Consider quinoa, an example of yet another delicious, nutritious (gluten-free to boot) food that I love and that my family won't touch. I make it anyhow (I'll post an easy pilaf recipe as soon as I pay attention to how I do it) and happily compose beautiful, satisfying lunch salads from the leftovers. Quinoa is good that way - its nutty flavor goes with just about anything. Improvise away (fun!) with raw or cooked vegetables, vinaigrettes of any flavor, your favorite herbs, toasted nuts, cheeses, olives, dried or fresh fruits. On and on. For inspiration, check out this link to the lovely, innovative 101 Cookbooks blog, she (Heidi) has a whole category of fabulous-looking quinoa recipes.
Today, hungry for something a little sweet and a lotta healthy for breakfast, I decided to experiment with a warm quinoa cereal. Good move, my friends, good move, because it was the best breakfast I've had in...I don't know...forever. Better than biscuits, eggs, pancakes, or cinnamon rolls. Well, not really, but better today, because this is exactly what I was hungry for today, this warm, nutty, sweet, creamy quinoa.
Here's where I should point out that at least half the reason for the deliciousness was beyond the quinoa. You see, this craving really began with the leftover roasted hazelnuts I had sitting around. (Have you seen the inside of my fridge? That sentence would sound far less ridiculous if you had. You'd realize I have leftover everything sitting around, the source of my inspiration.)
I knew I could make oatmeal with hazelnuts - not bad, clearly. But then quinoa popped into my head, oh yes, that would be perfect with hazelnuts. And to gild the lily, I added hazelnut oil as well (see fridge) and oh my - this was seriously good. Dried cherries and just a bit of brown sugar or honey to finish pushed it over the top. (I also ate mine with a splash of milk, but you wouldn't need to - quinoa quite nicely doesn't become sticky when cooked.) I checked 101 Cookbooks for technique (she cooks beautifully with all manner of whole grains) and voila, she had a recipe - Warm & Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa. This version ended up a take on hers.
Given my improvisation rave above, feel free to use almond oil/almonds, walnut oil/walnuts, add citrus zest, substitute raisins, grate in some apple. On and on.
Hazelnut Quinoa Cereal with Dried Cherries
Adapted from www.101cookbooks.com
1 c. quinoa
1 c. water + 1 c. milk (substitute almond or soy milk if you like)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
dash of salt
1 Tbsp. hazelnut oil
1/2 c. dried cherries
1/2 c. toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 c. brown sugar or honey
Rinse quinoa in a strainer under running water. Put quinoa in a medium saucepan, add water, milk, cinnamon, and salt, and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in hazelnut oil, dried cherries, and brown sugar or honey, and continue to simmer, until liquid is absorbed, another 5-10 minutes. Serve hot with toasted hazelnuts, additional brown sugar or honey, and/or milk, if you like.