Skip to content

The Secret Ingredient (Recipe)


In college I became obsessed with Iron Chef…nope not Iron Chef America but the fantastic dubbed Japanese version.  I loved Chef Morimoto then and he is still my favorite Iron Chef although I love Chef Cat Cora for being a bad a$$ and the only female Iron Chef.

morimotocat cora

I used to watch the Japanese version late at night when I had insomnia and actually saw the Bobby Flay incident when it first aired in the USA.  Even with the awesome cooking and supreme Iron Chefs my favorite part still is the secret ingredient right before the chairman yells Allez Cuisine! I didn’t learn what it meant until French class my senior year of college.

allez cuisine

I fancy myself a budding chef…or at least like to putz around in the kitchen to make new healthy recipes.  The favorite secret ingredient in my kitchen is always….


Dijon Mustard.  This fabulous little French mustard has enough kick to it that it can change many dishes. Anyone else remember the Grey Poupon commercials of the 90’s?

Honestly this little mustard takes the flavor up a notch on any recipe…Chicken, Fish, Tofu, Tempeh, and my favorite with roasting veggies.  I wouldn’t recommend it in brownies, that’s just nuts.

Sometimes Dijon is featured prominently and sometimes I hide it.  My favorite quiche has a tablespoon to elevate the flavor and my mac and cheese has some hidden in it as well that leave people asking “what makes this taste so good.”

But Mr. Mac and Mrs. Cheese and I aren’t friendly lately.  Enter my new favorite quick dish….

Quinoa and Cheez – Vegan



  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp. olive oil (for roasting)
  • Roasted veggies of choice
  • Cheez sauce (inspired by Appetite for Reduction)
    • 1 cup nutritional yeast
    • 1/4 cup flour (I used King Arthur Gluten Free Flour) Hello FTC: They sent it to me to review Open-mouthed smile
    • 2 tsp. each garlic and onion powder
    • Sea salt, to taste
    • 2 bouillon cubes
    • 2 cups water
    • 2 tsp. Dijon Mustard


  1. Roast veggies in oven on 350 for 30 minutes.  I also grilled some leeks I had in the fridge.


2.  Meanwhile create Cheez sauce.  Combine Nutritional Yeast with garlic and onion powder, salt and any other spice you want.  I used this Lemon Peel I purchased at Target.IMG_6591Add bouillon cubes – I used vegetable – and stir until powder is smooth.  Add water and place on medium-high heat.  Once it boils turn to simmer stirring regularly until sauce thickens. Finally mix in mustard.

If you desire, use a traditional cheese sauce or one made with laughing cow cheese and milk.

3. Combine roasted veggies, cheez sauce and quinoa in casserole dish.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  IMG_6604

Tip: Make large batches of quinoa in the rice cooker to store for all meals of the day.  That means breakfast, lunch or dinner can be thrown together in minutes.

Iron Chef judging criteria is based on taste, creativity and plating.  I asked Hunni to judge and this was my result:

  • 9/10 points for taste…I used to much mustard in the first batch and adjusted it for this recipe.
  • 5/5 points for creativity.   Tasted like mac & cheese with out either ingredient…he was impressed.
  • 5/5 for plating.  I loved the plating points the most because this is how it was served….


Love my little lion bowls from Crate and Barrel.  Now in the words of the chairman I bid you..

“Allez Cuisine!”

What is your favorite ingredient to add to dishes?

8 Comments leave one →
  1. 20/01/2011 9:22 AM

    OK I know this isn’t the point of the post — but grilled leeks?! Fun!!

    Great recipe — and I only have vague memories of Iron Chef, but you’ve peaked my interest again 🙂

  2. 20/01/2011 1:54 PM

    I love that picture of the chairman! I got to meet him when he was on DWTS, and I asked him to yell ‘allez cuisine.’ He wouldn’t do it, but he did yell ‘broccoli’ 🙂

    • 20/01/2011 1:57 PM

      That is a great picture. I would love to be in Kitchen Stadium.

      I also love the Japanese version opening when the Uncle Chairman bites the pepper and smirks.

      Cynthia 🙂 -Healthy Living Blogger

  3. Mandy permalink
    22/01/2011 2:38 PM

    I love Iron Chef but I never knew what the Bobby Flay incident was until now!

    Battle sugar with Cat Cora & Paula Deen is still my favorite episode ever.

    • 23/01/2011 12:09 AM

      I love basic ingredients like that that force the chefs to make savory with sweet.

      The Bobby Flay thing is one of my favorite Iron Chef things especially since Morimoto and Bobby are friends now.

      Cynthia Crowsen -Healthy Living Blogger twitter: @itallchanges

  4. 22/01/2011 7:16 PM

    This looks so yummy!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s