Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

101 Cookbooks’ Quinoa with Currants, Dill & Zucchini

Posted in cooking, recipe, Uncategorized, vegetarian on June 15th, 2011 by Betsy – Be the first to comment


Last weekend I hosted a baby shower for my friend, Meredith, who’s expecting a little boy in August.  My jobs for the shower included making gluten-free blondies and a quinoa salad.


Last summer I made this quinoa salad for another baby shower, but when I saw the following recipe on Heidi Swanson’s blog, 101 Cookbooks, I couldn’t resist.  I love random ingredient combinations and this recipe fits that description.  I was a little nervous about the dill in the salad but I really enjoyed it, especially with the feta cheese.

I tripled the recipe below since I was making it for a crowd.  There were plenty of leftovers too!

quinoapresents Quinoa with Currants, Dill and Zucchini (from 101 Cookbooks)


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups water
  • ¼ cup dried currants (you could use dried cranberries too)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 medium zucchini, grated
  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds*
  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Feta cheese, crumbled




*To toast sesame seeds, I put a dry pan on medium heat on the stove top, added the sesame seeds and toasted for about five minutes, tossing a couple of times during the cooking process.  They will brown and start to smell yummy.  That’s how you know they’re ready.  Toasted sesame seeds are quite possibly my new favorite thing!


For quinoa: Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add most of the green onions, a pinch of salt, and cook until onions soften, a couple of minutes.  Add the quinoa and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grains toast a little bit, about 3 minutes.

Add the water, currants, and remaining salt.  Bring to a boil.  Cover, decrease heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.  (Even with tripling the recipe, I didn’t need to cook any longer so you might want to check on it after about 10 minutes.)

While quinoa is cooking, zest the lemon and squeeze 2 tablespoons of lemon juice into a small bowl.  When quinoa is cooked, remove pan from heat.  Stir in zucchini, lemon juice and zest, most of the sesame seeds, and most of the dill.  Add salt as needed.

Put quinoa into a serving bowl.  I refrigerated it for awhile before adding the feta cheese.  Add as much feta as you’d like.  (When eating leftovers, I’ve been adding a little more.)  Refrigerate and serve cold or at room temperature.

quinoabowl This dish is great if your hosting a shower, summer cookout or any other warm weather event.  It would go perfectly with this grilled chicken.


PS: My friend, Mary Stuart, made this amazing (GF) popsicles, with cool flavors like mango, watermelon mint, and blueberry lemon.


Quinoa Salad with Yummy Goodness

Posted in cooking, local food, recipe, vegetarian on November 5th, 2010 by Betsy – 5 Comments
Quinoa: A staple at Casa Metcalf

Quinoa: A staple at Casa Metcalf

Quinoa is a go-to item in my weekly meal planning.  Not only is it yummy, but it has many nutrients and lots of fiber so we can definitely call it a super food.  I love this seed/grain as you can take it in many different culinary directions.

I’ve enjoyed it for breakfast, with cinnamon, blueberries and strawberries…

quinoa bfast

Quinoa goes well with edamame, red onions, and local cherry tomatoes

quinoa edamame

You can make a hearty quinoa dish, similar to risotta with fresh tomatoes and parmesan cheese…


My friend, Mary Stuart, has introduced me to Costco and when I accompanied her on a recent trip to this mega-store, she pointed out the large bags of quinoa to me.  Of course I added the hefty bag to the cart.  We’ll be eating a lot of quinoa in the next few months.

Who knew Costco had quinoa?

Who knew Costco had quinoa?

Earlier this week, I made a batch of quinoa with sautéed onions and served it as a side dish with honey mustard chicken.  Of course I doubled the recipe so for lunch all week, I’ve been enjoying my quinoa with roasted sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts.  Mmmm…

Last week I tried a new quinoa combo.  I made the Gluten Free Goddesses’ (also known as one of my favorite blogs, Karina’s Kitchen) recipe for Quinoa Salad with Pears, Baby Spinach, Chickpeas and Maple Vinaigrette.  Quite a combination, right?  It was so delicious and the textures worked really well together.  I particularly enjoyed the toasted pecans.  (I just toasted mine on the stove with a little olive oil on medium high heat for a few minutes.  You want to toss them as they cook to prevent uneven cooking.)

quinoa meal

Gluten-Free Goddesses’ Quinoa Salad: (Serves 4 as a main dish, 6 as a side)


  • 1 cup organic quinoa
    Sea salt
  • 2 good handfuls of organic baby spinach leaves, washed, drained
    1 large ripe pear, washed, stemmed and cored, cut into pieces
    1/2 cup chilled chick peas, rinsed, drained
    Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
    A handful of pecans, pan toasted and salted to taste
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    3 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

quinoa pecans
Place the quinoa in a saucepan or a rice cooker. Add 2 cups fresh water, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and cook on a low simmer until all the water is evaporated and the quinoa is tender- roughly 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork and dump it into a large salad bowl.

