Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh my! What took me so long?

Quinoa and peppers, originally uploaded by foodchronicles.

I have to admit I have never before eaten Quinoa. I have heard of it for about 6-7 years but never ever cooked with it or tasted it. Until now.

What the heck is it? Boy are we behind the curve here in suburbia. The Incas called it "the mother of all grains." The tribal leader would take golden implements, reserved especially for this ceremony, and would sew the first seeds each year at the beginning of the season. Spanish colonists scorned it and called it food for indians. It was 2nd only to the potato to the Andeans.

It contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food. It takes less Quinoa to make a complete protein than wheat and is gluten free and easily digestible. In its natural state it had a bitter outer coating "saponins" not enjoyed by humans, or birds. The birds do not eat it while it is being cultivated and Qunioa can be rinsed to remove the bitter coating. (a lot of this info came from wikipedia)

I got a recipe for it, and decided to give it a try as I am now seeing it for sale at Henry's. Wow. Am I glad I tried it. It is delicious, and can be used in many dishes I now use rice in. That way I get rid of usless carbs I am trying to avoid and add beneficial proteins to my diet. It does contain carbs though don't misunderstand me there, just the amount of proteins are much better.

It was very light in flavor and gave me the impression that it would work well with sweets as well as savories. I am going to do some more experimenting with this one. Go buy a copy of Everyday Food and make the Qunioa stuffed peppers. You won't be disappointed. The only person that I think may not like it is #3 son-in-law as it does have a slight, very slight resemblance to couscous. However, the Quinoa does get soft like rice instead of holding up and staying granular.