Once upon a time, quinoa was an obscure, humble ingredient from the Andes. A basic food staple for Peruvians and Bolivians, it occasionally appeared at hippy potlucks and week-long yoga retreats. But no more. This healthy, high-protein seed is now having its time in the spotlight, and some say the unintended consequences of this popularity aren't good for Bolivians and Peruvians who rely on this super healthy food as a part of their diet. In short, the world demand has driven the price so high that some can no longer afford it.
We think we know oatmeal, but according to food historian Anne Mendelson, we do not. Old-school oatmeal (and she means truly old-school) bears little resemblance to the thick, chewy, raisin-studded porridge that most of us know and love. But Mendelson insists that the pioneers had it better.
Did you know that the UN declared 2013 the "International Year of Quinoa"? It seems like the nutty, nutritious grain is everywhere these days, and the United Nations wants to take it even further, expanding knowledge and production of quinoa in countries suffering from food insecurity.
Quinoa and black beans are pillars of our pantry. In summer we toss them into a satisfying, protein-packed salad with ripe tomatoes. In winter, however, we replace the tomatoes with something just as refreshing yet more seasonally appropriate: vibrant, juicy oranges.
In my recent pantry reorganization, I found a bag of wheat berries I'd been meaning to use. A simple salad with some winter citrus and salty feta seemed like a good idea, and it all turned out very tasty. Light yet satisfying, this makes a perfect lunch or dinner side salad this time of year.
I hate to say it, but I was inspired to write this post after a days-long bout with the flu that left me craving chicken soup. And lots of it. While chicken noodle soup is the always-beloved standard, there are many other options out there that are equally simple to make at home to satisfy the wearied winter belly. I began researching and whipping up soups with global influences and more complex spice profiles, all the while discovering some new favorite recipes I'll continue to recreate in sickness and in health.
Light yet satisfying, grain salads are the perfect meal to eat while recovering from a month of heavy holiday food. They are also very adaptable, incorporating the hardy vegetables and warm flavors of winter as easily as the bright, fresh flavors of summer. These eight recipes mix whole grains like farro, brown rice and quinoa with the fruit and vegetable stars of winter, including Cara Cara oranges, maple roasted acorn squash and golden beets.
Chia seeds have been making the health food store rounds for a number of years now, but they only recently broke through into the mainstream. I'd written them off as some sort of diet fad until I tried a chia seed smoothie and thought Hmmm, these aren't half bad. But somehow, I missed the fact that their resemblance to the fad Chia Pet was more than a coincidence.
Sometimes two common ingredients or recipes are brought together in a delicious marriage and you wonder how it is you hadn't thought of it sooner. This was my exact reaction to Smitten Kitchen's crunchy, toasty, slightly sweet granola-crusted nuts.