Toss is the pear, spinach, and chick peas.

Mix in a separate bowl the maple syrup, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Pour on salad and toss gently.  Add S & P to taste.


quinoa up close

Note: If you want the leftovers to keep during the week, I would suggest adding the spinach on an ‘as needed’ basis or even just using it as a bed on your plate for the rest of your salad.  Then it won’t get soggy during the week.

Not only did I make this dish for dinner, but the next night I enjoyed Mary Stuart’s version of the same recipe.  Of course she and I both thought sweet potatoes would go well with the dish.  She also made an amazing GF quiche but more details on that later…

What do you like to add to your quinoa?

Home Again, Home Again

Posted in meals, travel, vegetarian on September 21st, 2010 by Betsy – 6 Comments

As I write this post, I’m uploading approximately 800 photos from our month away.  Don’t worry, I won’t put you through the pain of looking at all of those photos, (only my mom gets the unabridged version) but I just can’t resist giving you some highlights.  It makes me nostalgic for the west as I watch photo upon photo on the screen.  I still can’t believe we had the opportunity to go away for over three weeks, but the pictures are a great reminder that yes, it really did happen.

intro 2

If you’ve never been out west, you must.  I know this is unsolicited advice, but Wyoming and Montana were two of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.  (I find that every time I describe these two states, I come back to the adjective, “amazing.”  I need to come up with a better descriptor, but that’s all I’ve got for now.)

Why do I want to pack my bags and move out west?  Well, I’m glad you asked…

Meeting your gluten-free needs, and beyond: Jackson Hole, Wyoming was one of the most gluten-friendly places I’ve ever been.  Every restaurant accommodated my dietary needs, and most already had something on their menu distinguishing the dishes that could be made GF.  Wow!  Eating out in Jackson was genuinely a treat, each time.  Muffins, brownies, fresh baked bread…oh, and it was all delicious too.

Sweet quinoa, coffee and a good book: What more could one want for breakfast?

Sweet quinoa, coffee and a good book: What more could one want for breakfast?

Gluten-free samosa?  Yes, please.

Gluten-free samosa? Yes, please.

National Parks: Yes, I know this one seems obvious, but no matter how many times I hiked (and David can attest, we hiked a lot), I was still in awe of the scenery, the landscapes, the terrain, the views.  So much beautiful land to take in.  We were in Wyoming and Montana almost three weeks, and I still don’t feel like I saw it all.

Northwest Entrance to Yellowstone

Northwest Entrance to Yellowstone

Jenny Lake: Tetons

Jenny Lake: Tetons

Boiling River in Yellowstone: Yes, we got in the water and enjoyed an early morning dip.

Boiling River in Yellowstone: Yes, we got in the water and enjoyed an early morning dip.

Summits & Altitude: While my lungs were a little confused (and angry) at first, my eyes and legs could not get enough of the many uphill hikes.  Pushing yourself to the top of a peak is so rewarding (even if you almost get hit by lightening as a result).  Who knew a view could be worth hours of sweat and climbing.  Of course, once you reach the top, then “it’s all down hill” and the hard work is done.  Snow makes the descent a little tricky.

Sacagewea Peak in the Bridger Mtns

Sacagewea Peak in the Bridger Mtns

Big Game: Since David did the bulk of the driving, he put me in charge of “finding big game.”  I’ve got to admit, I was terrible at finding animals lurking in the woods, but when the buffalo are right next to your rental car, it’s hard to miss them.  Fortunately, there were no bear sightings for this girl out west.  We did see a Mama moose and her baby, which was a little frightening.

Another buffalo, crossing the road

Another buffalo, crossing the road

Water: I don’t typically think of water when I envision the west, but we saw some gorgeous rivers and alpine lakes.  Very different from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, but I’ll take a float down the Yellowstone River any day.

Yellowstone River

Yellowstone River

Snake River

Snake River

Lava Lake in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness

Lava Lake in the Lee Metcalf Wilderness

Forest Service Cabins: A hidden gem, you can rent these cabins for a night (for about $30) and let me tell you, it’s glamorous camping.  Both of our cabins had wood stoves, which we used to prepare feasts each night for dinner.  Any camping that involves shelter, steak and wine, is good for me.  I still managed to get spooked out but no bears bothered us.

