Category Archives: Salads, Soups, and Appetizers

Super Simple Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

Super Simple Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

The busier my schedule gets, the less I blog and the more I appreciate easily prepared lunches. Today, however, is not a busy day. We just returned from our diving vacation to the Philippines and are gearing up to start work again tomorrow.

But, Sunday laziness has set in and we didn’t want anything complicated for lunch. So I made one of my favorite new recipes for lunch. It calls for quinoa which is a rare treat for us here in Taiwan. Unless someone brings it back with them from the West, we don’t get to enjoy it. Lucky for me, I currently have two bags!

So, for those of you with access to quinoa, be sure to try this super healthy recipe for lunch sometime soon.

3-February 2014

Curried Quinoa and Eggplant

2 tsp olive oil
½ medium white or yellow onion (diced)
3 cloves of garlic
1 small eggplant (chopped)
1 red or yellow bell pepper (chopped)
1 cup chickpeas (pre-cooked, drained, patted dry)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 ½ tsp curry powder
¼ tsp kosher salt (plus more for salting eggplant)
½ tsp ground black pepper
½ cup pine nuts (optional)
½ cup raisins (optional)

Begin by placing eggplant in a bowl and dust with salt. Set aside.

Heat 2 tsp olive oil in a frying pan. Add diced onions and garlic. Cook until onions turn translucent (about 5 minutes). Remove from pan and place in a bowl for later use.

Rinse and drain the salted eggplant. Add to the frying pan along with 1 Tbsp vinegar, 1 Tbsp olive oil, curry powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Cook over medium heat until eggplant begins to soften (about 8 minutes). Add chopped pepper and chickpeas and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Then, add the cooked quinoa, cook for 2 more minutes, and remove from heat.

If you choose to use pine nuts and/or raisins, add them at the very end after the other ingredients are finished cooking.

Enjoy this meal either hot or cold over lettuce. Both are equally delicious.

(Makes 2-3 servings)


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March 16, 2014 · 10:21 am

Thai Cucumber Salad


This Thai Cucumber Salad is perfect for a warm, sunny day, which at least here in Taiwan, today happens to be. (Sorry to all you suffering through November in the US or Europe!)

This salad is tangy, spicy, and sweet all in one bite. Its flavors are based on the famous Thai green papaya salad, which I adored when we were travelling Thailand. In Taiwan and elsewhere, cucumber makes a great substitute for the elusive green papaya. This salad is super easy and quick. It also uses ingredients that are cheap here in Taiwan, making it a win win recipe.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Thai Cucumber Salad

3 cucumbers (or one of the huge ones if you live in Taiwan)
1 tsp salt
¼ cup white vinegar
¼ cup sugar
½ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
¼ cup cilantro
½ medium red onion, diced
12 cherry tomatoes, diced
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped

Peel, seed, and dice the cucumbers. Toss cucumbers with salt in a colander and place in the sink to drain for 30 minutes. After this period, rinse with cold water and pat dry.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together sugar and vinegar until the sugar is dissolved.

Combine the cucumber, the liquid mixture, and the remaining ingredients. Toss together to finish.



November 24, 2013 · 2:55 am

Cheater’s Hummus

Cheater's Hummus

I love hummus. I love its protein content and the fact that it compliments a good flat bread perfectly. But, I’ve searched high and low all over Kaohsiung without finding any. It’s been well over a year since I’ve had a jar of delicious hummus. Needless to say, I’m craving its creamy goodness.

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I would make my own hummus!

Of course, this wasn’t as easy done as said. No tahini was to be found in any foreign grocery store around town either. And who has time to make their own tahini? Plus, I don’t think my ancient blender is up to the task of pureeing all those tiny sesame seeds.

I thought that perhaps I would be defeated in this quest and hummus was just one of the foods I would give up while living in Taiwan. That was until a little birdy whispered a tiny secret into my ear. You can actually replace tahini with peanut butter!

I jumped right into trying out this new trick and settled on the following recipe. Naturally, flat bread is also difficult to find. So, as you can see from the picture, I made my own using this recipe from Jamie’s Home Cooking Skills. It’s so easy to make that I wouldn’t hesitate making homemade even in a country where flat breads are readily available.


1 can chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic
¼ cup creamy peanut butter

Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blend until desired consistency.

For a thinner consistency, add water one teaspoon at a time.

Do you have any suggestions for flavor variations? I would love to hear about your tips and tricks for making hummus in the comments below.

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October 11, 2013 · 1:24 am