Posts tagged ‘Quinoa’

April 25, 2011

OMGIDITGLIFO – Easter Extravaganza!

Wondering about all those letters? They stand for Oh My God I Did It Thank Goodness Lent Is Finally Over!

To me, Lent this year meant 46 days of eating clean, 100% of the time. No processed sugar, in fact, no sweet treats at all. The only exception was a teaspoon of honey here and there when a recipe called for it, and there is this once when I drizzled a half teaspoon over my buckwheat pancake, mostly for the looks… Hey, I had to make that sacrifice so that my picture would look good!!! How’s that for dedication?

So for 46 days, no sugar, no junk, not one french fry, not one potato chip, not even a pretzel, not one drop of alcohol, not one bite of meat (save for fish and seafood), even white flour was off limits. Need I tell you It was tough? It was a heck of a challenge, but I did it!  And I am very proud. Kudos to my kids for also succeeding with their Lent challenge. You kids are good! Hats off to you!

I do feel, however, like this year has been especially long and especially hard… especially when it comes to everything sweet. You see, I have a mega sweet tooth. Sugar would be my one addiction that still isn’t completely under control.

For Easter, my brothers and I went to my parents and had a lovely pot luck lunch. I love pot lucks. You get to eat so many different things in a very relaxed atmosphere. You can walk with your plate and sit anywhere you please. You can eat in small installments, too. The only thing is, I always overeat. At least, this time, I was good. Most of what I ate was healthy and good for me… most, I did say!

For the occasion, I had baked this absolutely decadent Stout and Chocolate Cheesecake. I had found the recipe on Kevin’s Closet Cooking a few weeks ago and I had been drooling and day dreaming about that cake ever since. I was looking sooooo forward to eating it, you can’t even imagine. I think the hardest part of my Lent observance came when I finally made the cake. You see, since I was making it for Easter, I had to prepare it in advance so Lent wasn’t over yet when I actually made it.

Have you ever tried making a cake without even so much as licking your fingers, especially when you have been craving sugar for weeks and you have to look at this melted chocolate, and smell it, and you can’t even taste it? Then you crack open this beer that you really really like, and you don’t even need half of it for your recipe, but you can’t even finish it… It was hell, I tell you! At least, I thought I would get to eat the cake that I’d been daydreaming about in less than 48 hours…

Unfortunately, the cake, while good, was not nearly as good as I expected. I chose to top it with Bailey’s Whipped Cream and, well, I think THAT was my favorite part. For some reason, I think my cake was a little overcooked… It wasn’t nearly as creamy as Kevin’s was. And I couldn’t taste the beer at all. Maybe it’s because I chose to use a different stout, a cocoa and vanilla stout called Aphrodisiaque, which is brewed by a local brewery. Maybe I ought to try the cake again using Guinness this time.

It did look pretty, however, didn’t it?

Another very yummy thing that I contributed to the pot luck is this lovely pine nut shaped cream cheese appetizer.  I got the inspiration here for the shape, but I didn’t care much for the cheese recipe. I’m not big on mayo, you see… and I wanted something orange / cranberry. This turned out soooo good, I think it’s worthy of getting its own post… but it’s basically low fat cream cheese, sour cream, the zest of 1 orange, some parsley and chopped pecans with a handful of dried cranberries. Oh, and a pinch of cayenne!

The rest of my food contributions are all déjà-vu…

My cold shrimp salad (I cheated and added a can of heart of artichokes…)

My Orange Cranberry Quinoa Salad

My No Knead Country Loaf  (well, ok… not quite mine… I admit!)

This, my brother made. It’s so easy and soooooo good. You simply take a very fresh salmon fillet, cut it into cubes, then pour some lemon juice over it, sprinkle with a little bit of fresh dill and let it marinate for a half hour or so. The lemon juice will take care of cooking the salmon but it remains super tender. Notice on one of the pictures below, this is the only plate that got completely cleaned!

This plate right there was 750g of salmon and the juice of about 2 lemons. Not much calculation required here, really…

Of course, there was also people at that party!!!

This adorable little fellow would be my nephew, Lyle. He is just the custest kid I have ever seen. Don’t you agree? I think he too, really liked the whipped cream on that cake…

This is my older brother, Sylvain, oh, and Lyle eating cake again… We had this huge chocolate fondue with tons of fruit. YUM!

