Tonight we had some of my parents friends over. They've known me since I wore diapers and my cow pajamas, which was 20 years ago not 4 years ago as some of you may think. It's really encouraging for me to see such long-lasting friendships. They have been supporting and praying for each other for years and have such strong bonds with one another. I haven't seen them in quite a long time so I made some food and we had some great discussion about faberge eggs, Berkeley Bowl (my favorite food store) and my upcoming semester in the United Kingdom. I thought my friends were the only ones who talked about the most random, unrelated topics....guess I was wrong.
Anyways, I made caprese quinoa - part salad, part grain but all together really tasty and really really good for you. Quinoa is a seed from a plant that is related to spinach and swiss chard.
It has all essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Great for vegans, no more Soyrizo or Tofurkey! Quinoa can be mixed with all kinds of things. Think of some vegetables that are in season right now and combine quinoa with them. Quinoa can also be cooked like oatmeal and topped with fresh blackberries and blueberries. Since it's the end of summer, I found some great looking baby roma and pear tomatoes at the Berkeley Bowl.
3 cups quinoa
5 cups water and/or broth
1 clove garlic, finely minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 baskets (pints) of cherry tomatoes/pear tomatoes/smallish tomatoes, cut in half or quartered
1/2 cup basil, sliced thin
16 oz fresh mozarella, put into the freezer for 30 minutes and then cubed
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
Pour the quinoa into a large bowl and fill the bowl with water. Quinoa must be rinsed to remove the saponin which is a natural coating which acts like a natural bird and bug repellent. It also acts as a natural laxative...so make sure you rinse a few times, to get rid of the bitter saponin and its ill effects.
Once washed, pour the quinoa into a large pot with the broth/liquid. Most people will say that there should be a 2:1 ratio with the liquid but I prefer an al dente texture quinoa and plus there will be water on the rinsed grain so I opt with a little less. Put a cover on the pot and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes until tender and the spiral shaped germ unravels. Fluff with a fork when it's done.
Mix the garlic, lemon juice and olive oil together and pour it into the cooked quinoa. The mixing will prevent a huge garlic clump which may surprise your guests.
Recipe by Spencer Huey