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Monday, March 7, 2011

Moosewood Cookbook- making me look good all over again

My friend Martha, who was an accomplished cook, always said in defense of her skill, that she was actually just really good at following directions.  In other words, she wasn't a good cook so much as she knew how to follow a good recipe.  (I would disagree heartily and say that a good cook is someone who can look at a great recipe and make adjustments to it before they even make it.  Or maybe this is a willy nilly cook - a category which I would count myself in.)

Anyway, my family often tells me I'm a good cook and I often think of Martha because, while I can make stuff up and (usually) have it taste pretty good, I also happen to have some stellar cookbooks. 

Here is my favorite one right now:

Recipe:  Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

I don't know if you've ever heard of or eaten quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) but this grain has recently been awarded membership into the coveted category of superfood.  Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, it is also a complete protein, and is full of magnesium (which has a beneficial impact on blood pressure), manganese and cooper (minerals that act as antioxidants to remove toxins and cancer cells from your body) as well as fiber.

Here's how you make it:
( I modified the recipe, naturally, to remove celery which I despise.  I added extra onion, carrot and zucchini so if you are a celery lover decrease these to 1 cup each and add 3/4 c. diced celery)

1 c. raw quinoa
6 medium bell peppers
3 TBSP olive oil
1 1/2 c. chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp salt, or more to taste
1 1/4 c. peeled and diced carrots
1 1/4 c. diced zucchini
1 1/2 c. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 1/2-2 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve.  In a covered pot, bring the quinoa and 2 cups of water to a boil.  Simmer for 15 minutes until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed.

Meanwhile, cut bell peppers in half lengthwise and, leaving the stems intact, seed them.  Brush the peppers, inside and out, with 2 TBSP olive oil.  Place them cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes, until softened and slightly browned but not collapsed.  Reduce oven temp to 350.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, heat the remaining TBSP of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes, until the onions have softened.  Stir in the cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, salt, carrots, zucchini and corn.  Cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes until the vegetables are very tender. Combine with the cooked quinoa.  Add salt to taste.

Turn the roasted peppers over and spoon filling into each half.  Sprinkle each with grated cheese.  Bake for 10-15 minutes until the cheese is melted.


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