Tag Archives: Quinoa

Pork fried quinoa

L’shana tova, everybody!

It’s Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year. If there was ever a time for reflection and renewal, this is it. Today is the day we eat apple slices dipped in honey, so that the rest of the year may be sweet. I love this day–it’s quiet and suffused with warmth, and even for a severely lapsed Jew like me, it offers an opportunity to burrow down inside and find the parts of me that are ready for change.

I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, but I do like the idea of a surface wiped clean, ready for another year of markings. So that’s what today is for me–an opportunity to wash away last year’s labels and lines, and write myself some new ones. This year feels different, because I’m finally feeling out what my body needs and wants, and I feel like I can shape a year around that. I can eat more of the foods I love that nourish rather than drain me; I can get my rusty limbs moving, a little more every day.

So here’s a recipe for the day. Not traditional by any means–my mother points out that writing about pork fried anything on a Jewish High Holy Day is the height of irony–but still somehow fitting. I’ve been meaning for years to eat more quinoa–I love the pebbly nuttiness of it, and it always makes me feel whole and warm and satisfied. So this year, I’ll be eating more quinoa, in simple ways that make me feel at home. And one of my favorite homey preparations–fried rice–turns out to be a perfect vehicle for quinoa too.

This is fried grains my way: lighter and less greasy than familiar fried rice, with ham and vegetables and a quartet of fridge-standby sauces to lend depth and a little stickiness. As with so many things, this is tasty enough on its own, but downright transcendent with a runny-poached egg on top. If today’s intentions hold, I’ll be eating a lot more of this stuff in the future. I’m excited.

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Passover 2011–GRAAAAAIIIIIIINS

So apparently I’m 2-for-2 on delicious gluten-free Passover dishes that might not actually be kosher for Passover.  But nevermind that.  Let’s talk about quinoa.

I’ve been vowing for years to get more quinoa in my diet.  If all those breathless news articles are to be believed, it’s a new superfood.  It’s exotic–all the way from Peru!  It’s ancient–the Inca ate it!  It’s full of protein and wholesome whole-grain goodness!  What’s not to like!

I’ve been making tentative progress.  In college, I would mix red quinoa and ranch dressing into a bowl of mashed potatoes.  Somehow I managed to convince myself that the little extra protein boost from those little scarlet orbs canceled out the giant gummy forkfuls of potato I was stuffing into my face.  As I got more, um…sophisticated, I started encountering quinoa salads, pleasant little pops of grain swarming around beans and green vegetables and even tofu, overwhelming me with texture and freshness and wholesome earnest appeal.

But on its own, as a stand-in for less virtuous starches, quinoa was…lacking.  I’ve never been much a fan of food that pretends to be something it’s not, and when I was faced with tiny hardy orbs, heaped sheepishly in a bowl, almost apologetic for not being rice or couscous, I was understandably nonplussed.

Stand alone, I silently implored the quinoa.  Make something of yourself.  Don’t be shy.

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