Friday, February 12, 2010

Next Best Thing

I received a fabric order today, and I'm longing to show you guys...but I'm the Pacific NW, and the sun is not cooperating. My "sew me something to wear" project only got as far as the measurements stage. So....the next best thing is to show you this: Quinoa! (Because, sure. Hearty side dishes are the next best thing to sunshine drenched photos and completed sewing projects.)

If you haven't added this to your pantry, you're missing out. Seriously. Pronounced "keen-wa," it's a super old grain (well, pseudo-grain) that's indiginenous to the Andes. It's related more to beets and tumbleweeds than it is to wheat and rice, since it's not a grass. It's a seed, and has a high protein content (and, remarkably, is a nearly complete protein) so it's great for vegetarians and vegans. The vegetarians and vegans are going to want to hide their eyes when I tell you my secret for cooking this, though!

Quinoa has a bitter coating of saponins on the outside which you'll want to rinse off before you cook, unless the package says they've already rinsed it for you. (These saponins mean that the birds don't like it either, so that's good news for the farmers!)

It's easy to cook- put 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa in a pan and bring to a boil. Bring down the heat and simmer, with the lid, for about 15 minutes or until all the water is soaked up and little curly-cues have popped out of the ends (that's the germ of the seed.) I always stir some chicken base (it's a puree of chicken and salt and spices, found in the baking section of the store) into the water once it's boiling before I put the lid on. You could use bullion or just cook it in chicken broth, too. Veggie bullion would be nice, as well.

This is so great as a side dish, or with beans or chili. If you cook it plain, you can make a nice salad by tossing in some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried cranberries, and sliced green onions. (I make the same salad with cooked wheat, it's always a big hit at potlucks.)

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Aunt LoLo said...


Margaret said...

I was introduced to Quinoa awhile ago. There was a tasty recipe on the side of the box that was a whole meal. It had chicken, peppers, some herbs and Quinoa. If you do some research, some people have gone nuts with this stuff and made baking recipes with this. I know a friend who sneaks it into her muffins and sweet breads(only a little, too much and it doesn't work out so well).

I Wonder Wye said...

Thanks for taking us through how to cook step by step. I am expanding my grains and experimenting with foods so this is now on the list. Have seen it but didn't know what to do with it....

Catherine Anne said...


Franzine Kafka said...

i love quinoa. i eat it with my salmon and i use veggie stock. so good.