A) What is the correct pronunciation of the word "Quinoa"?
3) "All I know is that when I tried to say it at the Christmas party,
everyone laughed at me. Since then I prefer to keep to myself."
4) "I have no idea what you're talking about. Is that some Native
American rock band?"
B) Well, what exactly IS quinoa?
1) "A seed of a plant that is a member of the goosefoot family, native
to South America. Humans have cultivated it as a food source for
over 3000 years. Did you know it's a great source of vegetable
protein and that the Aztecs....."
2) "Some sort of fluffy stuff my health-crazy spouse/significant other
keeps foisting on me. *sigh* The things I do for love."
3) "Enya's latest album?"
4) "If it's not a Native American rock band then I still have no idea
what the heck you're talking about."
If you're looking for the answers, go to the bottom of this article - or try Hari Krishna. (Yes, that was a shameless theft.)
Most of the references to quinoa I've seen refer to it as a grain. But according to this article(and if it's on Wikipedia you know it's got to be true, right?), quinoa is "a species of goosefoot...grown for it's edible grain-like seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family." *end horticulture lesson*
I'd never heard of it myself until just a few years ago; now it seems nearly everyone has heard of it, and for good reason. It's a source of vegetable protein (just how much, exactly, is under debate), gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a boon to the veganarian menu, and to anyone suffering celiac's disease (or related allergies). It's also quick and easy to make, ready in about 10-15 minutes on the stovetop compared to 30-45 minutes needed for brown rice or wheatberries. Even though it's not a "true grain" it can take the place of rice, etc at any meal. And it's extremely versatile: it's soft texture and bland flavor let the stronger ingredients shine in any dish. (I've had it for breakfast in place of oatmeal, which is carb-heavy and makes me a bit sleepy by lunchtime.)
If you're new to it and trying to find out how to make the most of it, the recipes available online are literally, countless; the problem is not finding a recipe, but choosing one. A few ideas to get you started:
Lemon Quinoa with Asparagus and Feta from the Cookthink website caught my eye almost immediately because of it's "sunny" quality and balance of flavors. Substitute 1/2 tea. dried in place of the 1 tea. fresh herb called for. Substituting fresh cilantro, flatleaf parsley or basil would give it a different character, I should think, but might be worth a try anyway.
Cooking Quinoa, as you might imagine from the name, has so many recipes I didn't know where to begin - until this recipe for Quinoa Chocolate Bars stopped me dead in my tracks. Yes, chocolate - real chocolate - plus coconut butter, almonds, a bit of salt. Some of the dried cherries or blueberries from our Bulk section would be amazing in these. A very informative website, hundreds of recipes, but lots of images and can be slow to load. (It seems to work better with Safari than Foxfire.)
What Would Cathy Eat? is one of my favorite go-to websites for recipes that are veganarian AND heart-healthy, which are not always the same things, as well as plain delicious. A few that are perfect for what it's in season and available at the co-op right now: Curried Quinoa with Cauliflower and Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Quinoa and Chickpeas. I've seen a lot of recipes online that use quinoa as a stuffing for all varieties of hard squash, so you can really give your imagination free play here.
Quinoa can also be sprouted as a microgreen; here's some instructions from yet another quinoa-dedicated website called (what else?) Quinoa Health Tips. (At this point, quinoa just might be more famous than the Beatles.)
Hopefully that will get you off and running if you're new to quinoa; if you were ahead of the curve and it's already a part of your menu, what are your favorite ways to use it? Share in the comments section here or drop me an email.
Answers To "The Quinoa Quiz":
A) #1. If you answered #2-4, do come to the Bulk Section of Fiddleheads where we will answer all your questions, and then some. And hopefully save you from embarrassment at your next party - just don't attempt to say "tumeric".
B) Also #1. If you said #3 or 4, then see answer to A (above) and get thyself down to the co-op. If you said #2 - we admire your dedication to your partner and your willingness to try new things. (That said, you probably deserve a little payback. Five words: Last Thanksgiving. Your Uncle Jack. 'nuff said.)
Fiddleheads member, author and activist Mark Braunstein ** asked if I would share some recipes from his book, Sprout Garden (now in it's 7th printing, according to Mark) and Radical Vegetarianism (first published in 1981, it was revised in 2010 - dig the new cover art.) He's an authority on sprouts, microgreens, "live" food and veganism and a radical political activist.
Which, as it happens, I only discovered last night - and I met him over a year ago at the co-op. Definitely not the man who is going to trap you in a corner and whip out his book a moment's notice, or dazzle/exhaust you with his erudition.
