The Benefits of Quinoa

If you’re not familiar with quinoa, then it’s a perfect protein to start incorporating into your diet. It’s loaded with vitamins and minerals and is a good source of manganese as well as folate, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc. In addition, it’s a great source of the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Because it’s such a complete protein with such a well-balanced amino acid profile, it’s a perfect alternative for vegetarians because it’s one of the few (non-meat) foods that provide all the essential amino acids that our bodies need.

Quinoa has a light and fluffy texture and a slightly nutty flavor when cooked. And it’s extremely versatile. It’s perfect in savory dishes or here, in my quinoa breakfast bowl. For this recipe, you can add just about anything you like to it such as cranberries, raisins, fresh fruit or even shredded coconut all work well with the recipe. And you can also substitute the honey with either agave nectar or maple syrup if you prefer. But here’s my favorite way to enjoy it:

quinoa breakfast bowl               serves 1

If you’re looking for an alternative to a hearty bowl of oatmeal that’s still nutritious, then this recipe is a great option. Quinoa, which is packed with protein, is a great substitute for the more traditional bowl of breakfast oatmeal. I make my version using a combination of both milk and water to cook the quinoa because I love the creaminess the milk gives the quinoa but you can simply use all water if you prefer. Serve it plain, with yogurt and toasted almonds or with your favorite dried or fresh fruit.

1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon milk, divided
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1-2 tablespoons roughly chopped toasted almonds

1. In a medium saucepan, bring quinoa, 1/2 cup milk and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes. Grains will be translucent and germ ring will be visible when done.
2. In a small bowl, combine yogurt, honey and remaining 1 teaspoon milk.
3. Transfer quinoa to a serving bowl and top with yogurt and almonds and serve warm. Image

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Chocolate Orange Quinoa Brownies

Chocolate Orange Quinoa Brownies

30 Servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 7 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup organic quinoa
  • zest of 1 orange

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a

time, stirring well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine

the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, orange zest and quinoa;

gradually add to butter mixture just until moistened.

Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for

20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes

out clean (do not overbake). Cool on a wire rack.

Yield: about 2-1/2 dozen.

 

Teff Breakfast Porridge

ALL ABOUT TEFF

Teff [Eragrostis tef] is the only fully-domesticated member of the genus Eragrostis (lovegrass). Its name is often assumed to be related to the word “lost” in Amharic – because of the tiny size (less than 1mm diameter – similar to a poppy seed) of its seeds.

This tiny size, in fact, makes teff ideally suited to semi-nomadic life in areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea where it has long thrived. (The photo to the left shows teff being harvested in Ethiopia.) A handful of teff is enough to sow a typical field, and it cooks quickly, using less fuel than other foods. Teff also thrives in both waterlogged soils and during droughts, making it a dependable staple wherever it’s grown. No matter what the weather, teff crops will likely survive, as they are also relatively free of plant diseases compared to other cereal crops.

Teff can grow where many other crops won’t thrive, and in fact can be produced from sea level to as high as 3000 meters of altitude, with maximum yield at about 1800-2100m high. This versatility could explain why teff is now being cultivated in areas as diverse as dry and mountainous Idaho and the low and wet Netherlands. Teff is also being grown in India, Australia and Canada.

Growing in the fields, teff appears purple, gray, red, or yellowish brown. Seeds range from dark reddish brown to yellowish brown to ivory.

Teff is hard to find, but I have it available at the Farmer’s Market for just  $ 3.oo/pound. It is fun to cook with and I’ll include some interesting recipes in the coming posts.

Teff Porridge with Honey and Dates Recipe

Makes: 4 to 6 servings (about 4 cups)

Plain porridge can be so boring, but change up the grain and it’s a whole new ball game. Most commonly seen as the main ingredient in injera (fermented Ethiopian flatbread), teff is packed with iron and calcium. If you don’t have 3 days to make your own injera, enjoy teff in a quick porridge full of nuts and dried fruit or anything else you would throw in your morning oatmeal.

The porridge will start to firm up as it sits. If it gets too firm, just mix in some warm water or milk until the desired consistency is achieved.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup teff
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
  • 1/3 cup hulled, unsalted, raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat water in a medium saucepan over high heat. When it boils, add teff and whisk to thoroughly incorporate. Reduce heat to low and cover.
  2. Simmer, whisking occasionally, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed and the teff is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and keep covered.

Heat butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add pumpkin seeds and cook until seeds begin to pop and butter just begins to brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add seeds and butter to the cooked teff, add remaining ingredients, and stir to combine. Serve immediately.

 

To eat is a nec…

To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art.

I celebrate 35 years in the hospitality industry this year. So many friends, family and colleagues have asked me to post recipes, thoughts and ideas. So join me as we begin the journey. Sante !