What the heck is Quinoa?

The Wiki people describe it as the seed of a grain crop. Really? I thought it was one of these ‘ancient grains’. I guess not. Although, it is ancient. Then why has it taken soooo long to get here?

Step 1
Step 1

Who knows. I’m just glad it did. This is a wonder/super food. It’s high in protein, low in gluten and grows in dry soil. These days it’s all over the place. One place in particular is in my favorite salad at the California Pizza Kitchen – ‘Quinoa Arugula Salad’.  But before I attempt to make this at home, I have to make the quinoa. It’s pronounced, Keeen – wa…. not like the guy in the BudLight commercial, “What the heck is Queeno?”, and thinking it’s good luck he eats it anyway. Little does he know it’s so much better for him than that beer.

To eat it, you have to make it. I’ve made the boxed versions and haven’t been all that impressed. I’m a fair cook – it can’t be that hard. Turns out, it isn’t. Although it’s not exactly as I’d thought. It’s more like cooking rice than couscous. 

Simple Quinoa:

Step 1:

Use 1 cup Quinoa to 2 cups liquid (water or broth)

Step 2
Step 2

Step 2:

Give it a rinse. Apparently, there’s a coating on it that makes it taste bitter. Not knowing this step would probably make you not like the stuff. Commercially sold varieties have had most of it rinsed off, but I let it sit in the water and then rinsed it as I would basmati rice, just in case.

Step 3
Step 3

Step 3:

Now you can drain off the water, and get your pot ready. Take a little olive oil and heat it. Dump in the quinoa and toast it, letting the water evaporate and bringing it to a nutty smell.

Step 4
Step 4

Step 4: 

Here may be another reason quinoa doesn’t make many menu’s – everything tastes better made with broth than plain water.

Step 5
Step 5

Step 5:

Give it a stir. Bring it up to a boil, turn the temp down to low and cover. Simmer for 15 min. Then remove from the heat and let it sit for another 5 minutes. 

Step 6
Step 6

Step 6:

Fluff with a fork and serve ! Wait, what’s with the little white strings? (My sister hates them) Since it’s a seed, there’s a ‘germ’ inside and that’s what’s been loosened with the cooking process. 

Finale
Finale

Finale:

So, since I had steamed some asparagus, and I had most of the ingredients, I went ahead and made a pseudo CPK salad – it was so good !! (but that’s another blog)

CPK Salad - recipe next week
CPK Salad – recipe next week

So, don’t be scared of the quinoa – super food that’s really super easy to work with. This nutty tasting morsel works well with veggies in summer salads, and even eaten like oatmeal for breakfast !

[yumprint-recipe id=’11’]

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