How to Cook Perfect Quinoa

A few years ago I wanted to quit quinoa.  Every time I cooked it according to the directions of the 1:2 ratio that you find everywhere, it came out mushy, soggy and bitter.  I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about!   Eventually I got it through experimenting with different amounts of water.   Quinoa is good.  Really good.  And when cooked properly, it is light and fluffy, each grain defined.  Quinoa has an airy and slightly nutty quality that makes it perfect alone or easy to dress it up with endless possibilities. 


In light of the gluten-free era, quinoa has become very popular, but it’s actually an ancient grain.  And when I say grain, I mean seed.  Because it’s the seed of the plant that we eat.  And that makes it gluten-free, high in protein, and packed with all sorts of nutrition.   It’s related to the spinach and swiss chard family.  


Quinoa is a great source of antioxidants and flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol. Higher amounts than you would find in cranberry, amazingly enough.  It has many anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like omega-3 and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), and vitamin E. In fact, because of it’s oxidant protection, the cooking process doesn’t destroy it’s nutritional integrity which can happen with most foods.  It’s also a complete source of protein, as it contains all the necessary amino acids to declare it so.  South Americans who started eating quinoa 4,000 years ago were definitely on to something.

High in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, FIBER, gosh this grain seed is amazing!


Here’s how to cook quinoa perfectly, every time.

The most important step is the rinsing.  Rinsing is important so that you remove some of the saponins from the quinoa, which give it the bitter taste.  You can also soak your quinoa overnight and then rinse well, this will actually makes its nutrients more available for absorption.

1 cup quinoa

1 3/4 cup water.  Not 2…..definitely not 2.

pinch of salt

Bring rinsed quinoa and water to boil.  Once it reaches boiling, cover and simmer.   Set a timer for 12-15 minutes.  Once water has been absorbed, remove from heat.  Let sit another 5 minutes with a kitchen/paper towel resting on top of the lid (another important step).  Fluff with a fork.

How to Cook Quinoa
Yields 3
How to cook quinoa perfectly, every time.
Write a review
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 1 3/4 cup water
  3. pinch of salt
  1. Bring rinsed quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt to boil.
  2. Once it reaches boiling, cover and simmer.
  3. Set a timer for 12-15 minutes.
  4. Once water has been absorbed, remove from heat.
  5. Let sit another 5 minutes with a kitchen/paper towel resting on top of the lid (another important step).
  6. Fluff with a fork.
  1. The most important step is the rinsing. Rinsing is important so that you remove some of the saponins from the quinoa, which give it the bitter taste. You can also soak your quinoa overnight and then rinse well, this will actually makes its nutrients more available for absorption.
Adapted from It's All Good
Adapted from It's All Good
Molly Bea http://www.mollybea.com/

Ramp Pesto


In the Ferioli household, it’s been all about ramps lately.  We are eating them like they are going out of style….wait, they actually are!  Ramps (also known as wild leeks, spring onion, wood leek, and wild garlic)  only grow three weeks out of the year.  We are lucky enough to live in New England where they do exist, and we know a secret place where the ramps grow like grass.  Shhhhh……


There’s nothing like foraging for your own food.  That connection, (especially for kids!) of searching, digging, touching, and finally cooking and eating, makes it all so nourishing and just a bit more fun.  


The earlier you pick the ramps, the sweeter they are.  They are delicious in pesto (recipe below), sautéed, or in soups.    Ramps can be eaten in it’s entirety from it’s root (very similar to a leek root) to the leaf which is like spinach but a bit firmer, when cooked.  


Over thirty years ago, when I was a wee child, my parents bought a “fixer-upper” that over they years they have turned into a beautiful home.  It sits upon a few acres and is surrounded by cow pastures.  I grew up with the cows and sheep as neighbors and my dog Zeb, as my playmate.  We did have human neighbors as well, just not that many.  One neighbor, an old man named Mr.Wood, took my father out for a man-to-man nature walk one day.  It was then when he showed my father this place, this really magical, hidden place a couple miles behind our house.  Bordering the mountains and a winding river, lies the ramp forest, quiet and still, untouched.


Read more + see the recipe


Orange Cake

Someday I am going to be organized enough to get a post ready for upcoming holidays. But alas, that time has not yet arrived.  Here is my Post-Mother’s Day Orange Cake recipe a few days late.  If you are an organized person, perhaps you’ll remember this for next year!  And Happy Mother’s Day to all you mother’s out there!  


A friend asked me for a cake idea for her family’s Mother’s Day meal, and I suggested this one as it’s quite easy to make and it’s always been a crowd-pleaser.  I needed an excuse to translate the recipe from French anyways and voila, now we have it! 