Our cabin in Dillon, MT (not to be confused with the Dillon, TX in Friday Night Lights)

Our cabin in Dillon, MT (not to be confused with the Dillon, TX in Friday Night Lights)

David getting the wood stove started

David getting the wood stove started

Yummy dinner courtesy of the wood stove.

Yummy dinner courtesy of the wood stove.

Rain or Shine: While we were in Montana, we saw nearly every kind of weather possible.  Hail, thunderstorms, ominous clouds, and even snow.  Sure, I would have loved sunny skies every day, but the summer months are short and folks out west take advantage of each day that’s not below freezing.  The weather didn’t stop us, or anyone we were with, from fly fishing, hiking, camping, rain or shine.

Is that a storm behind us?  In retrospect, yes.

Is that a storm behind us? In retrospect, yes.

Snow in Big Sky: I was in the house reading; everyone else was fly fishing.

Snow in Big Sky: I was in the house reading; everyone else was fly fishing.

I’m glad to be back home, but I miss the days out west of hiking, relaxing, and being with friends.  I still have more to share with you though.  ‘Western tour nostalgia’ will continue in the weeks ahead.  Humor me.

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen

Posted in local food, meals, recipe on August 12th, 2010 by Betsy – 8 Comments

I’m excited to announce my latest article just came out in Atlanta’s Finest Dining Magazine. Not only am I happy that I’ve gotten published again (woohoo!), but I’m also thrilled that a mainstream magazine is committed to giving attention to the gluten-free community.


Please check out my article, “Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty.”  Isn’t “bounty” such a great word.  I have to give my friend Mary Stuart credit for the use of bounty associated with local food.  We get to share in the bounty of what our local farmers harvest, even in these swelteringly hot summer months.

Thank you, Farmers (Paige, Justin, Joe, Judith, Nicholas, Gretchen, John, Ashley, Stephanie, and many others), for working your tails off so we can eat your delicious food.

Meals from a Gluten-Free Kitchen: Enjoying the Seasonal Bounty


Quinoa for a Crowd

Posted in cooking, event, local food, recipe on July 16th, 2010 by Betsy – 2 Comments

Recently a group of us hosted a luncheon to celebrate my good friend, Mary Stuart, and her baby that’s on the way.  On a steamy, summer day, it can be difficult to create a menu.  When it’s hot outside, we’re not looking to eat heavy, rich, foods.  Instead your food should be light and refreshing.  Also, this luncheon was not at my house, so I had to take transportation into account when planning.  I  didn’t want to be assembling my dish upon arrival, so my ‘quinoa for a crowd’ actually tastes better when made a day in advance.


As the name implies, this recipe makes a lot of food, and I always make too much food when I’m playing host.  Leftovers are delicious and this quinoa makes for a great lunch during the week.  In our Atlanta group of friends, I’m not the only gluten-free eater, so we labeled the items for the luncheon that were gluten-free and kept them at the beginning of the buffet line, in order to best avoid contamination.


Quinoa for a Crowd (Serves about 10-12)


  • 2 ½ cups quinoa
  • 5 cups vegetable broth (or water)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoons salt & ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 bag frozen, shelled edamame
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes



  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 table spoon white wine vinegar

Rinse and drain quinoa if package instructs you to.  (Some do and others don’t.)  I have a very fine strainer that I use for rinsing my quinoa.

Heat olive oil on medium heat.  Add quinoa and stir for a minute while cooking.  Add 1 cup broth and stir while the quinoa absorbs the liquid.  Once liquid is absorbed, add 3 more cups.  Lower heat to medium-low.  Let cook, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper.  Add more liquid as needed.  You’ll know the quinoa is done because it will ‘pop.’  Not like popcorn, but you’ll see that the quinoa becomes bigger and there will be a little line in the middle of each grain.  It will take about 20 minutes for quinoa to cook.  (Unlike risotto, I think it’s hard to overcook quinoa.)

Remove quinoa from heat and let cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, finely chop red onion.  Heat shelled edamame (according to cooking instructions on bag).  Drain and let cool.  Cut tomatoes in half.  Put onion, edamame and tomatoes into a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk lemon juice, honey, olive oil, white wine vinegar and Dijon mustard.  Taste.  Depending on how tart or sweet you like your food, add more honey and olive oil (for sweetness) or add more mustard or lemon juice (for tartness).  This is completely about your flavor preference.  I find that anytime I make a vinaigrette, I keep sampling it until I’m content with the flavors.  (Not very precise or scientific, I know!)

