Monday, January 31, 2011

Quinoa Foodgasm

Now, I've been eating quinoa for quite some time since I was told to go Gluten Free.  The high-protein, highly nutritious grain that's as tasty as it is satisfying is often a go-to quick side or vegetarian main base for me.  And I've always been very happy with it.  It's been a great companion and it's always made me feel good, but it's never given me that special something that every woman foodie wants- a Foodgasm (you know, the thing that puts you in instant heaven with no risk of communicable diseases.)

This Quinoa Foodgasm came as much as a surprise to me as it may to you dear reader.  I mean quinoa's pretty fantastic, but it's usually the nice-guy food, not the Casanova of the kitchen.  Well nice-guy no more!  Even stranger, I found the recipe for this impactful dish on the Mayo Clinic recipe site.  I'm not saying that the Mayo Clinic wouldn't promote tasty recipes, but normally when you find a recipe labeled "healthy" on a hospital website it's not quite up to a wicked caliber.

Of course, you know me.  I see a recipe, and gosh darnit, I just can't stick to it!  So I'm going to give you both options to achieving a palate plaything the original, and the oddly strange thing I did to it.

I would also like to explain that I found this recipe while looking for Quinoa Risotto.  Though I believe the recipe is delicious, I'm not sure I would call it a risotto.  This is probably because what I did to it left it a bit on the brothier side and almost made it like a fantastic half-soup/half-risotto creation which I LOVED, but also was not expecting.  If you follow the original recipe, I would imagine you would get a better risotto texture, but I'm not sure since I disassembled it so.  The mushrooms in the original recipe probably would sponge up some of the broth (I'm not a huge mushroom fan, so I usually omit.)  I also used some random ingredients that you wouldn't necessarily have around the house but trust me- so worth it!

Here we go; are you ready?!

Quinoa ala Suz
(aka Quinoa Foodgasm Risotto Soup)
Altered from this recipe found on the Mayo Clinic website.

olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
2 cups of quinoa (ready to cook version, if you buy it in bulk you may have to rinse first)
4 1/2 cups veggie broth (I LOVE Imagine broth.  Use it and you won't regret it!)
5 oz of baby arugula, washed and dried or prewashed
6 oz pack of vacuum sealed steamed artichokes (no seasoning)/or 6 oz fresh-steamed
10-15 large black cherries, pitted, diced or sliced
2 finger full pulled pinches of dried daikon radish (easily found in Asian isle/market)
.31 lb grated Parmesan cheese
pinch or 2 of black truffle salt
1 tsp black pepper

In a large (I mean large) and deep saute pan heat olive oil over medium heat, add onions and saute until translucent.
Add garlic and quinoa, cooking for 1 minute.  Do not brown garlic.

Add veggie broth and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to a simmer until the quinoa is al dente texture, about 12 minutes.
One at a time, add arugula, artichokes, cherries, and dried daikon radish.  Be careful to stir each ingredient in until incorporated before adding the next one.
Cook an additional 2-5 minutes.  Taste quinoa for desired texture.  If it's too hard, cook longer.

Transfer to serving deep serving dish/bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, black pepper and the pinch of truffle salt.

Between the daikon radish and the truffle salt, this sucker is bursting with umami.  But the cherry really adds an awesome kick of sweet to balance it out and the arugula and cheese add interest and depth.  I wasn't actually expecting this to work (as you can tell by me saying it a million times) but I think this is a recipe that I will use for many, many years to come!

I invite you to lick the spoon of this warm and comforting bowl of hot lovin' quinoa.  This makes a lot but I encourage you to have leftovers because when the flavors sit for at least a day, they mingle, marry and improve!  

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Do You Like My Feathers?

I've always enjoyed the imagery of a phoenix.  The mythology of it.  It's a tale of hope really.  Yes, also of reinvention.  Of renewal.  It gives itself a rebirth.

Life in many ways is like a phoenix; however, when our final time comes, we don't eternally regenerate.  Too deep for a food blog readers?  Too unrelated?

Perhaps, but I need to explain my time away from the eating/writing combo that I love so much.  You see, I've been in a bit of an "ashes" state with my body and my health.  Again.  However, I am hopeful.  I am ready to regenerate now, and I'm using every ounce of my strength to do so.  I am determined to fight for a rebirth of sorts.  I am ready to become myself again.  Whether medical science can help me with this or not, is still unclear.  And to explain everything would be too complicated.  Oh no dear reader, I'm not dying or anything!  But I am dealing with something chronic, and it's still a mystery to me.

And so I welcome you back to my blog.  It's a new year, and I'm hopeful I can take flight this year.  What have you got planned?