Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Real Food Trade: Quinoa instead of Cous Cous

I remember my disappointment when I first learned, years ago, that cous cous was actually pasta rather than some lovely ancient grain.  I was naive.  When I rejected refined foods years ago, that meant giving up cous cous, which I had often relied on for a quick side course that was far easier to prepare than rice.

Recently, I did discover the actual ancient grain quinoa.  I had ordered some to try, in bulk, from Azure Standard.  I also had several friends who brought quinoa dishes to share while we were recovering from the birth of our third child.  Of course, I thought they were bringing this new-fangled thing called "KEEN-wah".  I would not like to admit how recently I discovered that the new-fangled "KEEN-wah" and my lovely ancient "Kwuh-NO-ah" were one and the same.  Perhaps I am not the only one who has been confused by this?

The important thing to glean from this Quinoa (KEEN-wah) experience is this:  I now have a cous cous replacement!   The other night my husband brought home some lovely rib eye steak.  I needed something simple to go along side it and I had just finished sprouting some quinoa that I was not sure how I would use.  I decided to prepare it much like I used to do with cous cous.  Namely, I brought a cup of water to boil, added 1 cup fresh sprouted quinoa (I had placed the finished sprouts in the refrigerator rather than dehydrating them), removed from heat, and let sit 5-10 minutes until the quinoa had cooked.  Afterward, I added butter, sea salt, pepper, and herbs to taste.  When the steak was done it was placed a top the quinoa along with some drippings.

Yum!

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This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday's hosted by Kelly The Kitchen Kop and Cheeseslave
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9 comments:

  1. Thank you Marianne! This is a wonderful idea ... I had never tried it either, but will now :) DeAnna, my youngest, makes a wonderful cous cous salad that she found the recipe for when she was pregnant, full of protein.... yummy and very simple. Will be great to try with Quinoa instead.

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  2. Thanks Toni! Yes, I think it would make a lovely substitution in the salad! I'd love to hear how it goes (and if her kids like it - my boys thought it looked funny with the little sprouts but they liked it once they saw us eating it with pleasure and tried it).

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  3. we LOVE quinoa. It's a fast side dish and can be flavored with all kinds of different herbs, in my opinion, much more than cous cous.

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  4. Meg - You are right, I think quinoa is SO much more versatile than cous cous, and nearly as easy. Do you have a favorite preparation you could share?

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  5. we're pretty traditional...

    If we're eating it hot, we use chicken broth instead of water to boil, that's a yummy addition if you don't have any extras like carrots or broccoli to add.

    If it's going to be eaten cold we add parsley or basil and tomato, cucumber, celery and/or peppers - a favorite "salad" in the summer time using whatever the garden provided.

    I'm a 'use what's in the kitchen' kind of cook. So usually inspiration hits sometime between getting home from work and dinner :-)

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  6. No lovely pictures of your yummy-sounding meal?

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  7. Meg - Thanks for the recipe tips! Do you sprout your quinoa? I am totally a use-what's-in-the-kitchen kind of cook. Menu planning, though very practical, is not nearly as satisfying to me as making something up on the fly with what is on hand.

    Luckily (?) my menu plans never go quite according to plan, so there is still usually a night of figuring out what else I could make with the contents of my pantry.

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  8. Jen - Yes! I TOTALLY took pictures, but they were lost in the same technical failure that lost my first batch of sprouting pictures and delayed the "how-to-sprout" post (coming tomorrow with new pics! - of course, you no longer need it =)).

    There were also lovely pictures of deer grazing in our front yard, a couple priceless ones of the kiddos that I worked hard to get...and yes, I cried. Soren couldn't quite figure out what happened.

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  9. yeah we sprout it. Usually we take care of the soaking or the sprouting, that much we are prepared for. Then the rest of it just 'happens' when I get in the kitchen :-)

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Questions and Comments welcome! If you would prefer to contact me privately, please email mariannescrivner (at) gmail (dot) com.

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