|SERVED IN RED CABBAGE WRAPS W/ TAHINI|
For the greater part of this past year, I've approached social gatherings that included food (although to be fair, which ones don't?) with a great deal of anxiety. How could I not? There's always the inevitable experience of figuring out how best to politely refuse food, how to concisely explain why you can't partake, and how to avoid conversations that are laden with suggestions of hypochondria (or eating disorders) or pity. Ugh. As I slowly but surely got a handle on my diet, though, I was able to grow in confidence, and able to come up with recipes that could please my body's unique needs, and also please a variety of palates. Now when I'm in said situations, I can bring food to share with everyone rather than eat before I go (making myself much less conspicuous), and I can approach the inevitable inquiries with confidence and (hopefully) tact. Rejoice!
On the 31st I attended a wonderful Samhain celebration in a rural area of our lovely state. I wasn't very familiar with the majority of attendees prior to the gathering, so in order to ease the aforementioned anxieties, I was especially keen on bringing some tasty fare to share with everyone. This dish was a hit, and helped to warm our bellies as we ushered in the dark half of our year with positive energy and healing. May it do the same for you!
HERBED MIDDLE-EASTERN SPICED QUINOA WITH CHICKPEAS & YAMS
1 1/2 CUPS QUINOA
1/2 CUP AMARANTH
6 CUPS WATER*
1 TBS CUMIN
2 TSP CORIANDER
1 1/2 TSP SEA SALT
3/4 TSP ALLSPICE
1/2 CUP RAW PUMPKIN SEEDS (PEPITAS)
1/4 CUP RAW SUNFLOWER SEEDS
1/2 CUP PACKED FRESH BASIL
1/2 CUP LOOSELY PACKED CILANTRO
1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL
1 15 OZ CAN CHICKPEAS/GARBANZO BEANS
2 YAMS/SWEET POTATOES (I USED ONE JEWEL & ONE JAPANESE)
ADDITIONAL 1/4 CUP BASIL & 1/4 CUP CILANTRO, WHOLE
ZEST & JUICE OF ONE LEMON
PREHEAT OVEN TO 375**. PUT QUINOA, AMARANTH, SPICES AND WATER IN A LARGE COVERED POT. BRING TO A RAPID BOIL, THEN LOWER HEAT TO SIMMER FOR ABOUT 20 MINUTES, CHECKING PERIODICALLY TO MAKE SURE IT'S NOT STICKING TO THE BOTTOM OF THE POT. WHILE COOKING, HEAT A SHALLOW PAN, AND TOAST THE PUMPKIN AND SUNFLOWER SEEDS, STIRRING TO PREVENT BURNING. WHEN TOASTED, COARSE GRIND THEM IN A FOOD PROCESSOR WITH THE 1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL, 1/2 CUP CILANTRO AND 1/2 CUP BASIL. (IF USING LEMON, ADD NOW.)
WASH AND SLICE YAMS, TOSS IN OLIVE OIL, AND LAY OUT ON A BAKING SHEET COVERED IN PARCHMENT PAPER. SPRINKLE WITH A BIT OF SEA SALT AND CUMIN, AND BAKE UNTIL TENDER. WHEN QUINOA IS COOKED, ADD THE GROUND SEEDS & HERBS FIRST, THEN THE CHICKPEAS, YAMS, AND ADDITIONAL HERBS IF DESIRED. SERVE AS IS OR IN CABBAGE WRAPS AS SHOWN.
* Cooking grain with this amount of water makes for a creamier texture, which is a bonus for those of
us who have a difficult time digesting grain.
** Sooo...my oven still hasn't been replaced (December!), so I apologize yet again for not having
specifics on this. My yams cooked in a 500 degree oven; it was quick! Again, stay close; they are
sliced quite thinly.