Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Quinoa: Embrace it, love it.

Tonight I whipped up a simple, healthy, delicious dinner of quinoa.  If your response to "quinoa"(pronounced keen-wa) is "quin-huh?" allow me to explain and ROCK YOUR WORLD.

Quinoa is (per my box of quinoa) an important grain that dates back over five thousand years to the vast and mighty Inca civilization of South America.

I know: whoa.  The takeaway from this is if it has been around for 5000 years and popular with Incans it has to be easy to cook, since they didn't have hand blenders, kitchenaid mixers, pizza stoners, or, ya know, electricity.

The reason you want to eat this superfood is because it is a grain that has more high quality protein than any other grain, so it is pretty darn healthy.  The reason you want to cook it is because it is sooo simple.  So simple that you can do it IN THE MICROWAVE.  Take that, Incans.

This recipe is actually an Ashlie original so my measurements aren't exact: I played this recipe fast and loose, and titled it "Quinoa and Mushroom with Arugula Salad."  Remember a few posts ago when I commented on chefs that use fussy names for simple things?  "Arugula salad" is a fancy way of saying, "I piled some arugula on top of this quinoa."  Yeah.  Fan-cy.

Quinoa and Mushroom with Arugula Salad (Makes 2 servings)
1 cup quinoa                                        2 cups water or stock
1/4 diced white onion                          2 cloves diced garlic
1/2 cup diced red/green bell pepper     8-ish button mushrooms, sliced
Oregano, Red Pepper Flakes               Sherry or Wine
Sprig of Fresh Mint, chopped              1 tomato, chopped
Bunch of Arugula

1. Mix 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups stock or water in a microwave safe bowl.  Cover loosely and microwave on high for 8 minutes.  (Note: In my opinion stock adds a LOT of flavor, so use if available. I used chicken, but veggie would be fine.)

2. While this is happening, relax for a few minutes, maybe watching some Star Trek on Netflix.

3. After microwaving is complete, stir and let quinoa sit, covered, for 8-15 minutes.  (That seems like an odd period of time.  Basically, you just want the liquid to have evaporated, and the quinoa to be fluffy).

4. While the quinoa is fluffy-izing, heat about a 1/2 tbsp of oil (extra virgin, canola, whatever your preference) and add in the onion and garlic.  Stir and cook for about a minute: not too long or else the garlic can burn.  Add bell pepper and cook for another minute.

5. Add mushrooms and dry seasonings to taste.  Let mushrooms cook down for 2-3 minutes until liquid is evaporated from pan. 

6. Pour in enough sherry to cover mushrooms, about 1/4 a cup.  Realize there isn't much left in the bottle of sherry, and add a little bit more.  Sherry is goooood.

7. By this time, the quinoa should go back in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Fluff it once again, and now it's done!

8. Add the mushroom mixture and the chopped tomato to the quinoa and stir to mix.  

9. Go outside and grab some fresh mint from your front yard, chop, and add to the mixture. (If you don't have fresh mint in your front yard, plant some mint, STAT.  Mint needs a lot of sunlight and very little water.  Left alone it might just take over your home and neighborhood.  If you pay for mint at the store, you are getting robbed I tell you.  ROBBED.)  The mint is non-essential to the recipe, I just wanted a bit of fresh greenery.  Feel free to use parsley if you have it on hand, or omit all together.

10. Plate 1/2 of this deliciousness and add a big handful of fresh arugula.  Voila!  Tasty and delicious, and since it serves two, you have either lunch or dinner for tomorrow.  This recipe could also be used as a side dish to a protein, I'd suggest pork loin.

And there we have it, quinoa, demystified and deeeeeelicious. :)

1 comment:

  1. Love quinoa! And I am going to make this soon.

    Also...here is one of my favorite quinoa recipes, but I add avocado and tomato because I like them.
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/quinoa-and-black-beans/detail.aspx

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