Sunday, March 10, 2013

"Bowl of Crack"

When I was first introduced to quinoa a few years back, I just didn't let myself like it. To tell you the truth, I just looked up "quinoa" on wikipedia to try to define exactly what it is to you guys, and I still  don't get it. It's not really a seed, not really, a grain, not really a cereal, but somehow related to beets and spinach (which is probably why there's some confusion as to whether it can be eaten for passover or not- feel free to comment!) Well, these little tiny things called quinoa have become my latest obsession. But, if you ask me, they have got to be prepared properly, and I have ONE very simple, but strict rule.

The base of the quinoa dish should not be the quinoa. Use more of every other ingredient, and less of the quinoa. The quinoa should appear "sprinkled throughout the dish, not as the main ingredient.

And here's why:

Quinoa has a translucent, almost slimy texture and if there is too much of it in one mouthful, it sort of reminds me of the feeling of those pop-rocks candies I used to eat growing in the back of your head, you feel like you just shouldn't be eating this.

Last weekend, my friend Natali threw an amazing dinner party and she served the best quinoa I ever tasted. This weekend, I adapted her recipe a little bit, using what I had at home, and I will never again make quinoa any other way. As my husband referred to it: "pass over that bowl of crack!"

Quinoa, Fresh Herbs, Lime...
serves 4-6

I used dill, cilantro, and flat leaf parsley, but feel free to use any fresh herbs you like and even kale will work.

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well under cold water
1 big bunch fresh dill
1 big bunch fresh cilantro
1 big bunch fresh flat leaf parsley
juice from 1 lemon
juice from 2 limes
4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 handful of toasted pine nuts (you can use any nut you have on hand)
1 handful golden raisins (I am SO not a raisin person, but I found a bag of these- and they worked so well: mild, sweet tasting and the color really enhanced the golden hue of the quinoa, like little gems)
lots of salt and black pepper to bring out the taste

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. I usually bring 2 cups of water to a boil, stir in the quinoa, and throw in a little salt. Reduce to a simmer, and cook, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Let it cool for about 10 minutes, and then transfer into a large bowl.
Use a large chef's knife to chop all of the fresh herbs into teeny tiny pieces. I use the herbs and their stems too (if you are using kale, don't use the stems from the kale). Doing this by hand is pretty important because a food processor will make the herbs too mushy. Once they are finely chopped, throw them into the bowl. Squeeze the lemons and limes over, and add the oil and vinegar. Stir in the nuts and raisins, and season well with salt and pepper.
The flavors of the fresh herbs really burst, and this quinoa literally tastes like spring. Make it your own version, and let me know what you think please!!!


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  2. This looks so yummy! I have found, that when I eat kosher, I feel better. I don't have lots of kosher recipes, so I have been on the search. This looks delicious! The name alone implies that it is addicting!

  3. Delish tastes like a mix of taboule and Mediterranean couscous .The raisons are delightful