Thursday, May 27, 2010

Quinoa: It's What's for Breakfast

In my last post I mentioned my trip to DC where my mom and dad live. In the week leading up to my visit, my mom asked if there were any foods she'd like me to stock up on. I gave her a list of things (steel cut oats, soy milk, yogurt, english muffins) that I've been eating for breakfast lately and my mom being my mom, she went out and bought EVERY last item on the list. I was not staying for a month and I was not bringing an army with me so, needless to say, there was an excess of breakfast foods. I did manage to at least eat a little bit of each thing and to introduce my mom (who regularly eats rolled oats) to the wonders of steel cut oats.

For those of you who haven't tried them, these tasty nuggets of flavor and texture can be found in the hot cereal aisle (or bulk food aisle) in vintage-like cans.

God bless the Irish.

They take longer to cook and require more babysitting than traditional rolled oats, but the pay-off are chewy, yet crunchy whole grains that put their mushy (processed) cousins to shame. My mom was sold.

Leave it to my youngest brother to kick it up another notch. While we were discussing the relative merits of steel cut oats, Andrew, who is a cook at a brunch place, mentioned that they serve quinoa for breakfast. While quinoa is often cooked like couscous (covered in a pan of boiled water while the grains soak up all the liquid), he said they cook theirs like pasta which makes for more consistent cooking. Cooked quinoa also refrigerates well. So I cooked up some quinoa for breakfast this morning. It took a mere ten minutes compared to the 20 to 30 for steel cut oats. I mixed it up with a little cream, brown sugar, and dried cherries. It soaked up the cream a little more readily than oats do, making it harder to play with the consistency, but the grains were delicious. They stick to your ribs a little less than oats do so they're a great warmer weather, quicker cooking alternative.

Next up: a cardamom- anise seed addition to my morning cereal.

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