Thursday, July 14, 2011

Appetite for Quinoa, Cookbooks and Reduction

Ah, Quinoa.  It seems like only yesterday I was reading about you in an issue of Real Simple on the 30 Healthiest Foods and thinking, "Kee..noo...whaaaaaaaaaa?"

If it makes them delicious,
more foods should start with the letter Q.
Then again, I thought that about a lot of the foods, because while I had heard of things such as blueberries, walnuts and spinach, there were things I certainly never deigned to eat in the past (vegetables?  p'shaw!), and things I'd never even heard of (what's a Chard?  Kale?  Bulgurwhaaaa?). I'd never had a lentil, but knew them to be mocked in some fashion in The Young Ones.  I'd certainly never ate one.  On purpose.  I wasn't some poor hippy depressed college student having madcap adventures with my wacky roommates in England, now was I?!

Then of course, Quinoa.  I made a vow, upon reading the issue, that I would try these... "Super" foods, as "they" were apt to call them, and quinoa, somehow, became the last of them I tried... and somehow I saved the best for last because wow.  The texture, the taste, the strange little white circles it developed... Everything about it was wonderful.  Everything it went with was wonderful.  All other grains were shoved aside for this... yes, I agreed with "them"... a SUPER food.

In any case, in ever learning that there is more I need to learn, I started gathering books for healthier cooking.  I think around here is where I started gathering books specifically on vegetarian cooking as I wanted to cook more vegetarian meals, and I thought to myself "what better place to go than a vegetarian magazine or cookbook?"  (Good thing I have them now!)

My appetite for new cookbooks was voracious... and now, I have a metric ton of them!  New recipes for... I don't know, forever.

So maybe I should focus a little.  Work on cooking, using these books (as I love the ideas, but only have finite time to actually cook and eat these things, right?)

My book, de-piled and ready for action!
I chose Appetite For Reduction by Isa Chandra Mokowitz because of several reasons:  The recipe list looked interesting, she's from Brooklyn, she has a book called Veganomicon, and... it was also on the top of my teetering pile of books!  So away we go!  I chose 3 recipes and The Husband also chose a recipe.  And away we went.

The first one done was Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Toasted Cumin Seeds.  Ah, Quinoaaaaah! We meet again!

This actually turns out to be a bonus recipe.  We were due to make massive vegetarian chili (tried and true WW recipe that, despite most things that prevent dish repeats, has been repeated several times due to ease, flavor, and The Husband's constant amazement that it does not contain beef).  By the end of the day, however, we were both feeling a bit like lighter fare.

Off to the interwebs I went to look for a healthy, light salad... and while I swear I did not specify anything about vegetarianism or this book (which I had been flipping through earlier in the day), one of the first results I got (for whatever it was I was looking for) was this recipe.  Further good news, I had most of the ingredients on hand (quick shopping trip for the greens though).

I appreciated that this took no time to put together.  With me and my anal retentive chopping, I was pleased to find I was practically in and out of the kitchen in 5 minutes.  Maybe 10, as I didn't have any pre-cooked quinoa on hand (it goes fast). 

The flavor was simply amazing!  Black beans, nutty quinoa, the sweetness (but not overly sweet) of the dressing, the flavors and textures went together so nicely... this was a great salad.

A light salad, yet we ate heartily and well.
As many on the internet have indicated as well, it gets better with age.  The leftovers were transformed from a great salad... to a SUPER salad.  

Also, does not need to just be just a salad.  I've also stuffed this into a tortilla as a wrap.  Tomorrow, I will take the last of my leftovers and have it as my breakfast, and smile for much of the morning.  (Haven't decided to wrap it, toss it on greens... or straight down my gullet). 

With ease of prep and highly delicious flavor, I was looking forward to the recipes The Husband and I had prepared for.  I wondered if the rest of my experiences would be the same...

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