Friday, November 21, 2008

Healthy and Delicious

My parents were in town this weekend. Since I’ve been living in Texas, they’ve come down to Austin from Huntsville (a three-hour drive…a three-hour drive…heehee) EVERY weekend. And, I’ll tell the truth, it’s actually kind of nice. I haven’t lived near my parents in almost 7 years, and I missed them. They are very nice people. I like having them around. So there.

There are a lot of superficial differences between my family and me, one of those differences being what we eat. And this doesn’t usually bother me so much; I tend to be un-involved in others’ choices of what they choose to eat. Irrational food-prejudices annoy me, but I don’t really care when someone wants to eat a ton of meat in front of me, especially if it’s tasty. I am a big advocate of taste. Still, I guess in general I do enjoy sharing healthy AND delicious food; some people really don’t think healthy food can be tasty, and they need the enlightenment. So that’s one of my goals in living near my family. I want to influence the way they eat, at least a little. They don’t have a ton of healthy influences in their lives, and why not bring a little Portland food love to Huntsville, Texas?

Anyways, I know they like my cooking – at least, they are very convincing in their “Mmm’s.”

I wanted to cook something nice for my parents, but also easy. Usually that means I’m making a quinoa salad. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains ever (did you know it’s actually a seed? Hmm.), and I was intrigued by the following recipe because it uses red quinoa. I had never had red quinoa before, and I liked all of the other ingredients (avocados!!! cherry tomatoes!! avocados!!!), so I gave it a try. I found the recipe online, from the blog, AlmostFit. I pasted the recipe below, and put in parentheses my little changes.


1 cup uncooked red quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
2 avocados, diced
1 cup artichoke hearts
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (I used walnuts instead)
2 tablespoons of capers, to taste (Did not use capers)

Caramelized onions:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 thinly sliced red onion

Basic vinaigrette dressing:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon or lime juice, with zest
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Serves 4-6 as a side dish

Bring the quinoa and water to boil. When the water boils, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed, approximately 10 minutes. When cooked, quinoa has a texture similar to perfectly cooked pasta, or rice. Strain and rinse well under cold water.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a skillet heat olive oil over medium heat and saute the onions until transparent.

Prepare the vinaigrette by combining the ingredients and whisking.

In a large salad bowl, toss all of the ingredients together, including caramelized onions and the vinaigrette.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

This meal was SUPER easy to make and effin’ DELICIOUS. Seriously. I have been missing out. Nathan thought it was the best quinoa salad I’d made (better than the quinoa paella? No way; that’s just crazy talk), but I think that was the just the out-of-detox-everything-tastes-amazing talking. In any case, it was tasty, if not also a liiittle too oily. Also, we had Nut Thins as a gluten-free accompaniment to the salad, along with some steamed kale with lemon juice. Yum. I felt great.


Amy said...

Hey Annette (and Nathan)! The blog's great - I'm just starting a month-long macrobiotic thing to try to get my body back on track, and the stuff you write about is really interesting (and tasty-looking!). Glad you're getting to reap the benefits of all those great ingredients available back in the States... I really miss that stuff down here! And I miss you! :)

annette said...

Hey Amy! It's good to hear from you! Macrobiotic food can be SUPER good. A friend of mine in Portland would make delicious macrobiotic meals every now and then. I got this awesome green onion miso recipe from him. It's really easy - just saute a couple chopped bunches of green onions, then add some water and tahini (or peanut butter is good, too), heat up and when it's the thickness you want, turn off the heat and add some tablespoons of miso (I use red). You can adjust the levels to taste, I usually add a lot of miso. The sauce works for all kinds of veggie combos. I make it a lot.

Good luck with the month! I'm actually being a little bad and snacking on some Frutigran cookies right now...the 'tropical' kind. Nathan and I all of a sudden have a ton of these Argentine cookies, and I'm not ready to let go of them. =)

Besos grandes chica!