Thursday, August 25, 2011

Quinoa with Roasted Beets and Bleu Cheese Vinaigrette

Crazy accidents happen, sometimes for the better and sometimes not.  I invented this recipe to use what little remains of this season's garden.  (better)  However, a key ingredient - the bleu cheese - was missing last night. (not better)  And, I had to substitute shallots for red onion.  But, it's okay!  What I love about cooking is that it is an improvisational art: Take what you have and make the most of it.  The bleu cheese really does make this dish special, and I wouldn't recommend omitting it intentionally.  But, these things happen, and my family ended up with a really lovely meal.

I served this with zucchini bread and carrots from the garden which I sliced and sauteed the heck out of.


Roast 2 medium beets (or several small) individually in foil in the oven for about an hour, until skins fall off easily.  (If you don't have quite this much time, it's okay for the beets to be slightly crunchy -gives a nice texture, actually.) Let cool enough to peel the skins.

Meanwhile, soak 1 C quinoa in water for 15 minutes.  Drain and rinse in fine strainer.  Put in saucepan with 1 1/4 C water and bring to simmer.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until quinoa has soaked up all the water and the quinoa is light and fluffy, about 30 minutes.  (check occasionally to make sure quinoa isn't sticking to bottom of pan.)  Put in serving bowl and set aside.

Chop the leafy parts of one bunch of Swish Chard or other leafy green and blanch for one or two minutes in boiling water, then remove it to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.  Dry in a towel.

Dice 1/2 of a red onion (or a whole one if you really like it).  You can use it raw or blanch it as with the chard.

Dice the beets.  Add the beets, onion, and chard to the serving bowl with the quinoa.

For the vinaigrette: Whisk together 2 T apple cider vinegar, 1 tsp (1 clove) minced garlic, 1 T red cooking wine, 1 tsp dried herbs (like oregano). Pour in about 1/4 C olive oil, in a steady stream, whisking until emulsified.  Add about 1/3 C crumbled bleu cheese.

Pour vinaigrette over quinoa salad, mix gently, and serve.

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