Isn’t it amazing how life takes you through unexpectedly different paths?
Routes that you’d never have imagined; places to tread on that you’d previously never have dreamt of; thoughts and emotions and desires that expose your vulnerability but also spur your creativity.
I believe that’s the beauty in life – a surprise around every corner waiting to be discovered, to be enjoyed and thoroughly appreciated.
In the same way I never thought I’d fall in love with the Argentine stranger whose eyes are as blue as the Dresden lake we skated on; and in the exact manner that I eventually found myself re-locating in Buenos Aires, also affectionately known as “The Paris of South America”, that was precisely how I found myself head-over-heels in crazy love with cooking.
When I was a little girl, the kitchen was marked as the domestic helper’s territory.
My mum would bake her delicious butter cake with orange zest every once in a while, and come each Chinese New Year, she’d be there by the kitchen counter diligently rolling out the dough to make her amazing pineapple tarts. But everyday lunches and dinners were usually cooked by our domestic helper, and the desire to learn to cook just never stirred in me. I dismissed cooking totally, thinking that it was something only housewives needed to know.
But when I found myself overseas in Argentina, feeling hopeless and powerless in the small space that is called the kitchen, I decided that I had to take matters into my own hands and do something about it.
Something as simple as walking two blocks from my house to attend a weekly cooking class with Pelusa Molina every single Thursday. I remember calling to find out if I could just attend for one month, in case I didn’t enjoy it, but little did I know that I would show up faithfully week after week for the next two years.
And so, with each cooking lesson, I felt a little bit more liberated.
I felt myself slowly being freed from the feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness that I used to feel when faced with an oven or cooking utensils. Not only did I soon develop a joy for cooking, but I also wanted to explore and try new ingredients; and I wanted and was consumed with expanding my cooking repertoire.
I started exploring first with flour and baking – the oven was suddenly my new best friend and I was particularly keen on exploiting every chance I had to use it. When I had later gotten the hang of cakes and muffins and even breads (yes! I managed to overcome the fear of using yeast!), I wanted to try other things.
I soon found myself becoming intrigued by a grain-like seed that every other blogger seemed to be talking about – the superfood quinoa.
Quinoa’s popularity growth in recent years may be due to the gluten-free diet fads; and it could also be because more and more people are being diagnosed with Celiac disease, an allergy to gluten. Quinoa, which looks suspiciously like a grain, is really a seed and hence does not contain gluten. Due to quinoa being a source of complete proteins, it often leaves you feeling more satiated than if you were to eat the same amount in wheat products. It is also high in calcium, and is one of the foods that can provide those who are lactose-intolerant with their necessary calcium.
I first started off cooking with quinoa in a very safe and traditional manner – as part of cold salads such as this quinoa & roasted vegetables salad or this chicken quinoa salad with tomato & spinach. Soon though, I found myself searching for other ways to use this nutrient-packed food; and then I made stir-fried sausage and egg quinoa, using quinoa as a substitute for rice in my favorite Singaporean dish. Later on, I played around with quinoa cauliflower patties, and when I wanted to get even more creative, I made chocolate quinoa cake.
Still hungry for more uncommon ways to cook with quinoa, I’ve experimented with a few other recipes, including my latest adventure – quinoa, brown rice & sesame crackers.
These crackers may look and seem and actually be not so easy to make; but please let me assure you that these crackers are completely worth every second of your time and ounce of energy to make.
They’re crispy and crunchy oh-yeah addictive, bursting with the distinct flavors of nutty quinoa, brown rice and fragranted toasted sesame seeds.
The recipe for these amazing crackers can be found at Wendy Polisi’s blog, Cooking Quinoa, and I’m so honored to be guest posting at her site today!
I’m inviting you to head over to her blog and check out the recipe, then stay a little while longer and let her love of quinoa rub off on you.
Wendy is the incredibly talented author of various quinoa cookbooks, and in fact just released her latest eBook Quinoa Strong! Her blog is filled with years of quinoa recipes that will take your breath away; colorful vibrant pictures that will leave your stomach growling, and if you’re like me, will leave you bookmarking almost every single recipe you see! But apart from just recipes, Wendy’s blog is also one of the go-to sources of information on quinoa, and she shares her personal story on how she made the move to going gluten-free and the benefits she’s gained from it, such as losing 40 pounds after the birth of her daughter.
Thank you dear Wendy for this amazing opportunity to guest post, and thanks for being such an inspiration in the gluten-free transition!
QUINOA, BROWN RICE & SESAME CRACKERS
(Makes about 60)
Recipe found at Cooking Quinoa