May 9, 2012

My first Quinoa experience

Over the past week, I have had my first experiences with quinoa.  I did a little research about quinoa and discovered a few tips, hoping to make our first experience positive.

Cooking Quinoa
This site gives a great introduction to cooking quinoa.  Combined with other sites, I knew I needed to make sure my quinoa was pre-rinsed to remove the saponin which is on the outside of quinoa and gives it a bitter taste.

I decided to make the Quinoa Pizza Bites for our first try.

I checked my packaging and it did not mention being pre-rinsed so I set about to rinse it.  If you've never used quinoa, it is TINY.
I tried rinsing it in a bowl and using my hand to drain it.   That created a mess.

All of our strainers, including my sifter, had too large of holes to rinse the quinoa so I added a paper towel to be able to rinse thoroughly.  For this first recipe, I would be cooking the quinoa so I didn't have to let it dry.
 I added it to the water per the directions on my package and let it cook.
Before I could combine the cooked quinoa with the other ingredients to make the pizza bites, we ended up making a last minute visit to the pediatrician.  And the recipe was put off so the cooked quinoa was put into the refrigerator.
 I made the pizza bites the next night after another busy day.  The smell was good.  Getting them out of the muffin pan was not so easy - note: spray the muffin pan first!  I tasted a nibble and thought hmm, pretty good.  I put them away in the refrigerator to reheat on Sunday.
 Sunday we took the pizza bite with us to my sister's and heated them up to try.  My 9 y/o tried a bite and wasn't impressed.  My husband was okay with it but not loving it.  I'm going to quote my sister "Tastes like healthy food."  Some of the bites that I tried were good, but not great, and one of them just didn't taste good.  I could eat the bites but I wouldn't crave the bites.  So now I'm hesitating to try the Cheesy Quinoa Bites I put on my To Try list.

On Monday, I went to make my pizza dough for dinner and needed to grind some wheat.  I had the thought I'll grind up some quinoa into flour to add to it.  I rinsed it out and set it out to dry.  The drying took too long for the pizza dough but they're dry now.  After a second experience with rinsing, I decided to contact Customer Support at Shelf Reliance to verify that our quinoa is NOT pre-rinsed.  They are really wonderful and responded quickly!  Can you guess their answer?
Our Quinoa is fully processed to remove the bitter saponin coating that naturally encases the seed. This process involves both mechanical abrasion and a thorough washing with a rapid dry and heat stabilization process creating a ready to use product for the customer. Therefore, no rinse is required.
Hip Hip Hooray!  Of course, I got the answer AFTER I had made my pizza dough.  But now I'm ready for next time.  I won't be pre-rinsing my quinoa anymore making my next THRIVE Quinoa experience a much better one! 

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