24 May 2011

quinoa skillet bread

This recipe has proven to me that our floors are not straight in the kitchen. I envision that is slightly bowl-shaped, with a low point in the middle and a slope up towards all the walls. No biggie, of course, but it was funny to cook something and actually notice. 

So I made this lovely quinoa/cornbread fusion thingy that you bake up in a skillet (Another win for making me love my skillet even more!). It's pretty darned great. I was so on board with the concept, I knew I'd like it before I even tried it. I took it over to a gathering with some folks, and it was well-received for sure. I assured the recipe would be passed along to some folks, and it was almost gone before I left. This always makes me feel like I made the right thing, and also removes any bad feelings I have about using my friends as guinea pigs for new recipes. I do this all the time, but I always feel some regret as things bake/cook up. 

I cooked up the quinoa as the ladies do over at Our Best Bites. I made the quinoa the night before, and turned the rest of the quinoa into a cold salad that I ate for dinner (I added cumin, cilantro, thinly sliced yellow bell pepper, a diced shallot, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice). I was thrilled to discover that this summer once it is too hot to cook, I'll be able to put together some tasty cold quinoa salads for dinner so we don't have to have smoothies for dinner every night for a month or so (that is not to say we aren't serious smoothie people!). I plan to work on cold soups too. Last year's chilled avocado soup fail really has steered me away from the concept thus far.... I must prevail! It's my fault I was impatient and used unripe avocados. There's no way every cold soup will end up with unripened bits floating on top. Ewwww.

I made the skillet bread as written from 101 Cookbooks. The only switch was for the flour -- I don't think I know any place that stocks whole wheat pastry flour. I know, I could have looked up the gluten content and approximated it from the flours I've got in the pantry, but I decided to go for it and use plain old whole wheat flour, and it turned out just fine! For the sweetener, I used turbinado sugar. For the mixed herbs, I used zata'ar that I brought back from Jordan (=thyme, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and probably some other tasty things, as it came from a secret Palestinian family recipe). For the milk, I used whole. 

The cream is key. Turns out it makes a lovely layer of custard that is just incredible. The crust and bread by itself is great, a lovely texture, but if you get some of the custard, it is a perfect savory-bready-creamy treat. This is how I got the 411 on my kitchen floor -- the custard layer really only resided in one half or so of the bread. Not a major problem, really just amusing. 


  1. I have all of the ingredients necessary to make this tasty looking dish except for the coarse cornmeal. Did you substitute for regular (fine-grained) cornmeal by chance?

  2. The cornmeal I've got on hand is pretty coarse. I'd say measure it by weight if you can, but really I don't see why it wouldn't turn out. Let me know how it goes!

  3. I made it this afternoon with the fine-grained cornbread and it's delicious! It seems a bit dense, but that could be that the quinoa was too moist.

  4. I also think mine was a tad dense. I suspect it's the protein content of the flour -- pastry flour means it should have less protein, so really next time I'll try and get it right by mixing in some unbleached flour to bring it down a tad so it'll fluff up more.

    Or at least that's what I'm hoping will happen. :)