Home Assignment #3

I’ve heard that quinoa is higher in protein than oats, rice, or millet so I decided to try unnamed (1)some recipes with quinoa for this week’s assignment.  As I was looking for recipes I started reading about quinoa and discovered that it is coated with a substance called saponin. Saponin is a bitter chemical that is a little bit toxic so it is important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before using it. Quinoa contains oxalates which puts it on the caution list for persons who are prone to kidney stones.

The first recipe that I tried was blueberry lemon breakfast quinoa.  After I rinsed the quinoa with cold water in a fine strainer I heated 2 cup of milk in a saucepan and stirred in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and a pinch of salt. I heated this mixture over medium low heat until most of the liquid was absorbed. Then I put some of the cooked quinoa in a bowl and added 1.5 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1/2 cup of blueberries, a little lemon zest and 1 tsp of flax seed.  I was surprised how easy this recipe was to make.  While the word “quinoa” sounds exotic and a bit intimidating this recipe was no more difficult than steel cut oatmeal to make and it tasted great and it kept me full until lunch.  I will definitely make this again!IMG_1405

Next, I used a cup of the cooked quinoa left over from breakfast to make a honey lime quinoa fruit salad.  I’ve made honey lime fruit salad before by cutting up strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries and drizzling honey and the juice of ½ a lime over the fruit. This recipe however said to add 1 cup of cooked quinoa to the fruit.  I was a bit skeptical about this but the quinoa added an interesting chewy texture to the salad and it made the dish feel more like a meal than a dessert.   This seems like a nice salad for a hot summer day when you want something cool yet substantial to eat.IMG_1408

The last item that I made with the quinoa was a quinoa and black bean salad. This was another really easy dish to make.  I started by browning 1 chopped onion and 3 chopped cloves of garlic in a teaspoon of vegetable oil.  Then I took 3/4th cup of uncooked quinoa and mixed it into the vegetable mixture with 1 ½ cup vegetable broth.  I seasoned this mixture with cumin, a little bit of cayenne pepper and salt and I turned up the heat until it came to a boil. Once it started to boil I covered it and turned the heat down and let it cook for 20 minutes.  Then I added 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, 2 cans of black beans and ½ cup chopped cilantro and cooked it again for about 10 minutes.  One thing that I learned by taking this class is that cooking is not that difficult. You can make some really good, fresh food pretty quickly if you plan a little and have the ingredients on hand.unnamed

Home Assignment 2

I had never purchased fresh artichokes before because they just look intimidating and I really had no idea how to prepare them or eat them.  So, for this week’s assignment I started by going to the internet to read about artichokes.  First I read about their history. Apparently they are mentioned as a garden plant by Homer in the 8th century BC!  Then I discovered that almost all the artichokes sold in the United States come from California. I spent some time searching for artichoke recipes but I had to go back to the internet to read more about the parts of an artichoke before I could understand the recipe directions. IMG_1457

I wanted to cook fresh artichokes so I ended up just steaming them over a poaching liquid of water, chicken broth and lemon rinds. Then I cut off the petals and made some lemon garlic aioli sauce for a dip. It was a messy appetizer to eat but it was actually quite good.

Like many people I would like to try to eat more greens and salads.  So the second type of produce that I purchased this week was romaine lettuce.  I love Caesar salad and I usually buy bottled Caesar salad dressing but this week I made Caesar dressing from scratch.  I started by cutting a loaf of bread into cubes to making croutons.IMG_1400

Then I made the dressing.  I had to poke the ends of 4 raw eggs with a needle and place the eggs in boiling water for 90 seconds.  IMG_1401

Then I cracked the eggs and spooned out the semi cooked egg and whisked it together with olive oil, lemon juice, and minced anchovies. The result was a dressing that was so much better than any “gourmet” dressing that I could ever buy at the grocery store.  While the Caesar dressing was a little bit difficult to make I experimented with a few other vinaigrette dressings  this week and discovered that they were all fairly easy to make and amazingly good.  I might just quit buying store bought salad dressings!


Home Assignment 1

My husband and one of my daughters love to cook so I  really don’t do much cooking. However, my daughter is leaving home in the fall so I think it might be a good idea to learn to cook a few healthy meals.

Our pantry is well stocked so I could probably make pretty much anything but I decided to start with something easy. My daughter loves Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything so I decided to make pancakes from a recipe in that book.

I started by doing what Bill told us to do in class the first week. I gathered all the ingredient and put them in small bowls in the order that they were needed in the recipe. IMG_1389

This worked well except I did have a lot of dishes to wash when I was done. I was doing pretty good until I read “separate the eggs”.  IMG_1390

This was kind of difficult but I’m sure I will get better at this with practice! I did a pretty good job beating the egg whites with an electric hand mixer!IMG_1392

My daughter loves to go to local farms and pick strawberries, blueberries, raspberries apples do I added some of her frozen blueberries to the batter.  IMG_1393The pancakes actually turned out pretty good. I might like cooking! I look forward to week two’s assignment.IMG_1397