I’m a better baker than cook, but when I do cook, I try to make good food that’s good for me. That was actually the reason I started cooking in my 20s — I lived in New York City and I was surrounded by awesome food all the time, but I was spending most of my meager income on rent so I had to make cuts and the only thing I could cut back spending on was food. As a runner, ramen (from the packet, not the fine restorative you can get in Japantown) wasn’t a sustainable way to keep up optimal energy. So I learned to cook vegetables even though I hated them. It took a while to figure out how to make broccoli and greens palatable, let alone lovable, but I did it and now veggies make up about 75% of my diet and I love every bite — any bite I don’t like is a waste of calories… but I still have a few edible items I need to conquer. Quinoa is one of them.
Quinoa is a different kind of challenge. It seems like everyone loves quinoa, but I just don’t like it. I had a scarring experience about 10 years ago when the popularity of quinoa was starting to get some traction. I ordered “Quinoto” at a fancy restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was risotto-style quinoa. It smelled and tasted like dirty, wet gym socks. The memory of that meal is burned on my brain and I never really recovered from it, despite my attempts to make quinoa… edible.
It’s tough, because quinoa is one of those super grains –which basically means your body absorbs and uses every bit of it to give you energy. It’s full of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids and (gasp) it contains about half the carbs of rice. It’s grown in Peru and Bolivia where it originated. It was a staple in the Inca diet but was replaced by cereals when the Spanish arrived.
I should be eating it for every meal… but I can’t eat anything that frequently, however, I did figure out a way to make quinoa so that I can eat it at least a little more frequently: Fried Rice-Style Quinoa.
- 1 cup Quinoa (cooked and cold — should be refrigerated overnight)
- 1 Carrot, diced
- ¼ cup Frozen Peas
- 1 egg, scrambled (my video shows two eggs, but the ratio you might be familiar with is one egg)
- 1 TB Soy Sauce
- 1 TB vegetable oil
In a skillet over a medium-high flame, heat the oil. When it starts to smoke, add the quinoa and stir to break up the chunks.Add peas and carrots followed by the the eggs.