Category Archives: How To

How to Make Quinoa in Rice Cooker

quinoa in the rice cooker

Summary: learn how to make quinoa in your trusty rice cooker. We make it in our $20 six cup rice cooker and the results are consistently great. I’ve included the stove top instructions as well.

We prepared quinoa (pronounced “qin-wah”) at home for the first time in July 2011. It was so healthy and delicious, it has earned a spot in our regular dinner rotation. If you’re hesitant to try quinoa, here are a few reasons why you should give it a chance.

Why Eat Quinoa?

  • Super healthy: one of the few plant foods that is a source of complete protein, high in fiber, and a source of calcium (good for lactose intolerant)
  • Very filling: you’ll find yourself eating a smaller portion of quinoa than rice because it’s so nutritionally dense
  • Very easy to prepare: you can cook it on the stove or in a rice cooker
  • Gluten-free!
  • Tastes good: delicate nutty flavour with a subtle crunchy texture
  • Pairs very well with seafood, especially salmon
  • Adds a protein component to vegetarian dishes such as salads and stir frys

Raw quinoaRaw quinoa.

The first time I made quinoa, I cooked 2 cups quinoa with 4 cups of water and it boiled over in our 6 cup rice cooker. In the end, it made well over 4 cups of cooked quinoa, way too much for two people. I also learned that if you keep your quinoa on the “keep warm” setting of the rice cooker, the bottom gets overly browned. I’ve summarized my lessons learned below so your quinoa cooking will go smoothly.

cooked quinoaCooked quinoa with salmon and mango salsa.

Continue reading How to Make Quinoa in Rice Cooker

How to Cut Leeks

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Leeks, which are part of the same family as onions and garlic, have a mild onion like taste with a subtle sweetness. The edible portions of the leek are the white base and the light green parts, with the dark green parts of the leaves are more suitable for flavouring broths. Since leeks tend to be more expensive than onions, I save them for two special recipes: sausage leek pasta and miso-bacon-potato-leek soup.

The first time I cooked leeks, I had no idea how to prepare them.  I’ve written out the instructions to save you time. Enjoy!

1. To begin, peel off 1 – 2 of the outer leaves, like you would a green onion. Then, chop off the green leaves.

2. Keeping the top root intact, cut the white part of the leek in half lengthwise and half again, dividing it into 4 sections.
How to cut leeks - section into fours

3. Submerge the leeks in a bowl of cold water and shake them around to get rid of any dirt. Wash and dry.

4. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and into two pieces.
How to cut leeks - cut into two pieces

5. Lay onto cutting board and start chopping towards the root.
How to cut leeks - start chopping

Leeks are a great replacement for onions when you want less bite and a more mild and slightly sweet onion flavour. Try them in your salads, soups or favourite pasta recipe.

How to Make Stuffed French Toast

Maple syrup well

Summary: Learn how to make stuffed french toast at home. The new approach here is how to cut the bread, the rest of the recipe is simple.

My friend ordered stuffed french toast for brunch at a local cafe and it looked so good, I had to re-create it for the home kitchen. After a few trial and errors, I perfected the recipe. The trick is to use medium-low heat and to cook the french toast for 4 minutes per side. To ensure the cheese melts, the skillet is covered with a lid or aluminum foil.

This is the brunch recipe I use when I want to impress people. It looks and tastes amazing but is very straight forward to make. Here is the recipe directions with pictures.

Equipment

  • 10 – 12 inch skillet
  • Lid or aluminum foil to cover skillet

Ingredients for Bacon and Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Serves: 2 – 3   | Prep: 5 minutes   | Cook: 20 minutes

  • from loaf of french bread cut 3 X 1” bread slices, flayed (sliced in half but not all the way – so bread opens up like a book)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs milk
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • 3 – 6 slices of bacon, cut in half before frying
  • 6 slices of thinly sliced cheese (suggestions: cheddar, Swiss, Gouda)
  • 1 tbs butter

1. To cut bread, make a half inch incision, stopping before you severe the bottom. Cut another half inch incision but this time, cut all the way through.
IMG_8899

Voila. You should have a 1” piece of bread that opens like a book.
Cut bread into a book

2. Place bacon in cold skillet over medium heat. Cook until desired crispiness is reached. Place two slices of bacon and two slices of cheese between the opening of the bread slice.
Add bacon Add cheese
You can keep the rest of the bacon warm in the oven at 200F.

3. Place a clean 10 – 12 inch skillet over medium low (about 3 or 4 out of 10) heat to warm up for 2 -3 minutes. Add butter and swirl it around until it  evenly coats the skillet.

4. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk and salt & pepper in medium bowl. Dip and coat each stuffed french bread into the egg mixture. Add to buttered skillet and repeat with remaining pieces of bread. Cover with lid or aluminum foil (the steam will help warm the centers of the french toast).
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Tip: Use a fork to lift out the bread out of the egg mixture and let the excess egg drip off. This will create a more crispy crust. IMG_8917

5. Set timer for 4 minutes. When 4 minutes is over, check the underside of the bread. It should have a nice brown crust like the picture below. If it’s not browning, try increasing the heat by one level. If the underside is starting to burn, reduce the heat by one level.
Crispy french toast
Flip and cook for a further 4 minutes. Serve with maple syrup , extra bacon and fresh sliced citrus fruit such as oranges and grapefruit.

 Click here for the original post for Bacon and Cheese Stuffed French Toast with printable recipe.

How to Fold Foil Food Packets

Foil packet balsamic chicken

Summary: Learn to fold foil food packets that make quick and easy meals.

Food that is wrapped in foil can be cooked in the oven, on the grill, or over an open camp fire. This cooking method prevents loss of moisture and produces very tender meat. Plus, there’s minimal clean up.

Equipment:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Food items – usual food packet combination includes: meat, veggies and 2 – 3 tablespoons of sauce or broth

Note: you can substitute the foil with parchment paper if placing the food packets in the oven. This is not recommended if cooking over a bbq or camp fire as it will just add to the fire.

1. Select a piece of foil that is approximately 15” long. (My aluminum foil was 15” in length and default width of 12”.) Place food items in the center of foil  and drizzle with sauce or broth.

15" by 12" piece of foil

2. Bring up the lengths of the foil sides like a tent and roll down towards center, stopping about an 1” before you reach the meat – this leaves room for heat circulation.

Food tent with foil

3. Fold the foil ends toward center to seal pack.

Roll bottom toward centre

4. Cook packet in oven, on grill or over a camp stove.

Foil food packet bliss

Meal Ideas

  • Balsamic Chicken – 4 breasts will cook in about 30 minutes at 425 F
  • Salmon with lemon, garlic and dill, with 2 tablespoons of butter or white wine – 4 fillets will cook in 20 minutes at 350 F