July 22, 2012

Breaking: Husband Asks for More Quinoa

Roasted sweet potato rounds topped with goat cheese. Like a little sweet potato pie.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my husband Ryan. Not only is he unbelievably handsome, muscular, smart, and charming; the man doesn't put up (much) of a fuss when I cook something a little... out of the ordinary.

In the last few years, as I've been mostly vegetarian, people often ask, "What about your husband?" in a kind of old-fashioned, but-your-husband-must-NEED-meat kind of way. "Does he eat vegetarian at home? Isn't he hungry all the time? Doesn't he insist you cook steak for him?"

Perhaps in some alternate universe, I married a man who demanded I cook certain things for him. But happily, in my actual universe, my husband is grateful for healthy, homemade food, and occasionally requests chocolate chip cookies and coconut cream pie. He tells me how much he appreciates me cooking for him, and gives honest feedback when a recipe is—or isn't—up to snuff.

So as I was putting together last night's menu, I wondered what Ryan's reaction would be. My last quinoa experiment was decidedly not delicious, and it was one of the very few times he wrinkled his nose and reached for the peanut butter and jelly. And here I was, making quinoa again. He inquired about the menu.

"Well, I'm making those roasted sweet potatoes that are so good," I began, trying to sell him on the idea.

"What else?"

Deep breath. It's game time. "Oh, this dish with quinoa and chevre and kale. Should be great." I'm no salesperson, though; my tactics were decidedly weak.

"Is it cous-cous that I like, or quinoa?"

"Um, actually, I'm pretty sure it's both. You like them both." Nice one, Amber, he's definitely going to believe that line.

It wasn't until we sat down to eat ("But wait! I have to take photos first!") that the proof showed up in the pudding. I think we were both pleasantly surprised; the quinoa was flavorful, fluffy, and the kale was bright—flavors enhanced by fresh lemon, goat cheese, and a slight bit of balsamic-laced caramelized onion.

I grinned as he reached for the bowl. "Mind if I have some more?"

So, here's to my husband Ryan: My soulmate, with whom I eat, drink, and am exuberantly merry.

Quinoa and Kale with Goat Cheese
adapted from Food 52

1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups chopped fresh kale
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/3 cup goat cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper to taste

Rinse the quinoa very well to remove its natural bitter coating (here's a great primer on quinoa!). Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. After about 20 seconds, add the quinoa and chopped onions. Saute until the quinoa and onions are golden, about five minutes (the onions will be almost translucent).

Add the broth or water and bring to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes. Add the kale, cover with a lid, and simmer for five more minutes. Check the quinoa; the water should be evaporated and the quinoa cooked but still al dente. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steam for about five more minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, and goat cheese. Pour in the kale and quinoa and toss to coat.

Serve with a side of simple roasted sweet potato medallions! Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.


Claire Jain said...

LOL! Um, both? I'll have to try this quinoa recipe!

Jillian said...


I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could e-mail me?