Wednesday, May 11, 2011

steel cut oats-1; quinoa-0 (181.6)

I'm trying to cook more often, and since my husband isn't eating meat that much anymore (yay! he's been eating healthfully and is doing soooo much better), I'm trying vegetarian recipes.

I always check out Roni's website first.  I love her recipes.  Simple, easy, tasty.

Tuesday morning I made her steel cut oats on-the-stove recipe, with cinnamon and blueberries.  It was fab.  I've never had that kind of oatmeal.  I am hooked.  Love the texture.

Then last night I made the quinoa (if you've never heard about this ancient grain, it's pronounced keen-wa) with cinnamon, pears, pecans, and raisins.  I've never tried quinoa before.  The Bob's Red Mill package says that the Aztecs used to eat this healthful grain; it has all 8 amino acids; it's high in fiber.  So, yeah, I figure it must be pretty fantastic, right?

What they don't say on the label is that the Aztecs didn't have any choice but to eat quinoa.  That must be why these ancient smart guys ate this grain, because it tastes like grass or straw or some other food that only cows should eat.

I knew something was amiss when I stirred it about 5 minutes in, and the smell was off.  A green, weedy scent was floating in the steam above the boiling mass of little grain balls.  I withheld final judgement though.  What does my nose know?

I cut the pear and chopped the pecans; I don't do raisins.  When the old-as-dirt grain was finished cooking, I poured it on top of the pears and pecans, stirred it all together, took a bite, and thought "wow.  it tastes like it smells."  Well, I thought, maybe it just takes some getting used to.  Roni raved about it on her recipe blog.  She ate the entire recipe in one day.

I took several more bites, and by the fifth bite I was ready to puke.  Seriously, not for me.  I dumped it all in the garbage.

Now, sadly, I have an $11 (the price point is a big reason I'd never tried it before) bag of quinoa on my counter that I'm going to throw away.  Too bad there aren't any Aztecs in my neighborhood.

Do you have any great vegetarian recipes or websites you would like to share?  I have a "chopping threshhold."  I can't do too many ingrediants (more than 7 or 8 and my eyes glaze over and I'm on to the next recipe).  I don't have much time, and I like to use one cutting board, one mixing bowl, and one pan on the stove (or one baking dish), and no more.  That's not too much to ask for a modern day mom who doesn't like to cook, is it?

I made it to the gym today for the first time this week.  30 minutes step, and, as promised, I kicked up my cardio and did another 46 minutes on the treadmill (3 miles).  I am seeing small improvements in my body already, even though the scale hasn't moved much.  My abs are stronger, my collar bones are reappearing, and I can see shoulder muscles beginning to form in my upper arms.  My stamina in class is getting better too, even though I was away for 4 days.

I need new shoes, though.  I've been wearing my running shoes for my group exercise classes, but I don't think that's such a great idea.  I think I need different shoes for different activities. My forefoot was pretty tender today during class, and it's a bit hard to walk today in my dress shoes.  Do you have special shoes for each activity?  Or do you just wear one for all?

Speaking of shoes, and then I've got to scoot, last week I wore my all time favorite brown stacked heel sandals--they are about to fall apart, I've worn them so much over the past 4 years--and they hurt my ankles. Maybe it's wearing high heels that have zero support.  Maybe it's the extra 30 pounds this spring I'm carrying (which I haven't had before when I've worn these shoes).  Maybe it's the exercise and pounding my feet in shoes I shouldn't be pounding my feet in, and then wearing heels afterwards.  I don't know.  Maybe it's yet another malady of middle age.  All I know is, they made my left ankle and lower calf swell up. I will not be wearing them again any time soon. 

And if you hear taps playing in my backyard, it's me, burying my beloved brown sandals.


MCM Mama said...

Did you rinse the quinoa really well before cooking? I love the stuff and eat it plain and I've never thought it tasted like grass. More like a nutty rice. Or maybe it was old?

Laura N said...

no! I didn't rinse it... didn't know I was supposed to. Must have missed that direction somewhere, in my hurry to cook dinner. :)

the texture was good, it was just the weird taste. I got it at our nicest grocery store in town, but it's sure possible it was old. I will look at the date on the bag. I'll try the rinse thing, and if it's still like grass, I will see if I can get it at our health food store. I would enjoy a nutty rice flavor.

So glad you commented, Erika!

jen said...

Was just coming here to tell you you may need to rinse it first. Glad to see you haven't thrown it out yet. Put it into a fine mesh strainer and rinse it well.

I buy brands that say they are pre-rinsed. That makes it a little easier.

I love quinoa -- you can really do a lot of things with it. I like it even better cold than hot.

Helen said...

Veggie recipes:

Moosewood Low-Fat Favorites is my all time favorite cookbook. It taught me to season food with spices, not salt. And it's almost all vegetarian. Many of my staples are from this cookbook. I LOVE IT.

Moosewood Restaurant Cooks At Home is quicker recipes with less ingredients (like you, my eyes glaze over if I have to chop 10 different things). I love it too.

One of my all-time favorite recipes is in Sundays at Moosewood -- Morrocan tagine -- totally vegan.

I would get these cookbooks in the order above. You can probably find best prices on ebay, but Amazon is good too.


Laura I. (G.G.) said...

Definitely rinse it! Quinoa is coated with saponin and it will taste funny without rinsing.

I like it as a breakfast cereal--fix it just like I would steel cut oats.

Vickie said...

see if you have a food coop which carries grains in bulk. Then you can buy how much you need (for a single recipe to try) without investing in whole bag. We love quinoa but only eat it mixed in things like veggie soup where it is a 'support player' instead of the main ingredient.

Vickie said...

delete was me, after comment published, I realized it was listing my email address rather than "vickie". I have NO idea why. Had not been in my profile in months. had made NO changes. it just sort of switched by itself.

Vickie said...

on rinse topic - we now rinse every grain as ME's mom rinsed every grain she cooked. So even rice gets rinsed at our house. ME was sort of horrified that we didn't rinse always.

debby said...

Laura, I eat quinoa all the time, and I never rinse it, but everything I've ever read about it says to rinse quinoa before cooking to get rid of the 'bitter flavor.' Maybe you could give it another chance. I always add a little quinoa to my steel cut oats.