First few days as a grad student…

Za'atar bread with chicken, spinach and tomatoes

Yesterday was the first official day of classes! I’m excited about starting my two Master’s programs but not so eager to tackle the pile of reading that is quickly growing. Also looming over the start of the semester is the fact that my house currently has no internet. I’m not sure how long it will take for our line to be fixed. So, in the mean time, is dark ages for a house full of graduate students. It’s a flashback to France when we didn’t have internet for a month… (Curse SFR!)

This past weekend, I finally moved into my house for the school year. I spent a few days moving things around, building shelves, assembling chairs (alright, only one), and just trying to get things in order for the first day of school. With so much time spent on packing and unpacking, grocery shopping was put off for a few days. I luckily had a mini pantry of stocked goods, from which I assembled my first meal in the apartment. What did I make? Spiced quinoa with black beans and sun dried tomatoes. Not bad for a lazy dinner and no produce!

I was so absorbed in cooking that I didn’t take the time to measure anything. Below is a rough estimate of what I did.


1 cup quinoa
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup water
½ cup black beans
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly cracked pepper


Bring the stock and water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, cumin, and salt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Let the quinoa cook until it’s tender. You may need to add more water. Once the quinoa has finished cooking, add the black beans and sun dried tomatoes. Crack some fresh black pepper and drizzle a bit of olive oil. Enjoy!

The following day, I managed to get to a grocery store and was able to produce a more colorful meal: Herb Tilapia with sautéed spinach, tomatoes, and fresh crumbled feta! Hmmm! I was cooking for only one person, but the portions can easily be adjusted.


1 filet tilapia (fresh or frozen)

1 tablespoon lemon or 1 tsp true lemon

1 teaspoon mixed basil and oregano

some salt

some pepper

Handful of baby or chopped spinach

2-3 mushrooms

1/2 tomato, chopped


In a medium frying pan, heat about 1 tsp of olive oil.

Add the mushrooms and tomatoes. Sprinkle some salt and pepper. Allow to cook until the tomatoes are tender and the mushrooms have a nice golden color. Add the spinach. Cook for a few minutes or until tender. Remove the veggies from the pan.

Add a bit more olive oil, and add the fish. Cook until the fish has reached a white color (more white than translucent), and is tender. Plate the fish alongside the sautéed vegetables, and serve with bread, rice, a grain, or eat it as is! I added za’atar bread and feta to complete the dish. Yum!

Bon Appétit!

Za'atar bread, feta cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and tilapia

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  1. Nidaa Abdal
    September 6, 2012

    Hello Candoosi We miss you already. You are one amazing young lady, everything looks great. Can I hire you as my personal chef ?

    Best Regards, Smile America Dental Center Dr. Nidaa Abdal 30890 West Ten Mile Rd. Farmington Hills, MI 48336 (248) 478-0900


    • September 9, 2012

      Thanks Auntie Nidaa! I can train Amelia and then you’ll have a live in personal chef!

  2. Izzy
    September 6, 2012

    Not that I don’t lik Tilapia, but I would have definitely enjoyed your quinoa with blak beans and sun dried Tomatoe dish. It looked very yummy. It is very hearty and you can also eat it cold as a salad with parsley and Lemmon. Good job:)

    • September 9, 2012

      Good idea with the lemon and parsley! Thanks mom 🙂

  3. Ann Shina
    September 10, 2012

    Hello Candossi, we miss you so very much. I love everything that you have made so far and it makes me hungry when I look at the pictures, they look great, you are an amazing cook. See you soon. Love you

    Ann Shina

    • September 12, 2012

      Miss you too Auntie Anna!

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