Simply Quinoa

The past two weeks have been quite challenging as my return to work has revealed more than I ever could have imagined in obstacles to success as we approach the new school year in our new building.  I knew I was going to face struggles as our program works out the glitches of a new facility and a kitchen that will now be shared.  I could not have imagined the magnitude of  growing problems (and concerns) that seem insurmountable as I now face the beginning of the real school year; We welcome the children back this week.  This means my early days start, large scale cooking begins and chaos will be unavoidable.  There are so many things wrong in my work kitchen right now that try as I did to get good sleep, I was awake at 3:00 am with my head swirling in panicked thoughts of how to make the best of a really awful situation.

Two hours of  “working for free in my head”, as my wise kitchen assistant likes to remind me not to do, resulted in nothing but more worry.  So, I am done working for free and will share my thoughts about quinoa instead.  This is a much more enjoyable use of my thoughts!

A number of people, including my bff, from whom this post was inspired, say to me they have difficulty making fluffy quinoa.  They say it always turns out mushy.  I have been asked on multiple occasions to write a blog on how to make successful quinoa.  Because I cannot seem to solve any other problems, I decided now would be a good time to tackle the simple task of making perfectly fluffy quinoa.  I can handle that problem and I even have a solution!

I love quinoa for it’s versatile uses and nutty flavor.  In addition, it is a super food that provides mega protein and fiber, as well as high doses of magnesium and iron. It is a staple pantry item in our household.

It is important to rinse the dry quinoa with cold water though a mesh strainer vigorously until the water runs clear.  This removes the outer “husk” that creates a bitter flavor and promotes “mush”.

TO MAKE QUINOA

1 cup dry quinoa

1 3/4 c water (or broth)

After rinsing quinoa, add to 2 quart pot with the liquid and cover with lid.  Turn burner up to high heat and allow it to come to a boil.  You will hear and see when it begins to boil. The key is not to open the lid.  Don’t peek!  Simply turn down the heat to a medium low temperature for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and let the covered pot sit on the burner for 5 more minutes.  For good measure, I will sometimes then let it sit and steam for 5 more minutes, but it is generally pretty perfectly done by this point.

Remove the lid and use a fork (not a mush producing spoon!) to fluff your quinoa.  Simple. Delicious.  Nutritious.  Problem solved.

Now if I can find equally simple solutions to the many problems I will face in just a few short hours at my shiny new work kitchen,  I will call this a successful day.

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