Monday, August 27, 2012

quinoa and kale

I love quinoa, but I've always been afraid to cook it at home. There is no basis for my angst. It's just like cooking couscous or rice, I'd been told. Maybe I figured quinoa must be as difficult to prepare as it is to pronounce? In any case, when I came across this recipe, I knew the time had come to face my fear. So I picked up a fresh cut of halibut--as a good piece of fish really only needs salt, pepper, and a juicy lemon squeeze for flavor--and sent Jon outside to the grill. This left the kitchen to myself and plenty of time to tackle to what I thought would be a real challenge. What I found, however, was an easy side dish that packs a nutritional punch (hello, two superfoods!) without leaving a large footprint in the kitchen.
I adapted the Cookie + Kate recipe slightly, adding more onion, red pepper flakes, and lime juice. To up the taste of salt in the quinoa, I subbed chicken stock in lieu of water, and to make the recipe more weeknight-friendly, I nixed the toasted coconut topping. The side was done in a flash, and I only had my CuisineArt, a small saucepan, and cutting board to clean. Boom!

- 1 bunch of kale, stems removed (about 4 cups chopped)
- 1 small to medium red onion, chopped
- 1 c. quinoa
- 1 c. light coconut milk
- 1 c. chicken stock
- 2 c. cilantro, packed
- 1/2 c. cashews
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed
- 1/2 c. olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
In a medium serving bowl, tear the kale into bite-size portions, add the chopped onion, and set aside. In a saucepan, combine coconut milk and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, cover and set aside. In a food processor, combine cilantro, cashews, garlic, and olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, lime juice, and red pepper flakes, and blend well. Add the warm quinoa and pesto to the bowl with the kale and onion. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Especially with how flavorful garlic is this time of year, the cilantro-and-cashew pesto can really stand on it's own. I plan to use it again as a marinade for a white fish or slathered over chicken. Stay tuned ...