Lucky Comestible II (2): Almond-Quinoa Muffins
[I thought it would be fun to run a little series over here at DDD: I'll profile one one of my favorite foods, or a food that I've recently discovered and enjoyed, over several days. For this second entry, I'm focusing on Quinoa. The series is presented on an occasional (and entirely arbitrary) basis, before I move on to the next lucky comestible. ]
Well. So. It snowed again yesterday. Actually, it stormed; we got about 5 cm. (2 inches) to add to the–what? 478 cm? 792 cm? 14 kilometers?–pre-existing snow already piled in mini-glaciers beside every driveway, walkway, sidewalk, and garage. And there I was, once again stuck in the house, avoiding the pelting flakes and ice pellets.
I imagine this is what it feels like to live in perma-frost, constantly surrounded by the white stuff with no end in sight. I feel exactly like Captain Robert Scott must have felt on one of his forays to the South Pole, holed up with his companions in his ice-shack as refuge against the elements. Just as he did in his famous diary, I could easily write an entry something like this:
Bitter storms accosted the crew today, forcing the team to head indoors. We huddle by the makeshift fire and attempt to warm our weary, frostbitten hands. Thrashing winds surround us at every turn. All but forsaken in this frigid terrain, we have but each other and the dogs for company. Poor mongrels, even they refuse to venture outdoors in this accursed weather. But tomorrow, if the winds permit, we shall harness them up and commence the hazardous trek anew. . . .
Okay, well, not exactly like Scott, as I’m actually writing on a computer, not by hand with pen and ink on paper in sub-zero weather. Oh, and I’m in a heated brick house in a modern city of 5 million people, not an ice shack. Oh, with electricity. And some organic, vegan spelt cranberry-pumpkin scones and a hot cup of mint tea beside me. And I’m not a couple thousand kilometers from the nearest sign of civilization.
But other than that, just like him.
What this blasted weather stirs up in me (besides the propensity to write like a 19th Century Antarctic explorer) is a longing for breakfast foods. Since my dad worked at his store 6 days a week, he was out of the house by 6:30 AM on Saturday mornings. During the winter, The CFO and I would fend for ourselves at breakfast and let our mom sleep in (once she returned to bed after making breakfast for our father).
Our self-sufficiency wasn’t exactly the most healthful (I seem to recall feasting on saltines, peanut butter, and chocolate milk as we watched Saturday-morning cartoons), but it was comfort food to us. These days, any breakfast fare spells comfort to me; when it’s cold outside, I want to eat pancakes, muffins, scones, omelettes, or even baked oats.
Well, these quinoa muffins, adapted from a recipe in Veganomicon, fit the bill perfectly. Hearty yet slightly sweet, filling yet not too heavy, they are satisfying and sufficient to warm the spirit and the belly. And full of nourishment for energy to brave the elements again, when you’re finally ready to lace up the sled dogs and hit the expedition once more.
(“Um, Mum, you’re not actually thinking of hooking us up to a sled, are you? Because, you know, it’s pretty cold out there, and our paws are rather delicate. . . we really hate getting them all full of ice and snow if we don’t absolutely have to.”)
Adapted from Veganomicon
I adapted these by using spelt flour and chopped dates, since I had no apricots on hand. These are dense and pleasantly chewy; the quinoa does make its presence known, however, so beware that you will taste it in the mix. I think these would be outstanding with the suggested apricots as well.
1 cup vanilla soymilk
1 Tbsp. ground flaxseeds
1/4 cup sunflower or other light-tasting oil
1/4 cup agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup light spelt flour
1/3 cup whole barley flour
1/4 cup almond meal or almond flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1-1/4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup finely chopped dates
Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C) and lightly grease 12 muffins cups, or line with paper liners.
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the soymilk and flax; allow to sit for one minute, then whisk in the oil, agave, and vanilla.
In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, almond meal, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mixing until just incorporated. Gently fold in the cooked quinoa and the apricots and mix until only the large lumps are gone.
Pour into the prepared muffins tins, filling about 3/4 full, and bake for 20 to 22 minutes until a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. May be frozen.
Other Posts in this Series:
Lucky Comestible II (1): Quinoa Salad with Buckwheat and Cranberries
Other Quinoa Recipes:
(Got a quinoa recipe? Send me the link during this Lucky Comestible week, and I’ll add it to the list!)