Sunday, March 16, 2008

Winter Blahs/ Quinoa and Black Beans

I feel boring. My mood is matching the grey dismal skies. I haven't felt inspired to cook anything new in a while. I've also given myself the mandate to use up a good majority of the items in my "pantry" (Currently my pantry consists of a small closet with shelves, but I aspire to have a real pantry area someday.) before I can buy anything new. Unfortunately, I don't even know what some of the items are. I get carried away in the bulk food aisle sometimes and buy things that look interesting. Recently, I got in the habit of writing down what the item is, in addition to the store code on the tag so I don't end up with mystery grains or flours.

So lately I've been relying on my old stand-bys, instead of searching for new fun things to make. I love quinoa (which I do have and can identify), and I love black beans, so the two together are really a very nice combination. If you haven't tried quinoa, you should! It has the highest amount of protein of any grain (I'm pretty sure on this, but you can check if you want), and it only takes 20 minutes to cook. Here's one I make a lot:

Quinoa and Black Beans

1 small onion
3 cloves garlic
1 cup quinoa (rinse the quinoa in sieve before cooking, otherwise it can be bitter)
2 cups veggie broth
1 tablsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
1 small zucchini, diced (optional)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 cans black beans
1/2 cup fresh cilantro minced

1. Sautee onion and garlic in a medium sized saucepan until light brown.
2. Mix in quinoa, broth, cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Bring to a boil. If using zucchini, add now. Let simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Stir in corn, black beans and cilantro. Cook another 5-7 minutes. If you don't have any fresh cilantro, you can use dried (a teaspoon, or a little more) and add it when you add the cumin in step 2. Another option I have starting using recently is frozen herbs. You can buy them in little trays with teaspoon sized cubes at Trader Joe's. They only have a couple to choose from, but they do have cilantro.

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