It may be a new year, but it’s the same old Mother Nature that is with us. And someone once said that every weather proverb bearing the whiskers of age holds a grain of truth.
According to ancient Saxon lore, the trend of the year’s weather is influenced by the day of the week on which Jan. 1 falls. This year Jan. 1 falls on a Saturday, therefore a snowy winter, blowy spring and a rainy summer are predicted.
Everything old is new again — this holds true not only in weather but in clothes and food. Every time the economy gets shaky, we get nostalgic for nonshaky times ’tis reported. There’s a craving for the good old days — a need for comfort from the past. In the clothesline, gingham shirts, bomber jackets and the gray blazer are coming back in men’s wear, and for the women, black-framed glasses, boxy handbags, chunky sweaters and flirty aprons.
And in the food line, there’s a strong, growing culinary evolution, the farm-to-table movement. Chefs and home cooks alike increasingly are returning to farms, local producers and farmers markets to buy their food. It’s really all about getting back to basics, closer to the way previous generations ate.
One of which is quinoa (pronounced keenwa). About the size and color of sesame seeds, this staple of the ancient Incas in Peru is enjoying new popularity. It can be used in any recipe calling for rice.
Quinoa has a light texture and almost sweet flavor. Unlike other grains, quinoa is a complete protein, is a high source of iron and essential amino acids and rivals milk for calcium content. That is why it has been called “the mother grain.”
Tiny and bead-shaped, the ivory-colored quinoa cooks like rice, taking half the time, and expands to four times its original volume.
In small pan, sauté onion and carrot in oil until tender. Add rice and quinoa; stir to coat. Stir in broth and pepper.
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, adding the broccoli during the last 3 minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat; let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and serve.
In small pan bring quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 12-15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with fork. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
In large bowl, combine the warm quinoa, spinach and cranberries.
For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the oil, orange juice, vinegar, maple syrup, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir in scallion. Pour over quinoa mixture; toss to coat. Sprinkle with pecans and serve.
Rinse quinoa; dry roast it in heavy skillet over medium heat until the grains have dried and are slightly toasted. Heat stock, sage, marjoram, thyme and red pepper flakes in saucepan. Bring to a boil, add quinoa, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is done.
While quinoa cooks, heat a skillet over medium heat; add oil, onion, celery and carrot. Stir, reduce heat, cover and sweat 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Remove lid, add garlic, stir and cook until onions are caramelized. When quinoa is done, remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
Combine quinoa and vegetables; season with salt to taste. Just before serving, blend in toasted pecans and parsley. Serves six.
all recipes from my files
Note: Quinoa should be thoroughly rinsed to remove a natural bitter coating on the grains.
There’s no telling what the future holds, but we should heed the warning and hope for the best while preparing for the worst — and adding something new to our diets even if it is really old.
Marian Platt’s column appears the first and third week of each month in the Sequim Gazette. She can be reached at 683-4691 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
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