Quinoa (Dutch) Baby, Oh Yeah!

My earliest memories of ‘breakfast’ are from when I was 5. We were living in an apartment in Oakland, California. Every morning before Kindergarten my nana would get me out of bed, sit me in my dad’s antique rocker with the velvet cushions and lions head arm-rests, and she’d serve me toast with strawberry jelly and a cup of coffee.

(Yes, I said “kindergarten” and “cup of coffee” in the same sentence.)

Sometimes I’d get cereal… and, sometimes I’d get her scrambled eggs. But without a doubt: breakfast was always one of those three dishes.

Then, my next breakfast memories are from when I was about 9 and in Guam. I remember the feel of the cool island air on my skin as I sat in the open doorway of our tin shack’s back porch. I always made it just in time to watch my nana throw cracked corn to the masses of chickens cooing in her honor. Half asleep, I’d watch her routine – and then, when her pockets were empty of the chicken goodies, she’d walk next door to her house and then return to mine with one of three things: a bag of warm donuts from the old man that used to sell them out of the back of his car on our street, a stack of her famous pancakes, or a plate of scrambled eggs.

Again, I could always count on it being one of those three things… and, honestly: the lack of variety never bothered me one bit.

So it is in my house these days. Breakfast is one of those meals where my kids can pretty much bank on one of a handful things, typically: cereal, fruit, and hardboiled eggs; quinoa porridge; or this:

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Quinoa Dutch Baby, served with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of real maple syrup, and fresh strawberries

The beauty of this dish is that, while it looks gourmet and totally wows the kiddos, IT IS SO SIMPLE. Seriously, it cooks itself! Here’s what you do:

Ingredients to make one 9×11 glass baking dish (feeds 4-5):

  • 4 eggs, room temperature (you can bring eggs to room temperature by soaking them in their shell in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • two pinches of nutmeg
  • 1 cup of cooked quiona
  • 3 TBSP butter, sliced in squares
  1. Place your glass baking dish in the oven and pre-heat the oven (and the dish) to 425.
  2. Whisk your eggs until they are light. Add the milk, flour, and nutmeg; and, gently whisk until all ingredients are blended. (NOTE: It’s okay for it to be a little chunky, so don’t over mix!)

When the oven is ready, here’s where you’ll need to work a little quick:

  1. Remove the hot pan (carefully!) from the oven. Place the butter squares in the pan so they begin to melt. Using a fork, stab a butter square and butter up the sides of the pan, too.
  2. Pour the cooked quinoa into the buttered pan; toss it quickly through the butter and evenly distribute it.
  3. Immediately pour in your batter over the quinoa making sure the batter goes to each edge of the pan. (Yes, it will disrupt the perfect distribution of your quinoa, but that’s okay.)
  4. Return the pan to the oven. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes, or until the center is set, and the sides are lightly brown and begin to curl up the sides of the pan.

Voilà!

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Now, here’s a big difference between my quinoa dutch baby and a traditional: This version won’t give you the impressive ‘rise’ of a true dutch baby due to the density of the whole quinoa. BUT, what it lacks in rise, it makes up for in texture and flavor. (Since you add the quinoa to a hot buttered pan, it crisps just a little and – mmmm! – you get a little crunch here and there…) 

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Now, peeps, seriously, there are some MUSTS for serving this yumminess hot out of the oven:

  1. You MUST use real maple syrup when you serve this little number… and just a drizzle! You don’t want it drunk on maple syrup.
  2. You MUST also use fresh fruit of some kind, like berries, or mango, or a warm fruit compote made by simply throwing some frozen berries in the microwave. The texture of this dutch baby is very dense, so the fresh fruit lightens it.
  3. You MUST dust with powdered sugar. Notice I said ‘dust’. It’s simply for effect more than anything. The goal is for the sweetness to come from the fruit and maple syrup, not an abundance of powdered sugar.

You may be asking: “Elisha, what if I don’t want it with the powdered sugar and maple syrup? ” Or, “what can I do with the leftovers?”

Here’s an alternative for serving (and it’s even better when they are cold):

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

Quinoa Dutch Baby topped with a dollop of plain greek yogurt and fresh strawberries

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And that’s it!

Please note that this recipe is not gluten-free. I used regular flour for this recipe, although I’m guessing it’s possible to replace the regular flour with gluten-free flour. Would you do me a favor? If you make a gluten-free version of this, would you come back and share it with us? I’d love to hear how it turns out and what (if any) alterations you had to make to cooking time.

Happy eating everyone!

A Real Woman’s “PB&J”

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches… a childhood staple for every one of us, I bet. Grape jelly was always my favorite – a burst of sweet against the rich creamy peanut taste. I can still recall the whiff of peanuty air bursting from inside my Wonder Woman lunchbox…. pure joy and pure comfort in the middle of a school day.

While my kiddos still enjoy traditional PB&J’s, this mama doesn’t do the sandwich thing anymore. Not only am I not a big bread fan (which you know), a traditional PB&J just doesn’t power me up. Furthermore, traditional PB&J’s make me feel 12 when I eat them… and, um, let me be honest: I want to feel like a woman! You know what I mean?

So, what to do? Well, look at this:

A Real Woman's "PB&J"

A Real Woman’s “PB&J”

The flavors of a PB&J… but ooohhh, this little concoction will satisfy a real woman’s discerning taste palate!

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DSC03759 Start with 1/2 greek yogurt and a 1/2 cup quinoa… the add a handful of whole grapes, a small handful of spanish peanuts, and a drizzle of honey. Stir it up, present it to yourself in a beautiful bowl… and then close your eyes while you’re whisked back to the sweet innocence and simplicity of elementary school.

Happy Monday, everyone!

