Thursday, July 5, 2012

Mediterranean Quinoa

One of the things I love about the great US of A, beyond our independence, is the diversity. Not just the people; the diversity of flavors. America really is a melting pot. And if you've ever been to an international grocery store, you know what I mean.

When the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, do you think they could imagine the multitude of cuisines present here today? Obviously Ben Franklin and John Adams spent time in Paris, but what about food from the farflung lands in South America, Asia, and Africa? Or even the regional flavors that evolved over time?

I'm thankful that I was exposed to all sorts of cuisines growing up: Italian, Greek, Polish, Mexican, Chinese, and so on. I was never really a picky eater and loooove spicy foods. It was way more than bland meat and potatoes. Sometimes John wonders where my palate come from.

So when I can't hop on a plane during the middle of the week, at least my tastebuds can go on a culinary adventure.

Mediterranean Quinoa

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 14 oz. can of quartered artichoke hearts, drained
1 cucumber, diced
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1/2 cup kalamata olives, drained
2 tablespoons pinenuts (toasted)
4 oz. container of feta cheese
Handful of basil (rough chopped or cut into a chiffonade)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour quinoa into a strainer and rinse.

In a medium pot, bring broth or water to boil. Stir in quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering about 15 minutes, until quinoa expands and absorbs all liquid.

While the quinoa is simmering, prep the rest of the ingredients.
Once the quinoa has absorbed the water or chicken broth, pour in the lemon juice and fluff quinoa with a fork.

Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Garnish with additional feta cheese and basil.

May be served hot or chilled. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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