SECRET RECIPE CLUB: QUINOA FRIED RICE

Did you miss my Bewitching party? Click here to enter the giveaway… 

The month of June brought with it a ton of activities. School is out, so a lot more work in the lab, my blog turned 5 years old, and the World Cup of Indescribable Ordeal is on.  I used to root for one country only, but now two teams make me shout expletives at referees and goal keepers, as well as scream instructions to the players, fuming like a mad woman because they simply  do not listen. But, let’s leave soccer behind and concentrate on things that don’t have the potential to induce a fatal coronary.  Like Reveal Day of  The Secret Recipe Club, always a pleasure, always something I look forward to. This month I got one of the most entertaining food blogs ever!  Starting with its name, 84th and 3rd. Here’s what JJ, an American living in Sydney has to say about it:

84th & 3rd is an ordinary corner, not particularly remarkable, in the most remarkable city in the world. But it was only meters from that corner that a seed was planted, a dream of doing something that she loves and being able to share it with others. 84thand3rd.com is that something.

She divulges just enough to perk my curiosity, and make me want to be there right now. In fact, Australia is one place I long to visit, and hope that one day our adventures will take us there. When I got my assignment, I thought about taking a quick look at the site, but instead I literally had to drag myself away from the computer, because I could not stop reading. Just to give you a small taste of her writing style, here’s a paragraph from one of her posts, in which she talks about her partner…

.… When I met RJ he used to eat at least 4 slices of white bread a day. Not necessarily as part of a meal mind you, but just because. Toast for breakfast, toast before dinner [no matter what or when dinner was], bread with dinner. Sliced, white, from a plastic bag, every time. It appalled me just a bit – as did putting ketchup/tomato sauce on beef stew but we’ll save that one for later… *waves at RJ* hi mate, yes, I’m talking about you again –

 Isn’t she a hoot?  She also describes herself as someone who “Practices yoga to stay calm[ish], runs to stay sane[ish], and does both to eat cake”… I must say I detect some similarities here, although I would substitute bread for cake.  😉 So, after spending a lot of time amusing myself with her stories and recipes, I assembled a list of possibilities for this month’s assignment.  Here they are:  Mushroom-quinoa meatballs with Rustic Pasta Sauce, Strawberry Cucumber Coconut-water Slushy,  Rocket Parsley Pepita Pesto,  Spiced Pear & Red Wine Chocolate Cake, Roasted Tomatillo Salsa Verde, and this chocolate tarte that I swear I am making before the month of July is over. Yeah, public commitment, you guys and girls better be ready for it… But now it’s time to reveal the recipe that crossed the finish line of this month’s culinary marathon…

Quinoa Fried Rice
QUINOA FRIED RICE
(slightly modified from 84th & 3rd)

2 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled (I used red quinoa)
a little olive oil
4 slices ginger, sliced into thin strips
1 small Serrano chili, finely diced
1 bunch of cilantro leaves, minced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced
large handful green beans, cut into small lengths
2 medium zucchini, diced
3 scallions ,white and light green part only, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil

Add a small splash of olive oil to the hot pan. Fry ginger and garlic for 30 sec stirring constantly, add chili and cilantro and fry for a further 30 sec.

Add bell pepper and beans, toss or stir for a couple of minutes. Add zucchini and green onions and toss for a couple of minutes more.

Push veggies to edges to make a hole in the center. Drizzle in 2 tsp sesame oil, wait for it to heat up and dump in quinoa. Stir in center of pan for 30 seconds then toss with veggies to mix everything together.

Drizzle in tamari and toss to combine. Serve with extra scallions, and cilantro.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Ingredients
Comments: This was absolutely delicious!  As you can read on her original post, this is the type of recipe you can use to clean up your fridge of all those veggies that wave at you when you open it, begging for attention. It is also a perfect use for leftover quinoa, although I cooked some earlier in the day just to have this side dish as our dinner. Asparagus would work great, but really any veggie could work, even chunks of roasted butternut squash, or eggplant.   Just keep the soy, the sesame oil at the end, and don’t leave out the fresh ginger.

Zucchini-side
I close this post with another excerpt from JJ, which expresses exactly how I feel about blogging.

“Blogging is an interesting beast. It is a person sitting in front of a computer expressing things in pictures and words, terribly solitary from the outside peering in… or so you’d think. But when you look a bit closer you realise that many of those people sitting at their computers have formed little communities. Sometimes online, sometimes in person, generally with people they never would have met otherwise, and it really doesn’t matter how the community works or where it came from but simply that it is there.”
(JJ, from 84th & 3rd)

That’s it, folks.  Could not have said it better!  JJ, it was great to receive your blog as my assignment this  month, I will be following you from now on, looking forward to your adventures! As usual, if you want to check what my fellow secret bloggers cooked up this month, poke the frog below. She is cute and loves attention…

ONE YEAR AGO: Carrot Flan with Greens and Lemon Vinaigrette
TWO YEARS AGO: The Secret Recipe Club: Granola Bars
THREE YEARS AGO:  Awesome Broccolini
FOUR YEARS AGO:  A Twist on Pesto
FIVE YEARS AGO: Ciabatta: Judging a bread by its holes

RED THEME FOR A SALAD

As the weather gets warmer, I opt for a light lunch whenever possible. However, after a workout session with  Tony Horton, I need a lot more than a serving of lettuce with some parsley sprinkled all over it.   😉 Last week I prepared a salad based on red quinoa with a bit more substance, but still compatible with the 90F day.  It turned out delicious!  It lasted a couple of days in the fridge, and got even better.  If you do that, just bring it to room temperature half an hour or so before lunch time.

QUINOA SALAD WITH ROASTED BEETS
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

for ginger-orange vinaigrette
1/8 cup rice vinegar
1/8 cup fresh orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 Tbs sugar (or less, if you prefer)
1 Tbs grated ginger
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
salt and pepper to taste

for salad:
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
2 medium beets, peeled and cut in large chunks
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 celery stalks. diced
fresh mozzarella cheese. diced
walnut pieces, toasted

Place the rinsed quinoa in a rice cooker, add 2 cups of water and a little salt.  Cook, adding a little more water if when the machine turns off you think the quinoa is too crunchy for your taste.   It should be ready in 15 to 20 minutes.  Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and let it cool.   Reserve.

In a medium bowl, place the pieces of beets, add a little olive oil just enough to coat the pieces, season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the pieces to a baking sheet, and place in a 400 – 420 F oven to roast until done (about 40 minutes, depending on the size).  Reserve.

Prepare the vinaigrette by mixing the vinegar, orange juice and zest and the sugar, until the sugar dissolves.  Add the oil slowly to form an emulsion, and season with salt and pepper.   You won’t need to use it all, save the leftover in the fridge, it keeps for about 1 week.

Assemble the salad by mixing all the ingredients and adding as much dressing as you like.  Adjust seasoning, and serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

My little rice cooker does a great job cooking all sorts of grains (and seeds, like quinoa).  I usually don’t bother with precise amounts of water, I try to add less rather than too much.  In case the cooker turns off but the grains are not exactly how I want them, I add a small amount of water and switch it back on for a few minutes.

I wanted to have this salad over a bed of baby spinach, but forgot all about it when I first made it.   On the following day, with the spinach, the salad looked really nice, but then I forgot to take pictures.   Such is life.  But, please feel free to  use your imagination!    😉

ONE YEAR AGO: Couscous Salad with Zucchini and Pine Nuts

TWO YEARS AGO:  A Simple Salad a la Jacques Pepin

(that proves that three years in a row I’ve got salad in my mind! ;-))

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