Brown Rice Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is a new grain for me. I’ve used it a few times, but it has not found its way into my fall-back vernacular. I have to force myself to think about things that aren’t in my normal repertoire, and I am sure glad I thought to play around with this little nugget of goodness. This stuff is a major yoga workout for the mouth. The spoon makes a delivery and the tongue and teeth get a good workout chasing down each little curlique and chewy ball. I can imagine texture people would not want to bother with this one, but I find it quite a lovely little pose. Quinoa eating could become the new workout craze to replace facial plastic surgery. I find it’s particularly helpful in tightening up the neck muscles! Don’t be a slacker through the routine, however or you’ll end up with bits between the teeth!

The wonderful thing about this dish is the lemony queen and mint the king. It’ll deliver a flavorful workout and leave you wanting more!


  • 2 cups black quinoa, cooked
  • 2 cups brown rice, cooked
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 2 tsp. lemon grass, chopped
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1 inch chunk fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Cook the two cups of quinoa in three cups water with a pinch of salt. Cook the rice the same way. Once the rice and quinoa are cooked, fluff with a fork and mix together. Allow to cool before you add the remaining ingredients. In a food processor, chop the mint, basil, ginger, garlic, jalapeno, and lemon grass. Mix into the rice and quinoa. Last add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and let the flavors mingle for a couple of hours before serving.

Smoky Chipotle Mock Duck Burrito


“That was the best meal I’ve had in a decade,” Jeff hailed with a quick kiss on the cheek before hauling a box of can lights up to the attic for the remodel. I smiled to myself as I thought, This is a meal for a woman who needs something done around the house! (Not that he wouldn’t do it anyway, but some guys may need a little extra push!) My husband, vegetarian for nearly seventeen years, still craves the satisfying texture and richness of protein, and despite not wanting to consume meat, he doesn’t mind the similarities to meat that plant protein substitutes like veggie burgers and mock duck have.

Burritos and Enchiladas have always been our favorite foods, and many years ago, when we were working on starting a restaurant, Mock Duck Stuffed Burritos were to be on the menu. The restaurant was to be in a quiet neighborhood in Minneapolis and would serve vegetarian Latino Fusion. The old corner store we were hoping to convert didn’t have any parking, and the neighbors didn’t want a restaurant in the location, so our plan died and so did the Mock Duck Stuffed Burrito…until today!

Mock duck prepared this way is a little like red chile stew made with slow cooked pork roast – a great meal to help prove to our fellow carnivores that vegetarian food isn’t hard to palate. Not only do these burritos have this amazingly flavorful mock duck, but I whipped up a batch of tomatillo salsa, some wicked delicious guacamole and a rice dish that will send you on a Soma holiday (Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1932)! This meal has many pieces and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To prepare the burritos, we heat the tortillas on a skillet until they begin to toast slightly. As the tortilla warms, I like to add grated cheddar cheese first so it melts, then top it with rice and mock duck. Then I fold my burritos in half more like a quesadilla and toast them on both sides. Once it lands on the plate, the fun begins. I am all about the garnishes when it comes to Latin American food. I load on salsa, chopped cilantro, guacamole and some kind of cheese – either crema, cotija or crumbled feta. Oh, so satisfying!


Mock Duck Recipe


  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 medium onion, halved and sliced so onion breaks apart in half-circles
  • 1/2 head roasted garlic, pureed in food processor
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, pureed in food processor
  • 4 cans mock duck, shredded
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried chipotle powder


Saute the onions in the oil on low heat until they begin to caramelize. Next add the mashed garlic and chipotles. Mix in the shredded mock duck and spices. Cook on low heat for just a few minutes until the flavors have combined. I have found that if you cook mock duck too long, it breaks down and gets soft and mushy, so you really want to simply warm it.

Birthday Cakes


This is the sweet birthday cake my two favorite boys brought home from Whole Foods (cough, cough, shh, don’t tell, please!) It is an amazing lemon layer cake sandwiching lemon custard all wrapped up with a pretty buttercream icing. It is so delicious in all it’s sugary badness!


This is the savory, healthy, adult version of the “birthday cake.” Thin slices of potato and roasted beets act as the crusts holding in the garlic speckled brown rice in place. To decorate, radishes were halved before roasting. This crazy concoction was tasty enough, but the beets didn’t really pair well with the rice and potatoes. The fact that they bled onto the rice gave the dish a unique esthetic, but the sweetness of the beets didn’t match the other flavors. The dish won points for interest and beauty, it’s definitely edible, but overall fantastic, it is not. How can we make thinly sliced beets into something fantastic? I had visions of a beet upside down cake of sorts. If you come up with anything, let me know!

In the mean time, I’ll eat two birthday cakes for dinner!

Rice Crusted Zucchini Pie


I’m not sure if you ever heard of Ole and Lena. Well, they live here up north in Minnesota loving life and bumbling around. They will make you laugh for sure especially if you put on your best “Up North” Minnesota accent when you read or tell one of their jokes. I always heard lots of Ole and Lena tales from my dad after he moved far north to Duluth.

Here’s one for you – remember the accent!

Vell, don’tcha know, old Ole got sick and vus dyin’ in his bed. And vhile vaitin’ for her old husband to kick duh bucket, Lena started in to cookin’. She vus makin’ lefsa and a nice zucchini hotdish. Well, Old Ole, he loved nuttin’ better than Lena’s hotdish, and ven he smelled it from da deathbed, up he went to da kitchen. Vhen Lena saw dat he vas eatin’ a plate of hotdish and lefsa she took it from him and said, “Ole, vat are ya doin’? Dat hotdish is for duh funeral don’tcha know!”


Rice Crusted Zucchini Pie Recipe


Make two cups brown rice, saute onions and garlic, slice zucchini, devein and steam dinosaur kale and puree sauce.

Crust Ingredients:

2 cups brown rice, uncooked

1 bunch dinosaur kale

1 tsp. canola oil

1 egg

1/4 tsp. salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. After the rice cooks, turn it out into a large bowl. Fold in the oil, salt and egg first. When it is well mixed, gently fold in the kale. Press this into an oiled baking pan. I used a large 9x13ish pan. Bake the crust for 15 minutes to allow it to firm up a little. This photo is the crust before I baked it.



2 Vadalia onions sliced and sauteed

8 cloves garlic, sauteed

3 thinly sliced zucchini

2 thinly sliced yellow squash

parmesan cheese

Directions: While the crust bakes, saute the onions and garlic. Then slice the squashes into thin rounds.

Sauce Ingredients:

8 ounces feta

5 roma tomatoes

1 handful fresh basil

Directions: Puree together with a food processor.

Assembly: Think of this like a pizza. You make the crust, top it with sauce, add other delicacies and finally, cheese. With this monster, after you bake the crust you will first spread the onion and garlic saute, then add the sauce and finally, decorate with the squash rounds and a sprinkle of cheese.