This week’s Inane Interview features devoted reader, Cutie Patooty. CP’s topic is “This Ain’t Your Mama’s Fried Rice” alternately titled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Quinoa”.
Close up on the star
YKOS: Hi CP, thanks for joining us. What do you have for us today?
YKOS: Why do you love this product?
I stumbled into the land of ancient grains and the many varieties of legumes because of my baby daughter. I read Super Baby Food several times. It is a great book not just about feeding your baby but also about food in general.I became a nutrition obsessed kind of mom. I also would have never known that you can give a kid a whole days serving of vitamin C by eating a Kiwi. Sorry-I wander. A lot. Quinoa, this interview is just about quinoa.
YKOS: Any tips for helping people with the pronunciation?
Yes. It is pronounced Keen-Wah. Kind of like if you take Keenan Wayans name and give him a nick name like “Hi Keen-Wa, wasn’t In Living Color great? I really miss it.” It is not pronounced kwon-noh-ahhh which is what I said for the first 6 months I fed it to my daughter.
YKOS: What about this brand makes this product special?
This brand is so great because they prewash their quinoa. Most grains and legumes must be washed before hand anyway to get the dirt and little rocks cleared out, but quinoa is special. Quinoa must be rinsed thoroughly to remove the saponin (it’s like a grain starch) resin from the grains-if you don’t-the saponin gives the grains a very bitter soapy taste. Ancient Harvest prewashes the saponin off the grains for us-which is so much more helpful when I am trying to get dinner ready. My husband bought a 5lb sack of quinoa (yes, we love it that much) from a warehouse club that wasn’t prewashed and I spent 10 minutes hand washing quinoa takes 15 minutes to cook!
YKOS: The house is on fire, you can save this or the box of cous cous, what are you saving?
I am saving the Ancient Harvest Quinoa. Compared to Quinoa-Cous cous is just white pasta cut into bits-it does not have the nutritional powerhouse of the quinoa grain. Quinoa has a nuttier flavor than Cous Cous and it tastes fine on its own-whereas-I need a lot of butter and salt on cous cous to keep it from tasting like plain starch. We like the crunchy texture of the germ inside the grain-which my daughter calls the “worm”. Trust me-the first time you see the germ inside the quinoa grain after you cook it-it kind of looks like a little white worm but it is the germ. “Eat Da Worm, Mommy!” Oh dear, I hope she doesn’t say that at pre-school. Did you see that X-Files when the worm is in the tequila bottle…I am straying off topic again and I am sure no one on YKOS still watches reruns of X-files-no matter how handsome that David Duchovny is.
YKOS: Is it hard to find?
No, not at all. I found it originally at Whole Foods. Then I saw it in the Natural Foods section of Shaws which I think they call “Wild Harvest”. Because the quinoa eaters are wild you know? (YKOS sidebar: You know it)
YKOS: Is it expensive?
A bit. Organic and Natural Foods are sometimes expensive but for some reason-a lot of those products end up at Ocean Job Lot. Bob’s Red Mills Quiona is also an excellent option. It can be less expensive and they too completely remove the saponin from their product too.
YKOS: You’re in an Iron Chef Challenge with Bobby Flay for Battle Quinoa, what are your three dishes?
Hmmm. First I stare lovingly at the adorable Bobby Flay for 2 minutes while my husband rolls his eyes. Then I whip up this trifecta.
Quinoa stuffed sweet little peppers. The peppers were inspired by a recent YKOS posting. By the way-ever notice that YKOS acronym sounds and looks a little Greek? I keep expecting someone to Opa! on this blog. (Bundt. Boondt? Bundt. Oh it’s a Cake!-goodness I love that movie! And Greek food. And Greek people! Wandering…..) I would mix quinoa with sautéed sweet peppers and fresh chopped parsley, stuff the mixture into the bottom halves of the little peppers, and top them with feta cheese and broil them for about 5 minutes so that the pepper chars and cheese melts.
Green Beans in an oniony tomato sauce over quinoa. Steam green beans and whip up a fresh tomato sauce of tomato paste and onion slices and crushed tomatoes with salt pepper and garlic powder. Pour beans and sauce over quinoa and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Quinoa is an excellent accompaniment to tomato sauce. It holds the sauce well.
Oh crap-now the dessert portion! Like how do they make a dessert out of pig noses on the original Iron Chef? It is amazing. Actually-the original Iron Chef is amazing. The Chairman is amazing. He is like a wealthy, silent, gourmand. On a mission. To save the world. From wondering exactly what to do with tiny octopuses and seaweed for dinner! I love him. I wandered? Again? Ok, back to my quinoa lovin’ dessert.
Quinoa pudding Here I go. I think since quinoa is a nice substitute for rice-that I would make a quinoa pudding with a toasted pecan topping. I think the nuttiness and crunchiness of the germ of the quinoa will balance well with the sweet creaminess of the rice pudding flavor and the pecan flavor will enhance that overall nutty and sweet thing.
YKOS: The doorbell rings, it’s all your in-laws and they’re hungry, what are you feeding them?
All my immediate in-laws? Wow-I am scared-that is 14 people- 7 adults and 7 kids. I think a stir fry would be easiest and most satisfying. I would probably triple the recipe below to feed that many people
CP’s Fried Quinoa
- 1 cup of quinoa, cooked (according to package directions)
- 2 eggs
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 bag of trader joes (or any brand) frozen Asian veggie mix, steamed in microwave until soft)
- ¼ bag frozen of shelled edamame
- 1 tbsp of canola oil
- 1 tbsp of General Tsao Sauce (This is my secret ingredient. I buy it at Trader Joes but you can buy it anywhere. It gives the dish a nice kick and a little sweetness we love)
Set a wok over medium-high heat and add canola oil. Once the oil is hot, crack the eggs in the pan and stir try until cooked through. If you beat the eggs before-you get yellow scrambled eggs. If you crack them in the pan and stir slightly you see the white and yellow parts separately cooked-which is better for this dish.
Once the egg is cooked-remove it from the pan with a spoon or tongs (so that the oil remains in the pan) and set them aside. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Then add the cooked veggies and stir fry them for about 2 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa and the soy sauce to the veggies and onions. Stir fry together so that the quinoa and vegetables are thoroughly mixed. Add the General Tsao sauce. Very last, add the cooked eggs you set aside and toss one more time. This is a complete meal FULL of vegetable protein!
YKOS: Sounds delicious; I’m sure it would get a rave!
I can see it now-Everyone is enjoying the stir fry. I keep hearing people say “The Kwon-Noah is great CP!” “That is a mean Kwon-Noah Auntie!” I guess I better correct everyone else’s pronunciation now.
YKOS: Sounds like a plan. Thanks for sharing with us. Now, you go stir the quinoa and I’ll go gaze at Bobby Flay and David Duchovny…..
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