Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It's Too Hot To Cook, Mama!!

Are you ready for another recipe? This summer, the rain has given way to intense humidity and heat. Not much to you Westerners out there, but we have been getting up close to 90 degrees F with at least 70% humidity. That's just sticky weather. So, since it's too hot to cook, I have been trying to come up with some creative ideas to keep the stove off. Here's my recipe for

Mama's Too Hot To Cook Quinoa Salad:

All I did was make too much quinoa for dinner one night and had a ton left over. Quinoa is like rice when you cook it: 1:2 ratio grain to water. So I took 2 Cups of quinoa, rinsed it to get the bitter enzymes off of it, and put it in 4 cups of boiling chicken broth (you can use water or other broth if you like). As it was cooking, I added frozen organic peas and sliced zucchini. Cook on low heat until the water is absorbed - about 20 minutes or so (but keep an eye on it in case it needs more or less time). So that is all the cooking part, which hopefully you can do without sweltering up the kitchen like I do.

This is one of those improvisational recipes, where you throw in whatever you have around the kitchen. You could add grilled chicken. You could add cooked beans. For this dish pictured above, I chose to add things like sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, red onion and parsley. I think I threw in a couple of garden tomatoes as well.

For the dressing, I chose olive oil, apple cider vinegar, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. I mixed that up in the food processor until smooth, checked for taste, and poured it over the top of the salad.

This salad received rave reviews, from friends and family alike. Definitely what I would call 'a keeper'.

Have you ever tried quinoa??

Quinoa plant

From Wikipedia:
Quinoa (keen-wa) was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthful choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[3] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

From Me:
What I love about quinoa is how easy it is to prepare. It cooks as quickly as white rice, tastes mild and a little crunchy, and is beautiful to look at with it's little collars that float to the top of the pot while cooking. You can find it in your local health food or specialty food stores as well as in some well-stocked supermarkets. Of course, it is also online as well. A little more pricy than rice, it is worth every cent with it's high protein count and great taste.

If you've never tried quinoa before, try it and let me know what you think!


Krista said...

That looks yummy! I think I've found something to make for dinner tonight!

goldenbird said...

I think I've tried Quinoa, but I'm not sure. Your salad sounds delicious (especially the addition of garlic, red onion and parsley)and so does the dressing! Thanks for the recipe.