I’ve eaten quinoa once or twice before and thought it wasn’t bad, but I never rushed to try it again. I was never excited to eat it again — until this recipe from Gluten-free Goddess. After making this quinoa salad, I had an I-Love-Quinoa moment. Since then, I’ve been eating it a lot — several times in the week. I really DO love it. I love its sorta nutty flavor, love its grainy, fluffy texture. I love that quinoa is very nutritious and high in protein. I’m a rice eater but lately, I’ve been substituting rice with quinoa. Oh, and I love how I can eat quinoa any time of the day — breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In this recipe, I love how the quinoa tastes so good with the greens, blueberries, strawberries and watermelon. I could have cut the fruits a bit smaller but I don’t mind the chunk-sized fruits. As a matter of fact, I like that size.
Another reason I love this recipe is because it is no-fuss one, especially during the heatwave weather we’ve been having. The fruits in the salad make it taste refreshing and the grain makes it filling. Perfect!
I super puffy heart quinoa! I super puffy heart Quinoa Salad with Blueberries, Strawberries and Watermelon!
Quinoa Salad with Blueberries, Strawberries and Watermelon
from Gluten-free Goddess
Meanwhile, prepare the fruit and baby greens.
1.5 cups fresh blueberries, washed, picked over
1.5 cups fresh strawberries, washed, sliced
1.5 cups diced watermelon
6 cups baby salad greens
A handful of fresh chopped herbs: cilantro, dill, parsley and mint
For the dressing:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Fresh squeezed lime juice from 1-2 limes
Cracked pepper, to taste
When the quinoa has cooled, drizzle it with the extra virgin olive oil and toss well to coat, fluffing with a fork to separate the grains. Add the fresh squeezed lime juice and toss again. Season with cracked pepper, to taste. Taste test. Add more olive oil or lime as needed.
Add the blueberries to the quinoa, and toss lightly.
Distribute the baby greens on six plates. Add the quinoa and blueberries. Add the sliced strawberries and diced watermelon, and the fresh chopped herbs.
And voila! A vegan gluten-free salad worthy of July Fourth.
Cook time: Maybe 30 minutes
Oh! When I saw Lululu’s paella the other day, I immediately had a hankering for some. I hadn’t eaten paella in a very long time. Her’s looked so appetizing and the best part of the recipe for me was that the ingredients were simple. I’d made paella a long time ago (a recipe by Tyler Florence), the ingredients were many (chicken, chorizo, saffron, clams, shrimp, lobster tails…) and I’d spent a fortune buying the ingredients. Although, the paella tasted really terrific and the recipe was tasty and definitely worth it, I was happy to see a simple, yet delicious-looking paella recipe.
Over the weekend, I went grocery shopping and bought my ingredients, mainly the shrimp and squid. The recipe called for arborio rice. However, despite going to three stores, I couldn’t find that rice. There was one more store to try but by then, I was too tired. It’s no fun lugging several grocery bags around the city. I had long grain rice at home and planned to use it, even though I wasn’t sure how that would turn out. Thankfully, Rosa’s Yummy Yums encouraged me to use what I had, although there’d be a difference in the recipe.
Feeling a bit tired
lazy tired on the day I prepared this dish, I found that it wasn’t as labor intensive as expected. The only part of the recipe that was a pain in the neck was shelling and de-veining the shrimps. Yikes! Next time, I’ll consider paying a little extra for shrimps already de-veined. De-veining more than five shrimps is NOT fun. It took me FOR-EVAH to de-vein the darned things.
At the last minute, I realized that I didn’t have any white wine. So, I used vermouth. *shrugs*
To my delight, my paella with chorizo and seafood turned out really well. I loved it. My dog loved it, too. We were the only two at home, which was okay. More for us.
Paella with Chorizo and Seafood
Lululu at Home
(serves 6 persons)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 to 3 pieces Spanish Chorizo hot sausage, sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cup arborio rice
1/2 cup white wine
1 28-oz can tomato
3 cup warm chicken stock
1 Tbsp dried herbs of your choice
1lb shrimp, deveined
1 squid tube, cleaned and sliced
pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup frozen peas
In a large pan, brown sausages with olive oil over medium heat. Remove from pan and set aside.
Keep fat in pan. Sautee onion and garlic for 5 minutes until onion turns pale gold, but not brown.
Add rice and wine, and stir for 2 minutes. Add tomato, and keep stirring occasionally until 1/3 liquid is evaporated. Pour in 2 cups of chicken stock and herbs, cook uncovered until 1/2 liquid is absorbed by the rice. Add the remaining cup of chicken stock, stirring. Cover and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Add sausage (push them into the rice).
Preheat oven to 400F.
Tuck the shrimps and squid rings into the rice. Sprinkle salt and pepper on seafood with the peas. After placing seafood ingredients in pan, sprinkle them with peas, salt and pepper. Place pan in oven to cook for 5 minutes until shrimps become pink and squid is slightly brown at the edge.
Squeeze fresh lemon juice on top of each portion before serving.
Okay. So the rice is missing in the photo with the lentil stew, but we all know what rice looks like. Right?
I always enjoy reading and then trying to prepare the Ecuadorian recipes that I see on Laylita’s Recipes. This is another simple recipe — Lentil stew with rice. The lentils simmer with onions, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, cumin and cilantro. That’s about it. According to Laylita, this is a popular dish in Ecuador. It’s served with grilled meat (The full name of the dish is actually arroz con menestra de lentejas y carne asada — lentil stew with rice and grilled meat.). Like Laylita, I substituted the meat with a fried egg. Loved it!
