Friday, April 1, 2011

Southwest Quinoa Bowls and North Shore Picks of the Weekend

You've got to love a grain that can multitask. Quinoa does just that. It takes on whatever flavor you give it. You can make it savory, you can make it sweet, it's a switch hitter. Out of all the grains out there, it also packs quite a protein punch without a lot of calories behind it.

Yes, I'm talking calories. You know why? There was a LOT of baking going on in this house this week, and when there's a lot of baking there has to be some kind of balance elsewhere. I've already got my work cut out for me getting back to the point where I could even think of zipping my wedding dress (I've been married 5 years), I don't need any more help from Mr. Sugar.

So I turn to my friend quinoa. A lot of people are kind of frightened by this grain. First off, it can be expensive. Let me tell you, a little goes a long way, so just buy it. Second, there's some kind of crazy, healthy, "this is going to taste like bark" idea about this humble grain. Get over it. It tastes like couscous and some brown right got frisky and had a baby. It's versatile, it'll taste however you want it to taste. I've been on a spicy, southwest-type kick, so I went in that direction. Try this out, it's filling, satisfying, and it's healthy.

If you're scared by the healthy talk, fear not, there's something involving butterscotch and rum in your future.

Southwest Quinoa Bowls
Serves: 3-4

1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 small red onion, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
dash of pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder (I used Mexican Hot)
1/4 teaspoon cumin
shake of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup sliced black olives
1 avocado, sliced
salsa (for garnish and taste)

In a large saucepan (with a lid, you'll need it later), heat teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add your red onion and saute until tender about 3 minutes or so. Now, stir in salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes until it coats the onion. Stir in quinoa and allow to toast for about a minute. Add 1 cup water to the mix and stir until combined. Bring the mixture to a boil and then down to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 9-10 minutes until the quinoa is tender but not mushy.

Fluff quinoa with a spatula or fork, stir in 1/2 cup of black beans. Now, transfer to your serving dishes or plates and top with sliced avocado, black olives and salsa.

North Shore Bloggers Consortium Weekend Picks 4/1-4/3 

Grand Trunk Old World Market Wine Tasting
53 Pleasant Street, Newburyport
Friday 4/1 (4-7 p.m.) and Saturday 4/2 (2-6 p.m.

The folks at Grand Trunk Old World Market in Newburyport will have several Northern Italian wines open and available for tasting ranging from Dolcetto D’Alba from Piedmont, a Malvasia from Lombardy, and a Ripasso from the Veneto. They'll be pairing them with cheeses and their hot and mild coppa.

Authentic El Salvadoran Pupusa Dinner & Craft Sale
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 166 High St, Newburyport, MA
Saturday, 4/2 (5-7 PM) 

Now, let me tell you - church and community dinners are too-often overlooked for great, cheap food. In this case, you get a thick, hand-made tortilla filled with beans, meat and cheeses. Pupusas are good, and this is a deal. Adults: $5.00, 12 and under: $3.00.

First Annual Spring Splashdown
Michael's Harborside, Newburyport, MA
Saturday, 4/2 (8-11 PM)
Sip on summer drinks, try out the raw bar. A party to welcome Spring over at Michael's this weekend. They're giving away concert tickets and there will be live music from Chris Richards. Get in a warmer state of mind.

Swan Lake Performed by the Russian National Ballet
The Music Hall 28 Chestnut St. Portsmouth NH
Sunday 4/3, 4pm
A beautiful rendition of the ballet classic up at The Music Hall this weekend. Tickets range from $20-$50. Check out the website for advance tickets. 

Check out what the other members of the North Shore Bloggers Consortium are suggesting:

Seth at Lynn Happens runs it down for you here.

The wonderful Jane Ward has some great ideas, over at Food and Fiction.

Choices from all over New England at The Two Palaverers.

North Shore Dish spices things up with their weekend picks here North Shore Dish

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2 comments: said...

I am also a fan of quinoa, but the rest that live with me are not :( When I make it, it's just for me and all for me! :)
Thanks for sharing this recipe... I will have to try the Southern way of cooking this yummy grain. said...

I absolutely LOVE the idea of this dish - printed off to make very soon.