I've been following the blog — which has now become a website — of a lovely chef named Jennifer Segal (www.onceuponachef.com). Jennifer trained as a chef who now limits her cooking to her own young family but, thankfully, shares some wonderful recipes
with those of us who follow her.
Recently, she posted a recipe for quinoa, which happens to be a favorite grain (actually a seed) of mine. As usual, I modified her recipe a bit because I wanted to add more color. But she got me started in what turned out to be a very tasty direction.
Quinoa with Shiitake Mushrooms, Carrots, Red Pepper, and Toasted Pecans
1 c. quinoa, rinsed and dried
1-2/3 c. low-sodium vegetable broth
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 medium-small onion, diced
2 small carrots, diced
1/2 medium-sized red pepper, diced
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 oz. shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin (I used scissors)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. toasted pecans
Preheat the oven to 350° (for toasting the pecans)
In a pot, pour the dried quinoa and dry cook on medium for about 5 minutes, until it begins to have a slightly nutty smell. Add the vegetable broth, cover, and let cook until the liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes).
Meanwhile, in a large frying pan, heat the olive oil a bit before adding the veggies. Preheating the oil helps keep the remaining ingredients from sticking to the pan. Be sure not to burn the oil though (if it smokes, toss it out and start again).
To the heated oil, add the veggies and thyme and cook over medium heat until cooked through (about 20 minutes).
While the veggies are cooking, place the pecans on a baking sheet and place in hot oven for 4-5 minutes (keep your eye on them as you don't want them to burn).
Add the cooked quinoa and toasted pecans to the veggies, along with about 1/4 c. more broth and stir until hot. (Yummy.)
NOTE: my modifications to Jennifer's recipe were 1) to pre-heat the quinoa while it's dry, 2) using vegetable rather than chicken broth, 3) adding the diced red pepper, 4) NOT adding salt or pepper, and 5) adding a little broth at the end to help heat
the dish before serving. Jennifer's recipe calls for adding parsley at the end, which would have added a needed touch of green. I didn't have any parsley, so the lack of green was (to me) a shame. Next time I make this I might opt to add peas, or chopped kale,
or diced green pepper. Or maybe I'll use parsley!
I served this with a spinach salad:
4-5 c. loosely packed baby spinach
1/4 c. diced red onion
1/3 c. toasted pecans
1 small can mandarin oranges (juice removed)
1 tbsp. feta cheese
1 tbsp. Lite Asian Ginger dressing
Very healthy. Very tasty.
For a photo of this, as well as the original recipe, go to: http://www.onceuponachef.com/2012/02/quinoa-pilaf-with-wild-mushrooms-carrots-and-pecans.html<