Posts filed under ‘Ethnic Foods’

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-Fry

If you liked Vegan with a Vengeance by the Post Punk Kitchen’s Isa Chandra Moskowitz…you must check out her newest collaboration, Veganomicon. I checked it out from the library this week and have been really excited to try a few recipes. I chose the Pineapple Cashew Quinoa Stir-Fry….and OH MY WORD. I could not be happier. It was so delicious…I was in foody heaven. The flavors just popped. Plus, I LOVED the quinoa (pronouned “keen-wah”) with this instead of rice. The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium, iron, lysine, vitamin E and B vitamins. It contains almost a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. This makes the protein in quinoa a “complete protein”. If you’re not currently eating quinoa…you should start. It’s so versatile…we just ate it for breakfast the other day!

I did modify a few things here and there…but that’s the great thing about stir-fry. You can use whatever you have on hand. We didn’t have the cashews, the hot pepper, or the mirin…it would be even better with them! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

30 minutes.
Serves 4-5

Here is what Isa says about it:

Quinoa, the high-protein South American grain, is delicately flavored by being cooked in a little pineapple juice, then it’s the base for this colorful and speedy stir-fry featuring crisp veggies, fresh ginger, and crunchy cashews. Make the quinoa a day or two in advance and store it in the fridge and you’ll be able to put this stir-fry together in a snap for an easy weeknight dinner. It’s a meal in itself, or serve alongside any marinated and grilled tempeh.

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 cup pineapple juice (optional…you can just double the water)
1 cup cold water
1/4 t soy sauce

4 oz. cashews, raw and unsalted
3 T olive oil
2 scallions, sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 hot red chili, sliced into thin rounds (optional!)
1/2 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper
2 cups snow peas
1 cup mushrooms
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin shreds
2 T finely chopped fresh mint
2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
3 T soy sauce
1/2 cup veggie broth
1 T mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

Prepare the quinoa first: Combine the quinoa, juice, water, and soy sauce in a medium size pot. Cover and place on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir a few times, then lower the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 12-14 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears “plumped” and slightly translucent. Uncover, fluff and set aside.

Prepare the stir-fry: Use the largest skillet you have (or a wok). Have all your ingredients chopped and easily within reach. Place the cashews in the dry pan and heat over low heat, stirring them until lightly toasted, 4-5 minutes.

Remove the cashews from the pan, raise the heat to medium, and add the oil, scallions, and garlic. When the garlic starts to sizzle, add the sliced chili pepper and ginger. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes, then add the bell pepper and peas. Stir-fry for another 3-4 minutes, until the bell pepper is softened and the peas are bright green. Add the basil and mint and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.

In a measuring cup, combine the soy sauce, veggie stock, and mirin. Pour over the quinoa/veggie mixture. Stir to incorporate completely and coat it. Continue to stir-fry for 10-14 minutes, until the quinoa is very hot. Serve with lime wedges and additional soy sauce to season individual servings to taste.


  • It’s critical that you use all fresh ingredients (herbs, ginger, veggies) in this. That is where the flavor comes from!
  • Pay close attention to the timing…so that you don’t end up with stir-fry mush. The CRISPNESS of the veggies is what makes it great.
  • I always try to make twice as much quinoa so I can save the other half for another meal…it makes it so much easier!
  • If you’re not a vegetarian, this is a great dish to add chicken or shrimp to.
  • If you’re in a hurry, hit a deli or grocery store’s salad bar (or produce section) for pre-cut pineapple chunks.
  • For a truly gorgeous dish, use a blend of the white quinoa and the red inca variety with cooks up to a deep russet color.

February 5, 2008 at 1:37 am 3 comments

Apple Avocado Sushi


This is a DELICIOUS treat for anytime of the day…I’ve eaten it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! It’s absolutely divine. Start with untoasted nori sheets, add:

  • Sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Apple (peeled and sliced)
  • Avocado
  • Cucumber (I didn’t add it this time, but it’s delicious)

Roll it up with a bamboo sushi mat if you have one…I didn’t use one this time, but it makes it much tighter. Cut into small pieces and dip in raw agave nectar or honey. For those of you who think you don’t like sushi…the sweetness of the agave will overpower the nori and you can’t taste the seaweed flavor at all.

