Monday, May 17, 2010

Vegetarian quinoa dish

Since this blog is dead, I decided to revive it by trying out different subjects such as cooking. This could be a flop, but I figure why not?

So in order to save money, P and I are trying to cook more. Neither of us loves to cook, but I probably hate it less. It's funny, people always assume that because my father is a chef that I too am a natural born cook. Although part of my Dad's talent is pure artistry, a large portion is a result of his culinary education and more than forty years spent working as a chef. So no, the gift of cooking is not some genetic skill that is passed from generation to generation. What is genetic however, is the love for good food and having an insatiable appetite (at least that's my reasoning!).

So tonight I cooked a vegetarian dish - Greek quinoa salad. Our friend M recently shared the recipe and so we decided to give it a try. I've never eaten quinoa before so it was tough to know when the grains were fully cooked. I just had to go by the packaging on the bag - wait until the quinoa is translucent in color.

I bought this brand of organic quinoa:

First, you have to wash and drain the quinoa because according to the packing (clearly my only instructions) you need to wash away any bitter tasting parts of the grain. So I awkwardly did this using a bowl and a lid from a pot. Below is a photo of the washed quinoa. The quinoa reminded me of that Nickelodeon product - not Gak - from my childhood.

Now after washing it (if you're still reading, I'm impressed) you can boil the quinoa in some vegetable stock. You can also use water but I opted for the vegetable stock because it would be more flavorful.

So now here's a photo of the bubbling, boiling quinoa. Pretty yellow, eh?

While the quinoa was boiling, I prepared a ton of other ingredients. Here's a photo of just a few of the ingredients - parsley, cilantro, garlic, olives and cherry tomatoes.

You also need to mix some olive oil, red wine vinegar (use this rather than apple cider - thanks for the tip, M), a whole lemon and garlic in a separate pan. Then mix all these ingredients together with the quinoa.

And ta da - this is the end product! Yes, I kind of skipped a few steps, but seriously just follow the recipe. Also, one tip - saute the onions so you're not just adding raw onions to the mix.

In terms of improvements - I would add less feta cheese and lemon juice next time and a few more olives and tomatoes. Otherwise, a pretty darn tasty dish.

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