Chocolate Caramel & Puffed Quinoa Pecan Bars

If you follow my Instagram stories, you probably saw that I was making these bars yesterday. It’s been a while since I’ve made a new dessert bar, so it was due. These are decadent, not overly sweet and they have a hint of heat from the chipotle roasted pecans. And they are very easy to make, without any corn syrup or candy thermometer. I got some questions already of where I get chipotle powder in Amsterdam. I bought it at Tijn’s toko close to the Albert Cuyp market.

This recipe is for a 22cm baking square dish.

Ingredients:

For the roasted pecans:

180grs of pecans

1 tablespoon of vegetable oil

2 tablespoon of maple syrup

3/4 teaspoon of chipotle powder (optional)

Pinch of salt

For the puffed quinoa crust:

2 cups of puffed quinoa

3 tablespoons of butter, melted

1 vanilla bean, or 1 ½ teaspoons of vanilla essence

3 tablespoons of icing sugar

1 egg white, slightly beaten with a fork

For the chocolate caramel:

1 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of water

6 tablespoons of salted butter

1 1/2 cup of heavy cream

120gs of dark chocolate, chopped

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

Pinch of sea salt

 

Start by roasting the pecans.  Preheat your oven to 200C/400F and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix the pecans with the vegetable oil, maple syrup, chipotle powder and salt. Spread them in a single layer over your prepared baking sheet. Roast them for 15 minutes, stirring half way through.

To make the puffed quinoa crust, first melt the butter and preheat your oven to 180C/350F. If you are using a vanilla bean pod, add the vanilla beans to the melted butter and mix well so that it dissolves. Then add the vanilla butter to the puffed quinoa, icing sugar and egg white. Mix well. Line your baking mold with parchment paper, also cover the sides of the mold so that it is easier to remove the bars later on. Place the quinoa mixture into the prepared mold and use the back of a spoon to evenly distribute it and press to make it compact. Bake it for 15 minutes. Then remove it from the oven and allow it to cool down.

To make the chocolate caramel, place the cream in a bowl and microwave it for 45 seconds. Then add the chopped chocolate, vanilla essence and salt.  Microwave it for 30 second intervals till the chocolate has melted. Mix in between. Set it aside.

In a large medium saucepan, add the sugar and water. Let it melt over medium heat until it becomes amber in color. Swirl the pan around from time to time. Then lower the heat to low and add the butter, one tablespoon at a time. Stir with a heat-proof spatula until all the butter has melted. Then add the chocolate cream that you made before. Stir constantly over low heat for 10 minutes until it becomes a thick sauce, like fudge. Then turn off the heat and keep stirring for 2 minutes to allow it to cool down and become thicker.

Carefully pour the chocolate caramel evenly over the quinoa crust. Swirl it around so that it covers the edges. Carefully place the pecans on top in a single layer. Let it sit in the fridge to set for at least 5 hours.

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge. I’d like to take it out before eating since I prefer them when they are at room temperature and the caramel is chewier.

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Cheesy Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Crunchy Smoked Paprika Quinoa, Fried Onions & Kale Chips

I’ve been looking forward to the start of the season for Jerusalem artichokes and last week I saw them at the market for the first time. I wanted to make a sort of loaded potato soup but with Jerusalem artichokes. To make the quinoa crunchy, I first boiled it and then roasted it in the oven with some spices. Love the flavor that the smoked paprika gives the quinoa. Also topped the soup with some kale chips and store-bought fried onions.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the crunchy smoked paprika quinoa:

1/3 cup of quinoa, I used a mix of white, red and black

1 tablespoon of olive oil

½ teaspoon of smoked paprika

Pinch of celery salt

Pinch of onion powder

Pinch of celery salt

Pinch of garlic powder

Pinch of salt

For the kale chips:

1 cup of shredded kale

1 tablespoon of olive oil

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of salt

For the soup:

1 tablespoon of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 white onion, chopped

750grs of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and chopped

1 litter of vegetable stock

250gr of cream

175grs of shredded Gouda or any cheese you would like

Salt to taste

Extra:

½ a cup of crispy fried onions, I bought already made (optional)

 

Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line your oven sheet with parchment paper.

Start by making the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then place it in a medium pot. Add about 1 ½ litters of boiling water and let it cook over medium heat for 12 minutes. Then drain it.

Transfer the cooked quinoa into a bowl. Add the olive oil, spices and mix well. Spread it in a single layer over your prepared baking sheet. Roast it for 20 minutes, then stir it. Finally roast it for an extra 10 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a small bowl and set it aside. Lower your oven temperature to 150C/300F.

