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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cooking Up Some Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced Kee'-nwah) is the new uber comfort food. It's not a grain, so isn't on the grain hater's list and it is Gluten-Free! Its nutritional profile is stellar, a 1/4 Cup of uncooked quinoa supplies the daily value of 58% manganese, 31% tryptophan, 29% magnesium, 28% phosphorus, 1/5 of all your daily requirement for fiber and folate!

Some people out there (you know who you are) are a little afraid of this "new" (ancient) grain-like "trendy" stuff.  Will it taste weird?  Is it complicated to prepare?  Do you need a rice-cooker or pressure-cooker or some other gadget to cook it?   I'm here to tell you that delicious quinoa is EASINESS itself to prepare, and I just eat it very simply, most of the time, like I would brown rice.  The quinoa in the picture is how I like to gussy it up: a dollop of Miso, a sprinkle of Sea Salt, maybe a little coconut oil or margerine, and some chopped greens (cilantro here, but raw chopped fresh celery is also yummy).  Here are my cooking instructions:

*Put 1/2 C. Quinoa in a bowl or pot and cover with fresh water.  Stir your finger around, pour it into a strainer and rinse several times with cold running water.  (You can soak the quinoa overnight or for a couple of hours to get rid of the 'inhibitors', but I usually dispense with this stage).
*Put washed quinoa in a small heavy pot that has a tight-fitting lid.  Pour in about 2X as much water as Quinoa (1/2 C. raw quinoa=1 C. Water) and bring to a good rolling boil.  You can add salt and veggies here if you wish.
*Put lid on the pot and turn it way down to lowest or 2nd lowest temperature for about 15+ minutes (will vary by stove).
*Lift the lid and check to see if most of water has been absorbed.  Some more water will be absorbed/will evaporate when lid is removed.  Fluff up with fork.  Serve immediately or if you have other plans for it (burgers, cookies, whatever), put it aside.

Among other things, this wonderful food is great at protecting the heart (because of its magnesium content) and surely worth eating often.  A half-cup of cooked Quinoa has only 222 calories (before you add in any fats, etc.)


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