Monday, August 17, 2015

When Asparagus Met Quinoa

I've got asparagus, I've got quinoa, they want to get married and for me to throw the reception party. I've been trying to work this out in my head for a day or so, but no inspiration in this nation. Boring greens and grains.  Yes, the cat is driving me crazy.

Remember how I rhapsodized about the quiet - was it just yesterday?  Ha ha, well today, my neighbor is working outside to a loud Latin beat while there's a two-alarm something heading south on Clyde and a three-motorcycle contingent vrooming north on Clyde.  The juxtaposition of the two fire trucks screaming towards wherever the three motorcycles were vrooming from concerns me just a bit.  Well, if in fact the two noisy events were connected, I'm sure I'll catch it in tomorrow's local news.

This weekend, my soul is at peace.  Not sure if there is something about the medication, or having sent in my paperwork to Tallahassee, or a break in the worst of the pain.  Whatever it is, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts.

I finally worked out how to marry the asparagus with the quinoa.  Turns out the shidduch (matchmaker) for these two unlikely lovers was none other than bacon.  Everything is better with bacon.

Speaking of noise, everything I just wrote about is being drowned out by some pretty vicious thunder boomers.  The skies have darkened ominously, and the puppies are hiding.  Monsoon season has supplanted barbecue season in this part of Florida; no way I could have fired up the grill with this heading in.  No low and slow when you've got torrential rain storms on the horizon.

Quinoa with Asparagus and Bacon

6 slices bacon, chopped
4 green onions, white and light green parts sliced, dark green part set aside
2 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 to 1 pound thin asparagus, cut into 3/4 inch pieces, tips set aside
2/3 cup white quinoa
1-10 1/2 oz. can Campbell's chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots (La Fe brand with the little square-cut carrots)
1-2 tablespoons drained chopped pimentos
Emeril's Cajun seasoning
dried thyme
kosher salt
ground black pepper

Half-render the bacon in a heavy skillet on low-medium heat.  Add the onions, and cook until they start to soften.  Add the garlic and season the skillet contents with Cajun seasoning and thyme.  Keep cooking until the bacon is light brown, and not too crispy.  Add the cut up asparagus (excluding the tips); stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add the quinoa; raise the temperature to medium-high, and stir and cook for 1 minute.  Add the broth and bring to a boil.  Add the asparagus tips and the peas and carrots, lower the temperature to low, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

About those peas and carrots - I detest those big hunks of ruffle-cut frozen carrots that predominate all frozen vegetable mixtures.  I really love the frozen carrots that are cut into neat little squares about the same size as the peas.  If you can't find that peas and carrot blend in your local market, just use the peas.

Remove the cover from the skillet, and check the tenderness of the quinoa.  If there is liquid in the pan that hasn't been absorbed, carefully rest a piece of paper towel across the top of the skillet, and cover it.  Cook over low for another five or so minutes until the excess liquid is gone.

Pick out the nicest of the reserved green onion tops and slice them.  Remove the skillet from the heat, remove the cover (and paper towel if you used it) and stir the green onion and pimento into the quinoa.  Adjust your seasoning; taste first, because you may not need any additional salt.  Serve with a smile.

Speaking of smiles - no matter how hard I try, I can't make quinoa look pretty.  I've tried, but it insists on looking just meh.  This is one time that eating first with your eyes is a bad idea.  It tastes much better than it looks, trust me.

No comments:

Post a Comment