Star making the soup. Pour one tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pot. Once the oil is hot, add the onions and cook them until they become translucent. Then add the garlic and cook for an extra minute. Add the Jerusalem artichokes and the vegetable stock. Let it cook for 20 minutes.

While the soup is cooking, start making the kale chips. Massage the kale with olive oil, cayenne and salt. Line your oven sheet with parchment paper and spread the kale in a single layer. Bake for 15 minutes. Then set it aside until ready to serve.

Going back to the soup; once the 20 minutes are done, add the shredded cheese and blend it until smooth. Finally add the cream, mix well and add salt to taste.

Serve the soup with some crunchy quinoa, kale chips and fried onions.

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Kimchi & Quinoa Vegetable Soup

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This is a very healthy vegetarian soup. It has the wonderful flavor of the kimchi without being too sour or spicy but add chilies if you wish, and you get your protein kick from the quinoa. It’s perfect for a weeknight since it’s very quick to make. You can also cook the quinoa in advance and just keep it in the fridge to save time.

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This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

½ cup of quinoa

150gr of mushrooms, sliced (I used a mix of chestnut mushrooms, nameko and king trumpet)

4 tablespoons of sesame oil

1 ½ tablespoons of chopped ginger

2 spring onions, finely chopped (white separated from the green)

1 cup of kimchi, very finely chopped

1 ½ litters of vegetable stock

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

3 mini paksoi

Extras:

Lime wedges for serving (optional)

Extras soy sauce for serving

3 soft boiled eggs

Sesame seeds

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain it and set it aside.

Place 3 tablespoons of sesame oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, fry the mushrooms in batches. Remove the mushrooms from the pan.

In the same saucepan, add the remaining tablespoon of sesame oil, ginger and the white part of the spring onions. Cook for 1 minute over medium heat while stirring. Then add the chopped kimchi and stir for another minute.

Add the stock and soy sauce. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.

Then add the paksoi and let it cook for 1 minute. Taste the soup for salt.

For the soft boiled eggs, I just placed them in a saucepan and added boiling water. I let them cook for 6 minutes over medium heat.

To serve, divide the quinoa into 3 bowls. Add the soup, mushrooms, green parts of the spring onions, soft boiled eggs and sesame seeds. I like to squeeze some lime juice over the soup and serve it with some extra soy sauce on the side.

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Quinoa, Butternut Squash & Gorgonzola Burgers

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A super simple recipe for meatless Monday.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

For the patties:

2 cups of cooked quinoa

1 butternut squash

3 eggs

1 cup of panko

½ teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of onion powder

¼ teaspoon of garlic powder

¼ cup of chopped chives

150gr of gorgonzola, crumbled

Extra:

Olive oil for pan-frying

Optional:

Fried sage leaves

Extra Gorgonzola for serving

 

Peel and shred the butternut squash. Then squeeze it to get rid of some of the moisture. In a bowl, mix the butternut squash with the remaining ingredients for the patties.

Heat up about ¼ of a cup of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.

Place about 3 tablespoons of the quinoa mixture in the hot pan to form each patty. Fry them until golden on both sides.

I like to serve them with extra Gorgonzola and a few fried sage leaves.

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Mango, Passion fruit and Coconut Popsicles with Dark Chocolate & Puffed Quinoa

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This is a super easy & dairy free popsicle recipe which I created last summer but it needed a picture update so I made them again. Might be still too cold to eat frozen treats outside, but not when I am all cozy indoors.

This recipe makes 9 popsicles.

Ingredients:

For the mango/passion fruit part:

1 ½ cups of mango pieces, it can be frozen or fresh

1 tablespoon of honey

2 passion fruits

For the coconut part:

1 can of coconut milk (400ml)

4 tablespoons of honey

Juice of ½ a lime

For the chocolate shell:

100gr of dark chocolate

1 teaspoon of coconut oil

½ a cup of puffed quinoa

 

Place the mango, passion fruit and honey in a pan. Cook over medium heat for about 4 minutes while stirring, until you get a sort of compote. Then using a hand blender, blend it a bit. Just enough so there are not big chunks of mango. Transfer it to a small bowl and allow it to cool down for 15 minutes.

Blend the coconut milk, honey and lime.

Spoon a bit of the mango mixture into the popsicle molds. Add some of the coconut milk, then more of the mango mixture and finally top it with the coconut milk. Use a toothpick to swirl the mixtures together. Insert the sticks and freeze overnight.

Once the popsicles are frozen, start making the chocolate shell. Chop the dark chocolate and place it in a small microwave-safe bowl. Add the coconut oil, and melt it in the microwave for 30 second intervals at a time. Stirring in between until it is completely melted. Have the quinoa ready on a plate. Cover a large plate or tray with plastic film.