My niece Rosalie in the foreground and my daughter Natasha (with the red sweater)

My mom, Maria and my sister-in law, Myriam (I guess you can figure out who’s who…) This picture reminds me of “The Last Scene”…  Notice the empty salmon plate… all that’s left are lemon slices!

My younger brother, Patric, and his girlfriend, Myriam

My niece Elisabeth playing the guitar, her sister Rosalie and Lyle, the future heart breaker…

My dad! My favorite dad in the whole wide world! (with again, Lyle in the background… he’s just everywhere, that kid!)

And, well, me! Yep, this is all you’re getting! 😉

April 7, 2011

Warm (or cold) Quinoa Papaya Salad

I remember saying, not too long ago, that papaya was going to make an appearance in my menu sometime soon… Well, soon is finally here!

Not having cooked with papaya all that often in my life, I didn’t really know what to do with it. I knew I wanted something fresh and summery, that wasn’t going to be too sweet… Of course, all things “dessert” being off limits for now, the obvious choice was some sort of salad… And since I really like the combination of quinoa with fruits and nuts, well, the choice became even more obvious. A warm quinoa salad it was going to be.

OK, so I had quinoa and I had papaya. Great. Now all that remained was to find the other ingredients that would complete the equation. The inspiration came to me, slowly but surely, and eventually got finalized as I was actually making the salad.

The result was extremely satisfying, one of my favourite quinoa salads so far. The dressing, made from papaya seeds, really brings a lot to this dish. If you’ve never tried papaya seeds, you seriously have to. Their taste is strong and peppery, it sort of reminds me of that of a radish, and they have a rather crunchy consistency. Made into a purée, they do give a lot of flavour and texture to dressings and sauces. Of course, they can also be eaten whole, especially since they are quite pleasing to the eye, all cute and tiny and black and shiny and round that they are. Try ‘em, you’ll see. You’ll thank me for that.

(serves 2)


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • ½ papaya, peeled, seeded and diced (save the seeds!!!)
  • 25g toasted pecans, crushed
  • 25g raw pumpkin seeds
  • 30g dried cranberries
  • ¼ cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 10-12 mint leaves, chopped


  • ¼ cup papaya seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • The juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • 1 tbsp Honey


  • Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a small strainer before cooking to remove all traces of saponin.
  • Put quinoa and water in small saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until all water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. You can cook quinoa ahead of time if you’d rather use it cold.
  • While quinoa is cooking, prepare and mix all the ingredients of the salad in a large mixing bowl. Reserve.
  • In a small food processor, purée all the ingredients of the dressing and mix into reserved salad. Add quinoa, stir to combine.
  • You can serve immediately or refrigerate for a few hours, or even until the next day.


March 14, 2011

Another Quinoa Inspiration

It’s a good thing I was cooking only for myself tonight, for I wouldn’t have made many friends if my kids had been at home. Both of them hate rapini and quinoa and my daughter literally gags on sun dried tomatoes. It’s too bad really because rapini would be one of my favorite vegetables. Probably one of my top 5. Since I’m the only one here who likes it, I don’t get to eat it quite as often as I’d like. Let me tell you, if there’s ever going to be a man in my life, he better like rapini. And quinoa for that matter! In fact, I think tonight’s dish would be a perfect “test meal”. If he didn’t care for it, then I guess things just wouldn’t work out…OK, that might be a little harsh, but still… he would HAVE to love good food. I could never be with someone who was only into junk. So he better like his veggies, and like them A LOT!

Seriously, I think tonight’s quinoa salad was a perfect, and I really mean perfect combination. I simply added barely wilted rapini, sun dried tomatoes and sliced black olives to warm quinoa. Then a generous pinch of pepper went in, gave that a good stir and transferred into a plate. Topped with goat cheese and sunflower seeds. That’s it, that’s all. It didn’t need any extra seasoning and it just literally exploded with taste.  The bitterness of the rapini and sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes went beautifully well with the nuttiness of the quinoa and the tanginess of the goat cheese, while the sunflower seeds added that little bit of extra crunch. As for the black olives, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but they definitely played an important role. I wouldn’t leave them out. Nope, I wouldn’t change a thing. This was one of my favorite quinoa salads ever. Another keeper!