Discovering quinoa

Before I start with today, a quick note on last night’s dinner. As I mused, I did make a side of salad to go with the planned baingan bharta. I had some ready to eat herbs for salad bought from the store… a mix of rocket leaves and baby spinach. To that I added quartered and seeded orange pieces n’ pulp. Dressing was a dash of olive oil, lemon, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Before serving I hand-crushed walnut kernels over it to add some nutty flavor. Overall it turned out to be a good, except that I should have restrained on my generous squeeze of lemon. It was bit too acidic. But with this note in my mind, I would definitely try this salad again.

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Today’s lunch’s highlight was quinoa. Back in India, I had always heard about it and even seen its packets in upmarket food stores, but had never tried it. Partly because those upmarket food stores had suitably high price labels upon it. So I was pleasantly surprised a few days back, when I found a packet of quinoa while going through my husband’s previously stocked pantry. He had probably forgotten about it, after stashing it in one of the big containers, as it was not opened yet. So today, when I felt bit bored by the options of rice, roti, and noodles, it occurred to me that I can indeed now try quinoa. I followed the instructions on the packet and found that cooking quinoa was quite easy. Just to add a personal touch, I added some dried basil and a tempering of burnt garlic when it was cooked. I was very much pleased by it and am sure that I would now use quinoa more often in my kitchen.

To go with this staple, today I took out stir-fry vegetables from our freezer and cooked those with coconut milk and few dollops of ready-made Thai tom yum paste. While it turned out to be a decent veg curry, it did not really enthuse me… maybe because of the ready-made paste. I guess, I will use the paste few more times and then wash my hands off it. Firstly, I do like to make my own sauces/ pastes. Secondly, a ready-made paste does not really fit into our new resolve to focus more upon the natural food. While the maker assured that it contained no artificial flavors and preservatives, one is never sure of the salt or sugar content in these things. Yet, as a homemaker, I find it bit aggressive to just throw away a full container of something that was already bought. So I guess, the middle way is to finish it (at least, partly) and then not to buy something like it again.

We have planned a supermarket trip this evening and most likely to have a dinner out at the local Mediterranean joint. 🙂 So no more cooking for this day, except for a nice cup of black coffee now…

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