My mom ordered this organic quinoa from one of our favorite online merchants a while back (www.nuts.com is nothing short of awesome) and, for some strange reason, I had yet to cook it (until last night).
Because of bar studying and a complete lack of motivation to put on real clothes, I have not left the house in a disgusting amount of time – and I was not about to end my streak last night in order to go to the grocery store. So, after a little rummaging, I came across the quinoa. Poached eggs over asparagus is not a new combo, and it just sounded like it would be tasty over some quinoa. I asked my mother to grab some fresh asparagus on her way home from work, and I went to town on making the quinoa. Quinoa is chock full of protein, and, despite its grain-like consistency and appearance, is actually a seed. It makes a great substitute for starches like pasta and rice. It’s also a good base for taboule, or for adding to salads when you need a little bit more substance.
to make the quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups liquid (broth or water)
- olive oil
- 1 – 2 Tbs minced garlic (optional)
- fine mesh strainer
- saucepan/pot, with lid
First, you’re going to need to rinse your quinoa. Un-rinsed quinoa may have a bitter taste, due to the seed’s natural coating. Pour your quinoa into the fine mesh strainer and vigorously rinse it under cold water (the longer, the better – about 2 minutes should be ideal), squishing and moving the quinoa around with your hands while you rinse. Next, heat some olive oil in your sauce pan over medium heat and toss in the quinoa, toasting and drying it for about a minute or two, until most of the water has evaporated. Stir while you do this. Next, add your two cups of liquid and bring to a boil. Add your garlic, or other spices if you so desire. Reduce the heat to its lowest possible setting, and allow the quinoa to cook (covered) for about 15 minutes. After your 15 minutes are up, turn off the burner, remove the quinoa from the heat, and let it sit for about 5 minutes (still covered). Fluff it before serving and voilà! Quinoa! [I salt my quinoa at the garlic-phase, but I’m pretty sure that you can wait and salt-to-taste later, if you wish.]
sauté your asparagus
- 1 bushel of fresh asparas stalks
- olive oil
- salt+pepper, to taste
Cut the woody parts off of the end of the asparagus stalks and discard. Wash and dry the remaining stalks. Heat some olive oil in your skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add your asparagus and some salt and pepper. Allow to cook, turning them over with tongs every few minutes to ensure that they cook evenly. I tend to like my asparagus pretty cooked, so I cook mine for around 8 – 10 minutes. [When I press the tongs into the asparagus, I like for it to give a good bit.] My mother, however, prefers her more al dente; so I remove her’s probably after 7 – 8 minutes. It’s really a personal preference thing!
how to poach an egg
I did a lot of research on this a while back, and realized that there are a surprisingly large number of philosophies on the art of egg poaching… I’ll tell you how I do mine, but google it and watch a video if you’re more of a visual learner:
First, fill a saucepan/pot with water – about as much water as if you were going to hard boil eggs. Heat it over high heat until simmering (just before boiling). Crack an egg into a coffee mug or cup and set aside. Once your water is simmering, take a wooden spoon and stir the water in swift, large circles until it makes what looks like a tornado. Pour your egg into the middle of the “tornado” and remove the pot from the heat. Allow the egg to cook until it turns transparent (or no longer “looks like a ghost”) and remove it with a spatula or strainer. And – again – voilà! Your very own poached egg! It’s really not that hard, I promise.
the final assembly
Spoon some quinoa onto a plate, lay about 1/3 of your asparagus on top, then finish it off with a poached egg. It looks impressive, is full of protein, and you get your veggies in! Eat up, y’all! [p.s. if you’re one of those kids who just has to have meat in order for a meal to be complete, consider adding grilled steak or chicken on top].
oh, and this was for dessert! *drool*