Light Lemon Pepper Quinoa

A recent find:

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Kale chips! The taste was a big “meh”. They had a soggy texture. I like my kale chips crispy. The spices gave the chips a smoked taste, which is unlike the kinds I’ve tried in the States. But I’d rather crunch through them, not chew. Maybe I’ll make my own soon.

While I was munching away on the kale chips, I was also making a side dish. Turkey doesn’t have quinoa, except for the imported kind. And since most things are locally-sourced around here, it was a huge surprise to see one of my usual staples hiding in my local grocery store. From Italy.

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I love quinoa, but I am not a huge fan of overly-flavored quinoa. Usually, I cook it with a little salt and call it a day, but sometimes a fragrant touch gives it an oomph without the clouding effects of numerous vegetable, spice or oil additions.

Lemon Pepper Quinoa

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Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp lemon zest

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/4 tsp lemon pepper (or just regular pepper)

– 1 shallot (I used 4 abnormally small shallots), diced

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2.5 cups water

– lemon zest for garnish

Servings: 3-4

Directions:

Let a medium-sized pot head to medium.

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Zest the lemon.

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Add the salt to the lemon zest and smear into the table surface with the side of a knife, allowing all the juices of the lemon zest to release more flavor. The salt will break down the cell walls and extract the juice of the zest.

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Dice the shallots.

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In a heated pot, add the olive oil, lemon zest, and shallots.

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Sautee for 2-3 minutes.

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Add the quinoa and mix until well combined.

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Add the lemon pepper in this step, just before the water.

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Add the water and cover the pot until the mixture reaches a boil, then reduce the temperature to low, allowing it to simmer until finished.

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Serve.

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Add more lemon zest for garnish and additional flavor.

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Voila!

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Bon Appetit!

xo Aylin

Mushroom & Thyme Crepes

Me like this.

Whole-Wheat Oyster Mushroom Crepe with Lemon Zest & Thyme

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Ingredients:

For the crepe:

– 1/2 cup of whole-wheat flour (you can sub this with spelt, quinoa, or chickpea flour)

– 3/4 cup water

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1 tbsp butter

For the mushroom filling:

– 2 garlic cloves, chopped

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– handful of thyme, de-stemmed

– 2 cups of oyster mushrooms

– Salt & pepper

– 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind, for garnish

Directions:

First comes the crepe, and this couldn’t be any easier to put together. The ratio is 1 to 1.5, flour to water, so 1/2 cup of flour requires 3/4 cup of water. Add 1/2 tsp of salt and mix well.

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Melt 1 tbsp of butter in a medium-sized pan and pour crepe mixture into the pan. It should be runny enough to spread thin, but thick enough to stop at some point.

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The trick to avoiding a soggy middle is to poke the top of the crepe with a fork to allow for steam to pass through the middle.

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You want the outside to look slightly browned and crisp, but not hard and over-cooked. Flipping is a breeze at this point.

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Continue to cook for a few minutes more. The duration is dependent on the size, so nibble off a piece to make sure its ready Winking smile

I like to brush my crepe with some butter when its still hot and then I set it aside to make the filling, which is sometimes savory, sometimes sweet.

For a little look at how I had it for breakfast, with butter and cherry jam:

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But tonight, I went for savory.

Oyster mushrooms are so wonderful to cook with—I love their shape and they soften so well. To prepare them, begin by cooking the garlic and thyme in some olive oil. The thyme should be pulled from their stems. I was a bit fed up with my exceedingly delicate thyme, so I didn’t bother too much with the stem removal. Cooking the thyme helps release and enhance its flavor! There is nothing in the world like fried herbs.

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While that begins to cook, prepare and clean the oyster mushrooms. You can use a wet cloth to wipe off excess dirt and simply chop off any dirty stems. I don’t mind the stems, as long as they’re clean Smile with tongue out

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Salt and pepper…

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Let the mushrooms cook until soft. They will reduce significantly.

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With the crepe ready to go, fill it up!

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Grate some lemon zest, and sprinkle it atop the mushrooms.

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Fold and serve!

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Enjoy!

x Aylin

Pepper & Lemon Kamut Twists

There isn’t much pasta can’t fix–a cold day, a hungry belly and a long day at work.

I recently saw this in my local health food store:

The ingredients? 70% kamut, 30% quinoa. That’s it.

I wanted the unique flavors of kamut and quinoa to come out, so I tried not to mask the taste with an overload of tomato sauce and cheese.

Instead, I paired the grain with sharp aromas of crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic and parsley.

Crushed Red Pepper Lemon Zested Kamut & Quinoa Twists

Ingredients:

– 1 cup uncooked pasta (any kind ya like, but try a healthier version of your favorite!)
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove garlic
– 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp lemon zest
– 1 small tomato, diced
– 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
– Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 2-3

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the box’s directions, but add the garlic powder and salt to the water. This allows the pasta to absorb the flavors!

Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes.

When finished, drain the pasta and rinse with cool water. By rinsing, you are getting rid of any excessive starch and stopping the cooking process.

Set the pasta aside.

To the now empty pot, add the butter, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic and lemon zest.

All the flavors of the lemon, garlic and peppers will be enhanced. It’ll smell amazing in your kitchen!

Next add the pasta back into the pot and stir in the remaining ingredients: parsley and tomato.

Tossed. And now ready to serve…

Enjoy!

xoxo