That's right. I did that. I titled this blog post with a list of pretty much EVERY ingredient in my dinner. Try and say that 5 times fast! I just couldn't pick my favorite parts. I can't play favorites. I love you all equally. (I'm talking to ingredients there, but those of you sitting on the other side of the computer, I love you too.)
Before we get run down to the meat of this (or lack thereof), let's talk quinoa for a moment.
|Ok, ok, not the most photogenic thing I've ever made...|
Haven't you ever heard the expression "You can't judge a quinoa by it's closeup?"
This is the first time I've ever made quinoa. It's the ultimate in trendy health superfoods. And yes, I claim to be a cook and a consumer that focuses my efforts on being healthy (what healthy means to me). I've eaten the stuff only twice. Ever. (I know you're all so very scandalized, but please, pick up those jaws.) So, what gives?
When quinoa stepped out on the scene a few years ago, I gotta say I wasn't so concerned about healthy cooking. Quinoa just seemed trendy and superfluous. To be honest, I didn't give a sheeeet! And so I just never used it. Couscous, yum! Bulgar wheat, why not?! Brown rice, sure! The more I didn't try quinoa, the less I cared about it to be honest. I get lots of protein from chicken and tofu and beans and red meat! I get my vitamins! I've lived this long without it!
And then there was this. And of course, the less dramatic source article here. And not to be all Debbie-downer, but DAMN MAN. To sum it up, the entrance of quinoa into the global market has made the plant inaccessible to some Bolivians who depend on it for their main source of food. Yet at the same time, sales of quinoa abroad have changed the lives of many Bolivians for the better and drastically improved the Bolivian economy. What a conundrum. Fortunately, the ill effects of quinoa's entrance to the global market are being combated by aid programs, but its just such a glaring example of how we can exploit things without a second thought or realization. I obviously don't think there is anything wrong with eating quinoa, but the butterfly effect here is wild. Sometimes it's just important to reflect on our impact on the world, I guess.
There is no denying the health benefits of quinoa and there's no denying the ease of preparation we get in the US from packaged quinoa. It can be used as a healthier alternative to pasta (as seen here) or rice. But I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here and I should just tell you about my dish! Creamy, tangy and lightly pumpkin-y , this sauce balances nicely with the sauteed asparagus, sweet apples and nutty walnuts. It's not the most attractive to look at, but it's so quick and easy and the flavors are all there!
Soundtrack: Saw these guys open for Little Dragon last night. Good things. Good things.
Tycho by Tycho
Quinoa with Sauteed Asparagus, Walnuts & Apples in a Pumpkin-Goat Cheese Sauce
1 c quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tbsp butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1/4 c 2% milk
1 1/2 tbsp goat cheese
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and chopped
1 Macintosh apple, cored and chopped
1/4 c walnuts
Salt, pepper, EVOO
Prepare quinoa according to package instructions (or if you buy bulk, you can find the basic preparation online. I added a bit of EVOO and salt to mine.)
Meanwhile, melt butter and 1/2 tbsp EVOO together in a medium saucepan. Add garlic and sautee until toasted. Add pumpkin and milk, bring to a simmer and lower heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes and add goat cheese. Stir until melted. Season with salt & pepper. Set aside.
In a large saute pan, heat a drizzle of EVOO. Add asparagus, apple and walnuts. Salt & pepper. Sautee until vegetable is cooked through.
Toss quinoa with pumpkin sauce and sauteed asparagus, apple and walnuts. Serve!