Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Quinoa Salad with Honey-Lime Glazed Shrimps

Quinoa Salad with Honey-Lime Glazed Shrimps

No coffee shop without some decent lunch options, right?
Decent meaning yummy, filling, healthy.

So what could fulfill these requirements better than a nice and fancy salad?

On the Quest with my friends through the culinary wonders of the world I arrived in the South American cuisines and took the challenge to create a new quinoa dish.
My actual plan was to make something really sophisticated, something including quinoa, chocolate, papayas and heaven knows what else.
But then I was in a hurry and needed a make ahead salad.
I kept clinging on my extravagant plans for a very special and sophisticated, never before seen quinoa recipe, until DH and I inhaled the quick make ahead salad.
"Oh," he said, "this is great! You have to post it!"

So my fancy ideas still linger somewhere in the ether of unborn masterpieces.
Maybe I'll give birth to them some time in the future.

In the meantime, let's have salad:

Ingredients for 2 servings:
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked (red or white quinoa, I used red for prettiness)
  • 1/2 pound shrimps, raw, peeled
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 papaya, diced
  • 1 lime, juice and zest of
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • olive oil for frying
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

  • Rinse quinoa under hot water, then cook in 1 cup of water for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is soaked up and the grains are soft.
  • Place cooked quinoa in a large salad bowl, add 1/2 teaspoon salt, mix well.
  • In a frying pan, heat olive oil and fry diced bell pepper until lightly browned, add salt and pepper to taste. Dump browned bell pepper from pan into the quinoa and add some more oil to the pan, re-heat and add the shrimps, fry until pink, then add a dash salt and 1 tablespoon honey. Stir well to coat the shrimps evenly with honey, fry until they start to brown a little (that's the caramelizing honey), and deglaze with 1/2 of the lime juice.
  • Continue frying for some seconds, until the liquid has become a syrup, then dump shrimps into the quinoa, too, scraping from the pan all the juice.
  • Add the rest of the lime juice and another 1/2 tablespoon of honey to the quinoa, mix well and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Add diced avocado and papaya, mix well and serve!

Have you ever tried red quinoa? This was my first time, and I realized that it needs the rinsing in advance more than the white quinoa. I'm not sure if it is more aromatic or if the colour deceives the taste buds, but I definitely liked it. Plus, it adds some more antioxidants (red colour)!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Gluten-free Bacon Infused Cornbread

Gluten-free Bacon Infused Cornbread

Currently I'm on a Culinary Quest with friends, which led me to the South of the USA.
Being half Romanian, one of my favourite comfort foods is mamaliga, the Romanian version of polenta.
Accordingly, I was utterly pleased when my first US cookbook 14 years ago introduced me to Southern cornbread.

I love that stuff.

I hunted down blue cornmeal, which is not exactly easy in Germany, and purple cornmeal, which isn't easy either.
What is easy to find here is fine yellow corn flour. Fine as in really fine, like rice flour - NOT cornstarch!! Fine yellow stuff which is a staple in gluten free baking in Germany. Of course it has this distinct con flavour which is not always desirable, but I like it, and I like to use yellow corn flour in cookies and cake.

Not long ago, my dear friend Paula posted a recipe for corn flour corn muffins which I eagerly made and thoroughly enjoyed.

Now I have taken the challenge of our Culinary Quest to develop my own cornbread recipe, and I decided for a cornbread using yellow corn flour.
As I'm not fond of the really sweet versions of cornbread I decided for a version using only a little bit of brown sugar to contrast the bacon, which I intended to put into it, too.

I used turkey bacon, but you can use any kind of bacon including vegan bacon. Vegan coconut bacon is the most awesome alternative, which would be great in this bread.

You can also use any kind of yoghurt - regular, sheep, goat, soy, coconut. If you don't want to use it, replace the 1 cup of milk and 1/4 cup of yoghurt with 1 1/4 cups milk of any kind, which you sour with 1 tablespoon vinegar.

  • 1 cup coconut milk (light) or any other milk, if you don't have coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 1 cup medium coarse yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup yellow corn flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 egg or egg replacer for 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 2 ounces bacon

  • Fry the bacon until crisp; if using turkey or vegan bacon, fry in some coconut oil, regular bacon doesn't need any oil at all. If using coconut bacon, there's no need to fry it. Just grab a handful and throw into the prepared batter.
  • Preheat oven to 375 °F or 190°C.
  • Place the coconut oil in an 8x8 inch square baking pan and heat on medium heat, until the oil is liquid and fairly hot; remove from heat.
  • In a bowl, combine cornmeal, corn flour, cornstarch, brown rice flour, xanthan gum, salt, sugar and baking powder.
  • Mix egg, milk and yoghurt, whisk until smooth.
  • Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients, stirring, until the batter is smooth.
  • Add in the fried bacon and the bacon grease, or just the coconut bacon, stir well to combine.
  • Pour batter into pan with the melted coconut oil, smooth top.
  • Bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • This is awesome when served warm, but I also liked it after cooling.

Enjoy with salad or soup or topped with peanut butter!