Friday, April 22, 2011

Gratifying Grains with Quinoa recipe

How many different kids of grains?
*Grains come in all shapes and sizes. Grains vary from origin, use, taste, nutrient content and preparation. Grains can be used by themselves, as substitutes, combined, ground or whole as food or drink. There is no limit

Why do we need grains in our diet?
* Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, minerals, antioxidants and B vitamins.

How can I get the most nutrition out of my grains?
*Choose whole, fresh organic grains
*prepare them by soaking, fermenting or sprouting.
*Vary your diet to include and enjoy many grains

*ALL grains have phytic acid (Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption)
*2 general categories: Gluten grains (oats, rye barley, wheat) are hard to digest and should rarely or not be eaten unless they are fermented, soaked or sprouted.
*non-gluten grains buckwheat, rice and millet and are more easily digested but should still be soaked in some cases.
*Whole rice and whole millet contain less phytates making it not “absolutely necessary” to ferment them.

How do I cook grains?
Grains can and should be used in a variety of different ways. Options can include one or a combination of boiling, sautéing, simmering in soup, pressure cooking (on occasion), baking, frying, in a crock-pot or rice cooker or on a skillet.

Frequently Asked Questions Continued?
How can I flavor grains?
Some grains have a beautiful flavor on their own or lightly seasoned with salt (basmati). To flavor grains decide on a “theme”. Are you going for Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Texas Style, Louisiana style, etc? After you have decided you can use a variety of herbs, spices, vegetables, sauces, or stocks to manipulate the flavor to your palate. Some popular add ins are tomato sauce, stock (chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.), vegetables (peppers, onions, garlic) or tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce). Other ways to change flavor is by sautéing grains in oil or roasting them.

How Can I make grains fluffy when boiling them on their own?
*Never peek. After you have brought your water to a boil keep the lid on. I would suggest getting a pot with a glass lid so you can see the progress. If you peek grains will be less apt to fluff. Also, let rest 5-10 minutes BEFORE taking the lid off.

How can I make my grains sticky?
*To determine the “stickiness” of the grain you need to know your grain. Short grain brown rice, Japanese sushi rice, amaranth and millet are a few of the sticky grains.
* A few techniques to make grains sticker is to boil them a bit longer with a bit of extra water or pressure cook. These techniques will yield stickier grain.

***Note: when you are working with grains and the different techniques do a little research. The “GENERAL” rule is that grains receive a 1:2 ratio (grain:water) This is not always the case especially when using a pressure cooker or crock pot. Also, determining the final product must be taken into account. For example: making Groatmeal is a 1:4 ratio as Brown Rice Cereal is a 1:2 ratio.

Southwest Quinoa Taco Salad
I LOVE salads that are hearty, flavorful, quick and full of nutrition. This salad sports grains, beans, vegetables and flavor with beautiful color and texture so everyone leaves satisfied. ~Jami
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ Cup water
1 TSP salt
1 Cup salsa
½ cup plain yogurt
3 TBSP cilantro
2 TSP olive oil
Pinch of chipolte powder (opt)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Can of beans rinsed
½ organic red or orange bell pepper
1 Cup frozen corn thawed
1 Avocado, chopped
1 large tomato chopped
Homemade tortillas (see previous post for recipe)

Soak quinoa in water 7-24 hours. Add salt, cover and bring to boil until all water is absorbed 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and KEEP COVERED letting sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender mix salsa, yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, lime zest and juice. Blend until smooth. Toss quinoa with beans, corn, avocado and tomato. Place heaping amount of quinoa mixture on a bed of lettuce and serve with tortillas.

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