Monday, September 8, 2008

What to do with quinoa

I’ve been watching Paper Chef from afar for quite a long time.
I’ve been wanting to participate for a long time also but I always happen to be out of town, traveling, in a foreign kitchen, etc…So, I was so exited this time to actually be able to participate. That was until I saw the ingredients list.
Quinoa, tomatoes, yogurt and rice paper.
Quinoa is something that I like if somebody else makes it, but I wouldn’t normally cook with it. Love tomatoes and yogurt and I have used several times rice paper for Shrimp Rolls. The combination of all 4 ingredients was definitely a challenge for me.
Ilva, who is our wonderful Paper Chef host, just publish some scrumptious "Polpettine di pollo con rosmarino" and that is where I got my inspiration from.
My dish is a roasted tomatoes soup with mini quinoa croquettes (or polpettine).
The soup has small dollops of Tzatziki and the rice paper was cut into small strips, seasoned and fried for garnish.
I hope you’ll enjoy it; it was fun creating it

Roasted tomatoes soup with quinoa croquettes:

For the soup:

6 ripe tomatoes
5 tablespoons olive oil
1 onions, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
Oregano, to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375. Cut tomatoes in half; fit cut side up on a cookie sheet, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with a touch of kosher salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile sauté onions in a medium pan. Chop tomatoes and add to the onions, mix well and add the broth; season to taste.

Quinoa croquettes:

1 cups cooked quinoa
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup Parmesan cheese
¼ cup parsley
Pepper to taste
Garlic powder to taste
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and roll mini croquettes.
(I got 50)


1 pint Greek style yogurt
1 English cucumber peeled, grated, salted lightly for 5 minutes and squeezed between the hands to remove juice
3 garlic cloves mashed to a paste
½ cup olive oil
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced fresh dill (optional)

Just mix everything up together until it is all blended and the oil has emulsified into the yogurt.


Rice paper, thinly sliced
Chili powder
Garlic salt

Limes wedges.

Soak rice paper until pliable, cut into thin strips, season with chili, cumin and garlic salt and fry in some olive oil.

Sopa de tomates con pequeñas croquetas de quinoa:

Para la sopa:

6 tomates
5 cucharadas de aceite de oliva
1 cebolla picada
4 tasas de caldo de pollo
Sal y pimienta a gusto
Orégano a gusto

Calentar el horno a 375. Cortar los tomates por la mitad y poner en una fuente de horno, rociar con aceite de oliva sal y pimienta. Cocinar por 30 minutos.
Mientras tanto saltar la cebolla en aceite de oliva. Picar los tomates ya cocidos y agregar a la cebolla; mezclar bien, agregar caldo y condimentar con sal, pimienta y orégano.

Mini croquetas de quinoa:

1 tasa de quinoa cocida
½ tasa de pan rallado
½ tasa de queso rallado
¼ perejil picado
Pimienta a gusto
Ajo en polvo a gusto
2 huevos


2 tasas de yogurt griego
1 pepino, pelado y rallado y exprimido con las manos para sacar toda el agua
3 dientes de ajo, pisados
½ tasa de aceite de oliva
1 cucharada de vinagre de vino
1 cucharada de eneldo picado (optativo)


Papel de arroz, cortado en tiritas
Sal de ajo

Poner papel de arroz en remojo, cuando se ablande un poco cortar en tiritas y secar.
Condimentar con chili, comino y sal de ajo. Freír rápidamente en un poco de aceite de oliva.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How to look 10 years younger in 5 minutes

This past weekend was the official date when all the farmers market comes to an end in my area. Well at least the area I’m right now, since that changes quite often. There is only one market left, which I love mainly because it runs on Tuesdays from 3 to 8 in the afternoon. The other markets are usually on weekends, but there are so many other things to do on weekends. On the other hand my Tuesday afternoons are pretty open.
This is a typical market with veggie and fruit stands, breads, food and food demonstrations, wines, roasted chilies, soaps and nice smelling things, etc.
Even thou I am TOTALLY into food, I have to admit that my favorite discovery at this market was a “Facial Kit”.
This lady comes to me and asked me if I wanted a free 5 minutes facial.
“Is this a trick question?” I asked her. Of course I want one; I love pampering, especially FREE.
The kit consists of a citrus moisturizing, a dry mask, a moisturizing mask and a toner. It is all made with natural and organic substances like chickpea flour, grape fruit oil, etc.
It felt really good on my face.
When she was done she gave me a mirror. Oh my God!!! There was actually a change!
My skin looked great, refreshed and younger. I bought the kit!
I have never had this results with anything I tried in my 42 years of life in this planet.She doesn’t have a website yet, but she does have an email address: and her name is (I think this is a funny coincidence) Mary Kay.

I also bought zucchini, eggplant, garlic, edible flowers and basil.I used the zucchini, garlic, edible flowers and basil in a frittata. The flowers looked very mice while I was cooking them but after the frittata was done you really couldn’t see them. Next time I’m going to add some more.
Zucchini and flowers frittata

4 Tbs olive oil
1 chopped onion
1 chopped garlic clove
2 cubed zucchinis
1 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
4 large eggs, beaten
1 bunch edible flowers
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small frying pan over medium heat, warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and sauté for five minutes.Add the zucchini and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until tender about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in basil and flowers. Pour in egg mixture and cook, without stirring, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the bottom is golden and most of the mixture is set. Now carefully invert frittata onto a plate, then add remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and slide frittata back into skillet.
Cook for 3 to 5 minutes longer, or until golden on the bottom.
Slide onto serving platter.

Tortilla de zapallitos y flores:

4 Cucharadas de aceite
1 Cebolla picada
1 diente de ajo, picado
2 zapallitos en cubos
1 cucharada de albahaca picada
4 huevos batidos
1 puñado de flores
sal y pimienta a gusto

En una sartén sobre fuego medio, dorar una cebolla en 3 cucharada de aceite, por 5 minutos. Agregar zapallitos, mezclar y cocinar por 10 minutos. Sazonar con sal y pimienta.
Agregar albahaca y flores, mezclar e incorporar los huevos batidos; cocinando por 3 o 5 minutos hasta que el fondo este ligeramente dorado. Con mucho cuidado, dar vuelta la tortilla sobre un plato. Agregar la cucharada de aceite restante a la sartén, calentar y deslizar la tortilla nuevamente en la sartén. Cocinar por 3 a 5 minutos mas o hasta que este ligeramente dorada en el fondo.