Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Summer Quinoa Salad

As promised, here is my recipe for a delightful cold salad with Quinoa!

Summer Quinoa Salad

2 cups Water or Vegetable Stock
1 cup uncooked Quinoa
2 cups cherry tomatoes, corn, cucumber, red peppers, etc.
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped parsley
1.       Combine water and quinoa in medium sauce pan; bring to a boil and reduce heat. Cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to cool.
2.       In a serving bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, reserving the chopped parsley; season with salt and pepper.
3.       Toss in the cooled quinoa and parsley.
Serve chilled, or at room temperature.

You may have noticed that I was a little vague regarding the vegetables... that was on purpose. Be creative! 

Quinoa goes great with stone fruits, roasted zucchini and summer squash, roasted butternut and acorn squash, diced green tomatoes, spring garlic... take a look in the produce aisle (or your backyard garden) and GO NUTS!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Quinoa: What the hell is it?

Quinoa is member of a species of perennial, herbaceous flowering plants known as goosefoot. Harvested for its seeds, it is classed as a pseudocereal due to the fact that it is not a true grass, or grain, as with wheat.The plant itself is more closely related to beet, spinach, and tumbleweed.

The Incas held Chisaya Mama (mother of all grains) to be a sacred crop until the Spanish Conquistadors landed and forced them to grow wheat. The Christian invaders claimed that the tiny seeds were suitable only as fodder for animals and savages, and worked to suppress the religious harvest ceremonies associated with it.

Today, quinoa has seen a renaissance in the world of healthy eating as a "super grain." Quinoa is gluten free and  is an excellent source of protein, folate, vitamin B6, and arganine, all of which have been shown in studies to be essential to mental health and proper nutrition in children. Individuals with attention deficit disorder have also been shown to benefit from increased intake of B complex vitamins and L-arganine.

In my next post I'll be showing how to cook and serve this "wonder grain," so check back often!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yes! More Photos!!

This one from David Brown who tried out the Pineapple Jerk Chicken with Coconut rice.

Looks GREAT! Thanks David!

Indian Chapati Bread

I love Indian food. 

There are an endless number of different cooking styles around the world, but few can compare to the marriage of simple method combined with delicious complexity that is the hallmark of Indian fare. The dishes range from fiery curries to cooling yogurt sauces; bitter greens to sweet fruit chutneys. There is something to please just about any palate and if you've never tried it, you are definitely missing out.

It may seem odd to those of us living in the Western world, but in many cultures around the globe the concept of eating with utensils such as forks and spoons just never caught on. Because of this, cooking styles in these regions have developed such that large chunks of roasted meat, thick stews, dipping sauces, and spreads are dominant. The most common method of successfully getting these tasty items into your mouth is to scoop it up with another tasty item; bread.

The following recipe will produce one of the most common flat breads of the South Asian region: Chapati. There are many different incarnations of this flat bread, based on where you look (Turkey, China, Tanzania, Kenya and many other countries have there own versions), but this particular unleavened delight will resemble the favored style of the Indian sub continent.

Indian Chapati
1 cup All-Purpose flour
1 cup Whole Wheat flour
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbs olive oil
3/4 cup boiling water
A few Tbs Ghee (butter will suffice if you can't find Ghee)


1. Combine the flours and salt in a large bowl.
2. Using a wooden spoon incorporate the oil and hot water into the flour to make a loose dough that is slightly stretchy; when the water is fully incorporated, turn the dough out onto a well flour surface and knead it until the dough is smooth.
3. Divide the dough into 10 equal parts; meanwhile heat up a large flat skillet with a small amount of oil.
4. Use a rolling pin to flatten the portions of divided dough into thin flat rounds; when the pan begins to smoke, place the flattened dough, one piece at a time, into the pan and let them cook until the bottom begins to form brown spots (about 30 seconds depending on the thickness). Flip the bread over to brown the other side.
5. As you remove the bread from the pan slather a small amount of ghee on the them and lay on a plate until ready to serve.


This bread is the perfect companion to stew, curry, yogurt dips,  hummus, rice, or mango chutney.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

First photo submission!

Congratulations to Katie Reedy (Katie's blog) for trying out my marinated shrimp and pico de gallo soft taco recipe and for submitting the first picture response on my blog!


Looks tasty; keep up the good work!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Tofu: What the hell is it?

Tofu (Bean Curd) is the product of coagulated soy milk. 

The process of making Tofu is actually very similar to that of making cheese from cow's milk. Soy milk and regular milk are both just stable emulsions of protein, water and oil.

In order to make cow's milk cheese, the proteins in the milk (curds) must be separated from the water (whey). Once the curds have been separated and the whey has been drained off, you are left with the solid protein portion which can be pressed into blocks giving us the foundation for every single type of cheese imaginable.

The same process can be applied to soy milk; that is the mysterious secret of Tofu.

Now I can hear you saying, "That's great, Adam, but what the hell do I do with this mysterious bean cheese?"

I'm glad you asked. The following recipe is a very simple example of substituting Tofu for meat. The result is a surprisingly satisfying vegan snack, featuring a crispy outside and a pleasingly chewy, chicken nugget-y inside.

This recipe, and many others, call for the Tofu to be "pressed." 

How to press Tofu: Open the package and drain the liquid; wrap the block of Tofu in several paper towels, or a clean kitchen towel, and place on a cutting board. Place an unopened soup can, or other slightly heavy object, in a bowl with a flat bottom and rest it on top of the block of tofu for 15 minutes. The object of this process is to squeeze out as much excess water as possible. This is especially important for recipes where we want the tofu to remain firm. 

Breaded Tofu Nuggets

                1 package Extra firm Tofu, pressed
                ¾ cup bread crumbs
                1 teaspoon dried parsley
                1 teaspoon garlic powder
                1 teaspoon onion powder
                ½ teaspoon black pepper
                1/3 cup soy milk
                2 Tablespoons mustard
                Olive oil for pan frying
1.       Slice the tofu into chunks and place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
2.       While the tofu is chilling, combine the bread crumbs and seasonings in a mixing bowl; in a separate bowl whisk together the soy milk and mustard.
3.       Remove the tofu from the freezer and dip each piece into the milk and then into the bread crumbs to coat thoroughly.
4.       Fry each piece of tofu until golden brown.

I served this to my vegetarian class with a little bit of ketchup and it was a big hit. Even the clients who usually don't go for my veggie recipes came back for seconds!

These nuggets can also be baked for 30 minutes at 350 degrees if the frying doesn't appeal to you. 

Anyway... this is far from the only way that Tofu can be enjoyed. After pressing the Tofu you can marinate it in a little bit of soy sauce and bake/fry/stir fry/mold into the shape of a turkey/throw at your little sister (or brother)/dice it up and put it in a salad or simply enjoy it by itself.

I like to cut my Tofu into meaty slices and sprinkle a little kosher salt and fresh black pepper over it, then drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on top: Delicious.

As always, BE CREATIVE! As long as you enjoy the results, there is literally NO wrong way to prepare a meal for yourself.