Posts Tagged quinoa
I may have mentioned that Domaphile is on a gluten-free diet these days after learning of a potential sensitivity to gluten, that essential protein in wheat that gives elasticity to dough and structure to baked goods…and a whole world of trouble to people who can’t easily digest it.
I’ve known for a while how dicey gluten can be — I have lots of friends or children of friends who either have a gluten allergy or full-on celiac disease. But about six months ago, when I began to consider the possibility that I might share their affliction, it was as if every other news story or magazine article I came across was about gluten allergies, how common and pervasive they were. Funny how that happens.
Unless you suffer from celiac or react dramatically to even traces of gluten, following a gluten-free diet is not overly challenging. And some of the challenges — like getting creative about substitutions — can be downright fun. Some things, though, are tough to replace — much as I like the buckwheat buttermilk pancake recipe we found at Food.com, I still long for the fluffy wheat-flour ones we used to make. And I’m still ambivalent about kasha. I’ve drawn most of my recent inspiration from the Gluten-Free Girl. Her blog is excellent, and her cookbooks are mouthwatering – you won’t notice what they are missing.
I recently took a day-long gluten-free baking class at The Natural Gourmet Institute, which focused on using flours made from alternate grains, pulses and starches. It was lots of fun and something I’ll report on in a future post.
But my favorite gluten-free concoction we’ve made recently is a simple adaptation with a single substitution: tabbouleh, the classic Middle Eastern grain salad, with quinoa instead of bulgur. Quinoa has a similar earthiness and chewy texture, and if you like it already in its own right, you won’t miss the cracked wheat! Unlike the Lebanese version of tabbouleh, which is heavy on the parsley and lemon juice, this one has more grain than herb and isn’t overly acidic. The lemon zest brightens things up and plays well off the mint. Enjoy as a mezze salad, with hummus, labneh, babaganouj, and roasted red peppers, or alongside grilled fish or chicken. Hold the pita.
Yields 4-5 cups
1 cup dried quinoa
4 scallions, minced
1 bunch of mint, chopped fine
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
½ to 1 bunch of Italian parsley, chopped fine
¼ to ⅓ cup olive oil
Zest from ½ to 1 whole lemon
Juice from 1 ½ to 2 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 red pepper, seeded and diced, and/or 1 tomato, seeded, juiced and diced
Rinse quinoa, combine in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and a ½ teaspoon of salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes until the water is gone and the quinoa is fluffy and chewy. Transfer quinoa to a mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. When cool, toss in the minced scallions, mint, and parsley, and diced cucumber. Add the olive oil and mix to coat the grain, vegetables, and herbs evenly. Add the zest and lemon juice to taste, depending on how acidic you like it. Season with salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.
Not that you have a squash problem.
Also known as the Sweet-Potato or Bohemian squash, the Delicata squash is considered a novelty squash. This makes sense as it does blend in well with the other novelty gourds in my seasonal gourd basket (see McSweeney’s for more on this). However, I have finally found a recipe that will help you take this vegetable – which is technically a fruit – seriously. After little success in finding squash recipes that were not soup, I actually found this one while searching for new ways to use quinoa. As it turns out, squash and quinoa go together like chocolate and peanut butter. The source is Allrecipes.com and it is really simple to make: you basically roast the squash with butter in the oven and then make a basic quinoa pilaf stuffing with shallots, garlic and pine nuts. It’s the kind of easy pilaf that could easily be embellished with herbs or other vegetables (get creative!) and you could easily substitute whatever squash you’re getting in your CSA share. The extra pilaf makes for a good lunch the next day, too.
We are in the last few weeks of our CSA deliveries and, in fact, we did not get any squash at all today (sigh). We did get some good stuff though:
- Broccoli – we have no problem going through this every week
- Lacinato Kale – my favorite of the braising greens (recipe very soon)
- A manageable amount of salad greens
- 2 onions
- 1 quart of tomatoes
- A gorgeous head of red cabbage calling out for it’s friend, the spätzle.
- A bag of beets
- A bag of apples
And… a bag of sweet potatoes. These are our current challenge. What do you do with sweet potatoes?
- 1 large delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish. Fill dish with about 1/4 inch water. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each half, and season halves with salt and pepper. Cover dish, and bake squash 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until very tender.
- Place quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic, and cook until tender. Stir in pine nuts, and cook until golden. Gently mix into the pot with the cooked quinoa.
- Cut the squash halves in half, and fill each quarter with the quinoa mixture. Serve each stuffed squash quarter on a bed of the remaining quinoa mixture.