Ah, October is almost here. It’s one of my favorite months of the year. Football season is in full swing (Go Gators!) and the air is finally beginning to cool off. (Ok, not yet here in Arizona but I am optimistic it will happen very soon!) Of course as a mom, October is always fun because of Halloween. My boys are into Star Wars this year which could not please my husband any more.
This year, there is another reason October is special for me. This website just passed its six month birthday the middle of last month, and I must say that as I am reflecting on its success I am genuinely humbled. What started as a little more than a way for me to share a few recipes has grown to reach thousands of visitors a day. Who knew so many people were interested in cooking quinoa? As I have been reflecting on what has worked and what hasn’t, I am making plans for the next year. One thing I am going to be doing is starting to add many more recipes to this website. One of my problems has been that I cook in my head most of the time and have been really bad about writing recipes down as I go. Obviously this has to change! I am also going to expand into a few new topics – all related to healthy eating – and share more of my adventures in the kitchen. Lastly, I have plans to dust out my camera and start taking pictures of what I am cooking. EDIT - Yeah, I actually did this one….see below!
For those of you who have stopped by and left comments I want to, from the bottom of my heart, say thank you! Your support has been a blessing that I could not have expected.
Now, for the first of many new quinoa recipes to com, I have a Tomato Feta Quinoa Pilaf. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you, it is really a very simple dish that is easy to make. I used fresh herbs chopped with my herb grinder, but if you do not have them on hand you can always use dried. The inspiration came from a couscous pilaf I saw in Cooking Light, but of course I have spiced things up a bit. If spicy isn’t your thing, you can cut back on the garlic and skip the cayenne. And, if you are a vegan just skip the feta and you still have a great dish on your hands.
Tomato Feta Quinoa Pilaf
1 T olive oil
¼ cup finely chopped shallots
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups broth – vegetable or chicken
1/8 tsp salt
¼ tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 T fresh parsley
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
¾ cup grape tomatoes, quartered
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled (if Eating Clean use low fat) alternately, make it vegan by adding 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast in with the quinoa to cook
1 T chopped basil
1 T lemon juice
1. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan and when warm add in the shallots. Cook for two minutes and add garlic. Cook until fragrant, around 30 seconds. Add rinsed quinoa and sauté for two minutes. Add broth, salt and cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer for 15 to 18 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit covered for five minutes.
2. Stir in parsley, thyme, basil, lemon juice, tomatoes and feta. Enjoy!
This recipe also works well the next day turned into a cold salad. I like to use my favorite balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Yum!