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.
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.