The Scrabble dictionary defines quinoa as “a weedy plant” but it cooks up nicely nonetheless.

I started with a recipe from AllRecipes and ended up with the following yummy and healthy replacement for couscous or risotto.

* 1 cup uncooked quinoa
* 1 TBSP olive oil
* 2 cups chicken stock
* 1 TBSP chopped garlic
* 2 TBSP chopped fresh parsley
* 1 TBSP chopped fresh thyme
* Sea salt, fresh pepper
* 1 small onion, finely chopped
* 1 dash fresh lemon juice (optional)

1. Warm oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the quinoa, and toast, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the onion and do the same.  And again for the garlic.  Stir in broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender.
2. In a bowl, toss quinoa together with the other ingredients. Sprinkle with lemon juice, and serve.

Cheese Popovers

cheesebreadThis is the Brazillian cheese bread Fogo de Chão serves when you are seated.  (Their polenta was wonderful also)  I haven’t tried it yet and need to cut down the serving size.  Thanks to Melo for finding the recipe online.

Fogo de Chão Cheese Bread Recipe:  “Pao de Queijo”

1 egg
2 TBSP corn oil
1/3 cup whole milk
Dash of salt
1/3 cup sour tapioca flour (azedo)
1/4 cup sweet tapioca flour (doce)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well until batter is smooth. Lightly grease a 12- or 24-cup mini-muffin pan or small dariole molds.  Fill each muffin cup three-quarters full. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Breads should be crisp on the outside and hollow on the inside, like a popover. Serve warm. Makes 12 – 15 puffs.  Sweet and sour tapioca flour can be found at Brazilian food stores.

Alternate method with sourdough starter.  Since I always have a cauldron of sour flour at the house, I’d like to skip the hunting/purchasing/storing of specialty tapioca flours.  This is a work in process, so experiment at your own risk.

1 egg
1 TBSP sugar
2 TBSP corn oil
1 TSP salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup starter
2/3 cup bread flour
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Broccoli Nut Salad

broccoli_saladThe original recipe and pic came from AllRecipes.com. I tend to use the ingredients and pictures mostly for inspiration.   Mine ended up simply as follows

Toss with a light, creamy dressing like my yogurt dressing.


1 heads fresh broccoli
1/4 cup red onion thinly cut
8 strips thick cut bacon
1/2 cup roasted pistachios
1/2 cup roasted sliced almonds
1 bell pepper
1 large carrot
2 celery stalks

Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Cool and crumble. Cut the broccoli into bite-size pieces. Combine with the bacon, veggies, and your favorite nuts and mix well.

Yogurt Dressing

Photo from http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Fresh-Broccoli-Salad/Detail.aspxI can’t imagine using mayo-based recipes again, with how easy and similar the yogurt base works.

The original recipe and pic came from AllRecipes.com. I tend to use the ingredients and pictures mostly for inspiration.   Mine ended up simply as follows.  Try it with a broccoli salad.


1 cup plain yogurt
1 TBSP white vinegar
1 TBSP apple cider vinegar
1 TBSP dijon mustard
A few shakes of dill, italian seasoning, salt, and pepper

To prepare, just mix until smooth, chill and serve.

Pizza Dough

My sourdough pizza dough is an attempt at Pizza Hut’s style of deep dish pan pizza, though it can be rolled flatter for New York style pies.  The dry milk was suggested online somewhere and I’ve begun adding to many of my bread recipes.  It provides a crisp outside and porous soft insides.  If you’re really serious about a killer crust, replace the dry Italian seasoning with fresh ground parsley, basil, and fried rosemary.

Ingredients for one large pizza crust

* 1 cup sourdough starter
* 1 TBSP dry milk
* 1 TBSP sugar
* 1 TBSP olive oil
* 1 TSP salt
* Dash of pepper
* 1 TSP cornmeal
* 1 TSP Italian seasoning
* 1 cup bread flour
* 1/3 cup wheat flour

Bread machine dough cycle
Rise in warm, moist oven