Friday, October 17, 2008

Lessons with Quinoa

Today I had my kitchen time and wanted to do breakfast/ lunch/ dinner cooking for the next two weeks.  With 5 glorious hours to accomplish this, it seemed like enough time.  At 12:30pm I headed off to Bulk Foods, where unfortunately as usual, I was distracted by all the awesome stuff they have.  Oh well, there was still had a little over 4 hours!  

I headed off to the grocery store, but while in the car, my stomach started making ominous sounds.  Grr! I explained to my stomach that we would be tasting (snacking) as we cooked.  I somehow don't think the stomach understood because it continued it's rumbling and kicked in with some pangs.  So, off I went to nearby Indian  restaurant for a quick lunch.  I finally got to the grocery store where organic produce seduced me with all their yumminess.  And cremini mushrooms (my fav!) were on sale.   Happy, happy!

On the way home I tried to rationalize to myself that I would speed-cook and still get everything done in the 2 hours, 40 minutes.  Yes 'speed-cook'; I know it's not a word, but in my desperate state of mind it had become one.  I happily envisioned mushrooms flying from the knife to the skillet, while the quinoa simmered quietly in the background.  It would be fabulous!

So as not to bore you with any more details, panic did indeed set in during the last hour.  I felt like a contestant on the Iron Chef that you just knew wasn't going to make it to the end.  And sure enough, out of my planned 11 dishes, only 4 were completed!  Gah!  I ran out of mushrooms, didn't have the time to make the pan-seared tofu for one of the dishes and one big mistake...

I should have looked up quinoa before cooking it for the first time.  But no, I was confident it was similar to couscous and stayed really tiny.  So into the stockpot went the whole kilogram of quinoa, with enough water to cover it.   So engrossed I became in the other preparations, I didn't notice that the quinoa was now as high as the top of the pot.  Go ahead and laugh, if you already aren't.  :)

Lesson learned and I have enough quinoa to eat for a week!  (or two or three)  Here is what was finished:  One giant pan of lasagna (pictured below), 6 quesadillas, 3 mushroom & lentil burgers and quinoa pilaf.  Not too horible for less than three hours of cooking time, but not great either.

I'll put the other dishes up later on, but for the lasagna it was pretty basic.  I used brown rice lasagna sheets, store-bought tomato sauce, sauteed onions & mushrooms, tofu ricotta & spinach and a white bean puree with Nooch. The layering from the bottom up: pasta, mushroom mixture, pasta, ricotta & spinach sprinkled with Nooch, pasta, white bean puree with Nooch.  I topped the dish with some sprinkled breadcrumbs--oh yeah and I sprinkled the tomato sauce throughout the dish.  If anyone is really interested in the recipe, just let me know and I'll post it.

So this was a fail for OMAC, for those that were interested.  Actually it's going to be harder than I originally thought since OMAC usually features one meat served in a variety of dishes throughout the month.  Also, I'm trying to follow a low GI diet, which means I need a LOT of whole grains and a LOT of veggies.  I'm trying to not depend on soy and wheat gluten too much.  But I haven't given up on OMAC.  :)

*Just a little update on the lasagna:  the rice lasagna sheets came out horrible.  All globby and starchy.  Even though the fillings were good, I threw out the whole pan.  Anyone have any suggestions?

1 comment:

Lenora said...

"We're not worthy" (bow), "We're not worthy" (bow)!! I admire you for taking this on! Without the meats, binders and other junk it is a challenge to just "adapt" other freezable bulk meals, etc. I like your challenge though and I'll try to work on it too :D If we all band togehter we can make Vegan OMAC work! Yeah! (I think I can, I think I can...)
BTW... I DO make big batches of brown rice in my wonderful rice cooker and freeze that for later use! That's my first OMAC! :D