Remove the popsicles from the freezer. Pour some warm water over them so you can detach them from the molds. I used silicone molds this time which are super easy to detach, so no hot water needed. Using a spoon, just drizzle some of the chocolate shell over on popsicle and then quickly sprinkle some popped quinoa. The chocolate will harden quickly so you have to be fast (do only one at a time). Place the popsicle on the plate with plastic film. Repeat for all. You can eat them right away. If you want to keep them in the freezer, wrap them individually in plastic film or a Ziploc bag.

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Caprese Quinoa Salad with Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata and Greek Yogurt Pesto

FullSizeRender (1)I did a late market run the other day and got these gorgeous tomatoes and flowers.

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Since I had been craving burrata for a while, one dish came to mind: Caprese salad. With such great produce, you don’t need to do much with them. To make it a more filling meal, I added quinoa. I flavored the quinoa with some basil-Greek yogurt pesto.  It’s a quick dinner and also makes for a great lunch the next day.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa

700gr of Heirloom tomato mix

1 burrata (250gr)

For the pesto:

1 cup of fresh basil leaves

30gr of Parmesan, grated

40gr of toasted pine nuts

Zest of ½ a lime

4 tablespoons of Geek yogurt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pepper

Salt

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the pesto, just blend all of the ingredients together. Add the salt last, after you tasted it, since the Parmesan already makes it salty.

Slice the tomatoes.

Place the pesto in a large bowl, add the quinoa and mix it well.

To serve the salad, first place some quinoa on the plates. Then add the tomato slices and sprinkle them with some salt. Break the burrata with your fingers and spread it over the salad. Drizzle a bit of olive oil on each plate. If you want, decorate the salad with a few basil leaves. Enjoy!

Salade Nicoise with a Parsley-Anchovy Vinaigrette

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This is my take on the traditional salad nicoise. I make it with seared tuna, quinoa instead of potatoes and I take the anchovies out of the salad and incorporate them into the dressing by making a parsley-anchovy vinaigrette. This is one of my go-to salads when I feel like something healthy but also filling. And now that summer is in full swing, a nice salad is very welcome. Especially one that won’t have me going through to the candy drawer (Yes, I have a deliciously filled candy and savory snacks drawer in my living room) 30 minutes later because I’m still hungry.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

½ cup of quinoa

100gr of Kalamata olives

A big handful of green beans

8 tomatoes, sliced (I used a mix)

3 soft boiled eggs

300gr of fresh tuna

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Garlic powder

Lemon pepper (optional)

Cayenne (optional)

For the anchovy-parsley vinaigrette:

5 tablespoons of chopped parsley

8 anchovies, chopped

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/3 cup white vinegar

Salt

Pepper

 

Cook the quinoa first. Rinse it under cold water and then boil it for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Then start making the vinaigrette. You can place all of the ingredients in the food processor and just pulse until you get your desired consistency. Or you can just chop the parsley and anchovies together. Then place them in a jar with the rest of the ingredients, cover with a lid and shake it until it emulsifies.  Set aside until ready to use.

Sautee the green beans in a pan with some olive oil, garlic powder, lemon pepper, salt and black pepper. Do this until they become tender- crisp.

Place the eggs in a pot with boiling water and boil them for 7 minutes.

To sear the tuna, just season it with salt, pepper and a bit of cayenne. Pour a bit of olive oil in a pan, over medium high heat. Once the pan is hot; just place the tuna and sear it for a few seconds on each side. This is where you want to be quick turning it, because it cooks pretty fast (Unless you want it well done).

Once the tuna is seared, transfer it to a cutting board and thinly slice it.

To plate up, divide the quinoa into 3 plates. Add the green beans, black olives and tomatoes. Then add the soft boiled eggs sliced in half, the tuna and finish by drizzling some of the vinaigrette.

Quinoa Sushi Roll & Bowl

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This is an update on this recipe. I posted it last year. But I prepared it too late in the day and by the time I was finished, it was already night. So the pictures were not as good as I had hoped. I had been meaning to re-do the pictures for a while and I finally got to do it today. This is a very healthy dish packed with protein.

I made this quinoa sushi recipe 2 ways. I love eating and making sushi. But making the rolls takes time, at least for me because I usually make double the amount. We love to have leftover sushi for lunch or even breakfast sometimes.  So for those days that you don’t feel like taking the time to make sushi rolls or simply don’t have the time, this sushi bowl is the perfect solution (the bowl takes less than 20 minutes). You’ve got all the sushi flavors in a shorter time. You can also cook the quinoa a few days in advance, drain it and keep in in the fridge without any seasoning until you are ready to make the sushi.

