Between you and me, I’ve never been a huge fan of quinoa. Please, oh please, don’t report me to the food blogger authorities! Just hear me out!
I know it’s something I should like, especially since my diet consists of vegetarian and pescatarian fare, but it hasn’t fully grown on me. On a night when I’m deciding between quinoa or couscous, the former very often gets passed aside. Couscous is easier to prepare and always makes for a satisfying side to broiled fish or vegetable stew. And it absorbs all of the spices and juices in these dishes beautifully.
Quinoa, on the other hand, takes twice as long to cook and, while it does have a subtle nutty flavor, I find that it takes a lot more finesse to season it. A sprinkle of salt and pepper won’t do the trick. It needs bright, bold flavors.
When deciding what to make from blogger and fellow New England resident, Béatrice Peltre’s, new cookbook, La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life (which is based on her blog of the same name), I was a bit skeptical to dive into a quinoa dish. Quinoa has been all over the internet recently and I couldn’t imagine there would be something worthy of yet another blog post.
I’ll be the first to admit that I was wrong… completely, undeniably WRONG.
This is a recipe that needs to be made immediately… tonight, in fact. The ingredients aren’t hard to find, the preparation takes less than an hour. Eat it as a side or on its own. Serve it to family members or consume the whole bowl yourself. I promise, I won’t judge… and no one else should either.
Béa also suggests bringing this on a picnic, which I absolutely agree with. It’s rustic, yet elegant. Plus, I can’t imagine anything more satisfying than this dish served with a couple glasses of crisp white wine. I’m already counting down the days before I can pack up a lunch and take it to one of the beaches on Cape Cod. This will be the dish I make. Mark my words.
Now that I’ve fallen hard for this quinoa tabouli, I can’t wait to try out another recipe from Bea’s beautifully constructed book. It’s impossible to believe there isn’t a blogger out there who is not familiar with her site but for those of you who aren’t a part of this crazy community, let me introduce you.
I should start by saying that there are blogs that I read for a variety of reasons: captivating writing or vivid photography or their ability to come up with drool-inducing recipes. But you know you’ve found a true gem when it embodies all of these. There are times I come across a blog and, with the very first glance, my breath is taken away. Such is the case with Bea’s work, which is both ethereal and majestic. Take a peek at her blog, buy her book. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with Bea these last few months and she is just as delightful in person as she appears on her blog. She’s not only an eloquent speaker, but a thoughtful listener. And the woman is darn charming too! Her gorgeous French accent… I wish I could record her voice on my iPhone so I could wake up to it every morning! (Sorry if I’ve embarrassed you, Bea. I just couldn’t help myself.)
And now here’s the big announcement you’ve all been waiting for: Bea is giving away a copy of her book to two lucky A Thought For Food readers. That’s right! There will be TWO WINNERS! Not only that, but she’ll include a note in each book. I told you she was charming!
So, here are the giveaway details:
To enter, you must leave a comment on this post between now and Sunday, February 19th.
That’s it! Just one entry per person. This giveaway is open to everyone (the book can be shipped worldwide). Good luck!
If you don’t feel like waiting to find out if you’ve won, you can purchase La Tartine Gourmande from Amazon.
Beet and Quinoa Tabouli
from Beatrice Peltre’s La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1 cup cooked white quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 large cooked beet, peeled and diced (see below)
1 cup mixed cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/4 red onion, finely chopped
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
for the vinaigrette:
Sea salt and pepperJuice of 1 lemon or lime
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 tablespoon chopped mint
To cook the beet (unpeeled), you have two options: Add to a pot of water, bring to a boil, and cook until it’s easy to insert a knife in the middle. Or you can wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). The cooking time depends on the size of the beet – it can take between 40 minutes and 1 hour – check regularly. Once cooked through, let cool before peeling it.
Toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over medium heat for 2 minutes, or until lightly colored and fragrantl remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain it in a colander. Add it to a pot and cover with the water or broth and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 12 to 14 minutes, or until all of the water or broth is absorbed. Re move from the heat and keep covered for 5 more minutes. Transer the quinoa to a bowl and fluff it with a fork; let cool. Add the beet and toss gently. The quinoa will take on a nice pink color. Add the tomatoes, onion and cheese.
To prepare the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the sea salt and pepper with the lemon juice and oil, and whisk to emulsify. Stir in the herbs. Dress the salad with this vinaigrette and adjust the seasoning to your taste. Add more dressing if you like and serve with the pine nuts.