I’ve been busy in the 1840 Farm kitchen the last few days trying to develop a recipe for the new Food 52 challenge. A week ago, I received an Email challenging all members of Food 52 to enter recipes using products from the bulk bin at their local grocery store. The focus of the challenge was whole grains and dried beans. Since these ingredients find their way onto our dinner plates on a regular basis, I was in.
Let me start by saying that I would never, ever buy anything from the bulk bins. No, I’m not a germophobe of the Melvin Udall variety from As Good As It Gets. Well, maybe a little, but not to his extreme. I do carry hand sanitizer with me everywhere I go and I certainly don’t go looking for germs to bring home with me.
I can assure you that I do not wear plastic gloves to pick up our dog Pete or take my own disposable silverware with me when I leave the house. Of course, now that I think of it, Pete does resemble Verdell quite a bit. But getting back to my point, my germ avoidance does have its bounds.
I steer clear from the bulk bins because I know that allergens are lurking there. I have no way of knowing if the bin containing beautiful red quinoa today was home to cashews yesterday. The bulk bins are definitely off-limits in our house. When you live with food allergies, you skip the bulk bin in the hopes of skipping an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
In spite of my self-imposed limitation, I played along with the theme of this contest. Although none of my ingredients originated from a bulk bin, they could definitely be found there. The recipe has been posted and the meal was delicious, if I do say so myself.
If you have been trying to convince someone in your life to give quinoa a try, this may be the perfect place to start. It was creamy and slightly sweet due to the roasted tomatoes with flavor to spare. We served it with an arugula salad and a freshly baked loaf of crusty bread with roasted garlic. It would also pair beautifully with roasted or grilled meat if you are so inclined.
I’ll leave it up to you to choose where you want to purchase the ingredients and what you to serve it with at your house. I hope that you enjoy the recipe as much as we did. There were a lot of happy diners gathered around our farmhouse table last night. No matter how my recipe fares in this challenge, we’ve got one more delicious, healthy dinner recipe to add to our collection, so I’ve won already.
Heirloom Red Quinoa with Roasted Tomatoes and Chick Peas
serves 4 – 6 as a main course
- 1 1/2 cup dried garbanzo beans
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 12 ounces red quinoa
- 28 ounces vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped finely
- 2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- parmesan cheese for serving
- Carefully pick over dried beans. Remove any damaged beans or foreign objects. Cover with 4 1/2 cups of water and allow to sit at least four hours or overnight in container large enough to allow beans to expand.
- Drain beans and rinse with cold water. Place rinsed beans in large stockpot with enough water to cover by three inches (this should be between 4 and 5 cups of water depending on the size of your pot).
- Bring beans to a gentle simmer over medium heat. Continue to cook at a gentle simmer, stirring often for 60 to 90 minutes or until tender. Do not add salt to the water as the beans cook. Doing so will result in a bean with a mushy outer shell. Instead, salt the beans as soon as they are cooked to your liking. Adding salt after they are cooked completely will not affect their texture or appearance.
- Remove the beans from heat. Drain beans in colander. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two rimmed baking sheets with aluminum foil.
- Rinse tomatoes. Split each tomato in half lengthwise. Toss tomatoes with chopped garlic and olive oil. Spread into a single layer on one of the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle with chopped thyme, sea salt, and freshly ground pepper.
- Pour drained garbanzo beans onto a clean tea towel and dry by gently rubbing moisture from the beans. Move garbanzo beans to the second prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil. Chop fresh rosemary finely and sprinkle over garbanzo beans. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Roast tomatoes and garbanzo beans in the oven until slightly charred and fragrant, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook chopped onion in a large pot over medium heat with olive oil. Cook 5 – 6 minutes or until translucent.
- Slowly add vegetable stock and quinoa to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and cover. Cook 15 to 20 minutes, stirring often. You will know the quinoa is done when the white germ ring becomes visible on the outer edge of each grain.
- When quinoa is completely cooked, remove lid and turn off heat. Add roasted tomatoes and garbanzo beans and stir gently to incorporate without breaking up the tomatoes.
- Top with shaved parmesan cheese. Serve warm.