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When I make normal rice sushi rolls, I usually add a line of mayonnaise mixed with wasabi before rolling the sushi. Since the quinoa is not as sticky as the rice. I made a mixture of Greek yogurt with wasabi. This quinoa and Greek yogurt mixture makes it easier to stick to the nori sheets and makes a much healthier alternative.  I recommend to use regular white quinoa, which sticks together better than the other kinds.

This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

275gr quinoa

150gr smoked trout, or any other fish that you like

1 cup of Greek yogurt

2 tablespoons of wasabi paste (or to taste)

Lemon pepper (to taste)

Salt

3 tablespoons of sushi vinegar

Nori sheets

1 carrot, shredded

1 cucumber, cut into strips or just sliced into circles for the bowl

1 sweet pepper, thinly sliced (or bell pepper)

2 avocados, sliced

Black sesame seeds

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the quinoa is cooking, start prepping the vegetables. Shred the carrot, slice the cucumber, pepper and the avocados.

In a large bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, wasabi, sushi vinegar, lemon pepper and some salt.  Mix it well and then add the cooked quinoa. Mix until combined. Taste to see if it needs more salt or wasabi.

To make the rolls, I always cover my sushi mat with plastic film. It just makes cleaning faster.  Then spread the quinoa over a nori sheet, leaving a bit of space on top. That space is important for the roll to stick together. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds. Then arrange the cucumber, carrot, pepper and pieces of trout. Then roll the sushi.

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Once the sushi is rolled, arrange the sliced avocados on top. Cover the top with plastic film, put the mat on top of the avocado and press a bit so that the avocado sticks to the roll.

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Remove the plastic film, cut into small pieces and serve it with a side of soy sauce. If you want to skip this step, you can also add the avocado slices with the other vegetables so they are inside the roll.

To make the sushi bowl, just serve the seasoned quinoa in a bowl, arrange the vegetables and trout on top. Sprinkle some sesame seeds and sliced nori. Serve with some soy sauce on the side.

 

Shrimp Quinotto

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This is another way to use quinoa, making it into a risotto dish. It is creamy and carries all the flavor of the shrimp. It is similar to  the Peruvian Shrimp soup. This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

2 cups of quinoa

½ kilo whole shrimp

2 tablespoons of butter

1 medium red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 ½ cups of white wine

4 cups of chicken stock

1 tablespoon of tomato paste

100gr of bacon strips, sliced

200gr of mushrooms, sliced

200gr cream

50gr grated Parmesan

Handful of parsley, chopped

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil for 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To prepare the shrimp sauce, first peel the shrimp and then remove the veins. Reserve the shells and heads. Put the clean shrimp tails in a bowl and set aside in the fridge. (If you want you can reserve 3 whole shrimps, or more,  and cook them with the shells and then reserve them for decorating the plate)

In a medium pan and over medium-high heat, add one tablespoon of butter and olive oil. Then add the shells, heads and ½ cup of white wine. Cook until the wine has reduced. Put the shells in a blender; add some salt and 2 cups of the stock. Blend until smooth and then sift the mixture. Set aside.

In a large pan, over medium high heat, add one tablespoon of butter and one of olive oil. Sautee the mushrooms until they are browned on both sides. Then add the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper.  Transfer the mushrooms and shrimp to a bowl and set aside.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the same pan, and cook the onions for a few minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste and bacon. Once the bacon is cooked, add the shrimp sauce and white wine. Let it reduce a bit and then add the cooked quinoa. Stir to combine and add slowly the last 2 cups of stock. Stir until most of the liquid has reduced.  Then add the cream, Parmesan mushrooms and shrimp.  Stir for a few minutes and then taste for salt.  Serve onto 3 plates. Place the whole shrimps that you reserved on top and sprinkle some parsley.

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Quinoa Soup

Quinoa soup

I try to eat quinoa at least once a week and today I decided to make a soup with it. It already feels very cold and the lack of daylight doesn’t make it better.  So a warm and filling soup is very welcome these days. This dish is a bit of a mashup between a tortilla soup and a sopa criolla (a Peruvian soup).  This recipe serves 3.

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa

1 red onion, chopped

1 clove of garlic, minced

1 bird’s eye chili, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

300gr minced meat

250gr tomato puree

1 ½ litters of beef stock

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt to taste

Toppings:

3 teaspoons of dried oregano

2 avocados, sliced

A handful of chopped coriander

3 poached eggs

 

First cook the quinoa. Rinse it under cold water and then boil for 12 minutes. Drain and reserve.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot, over medium heat. Add the onions, chili, bell pepper and cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent. Then add the meat and brown it. After the meat is browned, add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Add some salt.

Add the tomato puree, bay leaf, stock and cooked quinoa. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes.  Taste for salt and then serve into 3 bowls.

Top each bowl with the sliced avocado, coriander, oregano and a poached egg.