2013 International Year of Quinoa

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2013 International Year of Quinoa

2013 International Year of Quinoa
By ACP Chef Sandy Gibilisco

quinoa

The year 2013 has been declared “The International Year of the Quinoa” (IYQ), recognizing the South American indigenous peoples for growing this unique super food.

Quinoa remains unfamiliar to many people, especially in the practical sense of cooking and recipes.

Quinoa (pronounced as Keen-wa) is always thought as a type of grain. The truth is contrary to this general belief, as quinoa is not a grain but seeds of a leafy plant related to spinach.

Quinoa is an organic food grown in the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. In Ecuador, it is known as ‘the Mother of all grains”.  It is a small, round; ‘grain’ that is easily cooked. Since water is added to hydrate, it absorbs any other base flavors added to the water, making it perfect flavor profile for a protein substitute, or salads.  Chefs are now using it as a gluten free alternative to pasta or wheat content foods and quinoa items are prevalent on US restaurant menus as a sought after,  gluten free alternative.

Quinoa is a versatile fluffy grain with a delicate, nutty flavor and a texture of slight crunch.

There are three varieties of quinoa which are most readily available in American markets, usually found near the rice products in grocery stores.  All are produced in South America.

  • Pearl quinoa – most available
  • Red quinoa – more costly – provides additional nutrients
  • Black quinoa – price comparison with red quinoa – provides additional nutrients

 Beneficial Facts

Diverse nutrient benefits of quinoa give it uniqueness among grain-related foods.

  • Quinoa has been singled out by Food as Drug Administration as a food with “high nutritive value”.
  • High in certain antioxidant phytonutrients and two flavonoids are now known to be provided by quinoa in especially concentrated amounts. The sometimes the concentration of these has been shown to be greater than high-flavonoid berries like cranberry or lingonberry.
  • High in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients.
  • Small amounts of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid are also provided by quinoa.
  • Provides twice the amount of calcium content as found in whole wheat.
  • High in fiber content, providing 5 grams in ½ cup uncooked quinoa.
  • Quinoa needs be rinsed thoroughly to remove a bitter substance (saponin) that coats the seeds.

EASY RECIPE

ACP multi stage cooking microwaves produce a consistently cooked quinoa every time.

  • 1/3 size, 6 “ deep, high heat cambro with lid
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 crumbled bouillon cube, if desired (vegetable, beef or chicken)

Procedures:

  1. Rinse dry quinoa well, up to three times, using strainer.
  2. Place water, bouillon granules, and quinoa in pan and cover.
  3. Place in microwave on the following settings:

RC 22

MW

   

RC 30

MW

Stage 1

4:00

100%

Stage 1

2:00

100%

Stage 2

5:00

50%

Stage 2

3:00

50%

Stage 3

3:00

40%

Stage 3

2:00

40%

Remove from microwave, uncover, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Stir.

GREEK QUINOA SALAD

greek salad quinoa

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and small chop
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh spinach
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ½ teas salt
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Fresh spinach leaves

Procedures:

  1. Place cooked, cooled quinoa in medium bowl.  Add tomatoes, thinly cut spinach leaves and onion.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, oil, Dijon mustard, and salt. Add quinoa and toss to coat grains.
  3. Arrange fresh spinach leaves on plates. Spoon quinoa mixture over spinach.
  4. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese.

Note: Avocado slices are a great addition to this salad party.  Place on top of spinach leaves and top with quinoa.

greek-salad-quinoa

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