Monday, April 11, 2011

Keen on WHAAAAAAAA?????

That title may be a new low in puns.
I had this bee in my bonnet about using carrots for dinner today, but I didn't want to chop them into a basic salad, and I didn't want to cook them again, and I still haven't pickled any, so I am kind of up against a wall.
A quick web engine search found a Danny Boome recipe for carrots and couscous, and I thought, what the heck - I'll try my own version, but with quinoa, as it's Meatless Monday, which, uh, kind of fell apart when I was eating lunch and realized that my leftover bulgogi and rice didn't quite fit the parameters of said weekday.
Now, again, I was using what I had, and this recipe is what I had.  Editorial in just a moment...

Carrot and Quinoa Salad

  • 1/2 c quinoa
  • 5/8 c water*
  • cumin
  • cinnamon
  • a few little carrots from our CSA, shredded
  • red leaf lettuce, chopped
  • handful (or so) Craisins®
  • one or two green onions, chopped
  • a bit of parsley (I used flat leaf, but you could also use curly leaf), chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • preserved lemon (I used the basic preserved lemons, not the Moroccan ones), chopped
  • white wine, divided (by divided, I mean some for the pan and some for the cook)

Combine the quinoa, water, cumin, and cinnamon in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil and reduce to low; allow to cook for about 20 minutes; remove from heat and fluff with fork (or the toddler spoon that was more convenient, whatever).
Swirl a little oil in a saute pan, and heat over medium to medium-high heat (if you have a more reliable stove top, you might know exactly where it needs to be, but it's always a crap shoot with mine).  Add onions and parsley, and cook until tender.  Add the lemon and Craisins®; add wine to deglaze the pan.  Take a sip of wine from your wine glass.
Add the fluffed quinoa to the saute pan.  Remove from heat; add the carrots and lettuce.  Serve immediately.
*The ratio that I used for cooking the quinoa was 1:1.25.  If you want to double this recipe, you'd have a cup of quinoa and one and a quarter cup water.

Okee dokee.... so, I didn't really like the lettuce in it.  I tried to keep it crunchy, but the quinoa mix was still too warm, so it wilted.  Wilted lettuce is not as good as wilted spinach.  I am kind of regretting not using the rest of our arugula, but I was concerned that there would be too many flavors going on.  That being said, the flavors of nothing really came out, so if I were to make this again, I would do one or more of the following:

  1. use a different green (preferably spinach or chard)
  2. add more preserved lemons
  3. add more cinnamon and cumin
  4. use a broth instead of water for the quinoa
  5. add salt, pepper, garlic, or something else - perhaps some red pepper flakes

But this definitely has possibilities.  I just have to work on it.  Goodness knows we have enough carrots.

Our side dish this evening was a simple salad of watermelon, red grapes, and mint from my herb garden (where my precious lavender is struggling - sad face).  It was pretty refreshing; Scott doesn't care all that much for watermelon, so I know he wasn't a fan, but we got some for HRH after she ate nearly her entire body weight in it about a week ago; then she decided she didn't like it, so I am working through that.
Now, if you are one of the three people who check this blog regularly, you may notice that the format has changed a bit.  I am now an official Featured Publisher on Foodbuzz!  I've already found a lot of great recipes through this site, so I'm excited to be a more active part of it.  Who knows - maybe you'll see me in the Top 9 soon.
Finally, please make sure to check back Wednesday, as I'll be the guest blogger at Frosting for the Cause!

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