Thursday, October 27, 2011

dear quinoa, i love you...

it's true. i LOVE quinoa. 
if you're not familiar with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), you need to get familiar, real quick! it's been called the "most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet". What makes it unique is that it is the only plant based source of complete protein. "Complete" means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that are crucial to human function and health.
-an excellent source of magnesium. 1 serving of quinoa can meet 48% of the daily value that we need.
-rich in protein, calcium and iron, which makes it a great meat substitute for vegans.
-gluten free, which makes it a great alternative to grains for people with gluten sensitivity.
when i first made quinoa, i did a recipe i found online. the preparation and cooking method was ridiculous. soak it for a long time, rinse it, boil it, blah, blah, blah (somewhere in there it required i do something with cheesecloth. huh, cheesecloth?!?! uhh, i'm fresh out of cheesecloth. sorry.) after looking at more recipes and reviews online i found out that most people cook it the same way you'd cook rice. 1 part quinoa, 2 parts liquid. bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to simmer, let it simmer for about 15 minutes or til tender. strain in a fine-mesh-strainer-thingy. simple, done!
here are a couple of recipes i LOVE:

Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

  • 2 teaspoons grated lime zest

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced

  • 4 scallions, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

  • Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
    Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water). use my directions above, or follow the package directions on the quinoa box. 
    Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.

    Grilled Halibut with Orange Cilantro Marinade over Citrus Quinoa

    2 ½ tbsp. Orange Juice

    2 tbsp. walnut oil
    1 ½ tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
    1 tsp. kosher salt
    1 lb. halibut fillet
    1 cup quinoa
    2 cups Orange Juice
    1 tbsp. snipped fresh cilantro, divided
    In zipper closure food storage bag, combine first 4 ingredients; add halibut, turning to coat with marinade. Refrigerate 30 min. Cook quinoa in 2 cups orange juice following pkg. directions.
    Preheat grill to high; grill halibut, skin-side-down, on grill rack until interior of fish turns opaque (10 min. per inch of thickness measured at the thickest part.)

    serve with quinoa and sprinkled with cilantro.
    *it's sooooooo good! i didn't have walnut oil, so i just used vegetable oil)*

    you can buy small boxes of quinoa at the grocery store...

    but if you're like us, you'll fall in love with quinoa & you'll need to have 'backstock' of it in the cupboard. we now buy it from the bulk bins at Henry's Market and keep it in food storage containers in the cupboard. 

    now i'm hungry.

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