Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The mysterious Quinoa

I’ve been a tardy blogger of late, truth be told I’ve been busy trying to get back into the swing of things since SLC and I’ve made little to no time to write. However, excuses are like Facebook accounts… Everybody got one.

Spent some time on a quest to find the best recipes involving quinoa. I tried quinoa for the first time a couple of weeks ago and thought it would be an amazing addition to this health, active, lifestyle thing, blah blah blah… This is what you need to know about quinoa. First and foremost quinoa is a pseudo cereal; it’s actually a member of the grass family. Quinoa is unusually high in protein about 12% - 18% and considered a complete protein as it offers a balance of essential amino acids. Plus, I like quinoa because it’s gluten free! (if you’ve read prior posts I’m trying to find gluten free ingredients and products that taste good and I think that quinoa, as an ingredient, gets one satisfied tongue up.) Simplest terms, quinoa, which you’re probably still struggling to pronounce is delicious and nutritious in a big way. Read the whole Wikipedia article if you’re interested in more on quinoa.

Moving on, I tried making a few variations on a quinoa salad. In my mind quinoa was akin to pasta and could be surrounded by the same ingredients as I would put into a cold pasta salad, not the case. I wasn’t really impressed; quinoa isn’t pasta and it just doesn’t fit the pasta salad mould. Quinoa has a lot of the texture characteristics of lentils, that’s the closest thing I can compare it to in my mouth’s mind. Luckily the angels of marketing delivered me a sign one day. As my significant other was shopping at the local Loblaws she noticed that quinoa had graced the cover of the Insiders Guide. Even better she suggested that I check the PC web site, as the Insider instructed, to find 10 quinoa recipes! Okay, I’ll do just that. So I did, and it was good. Check this link to find quinoa on Go to the bottom of the page and check out the new recipes tab.

I would suggest printing them to PDF; what I’ve tried so far is worth saving.

The PC quinoa salad which is featured is great and very good for you; I love the use of cranberries and edamame. Side note, the use of Edamame (code name soya bean) raised one question for me; I grew up in farm country surrounded by hundreds of acres of soya beans, why the hell am I paying $3.99 for a bag of beans that are grown locally every season. I hope that they’re at least Canadian beans but I find it hard to believe that they’re not ripping me off on a common staple. Moreover, I shop at a The Kitchener Farmers Market for a lot of my groceries and I can’t recall seeing anyone selling local or any soya beans... Weird… Need to check Saturday.

Anyway, PC quinoa salad = good!

Also tried the quinoa pancakes, they’re great! Things that you may notice that stand out about them. #1 I can only eat about 4 of them, because they are dense. #2 They’re really easy to cook; because they’re so dense they are much more firm and cook very quickly. #3 they come across as dry, I’m not sure if that’s my fault I could try to cook the quinoa longer, but it’s not a deal breaker. You may not like these if you don’t like to texture of quinoa but then again you’re probably not going to like any recipe that involves quinoa. In summation the only thing that you need to know about the quinoa pancakes is that they are more health than normal pancakes and taste damn near the same.  

Alright, I’m tired of typing quinoa for today. Possibly try cooking your way through the PC recipes; I have high hopes for some of them, especially the quinoa brownies and quinoa gratin.

BTW. Just tried out a Cobb grill today; I didn’t cook from their cookbook, wanted to try something of my own first. I love this grill, it’s head and shoulders above any small portable charcoal grill I’ve tried before. More to come on the Cobb I’d like to do a write up on one of their recipes straight out the book.


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