28 February 2011

Quinoa Bowl with Fennel Sauté

I've been going a little nuts lately with the sweets.  If you just started reading this blog recently, you'd think my whole world revovled around cake.  Not true.  Well, not usually, anyway.

You deserve a healthy recipe.  Quinoa always works in a pinch for that.  This salad is pretty, and tasty, and so healthy that you could eat a wheelbarrow full of it and feel nothing but awesome.  If nothing else, it will definitely wipe the cake-induced fog from your brain.  You might even decide that you have so much energy you can run up a mountain, stopping only to take a pretty picture with your phone.

Ok, so the Scots call it a "hill", not a mountain, but I'm from Ohio... so I don't know much about mountains.  Corn, though... yeah, I know a lot about corn.

Anywho, I'm sure you're unaware of the fact that I've never used fennel before.  In anything.  My good friend (a fancypants chef, we will call him 'J') made me a bon-voyage dinner before I moved away from Nashville, many years ago, which included fennel.  It was my first (nay, only) experience with the stuff, and I'm so sorry, J, but it wasn't my favourite thing.  It was kinda the opposite of that.  I felt so strongly about it that I vividly remember one indgredient from a meal that happened 7 years ago.  I also remember that it was the first time I'd ever seen a microplane, that we listened to brassy jazz, and your wife and I decided to leave you and C to the afore-mentioned jazz and snuck off to the bedroom to listen to the Howie Day album (not proud) and drunk-dial my on-again/off-again (even more not proud).  So, maybe it's just my weirdo memory, but for all of that, I can't remember anything else we ate that night*, or even what we drank - but that fennel stuck firmly in my mind for the better part of a decade, even with all that science I've shoved in there over the last few years.

My tastes have changed recently, though, and I'm figuring out that I like everything from that crazy fennel-flavour family.  Licorice, anise, all of it.  Who am I?  Turns out, I'm a chick who likes fennel.  And who has much better taste in music.  Thank the sweet baby Jesus for that.

*Lies!  Your pear vinaigrette was probably the best salad dressing I've ever had.  Foreva-eva.

Quinoa Bowl with Fennel Sauté
original recipe by me

1 small fennel bulb
2 stalks celery
2 medium carrots
1 medium shallot
olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
picked coriander leaves
some chopped red onion (just a little, for crunch and colour)

Peel off outer ribs of celery with vegetable peeler (this gets rid of the sometimes-bitter taste celery can have).  Thinly slice peeled celery, fennel and shallot.  Sauté over medium heat in olive oil and a little salt.  Peel carrots and use vegetable peeler to make long, thin strips out of the carrot; add to sauté pan.  Cook until fennel is soft.

Meanwhile, boil quinoa for 10-12 minutes in plenty of water.  Drain in a sieve and set aside.

Toss quinoa and sautéed veg in a bowl with lemon juice, chopped coriander, and a bit of red onion.  Add salt to taste.

Serves 2

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