Here's a recipe I was especially taken with, an easy and practical salad dressing that is simple to make and has all sorts of applications beyond the salad bowl. (If using a spoon as directed doesn't emulsify the ingredients to your liking, try using a whisk, a.k.a. my favorite "Weapon of Mass Emulsification".)
(Recipe and text below from Sprout Garden, 7th printing, copyright Mark Braunstein, 2011. Used with permission.)
This is the basic sauce for any need. Incredibly, adding water to tahini actually thickens it. Incredible or not, adding water [also] makes tahini more digestible. Unlike other sprout dressings, this one requires no blender.
2 parts tahini
1 part water
1 part lemon juice
Dried parsley (optional)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl or jar, and stir vigorously with a spoon. Add parsley if desired.
Variation: Omit lemon juice and use 2 parts water instead.
**a.k.a. "The reason Fiddleheads Produce Dept. carries persimmons", a.k.a. "The dude who turned us all on to persimmons and ruined us for life.". Too long to fit on a marquee much less a book jacket either way.
(Above: Wild rice pilaf with butternut squash; recipe and photograph copyright Cathy Elton, 2011.)
A few weeks back I'd posted a link on the Fiddleheads FB page to Cathy Elton's Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge on her blog What Would Cathy Eat? that's worth a revisit. 25 people, including yours truly, submitted recipes that are new twists on old classics, all vegan or vegetarian and healthier than the traditional versions and offerings: lower in fat, sugar, gluten-free and so forth.
Then again, when I think about what appeared on our holiday tables back when I was growing up - gelatinous "gravy" from a can or jar, dehydrated "stuffing" from a box, potatoes cloaked with margarine and dolloped with sour cream, plus the ultimate triumph of corn syrup, the pecan pie - perhaps it isn't such such a challenge after all.
Thanksgiving is over of course but another set of holidays is "around the bend". (As your brain will most likely be by the end of January, particularly if you work in retail.)
But these recipes don't need the excuse of a "holiday" to give them a go; they are their own reason for being. Most utilize the wonderful, earthy ingredients particular to the season, (brussels sprouts, cranberries, winter squash, pears, etc); others make the most of items available throughout the year, such as garlic, quinoa and other grains.) I'm particularly intrigued by the vegan-apple pear, the quinoa bake, the variations on stuffed winter squash, the persimmon-arugula salad (I'm guessing that the escarole at the co-op from Hidden Brook Gardens, or any bitter green, would probably work as well), the wild-rice pilaf with butternut squash pictured above, the...well, you get the idea. Instant classics, every one.
Of course if you really wanted to add meat or eggs or dairy or, a cup of butter to any of them, that's easily enough done, but I doubt you will once you give the originals a try.
If you try any of these, do share your experience. (Rocked your world? Not so much?) And if you have a favorite seasonal recipe to share, especially along the lines of Cathy's challenge, and particularly using fresh ingredients available at Fiddleheads or whatever co-op is near you (but not exclusively so in either case) do drop me an line (see my addy in the sidebar) or share it in the comments.
Produce team associate Sue Guida was good enough to share her personal recipes for Creamy Tomato Soup after I begged her for the recipe. ("Ain't too proud to beg, sweet darling...") We posted this on the Fiddleheads FB page nearly a month ago, but it's worth revisiting as the weather has taken a definite turn toward something colder and crisper...sorta-kinda-maybe resembling late autumn/early winter. (Maybe.) The recipe incorporates chickpeas rather than dairy products to give it it's texture, and substituting veggie broth for the chicken makes it vegan. (The vegans and vegetarians amongst us already know that, of course; some of us are still finding our way there.) Included is the escarole salad she recommends as an accompaniment; I wasn't going to post the salad recipe here as I thought we weren't carrying any more escarole, until I walked into the co-op today and saw several heads of it that Anita Kopchinski and Bill Sokol had brought us from Hidden Brook Gardens in Ledyard on Friday.
Sue's specialty, IMO, is recipes that are almost Zen-like in their simplicity, no fuss, no frills and nothing unnecesssary. Simple, satisfying and just plain good.
Sue Guida's Creamy Tomato Soup
olive oil for sauteeing veggies
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 28oz can undrained diced tomatoes (Muir Glen is good)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
2 cups low-sodium, gluten-free chicken (or vegetable) broth
dried rosemary to taste, chopped (or double the amount fresh),
basil and oregano to taste
2 tea. sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil in you heavy-bottom pot and saute the onions for a couple of minutes, add garlic and sautee a bit more (do not brown). Stir in the tomato and the drained chickpeas; add the broth, herbs and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes. Cool enough to handle, then puree in blender or food processor in batches until smooth. Return to pot and heat through; season with pepper. Escarole or bitter greens salad makes a nice accompaniment.
