over the last few months, while the sin fairy was in town (en route to becoming dr. sin fairy), we had a standing wednesday date of vin, gâteau de biscuit...and quinoa. a rut, you say? au contraire — sometimes the cookiecake had buttercream frosting, and sometimes fudge! (heh.) no really, with something so delicious and rustic and healthy and quick and easy and vegan (tsf is an ironically virtuous, complex lady), it's now become more ritual than a rut (for the sin fairy's sake, I hope she agreed). besides that, quinoa is an economical, whole grain, uniquely complete protein source. the recipe is adaptable to whatever's in the fridge and/or in season. if it needs cooking, it goes in our quinoa du jour.
tonight's special was enjoyed by the glow of a top chef double feature, our simple meal juxtaposed with the insanely indulgent, artful 12 courses created by finalist masters keller, chiarello and bayless (so gratifying that each has a show on pbs...not the food network). they all seem like such wonderful, generous, kind people, it's reassuring to see success sometimes comes to lovely people who just really...love their work. the only thing more enjoyable than watching is reading amuse biatch's wicked show recaps.
the following recipe makes about a boatload. yep, that's the technical term for the finished volume. it's enough for three people's dinner, and a few days' bento lunches for at least two of them. if it seems unbelievable, stop by some wednesday and join us! each serving also includes about 27 of daily recommended daily veg servings.
wednesday quinoa blue plate special
makes: one boat load
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, smashed
2-3 carrots, chopped
1 large red/yellow/orange bell pepper or several smaller, seeded and chopped
2-3 squash or zucchini, roughly chopped
1/2-1 pint small tomatoes, halved
and...green beans, eggplants, mushrooms, asparagus, wilty greens...anything sitting idle in the crisper, chop it and throw it in the pot!
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
3 cups water or stock
salt & pepper
1/2-ish cup vinaigrette dressing, to taste
handful of parsley, cilantro or other fresh herb, chopped
imho prep-work is hateful nasty work, but please feel free to chop finely and neatly. in very large pan, saute chopped veggies in oil, in order of longest-to-shortest cook-time (pretty much in same order listed). season with salt and pepper along the way. scooch veggies over to create a hot spot for tomatoes, so they have a chance to caramelize against the metal surface. reserve any very tender veggies (like baby spinach or thin asparagus) to add in last few minutes of cooking. add quinoa and broth, bring to boil, then cover and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. the grain is cooked when slightly translucent, and the tiny thread-ie thing unfurled. almost all liquid should be absorbed and veggies tender.
here's the dirty-little-secret part: girard's champagne vinaigrette dressing. any vinaigrette works, but that's the one usually stocked in our fridge and hey, this is a lazy weeknight meal. when quinoa is done, turn off heat and toss in dressing, to taste. fold in fresh herbs and serve.