Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Quinoa and An Empty Nest

I was looking through the local newspaper today, and saw that they had reprinted an article from the Seattle Times that had lots of food tips in it. They were alphabetized, and the letter Q was for Quinoa. Interesting timing, with Paper Chef #14 using quinoa as one of its ingredients.

First, a tip about quinoa:

Q: Quinoa salads and pilafs can be bitter. Is there a way to prevent that?
A: The secret to removing the bitterness from quinoa is to rinse well with cold water through a fine sieve for at least 5 minutes before cooking. Drain well.

Next, a recipe:

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables:

2 red bell peppers
2 tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/4 t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c slivered fresh basil
1 (14-oz. can reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth (1 2/3 cups)


1 c quinoa
1/4 t kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 T toasted pine nuts
1/4 c jarred romesco sauce*
2 T lemon juice
1 T olive oil
4 c cleaned and stemmed arugula leaves
1/3 c Parmesan cheese shavings

To prepare Roasted Vegetables: Preheat oven to 375˚. Halve red peppers and remove stems and seeds. Cut into 1-inch-wide pieces and put on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut tomatoes in half crosswise and place cut-side up on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast 30 minutes or until tender and browned. Stir peppers once. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Toss peppers with basil. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, remove skins and seeds. Chop flesh to a fine puree or puree in a food processor. Combine with broth to equal 2 cups and set aside.

To prepare Quinoa: Put quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse with cold water 5 minutes to release the bitterness. Drain well. In a 1 1/2-qt. saucepan, combine tomato broth with quinoa and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes. Uncover and cook about 5 minutes longer until the liquid has been absorbed. Season with pepper and add pine nuts. Set aside, uncovered, 5 minutes. Whisk together romesco sauce, lemon juice and olive oil. Divide arugula among plates and spoon quinoa on top, then peppers. Drizzle sauce over everything and sprinkle Parmesan on top. Makes 4-6 servings.

*There are several brands of romesco sauce, a puree of sweet peppers, toasted almonds, hot pepper and other seasonings, available. Look for it in the condiment or sauce sections in supermarkets.

We're Empty Nesters Again!

We're celebrating our daughter's moving out. The day finally came, and she's all set up in her new apartment. She's so happy to not live up here in the mountains any more, where it's cold, it snows and she has to put chains on the car, and it's too far from everything, including work. Now she's only 5 minutes from her job, instead of an hour, she's got independence again, and we are alone again! Hooray! For us and her!

Tonight's dinner was leftover oven-barbecued chicken for DH, and shrimp cocktail for me. We also had a big bowl of Jamie's Chopped Salad–one of DH's favorites. I'm planning a crockpot meal for tomorrow, since for the first time this week I don't have to be at work at 7. I'll have time to put a good breakfast together for DH and put dinner in the crockpot.

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