Note: Instead of dried rosemary you could add one sprig of fresh and not bother chopping; remove before pureeing soup.
Wash as much escarole as you want, drain a little, break it up and put in bowl; sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper. Pour some EV olive oil over escarole. Just as you're sitting down to the table and NOT before that, squeeze fresh lemon juice over the salad. EAT. (The lemon juice cuts the bitterness of the escarole just a bit.)
(Have you ever wondered why, on your favorite food blog, some recipe posts have a photo of a main ingredient used, but not the dish itself? Two possible reason: 1) The dish, while absolutely delicious to the tongue, is not so appealing to the eye and doesn't photograph well; 2) it's been gobbled up long before anyone thought to grab a camera. In this particular instance, both happen to be true.)
Yesterday on this blog I nattered on about simplicity and sticking to the basics in my kitchen. A couple hours later my friend Miss Bliss, a woman of refined and particular tastes, popped in unexpectedly for dinner. And there I was, nothing prepared, not so much as a tahini-and-cucumber sandwich in sight.
Fortunately, I had a crisper full of organic veggies at hand and was able to throw something together for my friend. Yes, it happened to be vegan and gluten-free, but that wasn't the point of the thing; it was quick to the table and satisfied both of us. So herewith - a simple supper idea. All the ingredients in this instance came from Fiddleheads Co-op (*shameless plug*). If you are not a lover of all things chard, substitute kale or any green of your choice.
Roasted Portobello Caps & Zucchini, with Steamed Chard
2 portobello caps, stems removed
1-2 smallish zucchini (or one large; I prefer the younger, smaller ones)
1/2 bunch chard
Olive oil, organic EV if you've got it
sea salt and black pepper (freshly-cracked or not) to taste
ground cumin to taste
1/2 bunch or so fresh chard
cooked whole grain, such as long grain brown rice or quinoa (see Note) for accompaniment
Fire up the oven to 425 degrees F. Slice the zucchini into large diagonal chunks; put them into a glass or metal baking dish (or a solid old pie pan) with the portobello caps. Drizzle enough olive over the veggies to coat evenly and thoroughly, and give a bit of a coating to the pan. Add sea salt and pepper over veggies, then a generous sprinkling or so of the cumin, toss everything to coat, adding a bit more oil or spices if needful. Place in upper half of oven, and bake until the caps are fork-tender all the way to the center, about 10-15 minutes, turning everything at least once. You will probably not need to add any more oil as the natural liquor of the 'shrooms is released.
In the meanwhile, steam your chard over the stovetop; set the heat according to if you're at your leisure or in a crashing hurry. Do watch it however; chard can get away from one quickly. You don't want to let it overcook and get limp and tasteless, You want to steam until tender but still has identifiable color to it. (Unless, like my friend Miss Bliss, you prefer yours on the grey side of the spectrum.) If you're using kale instead, you'll need to give it a bit more time as kale tends to be less delicate.
Divvy up the 'shrooms, squash and chard on two plates; sprinkle a bit of salt on the chard (it won't need anything else if it hasn't been overcooked.) Serve hot with the plain rice or quinoa, with the pan juices and extra spices poured over them. Serves 2
Variations on a theme: Instead of ground cumin, try whole cumin seeds, perhaps dry-roasted skillet beforehand, until they begin to "pop" but do not burn.
Note: If you haven't got any grain already cooked and you are in a crashing hurry, quinoa cooks up nicely in only 10-15 minutes. A harried hosts' best friend.
(Previously posted on Facebook Fiddleheads Food Co-op )
Sue Guida shared this "simple" and lovely recipe for escarole soup, which she adapted from one by Dom Deluise. Yes, I know what mental picture popped in your head when you saw Dom's name : the loveable but VERY overweight actor. Me too. Rest assured Sue's adaption is very heart-healthy. (Substitute gluten-free vegetable broth to make it vegan.) This recipe also solves a problem for those - like me - who've seen the lovely heads of escarole we have from Hidden Brook Gardens and misidentify it as lettuce, or wonder what to do with it otherwise.
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 potato, peeled and diced (some of the local potatoes in the co-op would be great for this)
4 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 good-sized head of escarole, well-washed & coarsely cut
good-quality freshly-grated parmesean cheese or vegan substitute (optional)
In soup pot heat olive oil and gently brown garlic (do not burn). Add prepared onion, carrots and potato if using (which breaks up and thickens the soup nicely.) After 1 minutes add the broth; add chopped escarole, cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer 1 hour. Serve sprinkled with grated cheese. Have some hot italian bread on the table.
/recipe-archive.htmlPrintable pdf files of the recipes on this blog can be found on our Recipe Archive Page.
Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.