Friday, March 14, 2008

Do You Know Quinoa? It's the Supergrain of the Future!

If you made that rhyme then you are TOTALLY saying it wrong. Geez, it's such a task educating you people. You see, I am a Quinoa expert, because I have made it one whole time! Well, and because the box tells me it is pronounced KEEN-WA. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago Jay was skipping around the internet and addressed me with a strange "have you ever heard of KEEN-WA" question. My blank expression most likely gave him my answer and he went on to tell me that the Men's Health website had an article about how healthy of a grain it is, that it contains more protein than any other grain. He was intrigued and said he was going to get some to try, I was back to looking at sock animal patterns on my own computer. Well, sure enough, the other day he returned home from work smiling at his success in procuring Quinoa from the local Fresh Market. Then it sat around until I got a wild hair to actually cook some up. I'm thinking this was his evil plan from the beginning. Instead of having rice with my barbeque pineapple chicken I was making, I noticed that the Quinoa box said you can make it in the rice cooker so I threw some in. Then I went for a quick look on to see if there were any interesting suggestions for how to use it and wasn't very inspired. All the recipes seemed to pair it with other veggies, so I excavated the veggie drawer and came up with a red pepper, some spinach, baby carrots, and a can of corn. Sneaky Quinoa Pilaf was born:

As mentioned, the Quinoa was cooked in the rice cooker. Came out looking like this, pretty boring, huh?

I started the jazzing up by putting a liberal amount of spinach in the bowl.

I added the hot Quinoa and topped that with a healthy dose of butter and cheese (I had a little Italian 6 cheese blend and a little mozzarella in the fridge, both went in). Butter and cheese make everything better is a motto I live by.

Next went the chopped baby carrots and red pepper, these I steamed in the microwave for four minutes first. Half a can of corn was dumped on top. Isn't it pretty?!

I added some miscellaneous seasonings (garlic, pepper, oregano), sprinkled a little cheese on top of it all and popped it in the oven next to my chicken for about ten minutes.

Voila! Sneaky Quinoa Pilaf and Pineapple Barbque Chicken.

Loved by 4 year olds everywhere! (she really did like it and asked for seconds). The 6 year old was simply horrified.

The Quinoa pamphlet in the box describes it as having a pleasing nutty flavor. Um, not so much. Really it has what Jay and I would describe as an absence of flavor. Not a bad thing, it tastes like whatever you add to it. The only thing we would change about this recipe is to cook the Quinoa in chicken or vegetable broth instead of water, it needed salt and I think the broth would add just the right amount along with some flavor. I was commenting while eating it that it would be very tasty in a risotto type recipe and sure enough there is a "Quinoa Risotto Milanese" recipe right in afore mentioned pamphlet! That will be next week's adventure.


Arwen said...

I used to make an asian salad out of it with celery, red pepper, rice vinegar, cashews, etc... and it was really good. I heart quinoa

quiltu said...

Let me know when you get it perfected!
the MOM