Friday, December 28, 2012

Quinoa Chowder With Spinach, Feta, And Scallions

This recipe was full of snafus.  Lets start with the fact my husband thought it sounded awful and kept suggesting we go out to eat on the evenings I planned to make it.  I of course took him up on those offers;).  Well he is working tonight and I have the stuff to make it, so here it is.  I had some problems when cooking this.  Lets start with the fact that the leftover feta I was planning on using up in this recipe was off.  It smelled pretty bad, so in to the garbage with it.  Now this is me:
Me: "its late, and I'm not going out just for feta."
ME: "it won't be right"
Me: "surely one of the many cheeses in the fridge will work!"
ME:  "Probably only the goat cheese you have for another recipe"
Me: "I can get more tomorrow"
ME: "go to the store, if it's not right (read good) you can't tell your husband I told you so!"
Me: (thinking) That's a good point! (out loud) "let's have a glass of  wine and look in the fridge!"
Now Me has won since we can't go and drive after a glass!
And now you all know the depth of my insanity...oops!

Needless to say, I poked around the fridge and the Internet to see what would be a acceptable alternative.  In the end I saw I had about the amount needed of Pecorino Romano, so I cubed it up and tossed it in and hoped!  Now another problem, I see as I am adding this recipe to the blog, that I forgot the cilantro!  Even with all the changes, I thought it was pretty good!  I felt nourished after eating it and enjoyed it very much.  I would like to try it again correctly to see if could be any better, but I liked it as too.

Quinoa Chowder With Spinach, Feta, And Scallions

3/4 c  quinoa,any color or variety
8 c  (2 quarts) water,plus more as needed
2 T  olive oil
1    medium garlic clove,finely chopped
1    jalapeƱo,seeded and finely chopped
1/2 lb Yukon Gold potatoes (about 1 large potato),peeled and small dice
1 t  ground cumin
1 t  kosher salt,plus more as needed
1 bn scallions,thinly sliced (white and light green parts)
3 c  thinly sliced spinach leaves (from about 1 bunch)
4    ounces feta cheese,small dice (about 1 cup)
1/3 c  coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Freshly ground black pepper
1    hard-boiled egg,peeled and finely chopped
[Note: Avoid using pre-crumbled feta in this recipe; it tends to be
too dry.  ]
Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs
Bring the quinoa and the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan
over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until
the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing
translucent little beads, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Strain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large
heatproof bowl. Measure the quinoa cooking liquid and add water as
needed to make 6 cups; set the quinoa and cooking liquid aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large, clean saucepan over medium-high heat
until shimmering. Add the garlic and jalapeo and cook until fragrant,
about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, cumin, and measured salt and cook,
stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to soften, adjusting
the heat as necessary so that the garlic doesnt brown, about 3 minutes.
Add the reserved cooking liquid and half of the scallions and simmer
until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
Add the cooked quinoa, spinach, and remaining scallions and simmer
until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan
from the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Taste and season with
salt and pepper as needed. Top with the chopped egg and serve.

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