My 20 year old son Tim is up in Toronto, Canada at BTNL (Beyond the Next Level) training to be a goalie. He will be trying out in August for several of the Canadian teams. When he left Virginia a few months ago he told me he wanted to make some favorite dishes made by mom...
Down memory lane: Tim on the right and his brother Joey on the left back in 2000. The 3 of us took a wonderful 3 day trip to southern West Virginia to find the home of the Rocket Boys...remember the movie October Sky? We went to Coalwood, WV. This was a most wonderful trip and one of my fondest memories with Tim and Joey. I often think of this wonderful time when they were young.
We raided the pantry and packed a great care package consisting of quinoa, red lentils (masoor dal), assorted spices like bay, whole cumin, dried red peppers, cinnamon sticks, and chaat masala (that are expensive to buy unless your mom buys spices in bulk or ethnic stores.
Let me interject here that I am proud that my 20 year old son wants to cook in his kitchenette up in Toronto and am amazed at his tenacity to do it all from scratch. His buddies are also amazed and some other hockey players have asked him to teach him how to make some foods.
So Tim, this post is dedicated to your newfound cooking skills! If hockey ever fails you, you have a great start in the culinary world. These are great life skills to have.
Cooking will be more fun when you set out all the ingredients before beginning to cook and take some time to prep your ingredients. This means washing all your vegetables and dicing or chopping them.
Quinoa is an ancient grain that was priced by the Incan civilization as the "mother of all grains". It is so prized because of it high nutrient value. It is a true grain and not a grass. The protein value is higher than any other grains. It grows in the high altitudes of Peru in dry, arid climates. For this reason quinoa has a drying quality that is also a benefit to all who consume the grain. It is usually found as red or white quinoa. Quinoa is related to beets, swiss chard, spinach and lamb's quarters, hence making it one of the highest grains for nutrient value. It has similar qualities to buckwheat and amaranth and has lysine (amino acid) unlike many other ancient grains.
Like many grains, quinoa (nice recipes on this site) should always be soaked with the soaking water discarded before proceeding in any recipe. Saponin is a soapy substance and natural insect repellent found on the grains. Think of it as kind of a survival tactic of the grain. This saponin can render the grain to taste bitter, hence the soaking. You only need to soak quinoa for about 15-30 minutes, then drain, then proceed to cook in water at a ratio of 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. One cup of dried quinoa will yield about 2 cups of cooked quinoa, similar to rice. Boil 2 cups of water, add soaked & rinsed quinoa and reduce to medium, covered for about 20 minutes. Let cool before proceeding with your recipe.
This large bowl has cooked quinoa and the following diced vegetables: 3-4 green onions, 1/2 to 1 full English cucumber, diced 1/2 red pepper, 1 or 2 diced salks of celery, 1 shredded carrot, and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. If you do not like cilantro, try adding chopped flat parsley and/or mint or a combination of the two. Vary the veggies according to what you like. Add some diced feta cheese also for a nice twist, though it will no longer be vegan.
Dressing is the fun part. Take 1/4 cup of lime juice (or lemon), 1 minced garlic clove, salt & pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cumin (toasted is nice), and 3/4 cup of vegetable oil (olive or canola are fine here). Toss together and pour over the quinoa and vegetables and toss to combine well. This salad tastes better when allowed to sit in the fridge for an hour or so to allow the flavors to combine. Other great additions would be toasted nuts you have lying around (peanuts, pinenuts, walnuts, or almonds are nice).
Teach your kids to cook before they leave home. These are skills they will always have.
Keep on cooking Tim! I am proud that you are choosing healthy eating everyday. It goes with the training on the ice. You are what you eat...every day.