not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Quinoa Crack.

I have never been a drug user. I do love alcohol {beer, cocktails, wine and CHAMPAGNE please!}, but as far as pills, weed, organics and the hard stuff is concerned - it has never interested me at all. I can count the amount of times I've puffed the ganja on one hand (okay, realistically I'd probably have to use both hands), and I've never enjoyed it. My addictions are no joke - I'm heavy into my 'drugs' of choice, but they are of a different nature than your average substance abuse. The one thing that I'm crazy addicted to right now is QUINOA. I'm assuming that the emotions I've been experiencing towards this Incan grain is how a rampant drug-addict would feel for their crack. I hear it calling my name everytime my belly growls...and after consuming it I feel a full body high, complete satisfaction. Aside from my super epic Quinoa Porridge, I have yet to come up with any other interesting ways to consume these little fluffy bits of whole grain heaven. I've done them up in a Mediterranean style and have thrown them onto of salads - but that's about as creative as I've been able to get. They are a difficult grain to incorporate due to their (totally spectacular and) unique texture. Well, after scouring the web and fusing together several different quinoa recipes, I have developed the WINNER. Though I do believe that I should deliver this recipe with a warning: after your first bite, you will become addicted. It's not a "heads up", it's a signed guarantee.....

Lemon Garlic Quinoa with Roasted Beets

Here is what you'll need:
  • Quinoa (I use a 14oz bag of Arrowhead Mills Quinoa, it's about 2 full cups)
  • 3 1/2 cups of Vegetable Stock (Always cook your grains with flavor, hence the vegetable stock - or chicken stock if you're not a veg. Also, cooking quinoa calls for 1 part grain, 2 parts liquid BUT this results in heavy, mushy quinoa. I always use a little bit less liquid than it calls for, because after all, you can always ADD water but you can't take it away. Hence this recipe, 2 cups grain and instead of using 4 cups liquid, I'm only using 3.5)
  • 5 beets, as well as beet greens (Beets come in all sizes, so for me to give you a number would be difficult. Also, when you buy them in a bunch sometimes there are 3 and sometimes 5...who knows. Buy enough for you and who you're cooking for)
  • Pinch of Saffron
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cloves fresh Garlic
  • Shallots (1/3 cup)
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
How it's done....
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees f
  2. Peel beets and wrap individually in tin foil. Place in PREheated oven and let them roast for about 45minutes. While these are roasting, go ahead with the following:
  3. QUINOA: Soak, rinse, and then rinse again. You'll need a fine mesh strainer. This is very important. *The outer part of quinoa is coated with saponin- a sticky, bitter tasting substance that protects it in growing but can cause indigestion, as well as ruining the taste of the grain. The only way to rid the grain of it is to rinse it.
  4. After soaking the quinoa, add the grain and the vegetable broth (3.5cups) to a pot, along with the pinch of saffron, and bring to a boil. I let it boil for about 2 full minutes before turning it down to a simmer. You can cover it or leave it open - but it takes about 20 minutes for all the water to be absorbed and for the grain to become light and fluffy (as opposed to dense and crunchy).
  5. Now just leave your quinoa be -- you'll be coming back to that.
  6. Beet greens: don't use any bit of the stem, just the greens. Rip them up a bit (after washing them of course) and toss into a skillet with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Since greens cook down so very much, I'd recommend adding a heapful of spinach to fill it out at bit.
  7. In the same skillet , sautee your thinly sliced shallots in a bit of olive oil - basically doing a quick-caramelizing-job on them. Set aside.
  8. Mix up a dressing of: juice of 1/2 a juicy lemon, along with zest of half a lemon, 2 cloves of fresh garlic that have been grated on the zester, your 1-2 teaspoons of cumin, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Whisk, whisk, whisk, whisk. Add 3/4 of the dressing to your quinoa and mix, mix, mix.
  9. Remove beets from foil, thinly slice, and then toss in the remaining bit of dressing. Voila!
A beautiful way to plate for an individual serving: cooked greens on half the dish, quinoa in the middle, and then a half moon of beets on the right. Sprinkle your sauteed shallots on top.

A beautiful way to plate for a dinner party: beets covering the bottom of the serving dish, quinoa just in the middle, held in a circle by the beet greens - then finished with the shallots.

ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY -- this recipe is sure to blow your skirt up and get you totally hooked!

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