Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Cue The Quinoa

I signed up for a cooking class at a health food store (Ada's Natural Market) this week to A) learn something new B) benefit a charity (the new Golisano Children's Hospital in Fort Myers, FL). Of course as soon as I commit and send in money, ten thousand other things pop up on the same night. For instance a drive-by from a friend I haven't seen in ten years who lives 2000 miles away and just so happened to be in town on business…..for a few hours.

The text went like this:
Me: I know we can coordinate something….but I have signed up for a cooking class at 5:30
Friend: Cooking Class? You don't know how yet?
Me, trying to sound important: It's a charity thing.
Friend: Cooking for you might be considered that….so I've heard.

Someone's got jokes…..

Well I made the class and we started the night with a naked tasting…..of three different quinoa's. The white was mild with a smooth texture, the red was a  little more crunchy and nutty, the black was very crunchy and a bit bitter. 

Chef Winfield Lentz then took us through the subtleties of three dishes, from proper pans and rinsing, to how to cut onions. First recipe; Spring Rolls. I learned that it takes a delicate hand to roll the wet rice wrappers; say that fast three times, wet rice wrappers….GO!

Second dish; Brown Rice & Quinoa Pilaf. I was reminded that pilaf and I never really hit it off to begin with, so why start now. 

Third dish; Un-Meat Balls, utilizing the red quinoa and black beans for a base. They were surprisingly substantial and with homemade sauce drizzled on top, I can buy into this for sure. Or better yet, make bigger patties for meatless burgers!

I have been a fan of quinoa for a long time and happy to be inspired by these three dishes. And as for my friend, I was still able to get a couple of hours of quality time in over oysters, Mahi and delicious red wine. Who says you can't do it all!

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