All images © Dina Avila 2013
A quiet start to the new year had segued into back-to-back magazine shoots, portrait shoots and bidding on big juicy projects. This means early to bed, early to rise, no drinking and not much in the way of home cooking. Adam and I are lucky, as we are literally surrounded by amazing and affordable restaurants…but the urge to wield my Wusthof or to stir a steaming pot of something or other in my Dutch oven is always gently tapping her delicate finger on the back of my mind. A quiet night led me to pick up the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living where I found inspiration for this dish. Rustic and nutty red quinoa, chickpeas and lemon. A perfect meal to help to regroup and rebalance and make a bit of a mess in the kitchen. Martha’s recipe calls for Napa cabbage but I am not a fan of cabbage so decided to swap it out for the bold and flavorful Brussels sprout. Roasted to a caramelized perfection, this becomes the perfect winter side…or main if you’re in the mood. This is my favorite sort of recipe where, with each bite, I’m chewing over the possibilities and variations. A dusting of sumac or paprika, perhaps? A sprinkling of the ubiquitous chunks of bacon? Oh, yes! Preserved lemons, shallots, slivers of shaved Reggiano? It goes on and on.
Take this recipe and find inspiration in it. Spring is right around the corner and with it bright cheerful veggies will begin to find their way on to our plates. I can only imagine the possibilities.
Red Quinoa with Roasted Brussel’s Sprouts
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup red quinoa, well rinsed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut into thirds
1 15oz can chickpeas
Handful of black oil-cured Moroccan olives
Zest and juice from one lemon
1/2 cup fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Warm you oven to 400
Place the Brussels on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil.
Bake for about 30 minutes, stirring periodically, until the leaves begin to crisp and brown.
In the meantime, bring water to a boil and stir in quinoa and salt.
Reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for 15 minutes.
Remove cover, raise heat to high and cook the quinoa, stirring frequently, until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is dry.
When you are about 20 minutes into roasting the Brussels, use tongs or a wooden spoon to shift the sprouts to the side of the baking sheet and spread the quinoa out on the other half.
Roast for 10 minutes, remove from oven and scrape the sprouts and quinoa in to a bowl.
Stir in the lemon juice and zest, chickpeas, olives and dill. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve warm or at room temperature.