Tag Archives: Pantry

Quinoa Cakes

January 2012

Sometimes the kitchen feels like a canvas and a splatter of paint applied without a precise plan.  There’s a goal for exploration and an intended color scheme, but the way two pigments puddle together might propel an alternative theme.  Cleaning the cupboards is akin to the walk that produces the found objects which will accent the piece.  There might be doubts along the way, “am I wasting a canvas?” but as the paint dries into its true color, and the composition comes together, ideally, there’s an unexpected sense of accomplishment and a moment of true satisfaction.  This was a canvas kitchen sort of brunch!

Quinoa Cakes with Cranberry Compote & Whipped Cream

I don’t remember when I bought that box of quinoa flour, but I remember being curious, and admittedly, I am drawn to Q foods.  On a January Sunday, I was on the verge of attempting a Croque Madame when I spotted the same ol’ box of quinoa flour in its same old spot.  New plan!

I was in a time crunch (the fella’s hair appointment was looming), and I was concerned I was going too far…experimenting with different grains, substituting some egg nog I wanted to use for buttermilk and even adding Neufchatel to the batter.  Would these pancakes be heavy messes?!?  However, the final result was kitchen tested and diner approved!  Quinoa cake flipping credit to my fella, who, by the way, left brunch looking quite rugged and then returned later looking like a dapper London bloke!

The Recipes
Quinoa Cakes + Cranberry Compote + Whipped Chai Topping

Quinoa Pancakes


1/3 cup Quinoa flour
1/3 cup local cornmeal (from St. Vincents Gristmill)
1/3 cup organic rolled oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon natural sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons lemon pulp (from juicer)
1 cup organic egg nog
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 egg (local/free-range)

2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons homemade cranberry compote*
4 oz Neufchatel cheese (rBST free)

+ Extra maple syrup for serving!


Mix together dry ingredients.

Add egg nog, oil and egg.

Mix in the maple syrup and cranberry compote.

Cut the Neufchatel cheese into chunks and stir into the batter.

Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto prepared skillet.

Turn cakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles but before the bubbles break.  Serve warm with a dollop of whipped chai topping and cranberry compote!

Whipped Chai Topping

1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup Tazo chai concentrate
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl.  Use an electric mixer, on high, to beat until stiff peaks form.  Keep chilled until ready to serve.

*Cranberry Cherry Compote
I had leftover cranberry cherry compote from my holiday parcels, but it’s no problem to make the same morning as the quinoa pancakes.  Use some in the batter as well as a few dollops on top of a stack of the pancakes.


1 cup red wine (cabernet sauvignon)
1 cup water
1 cup organic brown sugar
1 bag (12 oz.) organic fresh cranberries
1 cup organic dried cherries
4 Tablespoons lemon zest (from juicer)
cinnamon, to taste
nutmeg, to taste
3-4 Tablespoons sage simple syrup


Bring the wine, water and organic sugar to boil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Add the cranberries and continue to boil until the cranberries begin to pop, stirring occasionally.

Add the remaining ingredients and continue to simmer and stir occasionally until the berries and liquid are well blended and have reached a jelly consistency.

Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

Happy canvas creating!


A Cowboy, Some Kale & A Yellow Mellow

October 2011

A very big box arrived with my name on it!  The box predicted colorful nutrients coming my way!

There it is, the newest kitchen addition:  my very own POWER juicer!

The scale figure had a hankerin’ for some fresh, nutritious juice.

I needed fruits and vegetables for my new kitchen companion, so I swapped my slippers for rain booties and faced the gray day with bright yellow on my mind.  It’s amazing what you will see when you seek the brighter side of dreariness.

Seeing the sunnier side doesn’t necessarily make me feel warmer inside, so I also took a little break for a hot cup of coffee and perhaps a spiritual awakening (via the book, not the donut…or maaaybe via the donut?!?).

Then I returned with fresh produce.
Kale + Carrots + A Golden Beet + Green Apple + Ginger = delicious and nutritious!

Do you see that lovely green design that looks like a sprig of thyme?  I might pave a new course:  juice bar barrista?  Is that a thing?  Soon, I’ll start hearts and leaves like the finest of coffee shops.

Delicious + Nutritious = Gone!

I realize that a lot of people would open their huge box, buy their produce, juice that produce and not feel the slightest urge to document the entire process [with a cowboy].  I also realize that I have long since come to terms with living in my own world. Cheers to those who appreciate these camera accompanied adventures!  Pull up a mason jar, and I’ll pour you a swig.

Biscuits and Blues

September 2011

It was a hungry Saturday morning, and it was my turn to make breakfast.  Breakfast very quickly became brunch by the time I set the table with biscuits and blues…not the sad type of blues, just deep blues.. and bacon-of-the-month (from here) bacon in skinny, salty strips.

