Monday, November 14, 2011

My first outing with quinoa
is a success with Pear-Quinoa Salad

Quinoa, a whole grain, has been getting a lot of attention these days thanks in part to a bestselling cookbook called Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood.
   I turned my personal attention to it on the weekend by cooking quinoa for the very first time, and was happy that the recipe I made was a definite winner.
   Pear-Quinoa Salad (click for the recipe) from Eating Well magazine is a fresh little number, perfect for eating alongside pork or chicken.
   The flavor and texture of the salad is best if the salad is refrigerated before serving, so it’s great for preparing in advance or storing leftovers for lunches.
   The toasted pecans or walnuts sprinkled on top are a must-have, adding to the naturally nutty flavor of the quinoa. I toasted chopped walnuts in a small skillet on medium heat for about three-and-a-half minutes.
   Quinoa can be found in the rice section of supermarkets.
   The salad was incredibly easy to make.
   Store-bought chicken stock or vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock) is brought to a boil. Quinoa is stirred in, and the heat reduced to a maintain a simmer (I set it at four). The pot is covered and the quinoa cooked until the liquid is absorbed (the recipe says this takes about 15 minutes but I found it took about 13.5 minutes.)
   While the quinoa is cooking, walnut oil or canola oil; a fruity vinegar such as pear, raspberry or pomegranate; chives and salt and pepper are whisked together in a large bowl. Diced pears are added and tossed to coat with the dressing.
   The cooked quinoa is added to the pear mixture and tossed to combine, and the bowl put in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes before serving (but the can be refrigerated much longer than this.) Serve topped with the toasted nuts.

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