Archive for the ‘Healthy Cooking’ Category

Quinoa Fruit Salad a Great Post-Workout Snack for Muscle Building

Quinoa (keen-wah) has been around for thousands and thousands of years, but only has become popular in the last few years.  It originated with the Incas in the mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru and continues to be a prominent food source in that region.

Many think that quinoa, which is gluten-free and considered easy to digest, is a grain; but it is actually a seed.  According to Women’s Health Magazine, when cooked, a 3.5 oz serving provides 120 calories and contains eight grams of protein per cup. Plus, it’s considered a complete protein, meaning it packs all nine essential amino acids your body needs to build and repair muscles; which makes it a GREAT post-workout snack.

You can eat quinoa raw or cooked for breakfast, lunch, or dinner and for in between snacks.  One of my go to recipes that I like is a ‘Quinoa Fruit Salad’ with fresh seasonal fruit. During the Summer I use fresh berries and melons and during the Fall pears and apples.  You can boost the sweetness of the fruit with a couple tablespoons of honey, agave, maple or any flavored syrup.  Try it and let me know your thoughts.

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing

Quinoa Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing          serves 5

Ingredients:-

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Juice of 1 large lime
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cups sliced strawberries, blackberries, blueberries or raspberries or combo of all
  • 1 cups diced mango or papayas
  • 1 cups diced peaches
  • 5-6 Mint leaves chopped

 Preparation:

  1. Using a very fine strainer, rinse quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa and water to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil 5 minutes.
  2. Turn heat to low and simmer about 12 minutes, or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  3. To make the dressing, combine lime juice and honey. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, strawberries, blackberries, mango, pineapple and mint. Pour dressing over salad and mix until well combined. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Note..You can use any seasonal fresh fruit that you wish. If you use frozen fruit, you must defrost it first.

 

 

Herb and Fruit Vinegars

I’m hoping that you enjoyed my previous tips on preparing herb butters and oil.  I love preparing them both. Today’s recipe is on another one of my favorites: preparing flavored vinegars.

Seasoned vinegar is especially useful for making marinades and salad dressing due to its deeply infused flavors.

Herb or fruit flavored vinegar may be made by combining in sterilized jars or bottles:

  • 1 cup fresh herbs or fruit (bruise slightly to release their oils) or 1 to 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped herbs and
  • 2 cups of white or red wine vinegar (It’s important to find a high-quality white or red wine vinegar to start with, one with minimal levels of ethyl acetate, the compound that shows up in lesser-quality vinegars.)

Tightly cap the container and set aside to steep in a warm place for about two weeks checking daily. Strain and discard herbs. Repeat with fresh herbs/fruit for richer flavor. Decant into sterilized jars or bottles with a tight-fitting cap.

You can also add vinegar and herbs or fruit to a saucepan. Bring to a simmer and slowly cook two minutes. Strain through a coffee filter inside a strainer and store.

Typical herbs to use singly or in a combination are: basil, dill tarragon, rosemary, celery seed, cranberry, mustard seed.

Add a couple of sprigs of herbs or a few seeds to the final product for a festive-looking bottle.  Remember to keep away from direct sunlight.

Some flavors to try:

  • Apple Spice
  • Tarragon
  • Raspberry, Nectarines, Peaches or Mangoes
  • Lemon
  • Garlic Chive

Have you ever made your own flavored vinegar? What has been your favorite flavor? Any particular tips to impart?

Chef Lynn Ware is a private/personal chef specializing in healthy cooking, culinary educator, and food blogger. Chef Lynn offers: Corporate Cooking Classes, Group Cooking Parties, Private Cooking Lessons and Gourmet Catering. Contact Chef Lynn (ChefLynn@ChefLynn.com) for additional information.

Herb or Spice Flavored Oils

One of my favorite gifts I like to make and give is  herbal or spiced infused olive oil.  It can be used for salad dressings, cooking, or as a table condiment.
It is easy to make herb and/or spice infused olive oils at home. You do though have to plan ahead to let the oil steep for 2 weeks before using.
Herbal oils may be made with any oil but lighter oils allow the flavors of the herbs to be enjoyed more fully.
  • Light oils: extra light olive, extra virgin olive, corn, safflower, sunflower, vegetable
  • Heavy oils: peanut, sesame

To make an herb oil, first sterilize any size jar or bottle (I suggest boiling in water for approximately 10 mins.) then half-fill it with whole fresh herbs. Fill jar with oil (must cover all herbs) Tightly cap and sit aside to steep in a warm place out of sunlight for about two weeks shaking daily. Strain through coffee filter and discard herbs.

Taste the product and repeat steps for richer flavor and body. Re-sterilize container.

Decant final product into a sterilized container with tight-fitting cap. Add a couple of fresh sprigs of herbs and/or a few compatible seeds to final product for a festive looking bottle

Typical herbs to use: garlic, tarragon, thyme, various peppers (hot or mild), basil, rosemary, oregano or bay leaf.

I like to use my flavored oils when grilling vegetables or seafood.

What are some of your uses.  Send me your comments.

Chef Lynn Ware is a private/personal chef specializing in healthy cooking, culinary educator, and food blogger. Chef Lynn offers: Corporate Cooking Classes, Group Cooking Parties, Private Cooking Lessons and Gourmet Catering. Contact Chef Lynn (ChefLynn@ChefLynn.com) for additional information.

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