The many textures and flavors will make you happy. Sit back and sigh with delight. 🙂

January 26, 2008 at 5:01 pm 8 comments

Spring Rolls with Peanut Love Sauce


This recipe was given to me by a wonderful, eclectic mama that I met while I was in college. They would have people over to their little on campus apartment for one reason only…to serve the Peanut Love Sauce. It’s that amazing.

Peanut Love Sauce
4 T almond butter
2 T creamy organic peanut butter (for peanut allergies, substitute almond butter for all)
3 T nama shoyu or soy sauce
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T honey or maple syrup
2 soft dates, pitted
2 green onions, finely chopped
1-2 garlic cloves
1 T ginger, finely minced
½ cup chopped cilantro
½ cup chopped parsley
1-2 t dried chili pepper
¼ – ½ cup fresh water

In a blender, blend almond and peanut butter (optional), soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, honey or maple syrup, dates, green onions, garlic, ginger, cilantro, and parsley until smooth. Add fresh water a little at a time as necessary to blend smooth. The sauce should be pourable, but should still be thick. Set aside half the sauce and add the chili pepper…so you have one hot and one not

Dip your spring roll into the sauce…and experience heaven on earth. Ahhhhhh…..

January 6, 2008 at 12:12 am 7 comments

New Oriental Food Store

I love ethnic food…but I had never been to an Asian grocery store. Until TODAY! Oh my goodness. I went to the East Village, where there is a nice little grocery called The New Oriental Food Store. I wanted to buy it all. I was trying hard not to hyperventilate when I found the green and red curry in a can. Heat and serve! Now…I know that goes against my good ‘ol home cookin’ philosophy. But…it’s green curry in a can! I am trying not to get too excited because Denise told me that it’s going to burn my mouth off. I’ll have to report back on that. I had to get it…it was only $1.79. Much less than the $10.00 I pay to eat it at my favorite Thai restaurant.

I also found coconut milk for 89 cents a can ($1.00 cheaper than my grocer), green curry paste for $1.89 for a large tub, organic soba noodles for $2.59 ($1.00 cheaper) and 2 cucumbers for 89 cents. There were sauces galore…including my favorite sweet thai chili sauce.

The store was large, bright, and well-marked. In the back they had freezers and coolers of lots of food that I can’t pronounce. In the middle they had TONS of fresh produce. Chilis, bananas, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lemongrass…and more. Even though it’s not certified organic, any time I talk to the Asian vendors at the Farmer’s Market, they assure me that they have not used any chemicals on them.

I will defnitely be back.

October 17, 2006 at 9:43 pm 6 comments

Thai Goodness

This is green curry with tofu from Cool Basil in Des Moines. It’s a local favorite around here…if you’re in town, don’t miss it! If I’m having a bad day, green curry can make it better. If I’m having a great day, green curry will top it off. If I’m hungry, green curry hits the spot. If I’m not hungry, it doesn’t matter…I can’t turn down green curry. It’s so perfect in every way. I crave it.

I sometimes go to their “sister restaurant”, Thai Flavors (same owners). They are both great…but have different atmospheres. Cool Basil is a little fancier and they don’t have fresh spring rolls…my favorite. Kristin and I had some when she was in town.

We budget money each month specifically for Cool Basil. Yes, I love it that much. There are several other Thai restaurants in town, but we haven’t gone (Pho, The King and I, and Nut Pob). Maybe I need to branch out…but hey, when you find something good, why mess it up?

Whenever we are traveling, I make a point to search out the local Thai restaurant.

Omaha, NE: Thai Spice and Thai Kitchen (best pad thai)
Ames, IA: The Spice (best service)
Iowa City, IA: Thai Spice (community activists)
Fargo, ND: Thai Orchid (surprisingly delicious)
Apple Valley, MN: Taste of Thailand (amazing spring rolls)
Bloomington, MN: Ketsana’s Thai Restaurant (right off I-494, easy take out)
Kansas City, MO: Thai Place (great atmoshere)
Boulder, CO: Know Thai (fast service…more like Thai fast food)

Please let me know your favorites too! Get out and support your local Thai restaurant TODAY!

July 23, 2006 at 2:55 pm 5 comments


Words to Eat By

"It is easier to change a man's religion than to change his diet." -Margaret Mead

"I don't understand why asking people to eat a well-balanced vegetarian diet is considered drastic, while it is medically conservative to cut people open and put them on cholesterol lowering drugs for the rest of their lives." - Dean Ornish, MD

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson


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