Thursday, August 9, 2012

SHH - Quinoa

In the SuperFoods Rx book, quinoa is a "Sidekick" to Oats. I've had quinoa before, but it was in the form of pasta. I wanted to try actual quinoa and see what I could do with it.

I bought this box at Wal-Mart, so it should be relatively easy to find now.

I'm going to say up front, I didn't love it. At least not plain quinoa. You cook it and use it similarly to rice. A friend told me they commonly eat it for breakfast in Bolivia.

To prepare it, I rinsed it, even though the box said "no rinsing". Someone on the internet said they always rinse, and if it's on the internet, it must be a good idea, right?

First, I took about a tablespoon of quinoa and toasted it, then added butter. I got this idea from something I saw on "Sweet Genius". Their mandatory ingredient was quinoa and one of the contestants used toasted quinoa atop a cupcake. This was nice, crunchy, nutty with a little "brown butter" flavor, although I didn't purposely brown the butter. Nice garnish. A little "seedy".

Next, I cooked some quinoa according to the box instructions. It had a mild, but not particularly pleasant, earthy flavor. I added brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. But, while there is not a lot of flavor to this, there is a hint of a vegetable-like flavor that can't be covered up with the brown sugar and honey. Well, maybe if I'd kept adding, but I felt like I was already using too much.

Here's what the cooked, undoctored quinoa looks like. You are supposed to see those little white rings in it when it's done.

The "doctored" quinoa with brown sugar, cinnamon, and honey. 

But, then I had the most wonderful brainstorm. Shrimp and grits! Decadent, homey, Southern shrimp and grits. I had some cooked quinoa leftover (that's the toasted quinoa on top).

I sauteed some chopped garlic with some butter in a big pot. I took about half the quinoa and added it to the garlic and butter, then used my immersion blender to make this sort of creamy. Then I added the rest of the cooked quinoa, some heavy cream, some sharp cheddar, a little Velveeta for creaminess, lots of Louisiana Cajun seasoning, lots of cayenne pepper, some black pepper, some garlic powder and Tabasco. I added each of these until I got the heat right for me, knowing my hubby would add even more. Then, I quickly cooked up some shrimp (about a half pound for two people, maybe about eight medium sized shrimp each).

Creamy, cheesy, garlic, and hot. Mmmmm comfort food. 

This is a big cereal bowl. We got stuffed on what appeared a small portion and fed a couple of our shrimp to our grateful little doxy. 
I'm sorry for the lack of measurements in this recipe. I was cooking while HUNGRY! For the next quinoa experiment, I may tried a fried rice recipe. The texture reminds me of fried rice.

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