Breakfast Quinoa

Delicious, nutritious, high-protein breakfast.

20130412-074222.jpg A great gluten-free alternative to oatmeal, this sweet and fruity quinoa is ideal for breakfast. Spring has been so timid here in Chicago, that we are still using winter fruits this time of year. This is a heartwarming and satisfying dish. Although this dish is best served immediately, if you are pressed for time in the morning, you can prepare it the night before and simply heat it on the stove again.

20130412-074438.jpg Ingredients
3/4 cup red quinoa
3/4 cup white quinoa
2 oranges or 4 mandarins
1 banana
1 large apple
A few prunes
A few dried figs
A few dates
A handful walnuts
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp molasses

20130412-205534.jpg Place both red and white quinoa in a large saucepan.

20130412-210006.jpg Cut the dried fruits in thin slices and roughly chop the walnuts.

20130412-210554.jpg Add the dried fruits and walnuts to the quinoa as well as 3 cups of water.

20130412-211456.jpg Bring to a boil and start simmering.

20130412-210857.jpg Meanwhile, prepare the fresh fruits. Peel the banana and oranges . You might leave the skin on the apple, simply cutting it in quarters to easily remove the core.

20130412-211227.jpg Slice all the fresh fruits thinly.

20130412-211824.jpg Add fresh fruits and bring back to a boil.

20130412-212512.jpg Add the vanilla and molasses.

20130412-212806.jpg Cover, turn down the heat and simmer to resume cooking, about another ten minutes or so.

20130412-213444.jpg Check for the consistency. When most of the liquids have been absorbed, turn off the heat and let sit for a couple of minutes before serving.

20130412-213941.jpg Serve in individual bowls with a spring of fresh mint. Bon appetit!

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Poached Pears with Citrus, Ginger and Cardamon

Refreshing and simple, a perfect way to end a meal on a light note, with the ginger contributing to help digestion.

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Poached pears are a classic, yet can be interpreted in so many different ways. Here the cardamon and ginger bring a refreshing twist. You might use ground cinnamon and cinnamon stick instead of the cardamon.

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Ingredients:
4 pears – either d’Anjou for softer texture or Bosc for firmer texture
1 orange
4 mandarins
1 lemon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
12 cardamon pods
2 cups water
1/2 cup agave syrup

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Prepping the ingredients. Wash the fruits. Cut the citrus into relatively thick slices. Peel and half the pears. Core the center to remove the hard part and seeds. Using a melon baller is a useful tool for this task. Set aside.

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Grating the ginger. I recently learned a tip for keeping fresh ginger on hand at all times in the kitchen: store it in the freezer and grate it frozen as needed.
When it comes to peeling or scraping ginger, this is a matter of personal preference. Once washed and scrubbed, you might peel it with a peeler or scrape it with a spoon in its intricate shapes. Although, I have to admit that since seeing my friends from Japan leaving the skin on the root, I have been doing the same.

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Place the water, agave syrup, cut citrus, grated ginger, cardamon in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes to infuse all the flavors of the poaching liquid.

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Add the pears and return to a boil. Lower the heat again and simmer for about 20-30 minutes, until the pears are soft. Depending on whether the pears were hard initially, this might take a little longer. Just check with the tip of a sharp knife. You should not feel any resistance when the blade cuts through the pear.

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Once the pears are ready, turn off the heat and let cool. When the pot reaches room temperature, transfer to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate until serving time. This dish is best eaten cold.

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Serve by itself in its own juice, or accompanied by ginger cookies, ‘Pain d’Epice’, or a chocolate ganache. Enjoy!