Archive for September, 2011

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa with Cumin Lime Dressing

September 6, 2011

I'll still eat it, even though I know it's healthy.

I remember the first time I ever tried quinoa. Years ago before I ever went gluten free, I read a story in a magazine about this “new” super grain that we all should be eating on a daily basis. I found some instant quinoa breakfast cereal at a grocery store and gave it a shot. EW. I think it was more like quinoa powder with sugar and artificial apple cinnamon flavor. It was an uninspiring bowl of brown mush. No thank you.

I finally tried it again after going gluten free. Here and there, I would encounter it at friend’s houses when they tried to figure out something to feed me that was gluten free. I didn’t want to be rude and say “NOOOOO anything but quinoa!” so I shut up and ate it. And it was great (for the most part!). I enjoyed the various fruited, veggied, stuffed-in-things varieties I had, prepared by my loving and understanding friends.

Did you know that quinoa isn’t really a grain at all, but is related most closely to leafy greens like beets, spinach and tumbleweed? Weird. It is also what nutritionists refer to as a “complete protein”, meaning that it contains a balance of amino acids, which is rare in a plant. Oh quinoa. You amazingly weird plant, you.

So I am finally giving you all a basic quinoa recipe. Finally. I am trying to branch out a little here from baked goods (although I have a KILLER lemon tea bread for you all tomorrow…oops). My mom has really been cooking most of my meals since I’ve been living at home, so I haven’t had as much of a chance to share any new recipes.

Next time I make this really great dish (and I will for the next potluck I go to!), I would tweak the dressing a little more  with some extra lime juice and add some cotilljo cheese to pump it up! Also loved the idea in the comments to include avocado or some spicy chicken or sausage to this. I enjoy this dish as a side or as a main course (the beans give it a ton of protein), and I really like it at room temp or warm, it loosens up all the flavors and the textures!

New best friend, quinoa

Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa with Cumin Lime Dressing
Adapted from

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 tsp ground red chipotle
salt and pepper to taste

1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced( NOTE: it’s so important to use really REALLY good tomatoes for this. If you’re making this out of tomato season, I would use canned diced tomatoes)
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, cumin, pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.

Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve with very very small holes or a larger one lined with cheesecloth.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste. You can top this with cheese, salsa, extra lime juice, meats…anything at all! or just eat as is 🙂



I hear even Boston beans do it!

September 6, 2011

So I went to Boston a few weeks ago. LOVE it there. Last time I went up about a year and a half ago, I had some of the best gluten free food I’ve tasted in ages. My favorite spot was Zing Pizza in Cambridge…holy moly. It actually had the consistency and taste of real pizza. Not crispy, not too thin; it was insanely good. I didn’t make it there this time because I mostly stuck around Medford, a burb of Boston that also has some tasty treats. I am obsessed with the Danish Pastry House, an awesome little pastry and coffee spot right around the block from where I was staying. They have several gluten free treats that are worth the stop. The staff is fairly knowledgeable and when in doubt, they’ll pull out laminated lists of ingredients for you to scrutinize. I triple checked that their french macaroons were gluten free and got an amaaaazing maple one…for breakfast. Oops. I mean, it was maple flavored, I figured it wasn’t that far off from a danish or something. Right? Right.

So before that mind numbing justification of my breakfast macaroon, I really should have informed my reading audience that I’ve decided to uproot to Boston fairly soon and that’s why I went up to visit 🙂 I’m really excited, not only for my personal life to pick up some steam, not only for the opportunity to again be in a metropolitan foodtropolis (Real? Doesn’t matter. Still awesome), but to live in an area with real culture, real identity as a city. Boston is a vibrant, young, cool place, ya’ll. 🙂 I’m psyched. So I had a job interview that went really well, and I’m crossing my fingers that it pulls through so that I can move up for this fall! I can’t wait for New England autumn; pumpkins, apple pickin’, leaf peeping, wahoo!!


So, the weekend was great. We hit Haru, a ridiculously beautiful sushi joint near the Prudential Center, for Scorpion Bowls and sushi. The light fixtures alone were worth the trip. Although to be fair, I was wonderfully drunk by the time I noticed the floating twine ball above our table, which might have enhanced its beauty a bit. I had three (count em, three) shrimp and avocado rolls. AND. They had gluten free soy sauce. Which is nice if you don’t want to be a dork and smuggle in your gf soy sauce in your tiny purse…

At least one scorpion bowl in...go team!

I also had lunch at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, which was a really great gluten free dining experience. We had a wonderful waiter who checked with the chef on every single aspect of my meal to make sure it was gluten free.  Go responsible restaurants! You make me happy.

So today for your dining pleasure and to celebrate what I just realized is my 100th post (wow…only took me way too many years to hit that milestone!), I have some amazing AMAZING gluten free cinnamon raisin bread. This is something that I have to admit spending way too much money on at Whole Foods way too many times. I wish that I could say that it was super hard and thank goodness I waited to try it…but it would be a lie. This super easy recipe came courtesy of The Baking Beauties and it was seriously way better than any commercially made gluten free cinnamon raisin bread I’ve had. It was soft, delicious out of the oven with salted butter, not at all crumbly, and amazing even 3 days later without ever going into the fridge. Pretty amazing. I also think Jeanine is inspired for including oatmeal in this bread, which gives it more fiber, more moisture, and I’m pretty sure it mimics some gluten-like qualities. Ever seen cooked oatmeal? Just sayin. Nice recipe, Jeanine! 🙂


Oatmeal Cinnamon Raisin Bread

From The Baking Beauties

9×5-inch loaf pan, greased or silicone (Note: I actually bake bread in loaf pans with parchment paper now. It makes it super super easy to lift out of the pan, you don’t have to worry about it sticking ever! try it!)

1/2 cup certified gluten free rolled oats
1 cup raisins

Place oats & raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside and let soak for 10 minutes. Drain water using a sieve or strainer. It is Ok if it is still wet, you just don’t want any puddles in the mixture.

Wet Ingredients:
3/4 – 1 cup warm water (start with 3/4 cup and add up to 1/4 cup if necessary)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp instant yeast
2 tsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 egg whites

Combine water, sugar & yeast. Stir and let sit until foamy on top. Then add the cider vinegar, vegetable oil, eggs and egg whites.

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/2 cup tapioca starch
1/4 cup milk powder
2 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt

Combine all dry ingredients together in the bowl of a stand mixer until well mixed.

Add the soaked oats & raisins to the dry ingredients. Turn the mixer (with the paddle attachment) on low speed, and slowly add the wet ingredients. Once combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Turn the mixer on medium, beat for 4 minutes.

Spoon dough into prepared bread pan. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm, draft-free place for 25 minutes, or until it has reached the top of the bread pan.

Place bread in preheated 350 degrees F oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until nicely browned & the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the top.

Remove loaf from oven, and leave in the bread pan for 5-10 minutes. Remove from pan & cool on wire cooling racks (I like to cool loaf on its side). When the loaf is completely cool, store in airtight bag. Can be left on the counter for 3 days, or frozen (wrap in additional plastic wrap if freezing).