Lentil Stew with Rice (Arroz con Menestra)
3 tbs canola oil
1 red onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
3 tomatoes, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp cumin
3 tsp salt
1 tsp achiote
4 tbs chopped cilantro
7 cups of water
1 lb lentils
- Heat the canola oil on medium heat in a large sauce pan.
- Add the onion, bell pepper, tomato, garlic, cumin, salt, achiote and 2 tablespoons of the cilantro to make a refrito for the stew.
- Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the ingredients have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the water and increase heat to bring water to boil.
- Add the lentils and reduce the heat to medium low, cover partially and cook until the lentils are tender, stir in the remaining 2 tbs of cilantro and remove from the heat.
- Serve with Ecuadorian style cooked rice, carne asada o carne frita (fried thin beef steaks), fried ripe plantains or fried green plantains, and a small salad or avocado slices.
Orzo! I love this rice-shaped pasta and jumped at the opportunity to make Orzo Paella when I saw the recipe on Haalo’s blog, Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once. Orzo Paella? Never heard of it before. Gotta try it, I thought to myself. Try it I did. And did I like it? Did everyone else at home like it? Yup. Like it we did.
One of the things I liked about this recipe was that it’s quick and easy to make. The ingredients are very simple. I didn’t have to go to Timbuktu in search of anything special or exotic. I had almost all the ingredients right there in my kitchen. The only ingredient I didn’t have was the chorizo. I could only get it in a store a couple of blocks away. But I was feeling too lazy to walk down there. So I called another store closer to me (about a block away) and had them deliver Italian sausage since they didn’t carry chorizos.
Haalo suggests topping the orzo paella with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra. I didn’t have that either, so good ole Parmesan cheese substituted. I’ve never tasted Manchego or Mizithra cheese. I’ll have to go buy some one of these days because I’ll definitely make Orzo Paella again. Thanks, Haalo!
Cook (almost) Anything at Least Once
2 red onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 red capsicum (bell pepper), sliced thickly
4 skinless chicken thighs, sliced thickly
1 chorizo, diced
chopped tomatoes (fresh or canned)
Heat a little oil and butter in a large pan and saute the chicken in batches until browned. Set to one side and in the same pan, saute the onions and garlic until softened.
Add the diced chorizo and cook until golden. Add the sliced capsicum and continue to saute for 5 minutes before adding the tomatoes, peas and chicken. Stir through and add enough water or stock to just cover the mixture. Simmer until reduced.
The orzo will only take about 5 minutes to cook so make sure that this chicken mixture is cooked and seasoned to your liking.
Over a very low flame, stir in the orzo and top with enough water to just cover the mixture. Place a lid on the pot and let it cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
After this, stir the mixture and taste — check that the orzo is cooked through and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Serve at once. Top with shards of manchego or grated Mizithra/Myzithra.
**I haven’t been cooking or food blogging lately. So, I’ve decided to go through my archives and repost some of my earlier posts, from the days when I started learning to cook and bake (I’m still learning). It certainly brings back good memories.
I’ve mentioned several times on my blog that I love rice. All types of rice. Here’s one nice rice recipe that I need to make again.
* * * * * * *
First posted December 7, 2005
“Cardamom? What’s cardamom?” She asked herself, never having heard, seen or tasted the unfamiliar ingredient.
Later she found out that it’s a popular spice. Spelled two ways – cardamom or cardamon – it comes in two forms (green or white fruit pods that contain tiny brown aromatic seeds, or decorticated seeds without the shell). She learned it’s widely used – from Danish pastries, Saudi Arabian, to North African, Asian, and Indian cooking, and in spice blends like garam masala, curry powder and berbere.
Michelle sent the girl a Basmati and Nut Pilaf recipe. “It’s what introduced me to cardamom,” she let the girl know.
“Rice with cardamom, cumin seed, ground coriander, and black mustard seeds? Oh wow! This should taste interesting,” the girl spoke to herself (She did that a lot.) while reading the ingredient list with interest. Normally a rice eater, she’d never made rice with the spices mentioned in the recipe.
The spices used
Eagerly, the girl set out to go buy the cardamom. She searched high and low in her neighborhood. The people she asked in the grocery stores didn’t know what she talked about or they said that didn’t have it.
So, the girl went out of her area and searched. No luck. She returned to a store in her neighborhood and asked a manager who pointed her to the spice section. In a little bottle, she found the cardamom pods. They’d been there all that time, right under her nose!
Although the remaining ingredients for the recipe weren’t hard to find, for one reason or another, it took the girl a little longer to get them. The list called for cashew nuts, but every time the girl would buy the nuts, she’d eat it all before it was time to prepare the meal. This happened twice. She couldn’t find black mustard seeds and used regular mustard seed and instead of sunflower oil used safflower oil.
With everything finally on hand, the girl prepared her meal. Michelle noted that the basmati didn’t require as much stock or water as the recipe recommended. Instead, her basmati took equal parts water to rice, so that’s what the girl used. However, the girl’s rice stayed dry and she ending up adding more water (in effect, returning to the recipe’s ratio).
Everything turned out well. The flavor of the cardamom (sweet and somewhat lemony), along with the other spices lent a tasty essence to the rice. Delicious! The aroma, heavenly. She enjoyed her rice and sent Michele good thoughts.
Content with her Basmati and Nut Pilaf recipe, the girl lived happily ever after.
The End. To be continued.
Basmati and Nut Pilaf
1 ¼ cups basmati rice
1 onion chopped
1 garlic crushed
1 large carrot, grated
1-2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp black mustard seeds
4 cardamom pods
2 cups stock or water
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
cashews –a handful or two, or however many you like. Salted or unsalted whichever is your preference.
Wash rice. Fry the onion, garlic and carrot in oil. Add rice and spices and cook another 2 minutes or so. Pour in stock or water, add bay leaf and season. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf an cardamom pods. Add the nuts.