Savor The Earth

eat tastier, eat greener, eat cheaper

Quinoa is the New Black November 19, 2009

I recently brought home a box of Alter Eco‘s organic black quinoa to play around with (work perk!).  The folks at AE work with small scale farmers and producers to maintain artisanal methods and ecological balance.  Alter Eco’s Mission Statement proclaims:

We believe that Fair Trade is a viable and successful alternative to conventional commerce. This business model will gradually close the gap between rich and poor, so-called developing countries and industrialized countries.

Sounds good and green.

My family eats quinoa regularly and I usually keep a cooked pot of this “super grain” in the fridge for quick nourishment (see Queen Quinoa).  Reheated with cheese (or not), and plenty of fresh cracked black pepper (or not—as for the minors), quinoa makes a fast, tasty and nutritious light meal.  The black variety, with its exotic color, piqued my palate so I gave it a whirl.  Plus the Quechuas of Bolivia believe black quinoa supports kidney health.

I found that this quinoa cooked up more quickly—a fast 15 minutes—and absorbed less water (less than 2 cups as opposed to a little more than 2 cups) than my usual brands of regular quinoa.  The family wasn’t pleased with the texture, however.  The black bran seems much thicker and heartier than the pale seed coat of standard quinoa.  Too chewy!  Fanciers of substantial grains, however, might like a simple breakfast pilaf of black quinoa with quality butter, good maple syrup and perhaps a splash of cream.

At my house, the black quinoa was relegated to more of a supporting role in which it could show off its striking color against contrasting backgrounds, lighter in taste as well as color.  We enjoyed this quinoa’s black speckles in both an easy, light bread machine bread and an otherwise standard pot o’ jasmine rice.

P B J & Q

Dalmatian Bread (Black Quinoa Bread)

  • ½ cup local milk plus enough water to equal 1 generous cup.  I use either Swede Farm Dairy or Wateroak Farm goat milk.
  • 1 local  egg
  • 130 grams (1 cup) cooked organic black quinoa
  • ¾ teaspoon salt.  I use Real Salt
  • 1 teaspoon local honey.  I buy Good Flow in bulk at Central Market.  Bring your own container and ask an employee to tare the weight for you.
  • 1 Tablespoon organic butter.  Organic Valley‘s my choice here.  Look for the $1 OFF coupon in Whole Foods Whole Deal newsletter, available at their stores.  Or click here.
  • 200 grams organic all-purpose flour.  WF’s 365 brand 5# bag is usually the best buy.
  • 163 grams organic white whole wheat flour.  WF generally has the lowest price per pound on King Arthur’s 5# bag.
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast (rapid rise or instant)

Place the ingredients into your bread machine in the order indicated by your instruction manual.  In my machine, that would be the order listed.  Program the machine on the regular cycle (not whole wheat).  If you’re not heading out to work on bread day, you can use just your machine’s dough cycle, then form a loaf (use a 9″ X 5″ pan), give it a second rise and bake it off at 350º in your oven.  The weather’s perfect for crankin’ it up!


Appaloosa Rice (Black Quinoa Rice)

  • 1 cup minus 1 Tablespoon Lowell Farms organic jasmine rice
  • 1 Tablespoon organic black quinoa, well rinsed
  • 1 2/3 cups water
  • ¼ teaspoon salt–Real Salt.  See above.
  • dab of butter. Organic Valley, see above.
  • 1 fresh bay leaf if you’re growin’ or knowin’ somebody who is.

Place all ingredients in a saucepan, place a lid on it and bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to LOW and continue to cook for 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and let rest 10 minutes before serving.


Bread Out Back July 4, 2009

Filed under: bread,bread machine — Austin Frugal Foodie @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , ,

I generally use my bread machine just for mixing and kneading dough but in the hot hot months here I’ll bake an occasional loaf in the machine itself.  You already know it’s super easy to just dump in your ingredients, push the button and go.  I’ve now taken to putting the bread maker outside to keep the heat where it belongs.  Not quite the same as having a wood-burning forno or tandoor in the backyard but getting the job done nonetheless.  Here’s a cornmeal bread that bakes on the quick cycle (about 2 hours) that’s especially great as toast with some Luckly Layla butter or Organic Valley Pasture butter.

CORNMEAL BREAD for the bread machine

  • 2/3 cup plus 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3/8 cup milk (6 Tablepoons), preferably local
  • scant teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoons local honey
  • 1 Tablespoon oil
  • 325 grams (2 1/2 cups) bread flour
  • 4 1/4 ounces (scant 1 cup) organic yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Your machine’s instructions will tell you in what order to place the ingredients into the pan.  In my machine, that would be the order listed.  Take your machine outside–it’s best to bake in the shade.  Program your loaf on the quick or rapid bake setting and go back inside to cool off!

This recipe makes a small loaf.  If you find yourself with leftovers, tear or cut the bread into chunks and stash it in a bag or other container in the freezer.  I do this with almost any kind of stale bread.  When your stash is full, you can easily bake up some improv stuffing–in the toaster oven of course!

Today we enjoyed this bread with purple hull peas from Oak Hill Farms ($4.99 per 1 pound bag) from Central Market.  You’ll find various cowpea types at our farmers markets right now.  In addition to my standard fixin’s, I sparkled this pot o’ peas with a few of Finca Pura Vida’s small oblong greenish-red tomatoes and a languishing leek type thing (elephant garlic, I believe) from the back of the veggie drawer.  Some fresh oregano, marjoram and savory from my herb garden didn’t hurt either.  Tender palates in this house can’t take much spice so I drizzled the grown-up portions with a little pickled jalapeno brine.  I almost never let good brine go to waste.  I use olive brine for seasoning veggies and sometimes hummus and I’ve been known to quick-fix my cucumber salad with some leftover pickle juice.  Waste not!

January 25, 2010                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Speaking of zero-waste,  leftovers from this loaf toast up into first rate breadcrumbs.  You can store them in the freezer if you don’t eat ’em all up with a spoon!