Chef Notes: Amanda’s Secret Staple

Chef Notes: Amanda’s Secret Staple

I had never heard of quinoa until culinary school.  It’s not something you see in your grandmother’s pantry in Alabama.  And honestly, the first time or two I had it I did not care for it.  It just didn’t seem to have a lot going on in the flavor department.  However, nutritionally speaking, Quinoa is a miracle seed as it’s a complete protein. Plus, it has as it grown so much in popularity that I decided to give it another shot.

Cooking it properly is key.  I toast it first, by placing the quinoa in a frying pan over medium heat, stirring until grains just begin to turn a bit golden-brown. Now bring about 7 cups of salted water to a boil, stir in 2 cups of quinoa and simmer uncovered 15-20 minutes, then drain well.  I’ve tried using stock but it does not open properly.  It’s incredibly versatile.  It can be eaten for breakfast, like oatmeal or cream of wheat, makes a mean savory cold salad (try it in place of pasta), or use it for a main dish.  Just a few add ins I’ve found that work well are toasted nuts/seeds, dried fruit, sundried tomatoes, hard cheese, apples, blueberries, celery, and/or shallots.  Try it with Asian, Italian, or Indian spices.  I like to keep a cooked batch of it in the fridge for quick meatless dinners.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Alicia
    July 05, 07:46 Reply

    How long would you say it keeps (cooked) in the fridge?

  2. marta
    July 05, 08:24 Reply

    I cook it in stock and some lemon juice and it opens up just fine. Then sautee some garlic, peppers and greens and you have a super fantastic lunch.

  3. Amanda Digges
    July 05, 09:56 Reply

    Hi Alicia, thanks for the question. The rule of thumb is that, cooled quickly and stored properly, most leftovers will keep for 5-7 days.

  4. Amanda Digges
    July 05, 09:59 Reply

    Hello Marta, glad you had luck with the stock. I’ve tested it a dozen or so times and have not been successful. I’ll have to do more research on why it’s not working for me. I’ve only been able to get it to open properly when simply cooked in salted water. I’m stumped…

  5. Bayou City Kitty
    July 05, 10:59 Reply

    I usually use Better Than Bouillon when cooking mine, and it opens up just fine…

  6. Amanda Digges
    July 05, 11:20 Reply

    City Kitty & Marta, I have always assumed that the reason stock didn’t work was because of the residual fat content and/or the level of collagen in the stock from the bones. I would not expect the same issue from bouillon as it’s virtually fat free and often basically a flavored salt or other dehydrated flavorings. I will definetely try it. Thanks for the tip!

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