Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Blah, Blah, Blahg: In Which We Meet Our Heroine, And A Most Delicious Quinoa Tabouli

I know, *whoa*. New Etsy store (*Nudge, nudge!* http://www.etsy.com/people/PenelopePeapod?ref=si_pr  ) , facebook page (*Ahem!* http://www.facebook.com/PenelopePeapods) and a new blog ..??? Way to get in on the cutting edge, to strike while the iron's hot, to.. What's that? I'm about five years too late with all of this? Oh. Uhh.. How long is that in Mom years, do you know? Hmm..

Well, no matter. I have a recipe, y'all. Nay, THE recipe.. Theeee recipe I mussssstttttt shaaaaaaaaaaare witttttthhhhhh the worrrrrrrrrllllllldddddd-ah!!! It is absofreakinlutely divine, and you're gonna love it. What's more, it's gluten-free (as all of my recipes will be), dairy-free (as most will be), egg-free (a mere fluke) , soy-free (no comment. Monsanto might be watching.), and vegetarian, too.. Sooo, delicious *and* nutritious, that ever-elusive combination some of us spend our entire lives searching for. Search no more, friend. SEARCH NO MORE. I have found the secret to food happiness, and that secret is..
Oooooooh! Amazing technicolor dream quinoa!
CUPCAKES! QUINOA! Say it. It's fun. "Quinoa". (Pronounced "keen-wa".) Do you know of this stuff? It can generally be found in the rice aisle (in nearly every grocery store, these days, and in all health food stores), and it cooks up a lot like rice, only more quickly. It can be served in place of rice, in place of pasta, like oatmeal or a hot breakfast cereal, shaped into patties and fried or sauteed, ground into a nutrient-rich flour, used to add protein and heft to soups and stews, as a couscous, eaten with a heap of beans on top (add some cilantro and avocado, for good measure), or in countless other ways. (I'd love to hear your favorite dish to make with it!) But, here's what Smarty MacSmart Smart from NPR had to say about it:
What was a sacred crop to the Incas has been classified as a  "super crop" by the United Nations because of its high protein content. It is a complete protein, which means it has all nine essential amino acids. It also contains the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair, and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorous. 
And we all know NPR doesn't lie.  (For the rest of the article, and for some lovely recipes to try [once you've finally tired of this one], see http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15749697 )

Extreme quinoa closeup!!!
 Quinoa is nutty, it's flavorful. It's light, yet filling.It is a glorious substitute for grains, and/or animal protein, for anyone with dietary restrictions, or who just wants to try something a little different.. But I could wax poetic about healthy, natural, beautiful, fresh, and simple foods for, like, ever. (And I probably will, if you decide to stick around.) The fact of the matter, though, is: this little seed is amazingly eeeeaaaaaaasy-peasy, and crazy-versatile. It is merely an elated accident that it is also chock-full of nutritional goodie-goodness. Just be sure that the brand you purchased has been pre-rinsed, or give it a quick li'l scrubbin' before cookin' (as I've heard that it can taste a tad dirty, otherwise).

 The following recipe combines some of my all-time most favoritest flavors- garlic, lemon zest, roasted peppers, parsley, green olives. It's sort of my quick, gf answer to tabouli. It's salty, it's savoury, it's a tiny bit spicy, the mister loves it, the kiddos enjoy it, it goes well with fish or chicken or just with some corn chips and hummus, it is the perfect side dish or main dish; and since coming up with the recipe, we have literally been nomming up AT LEAST two batches a week. Cuz we can't and we won't and we don't stop. Make it yourself and see if you can. I dare ya. Here's what you'll need to make:
My goodness, what retro photo apps you have, my dear!
 The Most Delicious Quinoa Tabouli With Which You Will Ever Stuff Your Fat Face, Or Make Sure There Is A Grandma Nearby As You Will Soon Wanna Slap Her
Quinoa -2 Cups Uncooked
Water- 4 Cups
Parsley- One bunch fresh, or about 10 Tbsp. dried
Two large lemons- both the zest and the juice
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2 to 3 Tbsp.
Garlic- A lot. Like, a whole lot. 5 or 6 cloves.
Red Onion- Half of a large, or one whole small one.
Big, Fat Green Pepper- The whole dang thang, gurl.
Big, Fat Red Pepper- See above.
Green Olives- 1 Cup, sliced.
Red Pepper Flakes- 1 Tbsp.

 To make your quinoa, add two cups of it to four cups salted, boiling water. Let boil for a minute, cover pot, and turn heat down to a simmer for 15 minutes, or until fluffy and water is absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking, chop your veggies (as small or as large as you prefer); and pan-roast the red and green pepper, the onion, and the garlic. (I like my peppers and onion a little blackened, which I accomplish by quickly stir-frying in a pan, on high heat, for a few minutes. I add the garlic at the very end, so its texture is slightly softened, but its flavor is still super strong.. What?? It's good for your immune system. Just make sure your kissing partner eats some, too, or if ya don't want to share, have some gum available. No problemo, Boblemo. And to get your now-blackened pan clean, after removing said veggies, turn heat back up, and pour a cup of water into your pan. Be careful, it might splash and sizzle a bit, and will probably make the most delicious snap-crackle-ssssss kind of sound. Now, scrape icky-yuckies with a wooden spatula, and feel a little bit like a genius. Ta-dah! Revel in the fact that you can also cook, and you're pretty, to boot. Do your thing, sassy girl! But, alas.. umm.. let's not get sidetracked.) Now, uncover quinoa to cool. Zest lemons and juice into a large (as in, will fit four entire cups of cooked quinoa, plus a whole bunch o'other schtuffs *and* allow you room for stirrin' n mixin'), heat-proof bowl. Chop parsley, and add to bowl, along with red pepper flakes, olive oil, and green olives. Mix in veggies and quinoa. Add black pepper, if you so choose. Eat cold or warm, and try not to scarf entire bowl with the serving spoon, while still standing at the stove. Have a little decorum, please. Sheesh. . . On the off-chance that there's any tabouli left after this meal, try adding three eggs and some more oil, and packing into well-greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, and serve over fresh baby spinach. Squeeze on some more lemon juice and olive oil, or drizzle on a little vinaigrette. If you're into dairy, grate some nice, aged parmesan on top. In sum, yum! If you're  choosing to steer clear of nightshade veggies, omit the peppers and pepper flakes, and add some squash and zucchini. Maybe some mushrooms? Get crazy with the cheez whiz! It's your call, cowgirl!

 I hope this makes your tummy as happy as it makes mine, and thanks so much for letting me share it wichya.(I won't cuss or hit ya. [Just fyi.]) Here's how I like to serve it:
Quinoa Tabouli, Wild-caught salmon filet, and baby spinach salad with mushrooms, slivered almonds, avocado, and honey mustard.. So, you can just bite me, Martha. (Just kiddin'. Shout out to my gal, M.S., yo! She's my hero..  Whut, whut! For realz, though. Call me, Ms. Stewart. I never believed what they said about you. *Creepy whisper* Ahhh love yewww! Let's spray paint things sage green together.)

Now, tell me, what'd you think??? And what's your favorite quinoa dish? Leave me a comment! I'd love to hear suggestions, and I so hope to see you again.. Peace, love, and food, y'all!



  1. Just so you know, you
    rule. Love, Jigsaw Jones

  2. Awww.. As do you, my dear Jigsaw, and thank you muchly! xoxo