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For The Love Of Food

by | May 25, 2012

For The Love of Food

Welcome to Friday’s For The Love of Food, Summer Tomato’s weekly link roundup.

Why eating organic food doesn’t make you a jerk, how a pastry chef in Paris keeps his man-ish figure, and how NOT to get your husband to eat better.

Want to see all my favorite links? Be sure to follow me on on Delicious. I also share links on Twitter @summertomatoGoogle+ and the Summer Tomato Facebook page. I’m very active on all these sites and would love to connect with you. (And yes, I took that pepper heart pic myself).

Links of the week

What inspired you this week?

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Turkish Quinoa Pilaf With Chickpeas, Kale and Pomegranate

by | Nov 16, 2008

A couple weeks ago the New York Times health section featured several recipes using quinoa (keen-wah), a small, round ancient seed from Peru that can be used much like a cereal grain.

Because I had all the ingredients on hand, I decided to make this recipe for Quinoa Pilaf With Chickpeas, Pomegranate and Spices. I must admit, while it sounded good I did not expect to like it as much as I did.
I did not have an onion, but I had leeks so I used them instead. This made the recipe faster since leeks only require 1-2 minutes of cooking before additional ingredients are added.
Also, I do not have a spice grinder so I added slightly smaller amounts of already ground spices instead of toasting and grinding them myself. I just eye-balled the amounts using a teaspoon measure.
The recipe says that canned chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are fine, but I prefer to make my own. In my opinion, homemade beans are much better than canned. However, I have the luxury of having a pressure cooker in the house, which reduces cooking time for beans to about 25 minutes (including depressurization). Otherwise beans require at least an hour to cook. They also require several hours of soaking. Since beans are one of my most reliable and affordable protein sources, this process is worth it for me. If you would rather just crack open a can, that is your call.
Finally, I wanted a little more green in my meal so I steamed half a bunch of dinosaur kale. To prepare, I cut it up into bite sized pieces and steamed it for 8-10 minutes. I salted it then added it to the quinoa after I added the chickpeas. I strongly recommend adding kale if you plan to use this recipe as a main course. It was delicious!
Adaptation of New York Times Quinoa with Chickpeas, Pomegranate and Spices (with kale):
  • 1 teaspoon(ish) cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon(ish) coriander
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa, (1 c. dry)
  • 1 cup cooked chick peas (canned are fine), rinsed
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Rinse and chop kale and place in steam basket over shallow water. Cover and steam 8-10 minutes. This step is particularly important for dinosaur kale, which can be very tough. If you are using traditional kale, reduce cooking time accordingly. Cook until tender then sprinkle with sea salt.

Adjust a frying pan to medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the leek and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and salt, stir together for about half a minute, and stir in the cumin and coriander. Add the remaining olive oil and stir in the quinoa, chick peas, kale and 3 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds. Stir over medium heat to heat through, several minutes. Taste and adjust salt.
Transfer to a platter or wide bowl and decorate with the remaining pomegranate seeds. You can also mold the pilaf into 1/2-cup ramekins or timbales and unmold onto the plate, then decorate with pomegranate seeds.
Leftover pilaf can be stored in the refrigerator for several days. Picture above was after 3 days, and it was still beautiful. Only the pomegranate seeds started losing color after awhile, but they were still tasty. Reheat 1-2 minutes in the microwave.
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Simple Gourmet: How To Clean A Pomegranate

by | Oct 13, 2008
Clean Pomegranate Seeds

Clean Pomegranate Seeds

Pomegranates can be intimidating because they are notoriously messy and the tiny seeds can be difficult to separate from the convoluted center. However, with a few simple tricks you can have a pile of clean pomegranate seeds in about 5 minutes.

First cut off the flowery tip and score the leather-like skin of the pomegranate along the veins where the membrane goes through to the center. Make the slices about 1/4 inch deep. You can cut the pomegranate in half if you like, but this will damage some of the seeds and make an unnecessary mess.

Next, fill a large bowl with cool water and submerge pomegranate. Use fingers to pry open the skin at the incisions and break pomegranate in half as shown. The skin should bend easily where it has been scored, so continue to break open the fruit and gently begin removing the seeds under water with your thumb and fingers.

Submerge Pomegranate

Submerge Pomegranate

Because the seeds are filled with juice they readily sink to the bottom of the bowl, while the airy, white interior of the pomegranate floats to the top.

Once you have dislodged all the seeds, remove the large chunks of skin and lining with from the water with your hands. If any seeds remain floating, they are likely attached to a floating piece of the pomegranate interior. Separate these pieces.

Removing Pomegranate Seeds

Removing Pomegranate Seeds

Next, add cold water to the bowl then let the seeds settle to the bottom again. Dump off the top layer of water, being sure not to let any seeds escape from the bowl. Remove as much water as possible and then refill the bowl. With the water now slightly cleared, check the seeds at the bottom for any stuck pieces of the white interior of the pomegranate and remove them.

Continue to rinse and drain the seeds until no more pieces of pomegranate interior float on the water. Finally, dump the clean seeds into a strainer to remove the water. These can be stored in a sealed contain in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Pomegranate seeds are a fantastic addition to salads, cereals, rice, couscous and vegetable dishes.

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