I Missed Quinoa

As much as it’s possible to miss a grain, I missed quinoa.

I love the stuff.

And knowing how healthy it is gives me a feeling of infinite superiority while chowing down on as much as I darn well please.

For those of you in the dark, quinoa (KEEN-wah, yeah, I don’t know who invented the spelling) is a little grain that looks like couscous and tastes like a couscous-barley hybrid.  Ish.  I wouldn’t make a big bowl and eat it on its own, but I’ve played with it a couple of times and loved tasting it in such a  variety of ways.  Also, I feel better when I make quinoa my grain of choice, as opposed to the rice and pasta that fuel my body the other 95% of the time.

So I submit Grilled Corn and Cheddar Quinoa for your consideration.  A stunningly perfect (and light!) take on summer lunch.  I tweaked Jessica’s recipe because you’ve gotta work with what you have on hand.

To make enough for 4, you will need:

  • 3 ears corn
  • 1 C quinoa, rinsed (throw it in a fine mesh sieve and swirl it around with your fingers a couple of times)
  • 2 C low sodium chicken broth (if you don’t have it, use water, especially if you’ve already cooked your corn in that water)
  • 2 T olive oil 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 2 T butter
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 4 oz. cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 or 2 scallions, chopped

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook corn for about 3 minutes, until brighter in color.  Remove corn and set aside to cool.  If you don’t have chicken brother, reserve 2 C cooking water for quinoa.  (Does that seem weird?  Here’s why it works:  Quinoa cooked in plain water is a bit on the boring side.  Quinoa cooked in something with a little more flavor, like starchy water, or chicken broth, makes for a yummier lunch.)

Combine quinoa and chicken broth (or water) in medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for about 15 minutes.  While that’s going on, cut the kernels off the corn with a sharp knife.  When the time has come, check on your quinoa, give it a stir, and see whether there’s still a little pool of liquid on the bottom of the pan.  If so, that means it needs a couple more minutes to cook.  Walk away for a minute or two, before coming back and repeating that peek and stir process.  When all the water has been absorbed, your quinoa has reached its ideal texture.

Remove the pan from heat, and quickly stir in salt, pepper, butter, and lime juice.  When the butter has melted, stir in cheese and scallions.  Enjoy.

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