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

 

A Recipe for A Florentine Love Story

I am in love with a good, good man. Truly. And, we are just a few months away from celebrating the birthdays that will officially take us into the season where we’ve been together longer than we’ve been apart.

We met when we were a wee 20 years old on a junior year study abroad program in Florence, Italy.  Yes, Italy. I was the island girl with the tough talk and half shirts; he was the tall, lean football player with a mop of hair and quite demeanor.

Firenze, Italy 1994

Firenze, Italy 1994

We didn’t like each other – but we sure enjoyed each other’s company. When we were together there was no pressure; we could could just talk about life. About weightlifting. About family. About dreams and hopes.

He taught me how to eat sunflower seeds by stashing a handful in my cheek. We’d pass hours on trains seeing who could keep a bottle cap stuck to their forehead the longest. We’d walk to classes together. Sometimes I’d meet him after class and surprise him with a slice of his favorite pizza; once he brought me the most beautiful calla lilly just because he knew I had had a hard day.

Capri, Italy 1994

We traveled together. We ate together. We confided in each other. We walked to and from classes together. We sat in piazzas on warm days doing homework, and drank wine late into the evenings in ancient Florentine pubs. We slept on trains, on beaches, in caves; we went to museums, and bull fights, and the Mediterranean coast – all just as two friends on an adventure.

And then… we fell in love in the midst of it. He went from being my friend… to being the only thing on my mind – and he’s never left.

Why am I telling you this? Because, no joke: there is something about this quinoa mandarine ginger parfait I just made that took me right back to the streets of Firenze.

A Florentine Love Story
Quinoa with greek yogurt, fresh mandarine oranges, crushed almonds, honey, and ginger.

Maybe it was the sweetness of the hint of honey, or the burst of citrus, or the crunch of the almonds with the spice of the ginger. Something about all of these flavors and textures coming together has me 20 again – and overwhelms me with the sweet lightness of falling in love in Italy. I have been pulled out of the grey of the day… and, oh man, I am counting the minutes ’til I see my hot man walk through the door.

You need that too? Well, here’s what you’ll need for this yummy dish:

  • heaping 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 mandarine orange, peeled and divided
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 1/4 tsp fresh grated ginger (I use a microplane zester – and, if you don’t have one, it is a MUST.)
  • 2 TBSP rough chopped almonds (I put 1/4 cup of whole almonds into my mini Cuisinart processor and grated on high for about 15 seconds and saved what I didn’t use for later)
  • 1-2 TBSP coconut milk

Mix it up, present it to yourself in a beautiful bowl, and dream on, girlfriend. Dream of love, dream of warm days ahead, dream of planting a big kiss on your man when he walks through the door…

Rebel on,
Elisha

 

What I’m Eating Right Now: Sweet Quinoa

It’s the middle of the day – I need a pick me up… a ‘treat’, if you will.

So, this is what I’m eating:

Quinoa Fruit Parfait: A Real Treat for Your Tastebuds!

Quinoa Fruit Parfait: A Real Treat for Your Tastebuds! 

Yum.

Yum.

I put 1/2 cup greek yogurt in my bowl then added:

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 a banana, diced
  • 1/2 cup of diced mango
  • a bunch of pomegranate seeds

I drizzled some coconut milk over the whole thing, mixed it up, then ‘presented’ it to myself in a beautiful serving dish.

The best part? It all took me about three minutes to put together.

And you?

I hope whatever it is it will have you feeling as satisfied and light as this little number makes me feel!

Rebel on,
Elisha

Fried Peach ‘n Coconut Quinoa

Look what I just cooked up: Fried Peach n’ Coconut Quinoa served over greek yogurt:

I was in between sales calls and emails when the scent of the local peaches on my counter caught my attention. Perfectly ripe, gorgeous in color.

This is usually the time of day I find myself ready for a little snack. So, why not play with the peaches, right?

I went digging around and this is what I came up with: peaches, coconut milk, toasted unsweetened coconut flakes from a cake I made a bit ago, a lime… and, chili pepper flakes that are just too pretty in color to leave out.

I can just hear you now: Wait, Elisha… did you say “fried”?

Yes, FRIED. I took all these goodies and I fried them up in some coconut oil. I know that it seems unconventional – but think peach cobbler without the sugars, or peach pie without the effort. This is a dish you’ll discover (as I did) is perfectly sweet and warm for a cool fall morning, but, most importantly, it is also clean and pure. Just what mama likes.

Here’s what you’ll need for 2-3 servings if you decide to try this at home:

  • Coconut Oil
  • 1 fresh peach, diced
  • 3/4 cup  of cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup light coconut milk
  • 1/2 a fresh lime
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • unsweetened flaked coconut
  1. Place about 1 tsp of coconut oil in a hot frying pan and throw in your diced peaches. Allow the peaches to sit for just a minute on one side, then take a spatula and move them around a bit so they don’t stick.
  2. Add an additional 1 tsp of coconut oil and 3/4 cup of cooked quinoa. Stir to coat the quinoa and peaches together, then allow to fry for about a minute without stirring.
  3. Pour in 1/4 cup light coconut milk, and season with just a touch of kosher salt and black pepper. Add in your chili pepper flakes to taste, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Stir over heat for another minute… and, that’s it!
  4. Remove from heat. Serve 1/2 cup of your peach ‘n coconut quinoa over 1/2 cup of greek yogurt. Top with flaked coconut… and enjoy!

Happy Monday, everyone!

Rebel on, Elisha

Time for a Snack: Fresh Apricots and Greek Yogurt

Apricots are in full season and, if you’re like me, you have a bunch of them in the house.

So, what to do with these perfectly ripe little bites of heaven?

Fill ’em with greek yogurt!

Just cut an fresh apricot in half and fill the center with a bit of greek yogurt.

Simple. Light. Uplifting. Fresh. Yummy.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Rebel on, -e.