Cooking 101 Basics: How to cook Quinoa

Hello everyone! So yesterday I posted a written recipe for a quinoa taco like seasoned dish. It was very good and I suggest you all try it, check that out HERE. After I published it, I got some requests for a video on how to cook quinoa. So I decided to drag out the camera and cook some up. I honestly had no need to make quinoa, but since you asked I delivered! I hope this will be very helpful to you guys.

Materials required:

2 cups of uncooked quinoa (any color works)
3 cups of water
fine mesh strainer OR a large bowl
a large pot with a tight fitting lid, I suggest a dutch oven
a spatula or wooden spoon
patience

Directions:

So to start out with measure out your 2 cups of uncooked quinoa. If you’re new to quinoa or you’re serving it to someone who has maybe never had it. I suggest trying white quinoa (as shown in the video). It has a much milder flavor than the red or black varieties you find in the store. Pick out any discolored bits or pieces that don’t look right. Usually you won’t find any, but better safe than sorry. Transfer your quinoa into a strainer and run under warm water until the water runs clear OR as shown in the video, put the quinoa into a larger sized bowl and fill with warm water. Use your hands to massage the quinoa or rub between your hands slightly vigorously. This helps remove dust and dirt as well as the enzyme inhibitors that are in the quinoa. Repeat these steps until the water runs clear. You are now ready to cook.

Get a large sized pan, since 2 cups of dry quinoa turns into 8 cups of cooked quinoa, you want to make sure you use a large pan. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a rolling boil. When the water is fully boiling, add your quinoa. Use a spatula to scrap out the bowl, no need to waste any of the tiny grains! Stir well to coat every piece with water and remove clumps. Put a lid on and reduce the heat to a simmer. On most stoves this is between the number 2 and 3. If your stove runs hot make sure you use 2 and if your stove tends to run colder use 3. Set a timer for 5 minutes and do not open the lid until that timer goes off.

After 5 minutes, remove the lid (be careful of the steam) and stir well. At this point you shouldn’t have any bits sticking to the bottom, but make sure you scrap along the bottom to be on the safe side. Attempt to push as much of the quinoa back into the water as possible and recover. Set the timer for 10 minutes this time, again do not open the lid. I know its tempting, but I promise your patience is rewarded soon!

After your 10 minutes is up, carefully remove the lid and stir again. Make sure you scrap the bottom in-case there is any sticking. Now inspect your quinoa. Is it nice and fluffy? Is there water left on the bottom? If there is water left, put the lid back on and cook for an addition 5 minutes. (If after 5 minutes you still have water, you will need to strain the quinoa. Don’t worry it’s still edible just use less water next time, this can be a problem if you didn’t thoroughly drain the quinoa after rinsing.) If your pan doesn’t have any remaining standing water, I want you to turn the heat off. Stir well and recover it again. This step is important and give you the perfect texture for quinoa. You can skip this step, but I don’t suggest it. Set a timer for at-least 10 minutes, but 15 is better. Again do NOT open the lid.

After your timer goes off this last time, congratulations, your patience is well rewarded at this stage and your quinoa is completed! YAY! What you will now have is a perfectly fluffy, moist, and completely delicious side dish, main dish, starch, etc. What can you do with this you say? Well you can check out my recipe from yesterday: CLICK HERE. Or you can treat it like any other side dish. Serve it topped with stir-fried vegetables like you would rice. Add some ketchup so satisfy most children. You can add some salt free seasoning, I like Mrs. Dash personally. Really sky is the limit. If you want you can cook it with a pinch of salt or use vegetable broth or any kind of stock to cook it with for more flavor. If you have any additional questions or you have requests for future videos/tutorials. Leave me a comment here or on facebook. Thanks guys!

Here is the nutritional information for 1 cup of cooked quinoa:

Cooking 101 Beginner : Quick & Easy Basic Honey Granola

Making homemade granola these days is not selective to hippies guys! I love to make granola and other breakfast treats all the time and its super simple, but best of all, you tend to save tons of money! What could honestly be better than that. If you have 30-35 minutes, granola is easily within your reach. This recipe is also very basic, you can add 1/2 cup crushed up nuts or seeds (flax and walnut is a great combination), you can toss in dried fruits when the granola is done or you can leave it plain for sprinkling ontop of yogurt. (that’s what I like to do! =)

Ingredients:

4 cups old fashioned oats (not oat groats, not quick cooking oats, not steel cut oats)
1/4 cup olive oil
pinch salt (optional)
1 T vanilla extract (use the good stuff, you’ll thank yourself later)
1 T evaporated cane sugar or raw sugar
1 /4 cup + 1 tablespoon honey  (5 tablespoons total)  (use maple syrup for vegan version)
2 tablespoons water

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).

In a large bowl add in everything except the oats. Mix well. Add your oats 1 cup at a time and stir well. (don’t be afraid to use your hands, it really works best) After you have all your oats mixed in, let it sit for a couple minutes. 2-5 minutes is a long enough, very easy to do while your oven preheats.

Once your oven is preheated, take a full sheet pan and evenly spread your oat mixture on it. Pop it in the oven for 15 minutes.

