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Keen on quinoa



Recently a loyal reader commented that I have a lot of fish recipes. And…it’s true because I love fish and seafood! But to keep this reader happy, I’m going to try and provide more recipes that don’t include fish.

Last fall I took some cooking classes at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking. The classes were Classic Techniques I and II, and I really enjoyed them. Each week we would prepare a complete meal. So I came away with many new skills, an appreciation for classic techniques and some great new recipes!
One was a quinoa salad. I was very skeptical about quinoa and assumed I would not enjoy it. But I was wrong – it was so good! One consistent lesson we learned in class was to trust our instincts and not be afraid to experiment and create something to our own tastes. This was how we prepared the quinoa. The grain had already been cooked for us and we were to season it as we wanted. We were given a variety of ingredients to use and went to work.
I tried the quinoa salad at home recently and was convinced I would do something wrong and it wouldn’t be nearly as good as what we created in class. But it was as tasty as it had been in class.
When you buy quinoa, choose golden versus red or black for this recipe. I like to toast the quinoa. Just measure out the quantity you are going to prepare and put it in a dry skillet. Over medium heat, slowly toast the quinoa; for about 5-10 minutes. Toasting the quinoa enhances the flavor; you’ll see the color deepen and smell the toasted flavor.
After toasting, cook the quinoa according to the package directions. When done, transfer to a large bowl and add in the ingredients of your choice, in your preferred quantity. Here’s what I mixed in, per 1 cup of uncooked quinoa: ¼ c. olive oil, one chopped tomatoes concasse (peel, seed, dice), green onions, 1 T. parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. I also like to add one diced cucumber and ½ c.feta cheese.  To make this a full meal, add shredded roasted chicken.
I served mine with tilapia that I had seasoned with salt, pepper and smoked paprika, then grilled. It was a meal I’ll be making again…soon.
And yes, this does include fish, but the star of the meal is the quinoa.
Eat and enjoy!