost certainly have to add additional liquid to this soup–the quinoa absorbs a lot of water.  (Note:  I did not copy the recipe exactly and changed some of the quantities of different ingredients.)

Ingredients

1 T olive oil

1 small white onion, chopped

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

2 T achiote, dissolved in 6 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water

2 cups quinoa, rinsed

3-4 medium potatoes, roughly chopped

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 cup rice or soy milk (I used almond milk)

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  When hot, add the onion and garlic, and saute for 3-5 minutes.  Add the achiote and broth.  Bring to a boil and then add the quinoa.  Boil gently for about 10 minutes.  Lower heat to a simmer.  Add the potatoes and cook, covered, until tender, about 10 minutes.  If the soup dries out/gets too thick, add more broth or water to think it out to your liking. Add the parsley, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Raspberry Chocolate Spelt Scones

1 Nov

This post is dedicated to my good friend Amy.  These scones are my attempt to recreate a wonderful raspberry chocolate spelt scone we used to buy every Saturday at the farmers market.  The scones, along with strong cups of Katz coffee, was our Saturday morning breakfast.  After Amy moved away about three years ago, the bakery that made these great scones stopped coming to the market.  I’ve been thinking about those scones a lot lately, as I’ve been waxing nostalgic.  While the scones I made are not a precise replica, I have to say they come pretty darn close.  Breakfast this week of strong coffee paired with these scones will be good for my soul.

This recipe is adapted from Erin McKenna’s Raspberry Scones.  I added the chocolate, changed the sweetener, used coconut oil instead of canola, and added more liquid.  I also wrote the instructions in my own words.  I found the recipe on several different recipe sites and blogs, but here is one link:

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/raspberry-scones

Ingredients

2 cups whole spelt flour

1 T baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil

1/3 cup barley malt syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 -3/4 cup hot water (I increased this amount from the recipe–the dough was just too dry with the 1/4 cup the recipe called for)

2/3 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

1 cup frozen or fresh raspberries, thawed and drained if frozen (you can thaw them in the microwave, or if you think about it ahead of time you can thaw them in the refrigerator)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, mix the oil, barley malt syrup, and vanilla together.  Add to the spelt flour mixture.  The mixture will be dry.  Add the water, and mix completely.  Fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips, being careful not to overmix.  Mix only until the raspberries and chocolate chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Spoon out the batter onto the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet using about 1/3 cup of batter per scone.  Place about 1-1 1/2 inches apart.  All the scones should fit on one sheet.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown.   Allow to cool about 15 minutes before serving.

Chocolate Double Buckwheat Muffins

13 Oct

I love buckwheat.  It may be an acquired taste for some, but it didn’t take me long to become a devotee.  Most buckwheat muffins or other baked goods recipes I’ve seen use a combination of wheat and buckwheat flour, though this muffin I made a few days ago contains not only buckwheat flour, but also cooked buckwheat.  I’ve seen recipes for muffins with cooked quinoa, so I thought buckwheat couldn’t be far behind, right?  These muffins make a very respectable breakfast food–very little sugar and completely whole grain, with cooked buckwheat, buckwheat flour, and whole wheat pastry flour.  I thought chocolate would make a nice flavor pairing with the buckwheat, so I added some good quality cocoa powder in addition to some grain-sweetened chocolate chips.  They turned out yummy!

Ingredients

1 cup toasted buckwheat (aka “kasha”)

2 cups water

Pinch salt

1 cup almond milk (I used almond milk because I had it on hand, but any nut milk, dairy milk, rice milk, etc. will do)

2 tsp ground flax

1/4 cup safflower oil (or other neutral-tasting oil)

1/2 cup barley malt syrup (honey or brown rice syrup would also work)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt

1/2 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preparation

Bring the 2 cups of water and salt to a boil and add the buckwheat.  Turn down to medium low, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the grain is tender.  Set aside.  (This step can be done ahead.  You will have extra buckwheat you won’t need for the muffins–I ate mine as a breakfast cereal with dried fruit, almond milk, walnuts, and brown sugar.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F, and place muffin papers in a 12-cup muffin pan.  Alternatively, grease the muffin pan if you don’t have papers.  Mix the almond milk with the flax and allow to sit for about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients in a medium or large bowl.  Then, mix the oil, barley malt, and vanilla with the almond milk/flax mixtures.  Mix the dry and wet mixtures together, adding the cooked buckwheat.  Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips and dried cranberries until evenly distributed through the batter.  The batter will be thick.  Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick or fork comes out clean when you test a muffin.