Five of my Favorite Things - Post 2

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Welcome to post #2 listing five of my favorite things! This week's post is inspired by my Kung Fu classmate's email this morning, asking what he could do with quinoa and red lentils. Also in this post: Tcho chocolate, Savory Spice Shop and buckwheat pancakes.

1. Quinoa

Quinoa is a lesser known grain, but it is super rich in protien, nutrients and flavor.

Straight out of the box or bag, it might have a soapy film on it, so the bag instructions telling you to "rinse" it first are super-important. You might be tempted to skip this step, as we were the first time, because the grains are tiny and can be tough to manage. They won't taste nearly as great as they can, however, if you don't rinse them! Cheesecloth can be helpful.

The Boston Globe published the most delicious recipe for Quinoa a while back:

For those who aren't subscribers, the essence of this recipe is quinoa made with shrimp, asparagus, lemon juice, butter (or something buttery - coconut or macadamia oil are good alternatives for the non-dairy version), parsley, salt and pepper.

Quinoa flour can be really good, as well, but we don't recommend the Quinoa pasta we've had. It tends to be super dry.

2. Aarti's "Mum's Everyday Red Lentils"

Okay, I admit it, I'm a wanna-be-next-food-network-star person. :) So, we watch the show. And I'm glad we do, or we would not have learned about Aarti Sequeira's "Mum's Everyday Red Lentils."

We love this dish, and make it often. It is great comfort food. What I don't understand is this: regardless of whether we do a single batch, a double batch, or even more, it still somehow only seems to make 2-3 servings. Perhaps we eat too much!

We've tried some variations on this due to the things we had on hand. Carrots are a nice addition, as are any number of meats if you are trying to go for a super filling meal.

And you can explore different kinds of hot pepper if you like the spice. The black mustard seeds really are special, so do use those if you can find them. If not, yellow mustard seeds still result in a tasty dish.

3. Buckwheat Pancakes

We practically live off of these. They are great as pancakes and for breakfast sandwiches, and they store well. We've often used them as plane food, and they hold up well in that situation also.

Thank you, IsaChandra, for this recipe: (We use coconut milk.)

tcho chocolate4. Tcho Chocolate

What can I say, I love chocolate! I can eat 40 grams of dark chocolate a day without even blinking, and still want more.

And, I build websites, so a chocolate company that thinks about chocolate a lot like one things about creating code is fascinating. They are also a socially conscious company, which is great.

Guilt free delicious dark chocolate.

spices5. Savory Spice Shop

Not all spices are gluten free. They can be contaminated by sub-par ingredients, cross-contamination, or any number of factors.

Savory, however, takes great care with their quality spices, and their labels even show that they are attentive to making sure they are gluten free.

If you can go into one of their shops, you definitely should. You can taste the varieties, ask about the spices, and really enjoy the intricacies of flavor you become aware of while their.

If not, you can still order your spices online from them and know you are getting top-quality.

We particularly like two of their spice blends: the Medium Chili Powder and the Lobo Red Adobo.