Saturday, May 19, 2012

Red Pepper Quinoa

So this is a long awaited post per my good friend, Brook's, request.  I hope you all have a great Quinoa experience.  Now first you may be asking, "Do I say this like Quih-noh-ah?"  ha ha.  I totally pronounced it like that the first few weeks I had been introduced to it and read the name.  So all of you don't go walking around saying it wrong, though that wouldn't be the end of the world :), I will share with you how to say it.
Quinoa= "KEEN-wah".  Use it as a 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. 2:1 ratio.
Here is a great article to tell you a little more about Quinoa.

 I tend to do more "ishish" recipes, that empower the chef to be creative and rely on their own ability.  SO... I normally do about a red pepper for every 4 cups of water (2 cups quinoa) I do.  If it is not organic, make sure to give it a good wash and cut off the top and bottom.  That is where most of the pesticides tend to hang out.  Red peppers are on the list of the foods that have the most pesticides used on them.  Here is a really good article about the "Dirty Dozen" and the "Clean 15".  

2 cups of quinoa makes quite a bit, so we use any left over quinoa for the next couple of days over a salad for lunch.  For just a dinner for two I would do 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups water and a half of a pepper.  

 Blend the red pepper in water until a creamy consistency. 

Pour into a saucepan.

It is not necessary to add anything else.  The red pepper alone is enough seasoning, but I do like to add some other things once in a while.  This time I happened to add some minced onion and parlsey.  Some other nice additions may include: basil, Mrs Dash, cumin, garlic and about anything else you can think of. :):)

 Bring to a boil on a little over medium heat. 

While the red pepper liquid is being brought, ha ha is that even good english?, to a boil... grab out your quinoa.  I buy quinoa in bulk and definitely keep it in the fridge.  It as well as amaranth, millet and a few other things keep much better in the fridge. No fret though, I think it will stay unrancid in the pantry for about 6 months.  I just don't like to take the chance, quinoa being over $3 a pound.  

 An up-close of this beautiful seed. 

 Pour your desired amount of quinoa into a bowl. 

 Add in water... it will be drained later and does NOT need to be measured. 

 This is a REALLY FUN part.  Get your hands into it and act like you are giving it a massage.  Grab the quinoa and grit it around in your hand, removing a bitter outer coating of the quinoa.  Continue to do this for a minute or two.  

 Once that is complete, pour the quinoa into a thin mesh strainer...

 Rinse the quinoa. 

Then I just let it sit in the sink until the red pepper mixture is boiling. 

Once brought to a boil, pour the quinoa into your saucepan.  Turn the heat to about one notch under medium heat and it will take about 15-20 minutes, uncovered, to cook.  Keep an eye on it and stir it every couple of minutes.  

I tried to get pictures of the different phases as the quinoa cooks.  Slowly the water will lesson and the quinoa fluffifies and expands.  

Expanding more and getting fluffier.

Even fluffier. :)

I also decided to add some frozen corn at the very end of cooking.  I don't really cook the corn, I just add it in at the last when the quinoa is about finished so the corn has enough heat to thaw. 

Here she be!  The finished product.  We almost like it better cold over salad, but we love it warm too!  Let me know if you have any questions!  

 Happy Quinoaing!!!  There's some new "verbage" for you. :):):)  Have the best day ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fermented Young Thai Coconut Water Kefir

This post is a great intro to a whole world of....BACTERIA!  Did I scare you there? :)  There is a world of good bacteria that needs our attention, especially if we are to choose the road to holistic health.  Good bacteria lines our intestines and has SOOO many roles in digestion and assimilation.  

I will have to write a post in the future about the absolute NECESSITY of good flora in our gut and the roll that it plays in digestion and absorption of vitamins and minerals.  For now, just take my word for it. :)  We are in our new home and that is why I haven't written in a while.  I am excited for some posts in the making... banana pancakes, another way to use ripe bananas, and red pepper quinoa, for my good friend Brooklyn. ;)  

So this is a way of making a fermented beverage that will colonize in the gut and help with digestion and overall health. No I am not talking about beer, somehow that is what everyone thinks of when I say fermented.  This is a coconut water kefir made from Young Thai Coconuts, found in most grocery stores or a local Asian market. 

 When choosing a Young Thai Coconut, press on the bottom of the coconut and make sure that it is not super squishy or mooshy, or shows signs of leaking.  It should be firm.

 VOILA!!! It opens right before your eyes. Ha ha.  I wish it worked that way.  I thought it would be easier for me to refer you to this video on how to open the coconut.  

 I then pour the liquid into a saucepan, filtering it with a tight-mesh strainer.

 This is a really fun part and I always include my children.  Scoop of the coconut meat and put it in a blender. 

 I put just enough coconut liquid into the blender, so it blends into a thick-creamy consistency.

 Blend the coconut meat and coconut water.

After thick-smooth consistency is reached, pour a capsule of acidophilus into the blender and also the liquid in the saucepan.  This is an optional step, but I can tell a considerable difference in the end product by adding additional good bacteria to begin with.  It will work either way.  Blend in the acidophilus.  

Warm up the coconut water until it is LUKE-WARM!!!  It is very crucial to stir it to keep the temperature even and NOT let it get any warmer than luke-warm.  This keeps all of the nutrition and enzymes intact.  It shouldn't feel hot or cold to the touch, just right temperature.  I normally put in on medium heat, stirring and feeling the temperature CONSTANTLY.  This is something that you really have to stand in front of and keep checking the temperature and quickly get it off the heat when it is slightly warm-to luke-warm.   

 Pour the luke-warm coconut water into a mason jar.

 Put the "yogurt" into a glass tupperware or a small mason jar.  Close lids completely and securely.  

                                                             Let the yogurt sit at room temperature for 2-3 days.   

The finished product of the coconut "yogurt" will be fluffy and seem to have "air pockets".  Let the coconut water sit at room temperature for about a week. The coconut water's finished product will have a slight kick like carbination, I guess.  Both of which will be overflowing with wonderful live flora/bacteria, ready to colonize your gut.   If you don't like them plain, mix them in a smoothie.  There are SO many options!

Maycee helps me to lick the bowl on this one for sure!