Once your quinoa has cooled, add the grain to your large bowl.  Mix with tomatoes, edamame, and onions.  Add your vinaigrette and toss.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  If your salad dries out a little, just add some more lemon juice or olive oil before serving.


As I mentioned, this quinoa, is the gift that keeps on giving, so I brought the leftovers to a dinner that same night.  Still delicious.  And I ate it for lunch the next day.  And the next.


Another highlight of the luncheon was the chicken salad that my friend Meredith made, using one of Emeril’s recipes.  I loved the cashew and apple combination.  Salty, sweet and tart, all in one.  Not too much mayo either.  You can see this naturally gluten-free recipe here.  (The only change Meredith made was omitting the parsley.)  Of course, thoughtful Meredith even remembered to bring gluten-free crackers for the chicken salad!

What do you like to make when cooking for a crowd?


“Bachelorette” Premier: Why Not Throw a Dinner Party?

Posted in Atlanta, cooking, meals, recipe on May 19th, 2010 by Betsy – 9 Comments

I have a little obsession with “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”  I think it’s because in college we made a big deal about “Bachelor” nights and viewed it religiously, season after season.  Watching episodes of this program was always ‘an event’ for us and of course, that’s what you do in college: use anything, even a TV show, to have an event.


As I’m getting older, I find myself holding onto things that make me feel like I’m still in college and this nostalgia for my youth tends to manifest itself in the form of television shows that I like to watch.  While sadly the “OC” ended a long time ago, fortunately for me, MTV keeps airing new seasons of “Real World/Road Rules Challenge” and ABC continues to set single folks up on “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette.”  Yes, it’s shameful, I know.  (I must admit, I’ve given up on “The Real World” as its trashiness factor is too high, even for me, but how can I resist T.J. Lavin’s awkwardness and my washed up old favorites, like Paula and Wes on ‘The Challenge?’)


Ali: The next 'bachelorette'

Can these shows be defined as quality television?  Absolutely not.  Do I identify with the people? No.  Is there anything valuable to learn?  Not unless you count “don’t ever go on a reality TV show” as a lesson.

But I continue to watch them.  I still enjoy making an event of watching “The Bachelor,” even in my old age.  When we lived in Virginia, we watched each week with my brother and his wife, Rob and Alden,  but now they live in Japan, I’m in Georgia, and I don’t own a TV.  Thankfully, I’ve been fortunate enough to find a group of friends that also enjoys spending two hours on a Monday night watching what my mom refers to as ‘trash TV.’  I moved here in the fall just in time to watch last season’s ‘Bachelor’ starring Jake.  Those of you that watched (and I don’t think there are that many of us) will probably agree that it was terrible.  Jake lacked personality and can really only be described as a goober.  Also, minimal drama always leads to disappointment.  I could have told the show’s producers that Jake would be a less-than-mediocre bachelor after his super-cheesy, and even pathetic, role on Gillian’s season on ‘The Bachelorette’ but no one asked my opinion.  Even Vienna couldn’t save the season.

But I don’t let one season get me down.  I’ll be there, ready for the premiere this Monday night.  (It won’t be nearly as awesome/wonderful/amazing as the ‘Lost’ finale the night before, but more on that later.)  Since the producers of “The Bachelor” have adopted the trend of using a reject from a previous season for future seasons, next week Ali will be the new bachelorette.  Now Ali isn’t technically a reject since she chose to leave Jake’s season because of her job, even though she said, “I’m smitten with the boy.”  (Lame!)  Now Ali’s back and I guess her boss gave her the ok this time.

In honor of next week’s premiere of the new ‘Bachelorette,’ David and I hosted our viewing group for dinner this week.  We thought it would be fun to cook dinner and go through each of the 25 men that we’ll meet next week on the premiere.  Why not give even more time to the show than I already do?  You can go to ABC’s website to check out the bachelors yourself.  A word of warning: this group of men includes very little ethnic diversity, unless you count Canada.  Of course we thoroughly enjoyed analyzing each contestant and reading the comments that others had posted.



So now to the food…For our dinner party, I enlisted David to make one of my favorite grill meals: Grilled Salmon from Martha Stewart’s Cooking School. I hesitate to order salmon in a restaurant now because this version of salmon is so good and David cooks it perfectly.  It’s so simple, fresh and beautiful.  I love the presentation.  An added bonus of this dish: We share a communal grill with all of the residents in our apartment building so the bed of oranges and lemons keeps the salmon safe from gluten contamination from the grill.  Perfect for a warm summer night and great for entertaining.


