Saturday, October 24, 2009

Almost a year...but here's my first original recipe post!

Ok, here goes. I guess I have to start somewhere, but it really wasn't until this week that I felt I had something worthwhile to post about. I came up with a new recipe (well, new to me anyway). I have been trying to use quinoa (a super grain!) more often, but I often can't think of what to do with it. By the way, it's pronouced keen-wa, which I didn't figure out for a while after I had first seen it in recipes...

We were having a middle eastern inspired dinner last week and I wanted tabouli as a side dish (I just discovered there are many ways to spell tabouli - tabbouleh - tabouleh - ok that's enough... ). We were fresh out of bulgar wheat (another awesome whole grain and the traditional grain used for tabouli), so I used quinoa instead, and it came out so well!

I didn't use very precise measurements, because I really just tasted it as I went along, so following is my best attempt at approximating the amounts. I did cook the quinoa precisely, however. I used the basic quinoa recipe from the wonderful cookbook Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. That is one fantastic book, and I'm not a vegetarian (though I don't eat a lot of meat).

Quinoa Tabouli

1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
2 cups water
pinch of salt

1 lemon, juiced
2-3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
salt and pepper to taste

To cook the quinoa:

Bring the water or stock to a boil then add the quinoa and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer until liquid is absorbed, and the spiral in the quinoa is visible, about 12-15 minutes.

To finish the tabouli:

Transfer the cooked quinoa to a bowl and combine the remaining ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste. This can be served at room temp, or refrigerated until you want to serve it. I actually cooled the quinoa quickly using a bowl of ice water that I placed the smaller quinoa bowl into (just don't submerge it, of course!). Feel free to tinker with the amounts called for. Like I said, I pretty much eyeballed it.

As a side note, rinsing the quinoa may seem like a pain, but it eliminates a bitterness that can occur because of the protective coating on it called saponin, which keeps the critters away from it in nature. But, poor quinoa, the saponin will not keep the humans away from you! You are too delicious and we have sinks with which to rinse you!

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