Tag Archives: Quinoa

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star! (Cookies)

“…As your bright and tiny spark
Lights the the traveller in the dark,
Though I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.” – The Star, by Jane Taylor, in Rhymes for the Nursery, 1806

Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters
Star, Comet, and Moon Cookie Cutters

Yesterday, my friend Carole and I baked cookies…

…for next Saturday’s Culinary Historians of San Diego (CHSD) public meeting at the San Diego Central Library Auditorium.

We are on the Hospitality Committee (actually, currently we ARE the Hospitality Committee, but would welcome others, too!), so, most months of the year, Carole and I enjoy coming up with something related to the meeting’s topic. To launch 2016, Richard Foss is presenting “From Tubes and Cubes to Space Espresso: Dining in Zero Gravity.”

Carole has ordered some Tang, a drink used by some of the earlier manned space flights, to augment our usual drinks line-up. We’ll also have some Trader Joe’s Cheddar Rocket Crackers for those who like something savory. But, for a Saturday morning, I think something a little sweet is also a must with the standard coffee and teas. Plus, it gave me a chance to use my collection of astronomical cookie cutters.

“Look into the Night Sky” 

Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar
Star Cookies with Sparkling Sugar

The night before, I made up a double batch of King Arthur Flour’s Holiday Butter Cookies. It’s a simple but delicious recipe, especially when flavored with Fiori di Sicilia, a heavenly marriage of citrus and vanilla, the signature flavor of Italian panettone.  

For any roll and cut out cookie, the dough needs to thoroughly chilled. 

The real work was going to be the rolling out, cutting, and topping.

Frosted Star Cookies
Frosted Star Cookies

The quartz countertop on our kitchen island is perfect for this: plenty of space, easy to clean, and cool. Besides, it’s black with sparkles in it, just like the twinkling of stars, and always makes me feel like I am looking into the night sky.

Many of the cookies we topped with sparkling sugar. Others, we tried our hand at  drizzling on frosting, highlighting a little yellow on the moon, streaking the tale of the comet with blue.

When I despaired my lack of artistic precision, Carole (ever the supportive partner) pointed out that there is often risk of a little damage at the end of a mission, during atmospheric reentry, coming back down to earth.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Tangerine Tabouli

Tangerine Tabouli Quinoa
Tangerine Tabouli Quinoa

4 servings.

If you are using those cute little California Mandarins or other similarly sized fruits, you’ll need 10 of them: 2 for fruit and 8 for juice.




  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (for example, Trader Joe’s Organic Tricolor Quinoa), rinsed thoroughly in cold water and drained
  • 2 cups broth, stock, or water for cooking the quinoa
  • Sections from 2 small tangerines/clementines/California mandarin oranges
  • 1 ripe avocado, medium dice
  • 2 large green onions, both green and white parts, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, without seeds and ribs, minced
  • 1 cup curly parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup tangerine juice (from about 8 small fruits), or orange juice
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation (Chef's hat)Preparation

1 – Place the rinsed and drained quinoa and 2 cups water in a 1 1/2 quart saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand, still covered, for 10 minutes.

2 – The fully cooked quinoa grains should be soft and exploded, with the little white germ rings showing. If needed, drained off any excess water.

3 – Add cooked quinoa to a large salad bowl. Mix in the tangerine sections, green onions, jalapeño, avocado, and parsley.

4 – In a jar or squeeze bottle, combine the juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Shake or whisk thoroughly to make an emulsion, then mix into the rest of the salad. Serve warm or cold.

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com

First seen on www.CulinaryOracle.com. ©2016 Barbara Newton-Holmes

Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” A.A. Milne

A few weeks ago I bought a package of red quinoa, and I somehow got confused on the instructions (yep, it happens, especially when I’m in a hurry…), mixing up the stovetop instructions with those for the microwave, where I wanted to cook it to be quick and out of the way. Instead, I kept having to add more and more water and cooking minutes because those little grains weren’t all burst into little white buds. I ended up with about 8 or 9 cups of quinoa.

Now, I like quinoa as much as the next gal, but that was surely more than I needed for a quinoa tabouli. I put three cups of the fully cooked quinoa into each of two Ziplock bags, and snuggled them down for a long-winter’s nap in the freezer.

But, yesterday I was glad to have a bag of fully cooked quinoa to pull out and defrost in the microwave. We had some of that mushroom gravy left over from the day before that would do its magic. (Oh — by the way — while I was cooking that the other day, I added a couple of minced garlic cloves and a pinch of red pepper flakes, besides the ingredients I listed.) Voila! One simple and quick dinner, virtually already made.

I just needed to turn the quinoa into risotto – quinotto?? Gluten-free. Protein perfect. Lactose-free. Would even be vegetarian, if I’d used vegetable stock instead of chicken stock in the gravy.

For details, see Red Quinoa Risotto with Gravy and Wavy Gravy.

Have a beautiful and delicious day! - Barbara
Have a beautiful and delicious day! – Barbara
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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Red Quinoa Risotto with Gravy

Onion icon smallIngredients

  • 2 tablespoons Earth Balance spread
  • 1 cup onion, small dice
  • 1/2 cup celery, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa (red, white, or black), defrosted and heated in the microwave (about 3 minutes, with stirring part way through)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon dried  Italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, marjoram)
  • 1/4 – 1/2  teaspoon garlic granules
  • A few grinds of black pepper (optional)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cups hot Mushroom Magic Gravy

Chef's hat icon smallerPreparation

  1. Melt the Earth Balance in a large heavy kettle over medium high heat.
  2. Add the onions, celery, and salt. Sauté until the onions are softened and translucent, about 2 minutes or so, with good stirring to prevent sticking to the pan.
  3. Sprinkle on the herbs and garlic granules, stirring well.
  4. Lower the heat to medium.
  5. Add the quinoa, mixing well with the vegetables. Stir and heat for 1 – 2 minutes.
  6. Divide into 3 – 4 shallow soup bowls.
  7. Ladle on hot gravy. Grind a few twists of pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.
Questions? Contact barbara@CulinaryOracle.com
©2017 Barbara Newton-Holmes
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