October 24, 2009

Quinoa Or Chocolate?

Well the days of detoxing have ended......that is until next Spring; when the flowers are in full bloom, I shall find myself embarking on another journey of cleansing my organs.

I have to say after this 21 day cleanse, I wasn't craving anything that could possibly be thought of as naughty!

All quite suitable in fact, the type of ingredients that one is proud to crave. Quinoa and Spinach, no Chocolate, no Coffee, no Sugar, OH MY!

With my work, I'm surrounded by one of the world's finest organic fair-trade chocolates and I still don't eat nearly as much as I used to.

I'm constantly surrounded by delicious scents wafting up from the roasting of cocoa beans or the creation of a new confection flavor and if anything this helps with cravings as opposed to feeding into the craving.

In fact during the detox cleanse, I loved (well I always thoroughly enjoy this) but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED brewing coffee for Travis! The dark, earthiness of the coffee beans, the rich intoxicating scent of the hot water hitting the ground beans.....awwwww.

I have a tendency to always smell my food and in fact I get quite full cooking for others, as it's such a sensory experience. But during the detox, my sense of smell was amplified. I no longer found myself longing for that cup of coffee, as I was satiated with the scent of it. My mom on the other hand, had to have all coffee making cease in her house, as it drove her to wanting a cup of joe herself.

Although I'm back to the days of craving Chocolate over Quinoa. I do enjoy a steaming bowl of Quinoa also known as the Mother Grain. It's scrumptious served for breakfast with coconut milk, plumped raisins & a sprinkling of cinnamon. It plays well with mixed greens for lunch. For dinner, serve it as a side to roasted fish. And don't forget dessert! Yes, I said dessert! Try using a blend of Quinoa flour in your next batch of cookies or muffins.

Most Quinoa sold in North America has been processed to remove the bitter soap-like substance known as saponin. However, I prefer a good rinse and toast prior to cooking.

One of the 3 main staples of the Incan civilization (potatoes & corn), this tiny grain is a complete protein and contains all of the essential amino acids. Quinoa packs more protein than any other grain making it an ideal plant protein for vegetarians.

This dish is particularly delicious on a sunny Summer afternoon. Add grape tomatoes, ciliegine mozzarella and toasted pine nuts when not on a detoxification cleanse.
Lemon Basil Toasted Quinoa & Millet
Serves 4-8
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup millet
2 1/4 cup water
pinch of sea salt

2 cups fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves garlic
1 lemon, zest & juice
1/2 C+ evoo
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water for about 1 minute. Meanwhile, heat a dry skillet over medium-high heat and toss in the damp quinoa. Toast until golden and fragrant, approximately 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Follow the above directions for the millet.

Bring the water to a boil. Add the toasted quinoa & millet, cover, turn down to a low and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, using a blender or a food processor with the blade attachment, puree the basil, garlic and lemon zest. With the processor running, slowly add the lemon juice and the evoo until the mixture comes together and is a bit loose, like a vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

When the quinoa & millet are finished steaming, let sit for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and toss together with the lemon basil dressing.

Serve warm, room temperature or chilled. Works well as a side dish served with fish or a main dish tossed with spinach.

Buon Appetito!

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