Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Crazy for Quinoa!

Tonight is one of those nights...

All by myself



Everybody having fun but me

See, my husband and two sons took off with barely a warning for an NBA game tonight.  I had planned a nice Daniel Fast dinner for day 17 of our fast, and I was working diligently when my husband came home and said he needed to eat right away because he and the boys were heading out to the game.  He was visibly excited.

So I quit typing and quickly made dinner and he gulped it down standing over the counter in the kitchen, kissed me goodbye, and took off for the game.  I was left standing in the middle of the kitchen, bowl in hand.  So I ate my dinner standing up too, then went back upstairs to finish my shift.  When I was done working, I went back downstairs to do the dishes.  Then I decided to end my pity party and blog some more recipes!

So I've got a mug full of Daniel Fast hot cocoa and my laptop and a fire in the fireplace.  It's a dark and rainy night and the house is silent.  No one but me and the cat.  Perfect atmosphere to write!

I've liked quinoa for quite awhile, but I'm just discovering how very versatile it is.  I've now cooked with red, white and black whole-grain quinoa and used it in place of rice, in salads, and in soups.  I've made it into a hot cereal, a breakfast bowl with fruit and nuts, and mixed it into cookies.  I've tried quinoa pasta, crackers and breads.  I've got quinoa flakes that make an excellent thickener in baked goods and thin soups.  It really is a wonder grain!

But when making a yummy quinoa bowl, I started really thinking about some fun combinations.  I thought I'd share them with you.  And maybe these will stir your imagination a little, and you'll come up with some great combos yourself!

Lebanese - Add turmeric, a bay leaf and lemon zest to the pot while cooking the quinoa.  When done cooking, add diced tomato, artichoke hearts, sautéed onion and sliced black olives.

Tabouleh - Serve the quinoa cold.  Mix in olive oil, fresh lemon juice, lots of minced parsley (until it's more green than grain!), fresh tomato, cucumber and green onion.

Greek - Add a good balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette, then mix in romaine, tomato, cucumber, yellow bell pepper, Greek olives, fresh basil and feta

Mexican - Sautee onions and bell pepper.  Add black beans and then cooked quinoa.  Season with cumin, cayenne, chili powder and a dash of salt.  Top with fresh cilantro, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

Asian - Use Bragg's aminos in place of soy sauce, a drizzle of sesame oil, rice vinegar and fresh ginger to make a dressing.  Then toss it with the quinoa and add edamame beans, sugar snap peas, shredded carrot, green onion, mango, red pepper, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage, sesame seeds and even some crumbled nori.

Mushroom - Cook your quinoa in vegetable stock and a bay leaf.  Saute a shallot and cremini mushrooms.  Add some thyme and spinach.  Stir together with hot quinoa.

Thanksgiving - Add parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to cooking liquid.  Sautee onion and celery.  Add dried cranberries and heat until softened.  Stir everything together.  Add more sage if you want more "stuffing" flavor.

California - Cold quinoa mixed with mandarin oranges or grapes, almonds, avocado, green onion, cucumber and arugula.  Add a splash of orange juice and avocado oil to make a light dressing.

Oregon - Mix up a berry vinaigrette or buy Bragg's (so good!).  Pour it over cooked and cooled quinoa, then add hazelnuts, blackberries, green onion and crumbled goat cheese.

Winter Salad - Roast chunks of butternut or acorn squash that has been tossed with olive oil and sea salt.  Then mix it with quinoa, diced apple, chopped walnuts, green onion, and kale cut in ribbons.  Nordstrom Café makes a bottled dark cherry balsamic vinaigrette that would be wonderful with this.

Indian - Cook with quinoa in vegetable broth with turmeric, bay leaf, clove, and curry powder.  Toss sweet potato chunks, cauliflower and onion with olive oil and sea salt and roast until tender.  Mix with quinoa, add in chickpeas, and then top with raisins, cilantro and pomegranate arils.

Broccoli - A twist on the classic broccoli salad.  Mix cooled quinoa with a bit of Greek yogurt, olive oil and tarragon, then stir in broccoli florets, mandarin oranges, diced red onion, raisins and sunflower seeds.

And there you go!  Get fresh and have fun.  Let me know which one sounds best to you or your favorite if you try a few!

Tabouleh Quinoa

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