Monday, March 14, 2011

Quinoa Tabbouleh (Salad)

I also posted this photo on
I got this recipe from Mel, who is a registered dietitian and has it posted on her blog.  I adapted it slightly because I like more of a tangier and stronger flavor in my salads. I used a little more lemon juice, olive oil, and made half of the quinoa with parsley and the other without.  If you want to see the original recipe check out Mel's blog:  Eat Well with Mel.

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 tomato, diced
1 cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste (I also added a pinch of garlic powder)

Dry Quinoa - click image to see a close-up

Upon close inspection, quinoa seeds look like bird food.  As a matter of fact it is! Well..actually it's part of the seed mixture.  You can buy organic birdseed with quinoa in it on for your feathered friends  but birdseed mix is not what we're going to use for this salad! Buy your plain quinoa at a grocery store! 

Up until now, I'd never cooked quinoa before and knew very little about it, so I did a little research.  Quinoa is technically a fruit. In its wild state, it has a black coating on it called saponin that has a bitter, soapy taste which must be cleaned off before it can be eaten.  South American locals who grow quinoa use the saponin to wash their clothes. With the green movement and more environmentally friendly attitudes, maybe stores here in the USA should sell it with the sopanin still on it.  You could wash your clothes with it then eat the newly cleaned seeds later in this recipe.  How groovy and green is that?  Ok, decent enough idea in theory but not good in reality.

As you handle quinoa you'll find that these tiny little seeds stick to you like cat hair. As I chased down a few stray seeds on the kitchen counter, due to my high static electricity charge, they stuck to me like a magnet. Something tells me that If I got my camera close enough, I'd probably end up with it on my lens.

If you're into palm reading, now's your chance!
Ok, enough blabbering. Let's get on with making the tabbouleh.  Cook the quinoa using either a rice cooker  a saucepan.  I used a rice cooker.  Rinse the quinoa using a strainer then put it in your cooker.  If you don't have a rice cooker, click here for instructions on how to prepare rice. It's the same method for quinoa.

Dice cucumbers and tomato as shown below, then refrigerate.

Super close-up photo of diced vegetables. I'm also testing my ability to hold the camera steady!

Once the quinoa is cooked refrigerate it for about an hour until cooled.

Combine cooled quinoa, vegetables, liquids, and stir together gently.  If you so desire, add salt and pepper too.  I also added a pinch of garlic powder.  Serve cold or at room temperature.

As a side-note, in my search online for more recipes, I spotted one for black-bean and tomato quinoa on the website,  That recipe has one of my favorite herbs, cilantro!  I think I might need to try it the next time I cook quinoa.  Maybe I'll throw in a few pieces of fresh avocado too...Yum!  Feel free to experiment with this tasty and nutritious little seed.  Enjoy!'s just not for the birds :-)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sweet Cornbread

Oh so delicious cornbread!
I found this recipe back in 2005 on and loved it ever since because it satiated my craving for something sweet and fulfilled my ongoing lust for bread.  It's also quick and easy to make. You can also add other ingredients to suit your taste too.  One time I baked it with creamed corn and diced green chilies (about 1/4 cup of each). The combination of the corn and spiciness of the green chili gives it a uniquely southwestern flavor...kind of reminds me a little of green chili/cheese corn tamales.  One of these days I'm going to throw in little cheddar cheese too to see how that tastes.  But for now, let's bake it plain and simple. You can experiment later.

2/3 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1-2/3 cups milk
2-1/2 cups flour 
1 cup of yellow cornmeal
4-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a 13" x 9" x 2" in baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  In small bowl, beat eggs and milk together. In a medium sized bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt.  I know, I know...this is a lot of bowls to wash afterwards but that's OK; the end product will be worth the cleanup.

Add egg/milk to creamed butter mixture until well combined (I used an electric hand mixer). Stir in dry ingredients.  Mix well.  Pour batter into greased baking pan.

Bake for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Using a cold stick of butter, run it over the top of the hot cornbread to add a nice buttery flavor.  Serve warm and enjoy!

Don't forget to hug the baker!