Read more + see the recipe


Photos: Transatlantic Adventures. Part 1.

I’m back!  It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?  This time I have a good excuse and it involves open-air marketplaces, freshly-baked baguettes, foie gras and vineyards.  We were in France, as you may have guessed.  And a side-trip to Piedmont (pics to follow!).  Too many food adventures for one post!


While I work on some recipes to share with you, here’s a peek of what we’ve been up to. Our home base in France is a town called Prévessin-Moëns, where Stephane grew up.  It’s located half-way between the Jura mountains and the French Alps and just bordering Geneva, Switzerland.  The next town over is Ferney-Voltaire, named after the illustrious writer Voltaire.  His chateau is surrounded by beautiful gardens and it sits atop the tiny village.  Just 200 feet away is the town center where on Saturdays a weekly open-air market is held.  Strolling through the market is like taking a virtual-food-tour of the entire country. Oysters fresh that morning from Brittany presented by the fisherman himself, strawberries and olives from the south, cheese from the Jura mountains, chicken from Bresse (the best chicken in the world according to my husband) and steaming bread just waiting to jump into your bag and be brought home. 


Here I am slurping some oysters at 11am.  I think my six-year old son describes them best: “it tastes like the sea”.  Clean, soft minerals, refreshing.  And yes, our six-year old likes oysters!  

The market is a all-sensory experience.  The scents and perfumes of the rich and exotic herbs, the earthly scent of fresh vegetables, the sweet fruits, the fresh fish….it’s all too much for this American girl to handle!  I was in heaven.


And, it was packed.  Markets like this are not a new-age trend.  For centuries here artisans, farmers, butchers, fisherman, and the like come and sell their products to the eagerly awaiting customers.  Talk about buying local.   It is just ingrained in the French culture to buy what is in season and what is produced nearby, all the while supporting it’s country’s food industry.      


We also went to Lyon, the city known as the capital of Gastronomy of France.  Which is of course, why we went.  It’s also a beautiful city, wreathed in spring blossoms, it was full of life.  People were out walking, eating in the plaza’s, sitting on park benches, and riding bikes.  


Lyon is situated between two famous wine regions, Beaujolais to the North, and the Côtes du Rhône to the South.  The wines go very well with their typical Lyonnaise food, which is very heavy and very meat-based.  The restaurants that serve this traditional food are called Bouchons and they look like this:


Typical Lyonnaise salad: lardons, croutons, egg with a mustard vinaigrette.  


Let’s head over to Les Halles des Lyon, shall we?  An indoor market where can you find foie gras, fois gras macaroons, every rendition of pork you can imagine, regional wine, cheese, bread, seafood…..It’s an indoor market with just about everything.


One of the best parts about being in Europe is joining in on the on-going, everyday celebration of food.


Typical Lyonnaise charcuterie.  Do you see pig nose on the far left bottom?  As well as the feet and everything else in between.  Nose to tail, at it’s best.


This is an almond of the sea.  I thought it was an oyster at first, and this was a first for me.   You eat it like an oyster, however it’s firmer and meatier.  


Spanish Iberico Ham. French, non.  But this ham is amazing because of it’s unique flavors (the Southern Spanish pigs munch on acorns) and we couldn’t walk past without having some.  Served on a warmed plate, it almost melts in your mouth.  


Cheese, anyone?


Foie-gras made by ma belle-mere on Easter.  What that’s you say?  A holistic nutritionist eating foie-gras?  What do I say, when in Rome? Pourquoi pas? It just goes along with my philosophy that moderation is key, knowing thy food, and enjoying the moment.  It’s all good.

Ciao for now,  Molly Bea


Radish, Radicchio, and Fresh Herbs. A Spring Salad.


It is that time of year again when our bodies are yearning for a little cleaning out.  When I started to make this salad, I wasn’t thinking about creating something that was supportive of the liver and it’s detoxification process.  But as I added each ingredient, I thought, hey!  This is one clean salad!  Radicchio, radish, red onion, garlic….the more bitter it is, the better for your liver.  

To balance out the bitterness, the dressing has a touch of sweetness from the honey.  The toasted hazelnuts add an earthy crunch that helps to further round out all of the flavors. Lastly, herbs (cilantro, mint, and parsely) barely chopped in the salad allows for their freshness and flavor to really shine.  It’s amazing what fresh herbs can do to a dish!  Not only do they elevate the flavor, they are super-charged with nutrition. 


I made this for a dinner at our friend’s house, Jean-Francois and Helen Bizalion. Who, by the way have the most scrumptious specialty food and olive oil shop located in Great Barrington, MA. For those of you local, you can check them out at www.bizalions.com.

Read more + see the recipe