Monday, June 19

Christmas Quinoa (in June)

This is a recipe that I created tonight that ended up looking like the above, which is not too bad considering what I started out to make. But before I get into that, I just want to start by saying that beets are creepy. I have always avoided them and never purchased them. Maybe it's because they look like this.

Once I ordered a beet salad at a restaurant thinking it would be a nice bed of lettuce with a few beets thrown in for good measure...but no. It was a giant tower of beet. No lettuce in sight. Frankly, they give me the willies. When you cook them, they smell bad. When you cut them, they stain everything, including your fingers pink.

So I was at a bit of a loss when my soon-to-be-no-longer organic delivery left me with two large terrifying beets last Thursday. Being brave, I immediately turned to my sources for recipes and managed to find this on epicurious. Risotto, I thought, I can handle that. I didn't want to make another salad, after my first experience, so I decided this Beet and Beet Greens Risotto with Horseradish looked like a fun recipe to try on a night that I was home alone. Except I'm not a big fan of horseradish, unless it's died green and mixed with soy sauce, so I knew from the beginning that I was going to put something else on top. Like mushrooms.

OK so then tonight I go to get the ingredients together only to realize that while the beets are still good, the greens are clearly not. Fine, I'll substitute something else, something that smells good with beets, like basil.

I like basil, and it's green. So, as you'll see in the recipe below I chop up the beets...

and the onion and get all ready to start cooking. And then I realize I don't have any rice for the risotto. What to do? Well, since I'm alone and feeling adventurous (I know there may be a frozen pizza in my future) I decide to substitute quinoa. Because, I happened to have some and I know Bryan's not a big fan so I might as well use it now.

The final result is not at all like what I imagine Beet and Beet Green Risotto with Horseradish to taste like. But it is surprisingly tasty. And the final colors are fun, so I'm calling it Christmas Quinoa in honor of the bright red beets and green basil, though I suppose Beet and Basil Quinoa is an equally fun title. You tell me. Here it is.


1 beet, peeled and diced
1/2 onion, diced
handful of basil torn up
1 cup quinoa
handful of mushrooms, quartered
2 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
a bit of feta or equally stinky cheese (gorgonzola would be good)

Prepare veggies. Melt 1 1/2 Tbsp butter in a pot and saute onion and beet until soft, about 5 minutes.

(Ignore the green in that picture, those are green onions that I should have left out)

Then add the quinoa and 2 cups water.

Bring to a boil, cover, turn down heat and let simmer until the water is absorbed and the little quinoa have sprouted.

Meanwhile saute the mushrooms in the remaining butter and set aside.

When the quinoa is ready, stir in the basil. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the Parmesan cheese. Top with feta and mushrooms and serve.

Now I'll be completely honest, this is not for the faint of heart. There is some serious flavor going on and not necessarily in a good way if you don't like beets. If, however, you love beets and are always looking for new ways to die your cutting boards pink, enjoy!

I would probably serve a small quantity of this (a little goes a long way) alongside something bland, like boring chicken, if you're into that sort of thing to begin with. At any rate, it was an experiment, and came out pretty good. I'm not sure if it'll end up in the vault of great recipes, but it's quick and I imagine fairly healthy.

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