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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I already use reusable bags. Now all I need is a Prius.

I think I hit a whole new level of green living today.

I cooked quinoa.

Why did I cook quinoa? Because everyone is cooking quinoa. Because quinoa is the healthiest substance known to man. I think it cures cancer, aids weight loss, fixes leaky roofs, protects the top coat of paint on your car, and gives your coat a healthy glow.

No joke, here are some quotes I found while researching this superfood:

"Quinoa is perhaps one of the most perfect non-animal sources of protein on the planet." -- Natural News

"[Quinoa] has a protein content that is superior to that of most grains, because it contains all the essential amino acids." -- New York Times

"[The] diminutive seed, which powered Inca armies ... is unmatched in nutritional value." -- AP News

With rave reviews like these, who wouldn't cook the stuff? It's practically guaranteed to improve my life thousandfold.

Of course, I also found news today about quinoa's darker side. Apparently all of us northern Whole Foods shopping, health-conscious, eco-friendly consumers are driving the price up. Up so high that the people who have been harvesting and eating the stuff ever since it powered the Inca armies, can no longer afford it.  While I feel for Bolivia and the people there, the fact remains that today I need to get dinner on the table.

First, I am told, you must rinse the quinoa grains in water before cooking them, to get rid of a bitter taste. Not one to buck advice from people who were green long before I was, rinse I did.

Next, you cook it pretty much the same way you cook rice... in a liquid to quinoa ratio of 2:1. Bring the liquid (in this case, chicken stock) to a boil, add quinoa, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes, until the liquid is all absorbed.  Twenty minutes! That's enough time to read a couple of blogs, stir the orange marmalade that is simmering one burner over, have a phone conversation with your son's baseball coach, check your email, sync your phone, or sort the mail. Or, according to someone who shall remain nameless, do all of the above.

When your quinoa has absorbed all of the chicken stock, set it aside, and find a good recipe. I found a recipe online that met all of my usual requirements: It had to use up one or more of my vegetables and be written in English.

I actually found a recipe written by my local food guru, A Girl*A Market*A Meal, that met those requirements and had promise to be amazing. Not only did it use a head of broccoli (the main objective for today's meal), but the seasonings she uses are amongst my favorites, together in a fabulous combination... lemongrass, ginger, garlic, cilantro.

Of course, I can never leave well enough alone. Where she includes tofu, I substituted beef. I think venturing into the world of quinoa was enough green-ness for one day. I didn't really need to go as far as to cook tofu did I? Plus, I had a steak in the fridge that needed to be used post haste.

For the most part, though, I did just as I was told. And once again, I was very happy with my results.