photo from http://www.alterecofoods.com
The other day I read that quinoa, stuffed into sachets and hung on window sills and doors works really well as an all natural insect repellent. I was three minutes away from doing just that with my jumbo bag of it, purchased at the West Side Market, because, well, it's one of those healthy foods that we're supposed to be eating.
I'd never eaten quinoa before, and certainly never cooked it, so I was really diving in there buying a bag of that size, but hey, it was a better price than the smaller bag. I was being budget savvy. But then the time came to cook it...Oh boy, was it ever a failure. I didn't rinse it nearly enough, not realizing that when they said it can be bitter if not rinsed well, they meant it will taste like rotten flesh and spoiled fish left out in the sun for weeks on end- in Arizona, in August.
Needless to say, it took me a couple of weeks before I worked up the nerve to try making a batch of it again. This time I took extra care to really rinse it well, then I soaked it, drained, soaked again, drained, and re-rinsed, the whole time saying "Oh, quinoa! Take that you dirty, dirty grain!"
That seems to have washed away all that funk. Or at least shamed it into submission. My first experience cooking it was a hot dish. I used quinoa in place of rice in a pilaf dish. My rice pilaf is fantastic, and I figured I couldn't go wrong doing this with quinoa. But like I said, I was wrong. So this go, I decided to try a cold dish. Partly because I still had memories of that hot, steaming plate of nastiness, and partly because it was just plain hot here yesterday, and the thought of hot food turned my stomach a little bit. I ended up just chopping some raw veggies: vidalia onion, yellow squash, zucchini, tomato, red, yellow, and green peppers, and garlic. Then I threw in some cooked chick peas, drained, that are patiently waiting for me to get back to the market to buy some lemon so I can make them into a proper hummus. While my quinoa boiled, I roasted some sunflower seeds. My method for cooking this time was to use a big pot, full of boiling water and the juice of two squeezed oranges, dump the quinoa in and let it go until the little guys grew tails. About 15 minutes. Then I drained them through a strainer and threw it in the fridge until my seeds were done roasting and my veggies were all chopped. I tossed all the veggies, the chick peas, the seeds, the quinoa, and a few splashes of EVOO and a healthy splash or three of a yummy Greek Vinaigrette that was in the fridge. I tossed it all together well and then chilled it until The Wifester was home and we were ready for dinner. This is what came out of it:
And let me tell you, it was super fantastic! I'll definitely be making this one over and over again this summer.