Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quinoa... Lots and Lots of Delicious Quinoa!

I've been realizing that all of my posts thus far have all been about desserts of some sort and I felt the need to change that. While I do enjoy my dessert recipes, there are so many other things that I adore making and that I feel should be shared with you all! 

Today is one of those days... Today is a 2-for1 type of recipe day! Before I begin, I feel the need to explain a little something. Besides adoring being in the kitchen and planning events, I am a babysitter on the side. I began when I was 13 but really got into a few years ago when I decided that I didn't want to work a retail job for the summer. I took on 18 families that summer and was quite a busy gal. Over the years, some families have faded and I've met some new ones as well. Some amazing friendships have developed with most of the Moms and myself because the majority of us have an absolute love of cooking! A few months back I was sitting for one of my favourite families and was introduced to this tiny little grain like thing that I later learned was Quinoa. Quinoa is a grain/seed that is very high in protein and so ridiculously simple to make. It cooks very similarly to rice and is just delicious. 

My basic quinoa is pretty straight forward. Bring 2 cups of chicken stock to a boil and add in 1 cup of rinsed organic quinoa. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork (just like basmati rice) and serve. This in itself will taste AMAZING and should look something like this:

This is where the magic begins because you can truly do millions of things with the quinoa here.  On this particular night, I was craving some Asian-fushion flare and thus was born my Shrimp in Warm Asian Vinaigrette on a bed of Quinoa! This is one of the quickest and easiest meals to make (I whipped it up in about 20 minutes for my lunch for work!). 

For the shrimp you will need:
20 shrimp (if cooking for 2 or 3, depending on how hungry you are)
2 tbsp freshly grated or finely chopped ginger
3 grated or finely chopped fresh garlic
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning (or any other spice blend you enjoy or have on hand)
1 splash of white wine
  • Put the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan on medium high heat and allow them to melt together. 
  • When the butter and oil start to bubble a bit, add the ginger and garlic and sauté until they're softened and fragrant.
  • Add in the shrimp and Cajun seasoning and let the shrimp cook until they are just the loveliest shade of pink (3-5 minutes). 
  • Finish with the splash of white wine and allow it to reduce for a minute or two. 
Voila! Ginger Garlic Shrimp! Look how delicious they look!!!!!
Now while this could easily just be consumed by itself over the quinoa, we're not done yet! It's now time for the amazingly delicious Warm Asian Vinaigrette.

You will need: 
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp freshly grated or finely chopped ginger
2 cloves of garlic, freshly grated or finely chopped
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce (or to taste)
3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar or flavoured balsamic (I LOVE Wildly Delicious' Black Maple Magic Balsamic)
  • Put the butter and olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat and allow them to melt together. 
  • When the butter and oil start to bubble a bit, add the ginger and garlic and sauté until they're softened and fragrant.
  • Add all other ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened (until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon and doesn't shift when you run a finger through it). This should take approximately 10 minutes . 

Now it's time to assemble. Place the bed of quinoa on the bottom, top with shrimp and add as much (or as little) of the vinaigrette as you would like. 

Quick version Quinoa #2:

Bruschetta Quinoa! 

This has got to be one of the simplest and yet most delicious things to make EVER! 

You will need: 
Quinoa (as prepared above)
2 medium size tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp olive oil 
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients but the quinoa in a bowl. Add the quinoa and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve warm or cold as a side or as a main dish! That's the beauty of quinoa... It's so versatile and wonderful it doesn't matter what you do with it. 

On that note, I'm off to come up with a dinner menu for tonight's family dinner! I'll keep you all posted on my creations! 

happy cooking!