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October 17, 2011

One of the new additions to our market, that I am the most excited about, is Quinoa.

Have you tried it yet?

Quinoa has been a staple of our diets for awhile, and I love it.

Quinoa is a grain-like crop that is harvested for its seeds.  While it is considered a grain, the plant itself it is really a relative of leafy greens, such as Swiss chard and spinach.  The greens are edible, but the seeds are the real story.  There is a lot in those little seeds.  Quinoa not only has a high protein content, but it is a complete protein, meaning that it has all nine essential amino acids.  It is also a good source of fiber, calcium, manganese, magnesium and iron.  It is a native grain to South America, specifically in the region of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia and Peru, that has a history that goes all the way back to the time of the Incas.  The Incan warriors liked it because it helped increase their stamina during battle.  More recently it has been credited with helping with migraine headaches and being valuable to promoting cardiovascular health.  It is easy to digest and pretty versatile to serve.  Quinoa can be substituted in any recipe calling for a whole grain, and it can be ground into a flour to use in making breads or pastas.

With all of that, I would eat quinoa in a heartbeat.  But truthfully, we started eating it because we just really like the flavor.  And it is super easy to make.

Quinoa is a little nutty tasting and goes well with so many things.  It is as easy to prepare as rice, and I can whip it up without much thought.  To cook it simply add two parts water or chicken stock and one part quinoa, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cover and allow it to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Quinoa will puff up and absorb the liquid, like rice.  You can prepare in a rice cooker too, if you prefer. To bring out the nutty flavor even more, you can dry roast it before cooking.  Just put it in a skillet on medium-high heat for 5 minutes with a little oil.  You can add quinoa to soups, salads, or serve it as a side dish.  Some cultures prepare it for breakfast with a little honey, fruit and almonds.

We have started seeing it on menus around town recently, here at Hillstone as part of their vegetable plate…

And at St. Francis as a side…

There are 120 different varieties of quinoa that come in all colors, but the most popular are black, red and white quinoa.  These are three varieties that we are now carrying at the markets.  I have attempted my own version of the quinoa dish that is prepared at Hillstone, by adding golden raisins, toasted pine nuts, radishes, tomatoes, mint leaves and a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  It is in regular rotation at our house, although I am still partial to Hillstone’s version.  I am also hoping to try this recipe for Quinoa Risotto (below) soon.   Enjoy!!

Quinoa Risotto:
-2 cups quinoa
-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or butter)
-good chicken stock
-1/2+ cup white wine
-1/2+ cup parmesan reggiano (or pecorino)
-salt and pepper
-add whatever chopped veggies you like… carrots, parsley, onion and parsnips.

-saute veggies in olive oil/butter until tender
-add garlic and sauté for a minute or two
-add salt and pepper
-de-glaze the pan with 1/2 cup white wine and let it simmer
-add 2 cups quinoa
-add enough chicken stock to generously cover the quinoa
-before serving, stir in a little more white wine
-add 1/2 cup (or more) shaved parmesan or pecorino

(Recipe from The Daily Muse)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 17, 2011 9:25 pm

    We have a strong affection for risotto around here. We just tried one using barley instead of the traditional arborio rice. Looks like I have another version to try now!

  2. Ann permalink
    October 18, 2011 2:39 am

    Just before I read this post, I finished dinner, which included a quinoa salad made with black quinoa purchased from Mclendon’s at the Town and Country farmers market last Wednesday. The salad inlcuded roasted eggplant and zucchini, steamed carrots, feta, basil, toasted pine nuts (all veggies from Mclendon). The dressing was olive oil, balsamic, lemon juice, garlic, dijon, honey. The whole family raved about how good it was.

    • October 19, 2011 10:58 pm

      Sounds wonderful! I will have to try it like that – I love the thought of adding a little dijon and honey!!

  3. October 18, 2011 2:33 pm

    Yum! I need to try some guinoa! That sounds absolutely deeeeelish!

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