Thursday, May 20, 2010

Quinoa with Red Peppers, Avocado and toasted Pine Nuts

Well guys, I'm up to my ears in cake. Literally. I think I might have made more cakes in the last 2 weeks than In my entire life, and that's saying a lot. I'm happy though because I've found a few winner recipes! What I have not been making a whole lot of, are dinners. I mean, we still eat but it's mostly tacos/tostadas and soups and a white chicken chili, sans chicken, that I have already told you about. The other thing we have had like 3 times already is this quinoa recipe. It's the simplest of recipes but it's still really, really good and fast. I think it's the toppings that make it most special. It's basically some sauteed leeks and red bell pepper that you add quinoa to, directly into the saute pan, add veggie stock and some salt and cover. Then you let it simmer away for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. When it's done you put a mound in your dish and top it with a fair amount of fresh chunks of avocado, toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and voila! It's a casual dish that we just took up a notch, that's all, not to mention how healthy it is for you. You could play around forever with this recipe. Don't have leeks? use onions. Have left over zucchini? Saute it up with the onions, you really can't go wrong. If you are really hungry, serve this as a side dish along with grilled salmon or chicken, although this dish is substantial enough to stand alone in my family as long as there is plenty of avocado to go around!

Quinoa with Roasted Peppers, Avocado and toasted Pine Nuts

2 bell pepper, chopped into small dice
2 leeks, chopped, white and green parts only
olive oil
sea salt or kosher salt
2 cups quinoa, rinsed in the sink with a mesh strainer
4 cups vegetable stock (or 1 box)
1/3 cup pine nuts toasted (put them in the oven at 350 for 8-10 minutes)
3 avocados, chunked

saute the bell pepper with the leeks in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft, but not cooked all the way through, about 3 minutes. Add in the quinoa, the vegetable stock and a hearty pinch or two or salt. Bring the pan up to a boil, then turn the heat down to medium low, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes. When liquid is almost totally absorbed, the quinoa is cooked. Mound into the center of shallow bowls and top with chucks from half and avocado per person, a palm full of toasted pine nuts, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Serves 6

For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, it's crucial that you rinse the grain under cold running water before you use it. Just sort of rinse it off like it was dirty for about 20 seconds or so. It helps so it won't have a bitter after taste. this meal come together in 30 minutes from start to finish although I imagine some people are faster than me and it could be cooked sooner than that. OK, now I must leave you to focus on what else? Cake. I baked a Butter Pecan Cake today, now it's time to test Chocolate Mocha Cake! I hope I can get it done before we head to the carnival with the kids tonight. Fun times, fun times.


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  2. What are you doing with all of your cakes? You know I want to hear, in full detail, about every one of them, right? It sounds like you're coming up with a lot of good flavor combos! I had been focusing on the decorating half of a killer cake, but once you combine that with off-the-charts taste, you just may have achieved pure ecstasy in pastry form.

    Your quinoa recipe sounds really, really good. I've been making a lot of brown rice bowls with whatever vegetables and meat were in the refrigerator. I'm ready for something new, and I think this is it. How well does this keep? Does it reheat well? Thanks for posting!

  3. Hey Jessica,
    That's funny. I have been only focusing on taste and I have no decorating skill..well it's novice anyway. I'll have a website up with all my cakes mid June anf if you want any of the recipes, i'll gladly share! I have never reheated the quinoa, but I believe it would fare just fine.