Grilled Side of Salmon (Serves 8 easily)


  • Sunflower oil or other neutral-tasting oil
  • 4 lemons, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 2 oranges, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
  • 1 small bunch of basil
  • 1 bunch of oregano (use whatever herbs are in season…lemon thyme would be great too)
  • 2 piece wild salmon, (2 ½ – 3 lbs.)

Heat the grill to medium.  Once it’s hot, scrub with grill brush and lightly sweep with olive oil.

Arrange the lemons and orange slices on the grate, then add the the basil and oregano, making a bed for the fish.  Lay the salmon skin side down on the herbs and season with salt and pepper.  Cook salmon 20 to 30 minutes.

Use two large spatulas to transfer the salmon and bed of fruit and herbs to a large platter.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  (I prefer my salmon hot.)


As a side dish, I served quinoa with sweet onions and roasted carrots.  I used regular quinoa and red quinoa, as well as both orange and red carrots.  Mary Stuart and Victoria made a delicious salad with greens, blueberries, beets, and even beet greens.



And of course, blondies for dessert.


So think of me next Monday night as I spend two hours watching Ali meet Chris H., Chris L., Chris N. (yes, there are three Chrises, not including host, Chris Harrison) and the 22 other bachelors.  There’s sure to be a plethora of cheesy lines, awkward moments, and maybe the most dramatic rose ceremony ever.  I’ll be loving every minute of it.

Leek & Green Garlic Quinoa

Posted in cooking, local food, recipe on May 3rd, 2010 by Betsy – 5 Comments


This year, David and I put a ban on purchasing cookbooks because we have very little space in our Atlanta apartment and we already have so many.  For the first few months, I strictly followed our self-imposed restriction, but I couldn’t resist purchasing Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors.  I love cookbooks that tell me a story.  As I flip through the pages of Madison’s Local Flavors, she takes me across the country to different farmers’ markets of all climates, shapes and sizes.  From Santa Fe, to Atlanta, to Alaska, this beautiful book transports the reader to places and seasons that allow you to connect your own local produce with delicious recipes.  The glossy pages in Local Flavors make the photos shine.  You can see every crevice and twist in each green and every seed in a sliced tomato.


Local Flavors organizes its chapters by the type of food, as opposed to most cookbooks who separate by course.  Some of the chapters include, “Small, tender fruits,” “Roots & Tubers,” and “Eggs & Cheese at the Market.”  Doesn’t it sound amazing?  Let me tell you, it is.  If you love beautiful photos, stories and delicious recipes, you should add Local Flavors to your collection.  It’s worth splurging on this beautiful treat.


When I go to The Local Farmstand, I look up any new produce that arrives in the index of Local Flavors to see what recipes Madison suggests.  Recently a shipment of green garlic and leeks came from the farm and as I flipped to the index, I soon found a risotto recipe using both leeks and green garlic.  Lovely.  I followed the recipe strictly the first time I made this dish, but the next week I found myself craving quinoa.  (In warmer weather, I tend to turn towards quinoa, while wanting risotto in the winter months.)  So I tweaked the recipe a bit substituting quinoa for the risotto, but stuck with leeks and green garlic.  This recipe can be a side dish or a main course.

Leek & Green Garlic Quinoa (adapted from Deborah Madison’s Local Flavors)

  • 4 medium leeks, white part only
  • 3 large heads green garlic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup white wine
  • s&p
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed (if instructions on box say to)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 cups GF chicken or vegetable broth (plus extra if needed)
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh lemon thyme (or other fresh herbs)
  • s&p

green garlic

Wash leeks well.  Make sure that you get the grit out from between each layer.  (I cut slits in the bottom to get more water in between the layers for better cleaning.)  Cut leeks in half, lengthwise, then crosswise, then into ¼ inch slices.  Finely chop the bulbs/white parts of the green garlic.



Melt butter in a sauté pan on medium heat.  Add leeks and garlic, stir to coat.  Then add the wine and cook on medium-low heat until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.


Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a wide pot on medium heat.  Add the quinoa and stir to coat.  Cook on medium heat, while stirring for one minute.  Add wine and let absorb, stirring occasionally.  Add broth, ½ cup at a time and cook on medium, stirring as the liquid is absorbed.  This should take about 15 minutes.  Quinoa cooks much quicker than risotto which is a plus.


Once quinoa is cooked, transfer quinoa to pan with leeks and garlic.  Turn to medium-low heat and add parmesan cheese.  Stir and serve warm.  Enjoy!  I admit, it’s not the most colorful dish I’ve ever made.  That’s why I like to serve it as a side to accompany a plate of bright and vibrant veggies, such as roast carrots and mixed greens.