QUINOA WITH CIDER-GLAZED CARROTS

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I’ ve had plenty of versions of quinoa in the past, but this one takes the number one spot. The carrots added a sweet-sour note, the thinly sliced almonds a delicious crunch, and the quinoa married them together with its light and refreshing nature. Cannot praise this dish enough. I was inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit, and decided to come up with a version to be served hot instead of cold, but with similar flavors. If you are searching for a recipe to please vegetarians or a perfect side dish for pork, poultry,  perhaps a thick slab of grilled salmon, look no further. This is perfect!

served22

QUINOA WITH CIDER-GLAZED CARROTS AND ALMONDS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen, inspired by Bon Appetit)

1 cup quinoa, very well rinsed and drained
salt
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced at an angle
2 Tbsp apple cider
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 450°. Bring quinoa and 4 cups lightly salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until quinoa is tender, 10-15 minutes. Drain; return quinoa mixture to saucepan, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; let cool.

Meanwhile, lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with oil (or cover it with parchment paper). Whisk cider and honey in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast until tender, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small skillet. Add the almonds and cook over low heat until fragrant.  Set aside, keeping it warm.

Whisk vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add carrots and almonds to quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Drizzle the vinegar & lemon mixture and mix well tp combine all ingredients.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you are new to cooking the seeds of Chenopodium quinoa, please remember to rinse them extensively.  The seeds  have a natural coating of saponins that taste very bitter.  Processing the seeds for sale includes pre-washing, but you will notice that the water still foams slightly once you soak the seeds.  A couple of years ago, I read somewhere that quinoa goes rancid very easily, so the advice given was to store it for  no more than 6 months (or freeze it).   I tried to find a source for this information,  but now I find plenty of sites stating that it lasts for several years in the pantry.  Oh, well. I guess one can always open the bag and do a sniff test.

Cooked quinoa freezes very well, so you can prepare a full bag and portion it in the freezer for later. I actually cooked it on a Saturday and made this recipe for our dinner on Tuesday.  Pork tenderloin kebabs completed the meal, but the truth is we both raved about the quinoa a lot more.  Bonus:  we got our intake of carrots all taken care of!  😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Celebrate Wednesday: Heirloom Tomatoes Steal the Show

TWO YEARS AGO: Pain de Provence

THREE YEARS AGO: Golspie Loaf, from the Scottish Highlands

CIDER-MARINATED PORK KEBABS

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I’ve been on an apple cider kick, as this region of the US brags the right to make top quality cider.  One sip of  this brand  was all it took me to become addicted. Phil and I always buy a huge bottle and before it gets half-empty, we get another one, just to be on the safe side.  We keep wondering for how long cider will be available at our grocery stores, and hope the feast won’t end anytime soon.  So far, so good.  I used some of this wonderful apple cider in a marinade for pork tenderloin.  Coupled with a few spices that seemed right to play with the cider, voila’: a very simple and tasty main dish was served!

CIDER-MARINATED PORK KEBABS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

2 pork tenderloin filets
1/2 cup apple cider
1/8 cup olive oil
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbs agave nectar
1 tsp fennel pollen
1/2 tsp pimente d’Espelette
salt to taste

Remove the silver skin of the pork tenderloin, and cut the meat in large cubes.  Make a marinade by whisking all ingredients (except salt) until fully combined.   Place the pieces of pork in a large bowl and add the marinade, coating all pieces well with it.   Leave it in the fridge, covered, for a few hours or overnight.

Remove the meat from the marinade, thread it into skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak them in cold water for a few hours). Season with salt, and grill to your liking, turning the skewers once during grilling.

Serve with slices of lemon to squeeze over the meat.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

At first, my idea was to include a fennel bulb and a red bell pepper that were laying in the fridge to make a more colorful kebab with the pork.  But, the day was long, and the patience was short.  I kept it ultra simple and the meat went to the grill all by itself.   Still, this was a great weeknight dinner!  The meat was juicy and the addition of agave nectar gave that extra dark grill mark that I find a must…   We had the pork with a little orzo and green beans, simple and delicious.   Leftovers were still quite juicy next day, even when subjected to microwave torture.

Of course, I think fresh slices of fennel would be perfect in these kebabs, echoing the fennel pollen in the marinade, so if your day is shorter and the patience longer, go for it!  😉

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