Intrigue the not so keen into Quinoa

Although I pride myself on having an adventurous palette open to Pescatarian approved cuisine, it seems the ancient nutritious grain coined vegetarian staple is on the same perception path as tofu. One that is strictly for those with lifestyle diets, and couldn’t possibly replace their fluffy rice or garlic infused mashed potatoes.

Perhaps the invisible California bubble is influencing my openness to trying[at least once] various types of food, yet what is the harm in sampling a spoonful of quinoa?

Simply because it is categorized as healthy? Or deemed exclusive to those with pretty pennies? I for one am always baffled by those reluctant to indulge, yes indulge in healthy options. VEGETABLES CAN TASTE REALLY GOOD. Quinoa for that matter [pronounced keen-wa] is considered a delicious superfood as well not just by my own standards, but by official dietionists that possess a degree in food science. Being heavily packed with protein, dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, and trusted for gluten-free diets, testing this will turn into begging for seconds, and thirds.

Make sure to tune into chapmanradio.com at 1:00pm every Wednesday to discover the Food & Music pairing to compliment this featured meal!

Today’s bright, and musically spicy beat:

In terms of enjoying this easily digested grain, each piece is a thirsty absorbent prepared to evolve with the various spices, vegetables, and other forms of protein in its pot. In just about ten minutes, your tastebuds will already be ignited simply by the aromatic smells surrendering the kitchen.

As an individual answering to Annie Green most commonly, but also to Annie Green Yo, and Annie Green Apple, another nickname I happily accept is Annie Green Tea. I kid you not, I go through about six large teapots of brewed Trader Joe’s Irish Black Tea, or a brand of Vanilla Chai splashing each mug full with Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk. Tea is packed with antioxidants and energy to spark your happy bones, yet the blends can also infuse flavor into your cooking.  How’s about quinoa friends?

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Why yes, one of my favorite, well respected brands of the tea world is Republic of Tea which Santa strategically noted this Christmas. Noting my need for caffeine-free varieties as well, my stocking featured

Get Limber, an Herb Tea [apparently for flexibility?] highlighting Green Rooibos | Ginger |  cat’s claw | orange peel | turmeric | & | yucca extract.

Half these ingredients I couldn’t tell you where their origin stems from, yet in innovating the rabbit-like way I eat, what’s the fun in cooking without a little risk?

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A risk that paid off. Unearthing a depth of spicy, floral flavor to the hearty grain, coupling Kelly’s Jelly Pine-a-Peno bathed cucumbers, and fragrant clementine slices transformed the often robust superfood into a fresh, bright taste for a lunch.

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With no excuses on lacking time, preparation, or easily accessible ingredients, lunch will impress with this simple preparation and presentation in no time. Being healthy can boost your reputation; just don’t mention its label until after friends discover its worth.

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Green Rooibos & Tropical Infused Quinoa with Sweet Cucumber Relish & Clementines

 FOR THE QUINOA

1 cup quinoa, dry

2 bags Republic of Tea ‘Get Limber’ (or any variation of herb tea you find fitting)

1 ts. Sriacha sauce

1 ts. Garlic Salt

FOR THE CUCUMBER RELISH

4 tb. Kelly’s Jelly Pine-a-Peno(or another variety of Pepper Jelly)

1 cucumber, chopped

3 clementines

INSTRUCTIONS

Quinoa

[Follow the instructions according to the package.]

ROLL OF THUMB: FOR EVERY SERVING OF QUINOA, DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF WATER.

Upon having the water at a rumbling boil however, put both tea bags in the water to begin the steeping. I personally left the tea bags in even after pouring the quinoa into the pot, but this is personal judgment. Add sriacha, and garlic salt and occasionally stir to avoid the grain sticking to the pan.

While quinoa is cooking…

Cut the cucumber lengthwise in half. With one half, place it flat side down horizontally, and cut into ‘half moon’ strips. Do the same with the other half, but cut into squares from the flesh of the cucumber. Taking one strip, cut each end, and the top dark edge until a square emerges. Repeat with the rest of the cucumber half. Place the cucumber pieces into a small bowl with the Pepper Jelly to ‘marinate’ for at least five-ten minutes. Peel the clementines.

Plating

Arrange the clementines vertically in columns beginning from the left side of plate to the middle. Arrange the half moon strips in the same fashion continuing across the plate. With a spoon, place the quinoa in a mound using the spoon to shape. Finally take the squares cucumber pieces and arrange on the right side of the plate. Artistic direction is all based on your own culinary merit~ presentation is half the meal!

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