Thursday, November 17, 2011

Keen on Queen-what? (Quinoa)

Before I know it, it's 12:30. My stomach has long since passed along breakfast and wants refilling. I head for the kitchen when it strikes me: I'm hungry for quinoa (keen-wah), a high-protein grain that we hardly ever eat.

The package says 1/2 c to 1 cup water or broth. I still have vegan broth cubes that my sister-in-law brought from Germany. They're old, so I should use them up. Old old. (About 3-5 years old?) I pop one into water from the hot tap and let it sit while I measure out the quinoa.

After everything's combined in a pot and happily boiling away 15 minutes, it's time to think of accompaniments. At the top of the pantry is a bag of wasabi peas. Perfect! They'll add crunch and heat. But not yet.

Back in the conservatory, I snag the tops off a head of romaine, a carrot, an onion, and a lemon. There's an avocado beside the sink, so I think, "Lemon and avocado. Yup," and put them away for a side dish. Later.

After everything gets washed, I mince a small slice of onion, grate the carrot, and slice the lettuce into fine strips. A splash of oil in a small non-stick pan, onions go in on medium until they wilt, then I add the grated carrots, stir, and turn off the heat.

It's time to finish the quinoa. I turn off the burner, toss the carrot and onion mix on top of the grains, and put the lid on.

What plate shall I use? The meal is colorful, so I choose a subdued pewter green with beautifully ruffled edges (Pier 1 Imports).

Time to cut the avocado and squeeze lemon juice on it. Put lettuce and a few last shavings of carrot line the bowl.

I lift the pot lid: ah, what savory scents. A few stirs of vegetable and grains, then some spoonfulls on top of the lettuce. Time to open the bag of wasabi peas - oh! it's got individual portions. (Goodie! the rest will stay fresh for another time.) Last thing to do is sprinkle peas on top before I take a bite.

What a superb and unexpected mix of fresh flavors! Sweet carrot and lettuce, savory onion and grain, zippy peas, creamy and slightly sour avocado on the side...

Rating: 4/5 I'd make it again. Even for company.
Taste: Excellent texture, taste, and surprises as I bite down on (crunch!) the occasional pea.
Calories: 550
Tea: Lavender Earl Grey, as dessert

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