Monday, January 16, 2012

Quinoa Alert

I have recently made two new kitchen friends. I am sure that one of them will be the kind of friend that remains faithful and true through a lifetime of cooking adventures. The other friendship has already gone sour - a relationship mismatch of epic proportions.

Friend number one is the humble roll of parchment paper. Why didn't I know about this stuff before now? It has only been in the past year or so that I have even owned any, and it wasn't until recently that I started to use it when baking. It is great! No more worries about taking banana bread loaves out of the pan and having them look like the Titanic as it broke apart before sinking into the Atlantic. And gone are the days of scrubbing the bits that are stuck to the pan after making oven fries. Or worse, using the pan for something else and still having the bits stuck to it. The fries simply slide off the paper. The real jackpot is when I have used the parchment paper on a baking sheet, remove it, and discover the pan is perfectly clean. Anything that avoids making more dirty dishes is a bonus in this house.

It is simple to use. Just place you pan on top of a chunk of the paper. Trace around the bottom of the pan. Cut out the paper and place inside the pan. Lightly spray or grease the sides of the pan.

The second, more fickle friend has been quinoa. I have actually been acquainted with quinoa for much longer than parchment paper. I have used alternative grains for many years - long before I stopped eating wheat - and quinoa has been one of those. But it wasn't until I stopped eating wheat that I found out about quinoa flour. When I saw it used in a lemon poppy seed loaf I was anxious to try it out. This recipe is found in Quinoa The Everyday Super Food 365.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups quinoa flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
2 Tbsp grated lemon zest

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prep your loaf pan with parchment paper.

Cream sugar and butter. Add eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Whisk until creamy and smooth.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, poppy seeds and lemon zest in anther bowl.

Add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and whisk until smooth.

Bake for about 45 minutes. Be sure to test that the middle is cooked all the way - mine wasn't!

Let cool completely before removing from pan.

Poke small holes all over the loaf with a toothpick. We were out of toothpicks so I substituted a chopstick. Caution: this results in much larger holes than needed.

Combine lemon juice and sugar in a small pan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Brush this glaze over the bottom, sides and top of loaf.

I do not recommend the next step, which was to eat a bite of this delicious loaf and have a bad allergic reaction.

I also do not recommend the second step, which was to think it was impossible to be allergic to quinoa thereby eating another piece the next day. Not Smart. I Googled it, thinking I must be crazy. I mean, who ever heard of being allergic to quinoa? I was shocked to see numerous people posting they had had the same reaction, and just like me most of them had eaten quinoa for some time before the allergic reaction happened. So I offer this recipe with a caution. It is yummy. The loaf held together when it came out of the pan. But if you think you might be allergic to quinoa skip this one. Trust me, it just isn't worth it.

I wanted to thank everyone who participated in the comment section of my post about going wheat-free. It was fun to read through all the comments, and the new format on Blogger that allows discussion within the comments makes it so much easier to have those kind of discussions.


  1. If I had known you didn't know, I would have told you! I love parchment paper for cookie baking.

    Interesting about the quinoa, and a little scary, too! A friend of mine had that happen with hazelnuts. Fine, fine and then wham, bad allergic reaction.

  2. I wonder what else you know that I don't know but need to know. :-)

  3. Whoa, that's interesting about quinoa. I don't think I'm allergic, but I'll keep an eye out now! I used to think I wasn't allergic to anything, but then I kept sneezing and sniffling while knitting with certain types of yarn... and finally narrowed it down to an alpaca allergy. I googled it and found out there are plenty of people who aren't sensitive to wool, but can't handle alpaca. One of those "who knew?" things, for sure!

  4. I am so sorry to hear you are allergic to alpaca! I would be very sad if I couldn't knit with it. If I had to pick I would definitely choose the quinoa to have a problem with. Do you have a problem with llama as well?

    1. A friend introduced me to parchment paper a few years ago, and it is now a permanent part of my kitchen gear. My mother used to line baking tins with waxed paper. It did work, but the smoky part at the beginning of the baking is a bit smelly. Too bad about the quinoa - that looks like a nice lemon loaf.

    2. I have occasionally seen recipes that call for lining a pan with wax paper and wondered what would happen if it was put into the oven. Now I know! It was a nice lemon loaf, even with the chopstick sized holes in the top. :-)

  5. How awful to be allergic to something so tasty! Why is it that no one is allergic to liver? Or maybe people are and don't know it because they never eat it.

    We've never tried parchment paper, I'll have to pick some up.

    1. Definitely try out the parchment paper, then let me know what you think. I have a mental allergy to liver. Does that count? :-)

  6. So is it possible that you are allergic to only the flour, but not the whole grain? I mean, logically that doesn't really make sense to me, but I've heard of stranger things...maybe the company who sold the flour added something that you were allergic to??

    I never knew about parchment paper until recently either. An embarrassing thing to admit, but I always equated parchment paper to wax paper. One time in the oven on a cookie sheet that is now ruined has made me smarter!