I made a new friend recently:  Rhuby.  She seemed like a peachy keen type of gal, so I paired her with local peaches and herbs for a biscuit fruit filling.
(click the images to enlarge the recipes)

(pre-bake biscuits)

*Note:  Fat-free buttermilk?!?  I didn’t discover the “fat-free” portion of the label until I had returned home with my groceries, and I was quite surprised to have accidentally selected such an oxy moron from a Whole Foods shelf.  Never have I known them to be a store pushing fake fat substitutes.  What was the deal?  The Whole Foods website has this to say about buttermilk in general:

Historically, buttermilk was the liquid that remained after butter had been churned, which was then exposed to airborne bacteria and allowed to ferment, acquiring the slightly sour, acidic flavor that it’s prized for. These days, the buttermilk available in supermarkets is actually a cultured product created from ordinary skim milk that’s been fermented and pasteurized.

So it seems the fat-free version isn’t as far a cry as I initially thought, and as it turned out, my taste buds still detected a really buttery flavor in the biscuits.  Full fat or fat free, it’s up to you.  I’m sure I’ll be using both in the future.

Fill in the blank.
Biscuits and _ _ _ _ _…

In my breakfast/brunch book, the answer is C R E A M!

Put it all together, and what do you get?

Thanks Newlyweds!

August 2011

We talk about coffee a lot and embrace our elitism while drinking crema creations or thoroughly prepped French presses.  My demerit in the snobbery world was my lack of a coffee grinder.  I had my attempts- the hand grinder whose axles or gears or whatever recreation of vintage machinery was operating in that wooden box fell into that wooden box and effectively foiled my self sufficiency.

Then there was the time I literally found $50 on the ground, proceeded to the Goodwill “boutique,” found and purchased a coffee grinder only to go home and have it very quickly fail.  Was it karma?  I hadn’t foreseen karma looking upon found money so disapprovingly.

For whatever illogical reasons, after those two failures, I just wouldn’t buy a new grinder, but luckily, years later, the newlyweds happened to have an extra wedding spoil:  a KitchenAid coffee grinder, and they said it was alllllll me!  I won’t tell your wedding guests of this regift.  Thanks for propelling me higher in the world of coffee snobbery.

This was all just in time for a ladies’ lunch!

More Maple

May 2010

I love maple syrup!  I can incorporate it into every meal of the day if I really try and have an ample supply.  One of my dreams is to live on a farm that supplies most of my baking pantry provisions, and along with honey bees, I would definitely need maple trees!

Grizz Pappy and I went as far as to bring our own pure maple syrup to the local diner on one late night occasion.  The diner dishes out huge buckwheat pancakes with no real syrup in sight.  The waitress commended our BYOMS practice and understood our syrups standards.

I had heard about maple crumb sugar, and the chance to buy some arose through my former bakery employer.  He regularly purchased syrup from a local producer for the bakery, and I happened to spot the sugar option on the producer’s website (along with some great photos).  Maple crumb sugar from a local source?  Even better!  Thus, I had a new toy to add to my pantry of tricks.  The scent of maple from the sugar was so strong and enticing, I wanted to eat it by the spoonful, but I resisted.

First baking event on the horizon:  The Carpenter’s Birthday!  Stay tuned.

Bulking Up The Cupboards and The Arms!

January 2010

Clearly I bake a lot, and all that baking means I use quite a bit of the staples:  eggs, butter, sugar, honey and FLOUR!  One day I arrived at the Whole Foods flour shelf, and the old mother cupboard was dry! There was no more whole-wheat pastry flour.  It was then I learned a useful Whole Foods trick:  special whole sale ordering,  Not only would my cupboards be stocked for longer at home, but I’d receive a 10% discount!  I gave my name, phone number, and in a few days, I had a phone call saying my flour had arrived.  Then I procrastinated.  I would forget to go to the customer service desk, I’d be in a rush, I was holding out for a ride, so on and so forth.

There is only so much allotted time before the order returns to the shelf, and the discount disappears in a cloud of flour.  I was dangerously close to that time.  I had no choice but to pick up my package, and at that point in time, picking up the flour meant walking it home.

No Grain.  No Gain.  I also had a bit of that pain people usually associate with gain.  Four 48oz bags of flour, plus additional groceries in my backpack, 1.9 miles from store to home, at least one hill and one rather steep and steady hill, oh and a touch of snowy rain or rainy snow on top of that… I made it!

Someday if I have grandchildren, I will bake them little whole-wheat, chocolate-chip cookies and tell them how I used to walk uphill in the snow just to have flour for baking!