Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(Almost) Vegetarian Day - Quinotto, Omelettes, and Pickeled Veggie Salad

Got the double challenge today. Hubby is on low carb to lower his blood sugar, and we have a vegetarian coming for dinner. What to make? I have a lot of happy eggs in the fridge, and we'll be gone for 2 weeks. And I just got Julia Child's "Mastering The Art of French Cooking", so what better to do than work on my omelette making skills. And I can slip in some of the slab bacon that I have in the fridge in the form of lardons in the eggs for the carnivores around the table. The vegetarian will get an Omlette au Fromage with loads of Parmesan.

And what else? Barbara Lynch has a great salad recipe in her book "stir", and Food & Wine now has it on their website:
I'll forgo the soft boiled eggs in lieu of the omelettes, and use the veggies I have on hand: beets, celery, parsnip, carrots, and red cabbage. I'm sure she'll approve. It's a really pretty salad, but it also tastes heavenly, and it's easy to make. And you can mix up the ingredients for different tastes, and different seasons.

Finally, to ensure that we have some healthy carbs after all I'll make my creation of quinoa risotto. Or should it be "quinotto"? What is quinoa? It's like a grain, though it's a relative of leafy greens like Swiss chard or spinach. Aside from being super healthy, high in protein and fiber, I prefer its texture and taste to rice.

For that I'll saute some green, young garlic, a shallot, and some mushroom, and then cook the quinoa together with the veggies with sherry and broth. A peek in the pot while I'm cooking and stirring:

When the quinoa is done (about 1/2 hour) I add the Parmesan. The photo shows the quinoa pretty done, you can see that the little quinoa grains are fully translucent, and don't have a white center anymore

So, how does it all look put together? You'll have to try for yourself. It was delicious, but the omelette making for 4 people got quite hectic and I didn't take a picture of the completed meal. Note to self: Only make 2 egg omelettes the next time, 3 eggs are pretty hard to handle in the pan.

Quinoa with Mushrooms
1 shallot
1 green garlic (similar to a scallion, just in garlic) Replace with garlic if not in season
1/2 tablespoon butter and olive oil each
1/2 lb mushrooms, the more adventurous the better the outcome
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sherry
1 - 1 1/2 cups broth, preferably mushroom or veggie
Cream - if desired
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute the minced shallot and garlic in the butter / olive mixture for a few minutes, add mushrooms and sautee a little longer, then add quinoa. Add sherry and about 1 cup of the water or broth, simmer on low, stir every once in a while and check liquid levels. Add more liquid as needed (when using water add a bit of salt). When the quinoa is done, it'll be translucent and fluffy. Add Parmesan, cream, salt and pepper to taste. Add minced scallions just before serving to give it a fresh taste.

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