I have a habit of making way too much food when hosting. The upside is I have leftovers for days, which is always a perk after all the work of having a party. For my birthday shindig, I decided I was going to make pulled pork (recipe/walk through forthcoming) and some sides. The pitfall was thinking people love pasta salad as much as I do.
For a while quinoa was the IT food, boasting fiber and super high protein. Spellcheck still squiggles under quinoa suggesting a misspelling. While fun to say and less fun to spell, I received two quinoa mixes in the mail from Pereg to review. The have nine different varieties to chose from.
Similar to other ready-to-go grain mixes, these come in an assortment of flavors. I have quinoa with spinach and with vegetables. Where Pereg differs is that these are gluten free, vegan and kosher (known as the culinary trifecta). They are also non-GMO, which could make it the superfecta.
My last quinoa stint was a few years ago when I bought a 4-pound bag at Costco. Based on the advice from a cooking instructor, this was the most economical way to purchase the grain. It has become far more accessible since then and the price has come down a bit. Pereg goes for about $4 a box.
Here’s a quick video on how to make the super grain if you hate reading directions.
Quinoa Mix Review
Following the instructions on the box, this mix cooked up perfectly. When I had the mondo bag years ago (I did eventually finish it), the quinoa could come out gummy or would have a bitter taste. The other issue I ran into was rinsing it before cooking to try to remove bitterness. Finally, the cooking time was never consistent.
None of that occurred with Pereg’s mix. The quinoa was light, fluffy and sweet. The mix I made had currants which could be the source of the sweetness. It was done cooking a few minutes before the recommended 15 minute lower limit. Total cooking time is about 30 minutes including water boiling and letting the quinoa steam before fluffing with a fork. Skip the hassle of making your own quinoa and give these packaged mixes a try.
It doesn’t get easier than this for new cooks.
Bachelor Tip: I made chicken to go with the quinoa. Marinade a few chicken breasts in Italian dressing before cooking in your cast iron skillet. Think of it as a flavor bath.
The only times I have eaten asparagus have been in a restaurant. That all changed this weekend when I found this simple, yet gourmet recipe on NYTimes Cooking app. Looking back, my ratios were different. My sauce came out heavily dijon since I didn’t add as much olive oil.
Asparagus doesn’t have a ton of flavor, so pairing it with soft-boiled eggs and a dijon vinaigrette make the healthy trees extremely tasty.
We used this side dish to complement chicken piccata. Check back later this week for that recipe.