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25 Jan 2010 - 16:25
15 Jan 2010 - 18:53
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quinoa dressed in pink

quinoa salad with beets, apples, hazelnuts

Friday, 19 Mar 2010 | recipe inside

I've been thinking about posting this since Valentine's Day-- you know, because it's pink...but then, yea, it's pink and how ridiculous to match your food to Hallmark, right?  Pink or not, it's a bright mix of flavors headlined by an ingredient I evangelize to any unfortunate soul who happens to wonder about my favorite foods.  Quinoa.  Is it a grain? Is it a seed? Is it a cereal? It's about time I gave a little attention here to this super-hero pseudocereal that is more closely related to spinach, swiss chard, and beets than to rice or wheat berries.  I love the taste and versatility of quinoa, but it's prized at Casa Hungry Burro for it's nutritional profile.  Rare to this type of mouth-feel foods (tasty starchy side dishes like rice), it is high in complete protein containing a balanced set of essential amino acids.  

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors that as far as I know don't affect its nutritional profile but do have a crunchiness impact.  I usually prefer the red or black quinoa because it cooks to a crunchier texture and I happen to like that.  (NYCers: you can find quinoa in all its colors at Kalustyan's.)  However, in this recipe I went with white quinoa because I was feeling very girly and wanted it pretty in pink.  The beets bleed as if with the most intensely broken hearts, imparting a delightfully playful tint to the dish.    The green apple adds a bit of tart, the hazelnuts a bit of earth, and the herbs a bit of spring.

buckwheat risotto with radicchio di treviso

Thursday, 14 Jan 2010 | recipe inside

Happy new decade burritos!  I hope these first couple weeks of 2010 have brought many tasty meals to your tables.  It's wintertime, and I don't have an oven.  I had never really given much thought to this, but spending the winter in Istanbul in an oven-free apartment has really driven home how much my memories of winter's home-cooked meals have been baked in an oven.

But we must persevere! So, here's a dish that is creamy and luscious and very comforting, and for all you New Yorkers, can be done without having to find new storage for your shoes, or books, or whatever trinkets you banish from vision in the depths of your oven.

It's a risotto made with buckwheat groats and radicchio di Treviso.  buckwheat? radicchio? Though it might sound out of your comfort zone, trust me and try it.  You'll discover a new obsession.  

With grandparents living on the Italian border, El Burrito grew up eating radicchio and is always asking that I incorporate it into our meals. Problem is, I don't really like it-- the average sort found in a salad is too bitter for me.  But the radicchio di Treviso is a totally different deal that is incredibly well suited for cooking, turning the corner from bitter and crunchy to almost sweet and meltingly soft without much effort.  I wouldn't substitute another type of radicchio, you'll miss the succulence and substance of this particular breed and I can't promise the result will be memorable.  

Buckwheat you may know from soba noodles or perhaps sarrasin crepes from Brittany.  It's a very healthy whole grain full of fiber and high quality protein (containing all eight essential amino acids) and minerals, but it doesn't have any gluten, so I've added some short-grain rice to the dish to ensure the creamy goodness of a classic risotto.