1.11.2009

jewel tones

Colourful Quinoa As teens, my friend Christine and I meticulously researched our way through every issue of Vogue Magazine. It was somewhat like an archeological expedition, and each one required its own special set of preparations. The most important ritual was to create a gooey chocolate treat. There was our rendition of rice krispie squares, more goo than crisp, or gooey caramel brownies, with more caramel than brownie. Neither of these snacks ultimately made any sense, when you consider that it was nearly impossible to turn the pages of the magazine, but we would giddily hide ourselves away, and virtually study the latest issue like a bible of sorts. In one such issue, I fell head over heels for the works of the Dutch painter Vermeer. You might have seen the painting the Girl with the Pearl Earring, which also sparked a book and a film. Most of Vogues' reproductions of his works not only featured musicians, but also recreated the most impressive palate of colours. The paintings were quite dark, but had such vivid hues with jeweled tones, to command the eye to beauty. Being a quirky girl, without posters of boy band members or horses, I cut out the Vermeer paintings, framed them and hung them up. I am not going to liken this little dish to the work of the great Dutch artist Vermeer. However, after continually staring at this photo and trying to determine what to tell you about it, all I can think of are the colours. Richly-hued tones peeking through something dark, and somewhat mysterious. And that does remind me of his vivid use of colour and light. So that's how I think of this dish with black quinoa, pomegranate, butternut squash, toasted almonds, and sage. Oh, and some maple syrup or agave nectar to sweeten things up. It's the contrast between the rich colours, and textures which create something pleasing to all the senses. Black Quinoa with Jewelry 1 cup black quinoa 2 medium butternut squash 1 pomegranate 1/4 cup sliced almonds 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage (optional) 1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Slice the butternut squash in half, and place in a glass baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and lightly sprinkle with salt. Cover with tinfoil, and bake until fork tender. Let cool. 2. Cook the quinoa according to package directions; the little ring around the middle should be just starting to come loose, and each grain should still have some bite. Before removing it from the pot, gently stir in the maple syrup/agave nectar. 3. Separate the seeds from the pomegranate, and lightly toast the almonds. 4. When the butternut squash is cool, scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash into 1-inch chunks, and then remove the peel to reveal the chunks. Some more cutting may have to be done after removing the peel to ensure the pieces are of equal size. 5. In a large serving bowl, gently combine the quinoa, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash, toasted almonds, and the sage. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!

24 comments:

VeggieGirl said...

Beyond stunning!!

Anonymous said...

love the name of this dish!
Shauna

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Gorgeous dish and a wonderful combination of ingredients. I don't believe I've seen black quinoa before, I bet a wild black rice would be great too. Gimme!

MsGourmet said...

what a visual feast!

BaL said...

Gorgeously stunning! yummy!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Hi Gail!

A pure gem this dish...Just done a post about quinoa..here's a perfect example of how you can use savvy and tasty :)

Cheers!

5 Star Foodie said...

Wow, I love this - what an incredible dish!

Jillian said...

Looks fantastic! And adventurous to someone like me! And Shauna...if this is our Shauna, I don't know why, but as I was reading Gail's description and saw her photo of this dish, I thought of you!! Lo and behold... :)

Court said...

Really amazing looking!

Jo said...

so beautiful! yummy too, I'll bet!

Anonymous said...

Jill!
That was me!!
Funny that you thought of me!!
Gail
I'm thinking that this is going to be a mid week dish here this week- thanks for the inspiration!
Shauna

strawberryshortstuff said...

wow! your pictures are beautiful! i love your blog! i'm going to add you to my blogroll!
-diana

Cheryl A said...

That sounds and looks fantastic!

Olga said...

I've only tried regular quinoa. This looks really interesting.

Cynthia said...

You have so aptly titled this post.

Global Patriot said...

There is such a richness to this dish in both texture and color palate, and as nourishing as it is beautiful.

Victoria said...

That's gorgeous. I've never seen the black quinoa, only red and regular.

Joie de vivre said...

I love the name of your dish. I think it's okay to think of art when you see food. Perhaps chefs don't work as long on a dish as painters do on a painting, but that doesn't make it less inspiring.

Julie said...

How could I not know you??
So glad to have found you!!

Linda said...

I don't know how many times I've come back to look at your photo--it's just beautiful. I really need to try that recipe, it sounds so fresh and simple and satisfying. Love the story leading into the recipe.

lisa said...

What does black quinoa taste like compared to the more typical kind?

gail said...

Julie - funny isn't it? And here I thought Calgary was a small town ;)

Lisa - it's a pretty subtle difference...it's a bit earthier. Kinda like wild rice. Anyone else have any comments on that?

Karmen said...

Gail - where do you find black quinoa in Calgary? I've searched high and low, but haven't found it. I really love it, and haven't eaten it since I left Toronto . . .

gail said...

Karmen - Community Natural Foods near Chinook usually has it. Hope that helps!

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