(Above photo is granola mix about to go into the oven)

After 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven and stir/flip the oats with a flat spatula. Put it back in the oven for 15 more minutes.


(Above photo is granola mix after 15 minutes in the oven)Take the granola out of the oven again and stir.

(Above photo is granola after 30 minutes, some dark bits and perfect for me)
Depending on your personal taste you can stop now. If you want it darker, continue cooking in 5 minute intervuls instead you reach your desired doneness.

Prep time: 2-5 minutes  Cook time: 30-40 minutes Serves: 4 cups
allergies: honey***, oats**
**Can be gluten-free if you make sure you purchase gluten free oats!
***vegan friendly if you it without honey, maple syrup instead.

And you’re done! See how easy that was. You now have a healthy breakfast treat that costs next to nothing to make and little time spent. A traditional basica granola in a health food store costs $4.99 a pound, YIKES! However, this granola only cost me :

Oats: 53¢
olive oil: 25¢
salt & Sugar: 5¢
vanilla (homemade): 5¢ (store bought would be more like 40¢)
honey: 45¢
Water: free (my water bill is paid)

If we total that up we’re looking at a grand total of….  $1.33 for 4 cups of granola. Talk about saving money. That’s an approx savings of  $8.50! Even if you add in nuts and seeds, you will still save money compared to the granola at the health food store.  Assuming you used 1/4 cup of both flax seeds and walnuts and they were organic, you’re still only looking at about 1.50-2.00 more dollars. Oh and all the above ingredients were purchased organic except my homemade vanilla (purchased many years ago before I cared about organic, and bought in bulk. I got 5 pounds for only 25.00!)

I hope you will try this easy granola and let me know in the comments what YOU would put with it. Me personally, I enjoy my granola with some unsweetened almond milk or on-top of organic Greek yogurt with fresh seasonal fruits, yum yum!

Cooking 101 Basics : Cooking Split Peas ( or Toor Dal)

This is from a series that never took off called cooking 101. I decided not to continue this so I will just put this in vegan cooking.

Welcome to Cooking 101 Basics! Today we’re going to cover Split Peas, specifically yellow split peas, however they cook the same. In India yellow split peas are also referred to as Toor  Dal.  This photo is uncooked yellow peas that have been already split. This is the most common way to find yellow peas, you can buy them in bags in the beans section of your supermarket or as I do in the bulk section of your health food store.

 

 

This photos is our already cooked yellow split peas, look as how much larger they got! So yummy! ^.^ They plump up to 2-3times their original size, and I think they get very shiny once cooked. Notice I also cook them just enough to make them tender, but not to turn into mush. I like to pre-cook a lot of beans or grains at once to be used later in the week. (saving you tons of time in the kitchen) If you need split peas for a soup recipe, reheat with a little hot water and smash according the recipe, its that’s simple! You can also freeze these in 1/2 – 1 cup serving sizes for ease of use at a later time, they reheat very well, just dump frozen split peas into a pot of hot boiling water for few moments and serve!

 

So how do you cook them? Its simple!
You will need: (basic ratio, you can cook more or less, just do the math!)

1 cup dry split peas or toor dal
atleast 4 cups of water, I like to use 5-6 and just strain mine in the sink
optionally 1/2 tsp salt for cooking water
large pot
spoon
30-45 minutes of cooking time
——-

To get started, wash your split peas VERY well under running water and make sure to pick out any weird colored pieces or black bits. Don’t worry there is nothing wrong with them, sometimes you get a pebble or something in here, you just don’t want to eat it.  Next, bring a pot of water to a boil. I suggest a MINIMUM of 4 cups of water per 1 cup of dry peas, however, I use 5-6 cups water per 1 cup peas because I like to strain mine in the sink and store for later.  Once your water is boiling, add the salt, stir until it dissolves.  Adding salt is optional, some people think adding salt makes the peas tough, however I’ve yet to have a batch that was too hard or not tasty because of the salt. Next add in your split peas and stir. Turn your heat to about medium or medium-high depending, on your stove, so that the water is at a “low boil”. Boiling the peas too high can turn them mushy towards the end of cooking.  Once the peas are boiling, you can optionally remove any foam that floats to the top of the pot. This is not required, but I think removing it helps with the flavor.  Here’s the hard part (if there is is one!) you need to cook them for ATLEAST 30 minutes, mine usually take closer to 40. At 30 minutes you’ll want to check on them and see if they’re to your desired softness, if not cook 5 more minute and check, and repeat if necessary. Keep in mind that now all split peas are the same, so one batch might take 35 minute and the next might take 45, it will vary.  That’s it! You’ve officially cooked split peas also known as toor dal. This amazing staple food is not only cheap, but extremely healthy, 1 cup of cooked split peas has a mere 230 calories and 16g (yes  SIXTEEN grams) of protein, no wonder this is one of the many important vegetarian and vegan staples.

Now that you have cooked split peas, the sky is the limit here. Similar to tofu, split peas (in my opinion at least) lack any real flavor, so try adding whatever your favorite spices might be. Try tossing them into stir-fry or take a stab at making homemade meatless vegan burger. Or you can just surf around our website for great recipes using split peas!