Monday, February 7, 2011

Garlic Quinoa with Pureed Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions

Well Folks, I was just in heaven. Not the actual place, but about as close as you can get on this earth. Healthy WONDERFUL boyfriend rented us a cabin in the mountains of NC. He surprised with a romantic weekend (inserts awwww noices here) and brought a bunch of vegetables to make, without any cookbooks or internet. I was a bit nervous I couldnt make anything without my resources, but I surprised myself and had a great time creating a new recipe!

He didnt have much of a plan for Saturday dinner, so I had to improvise. We made a meal that wasnt perfect, but was pretty good considering we used no recipes, just ingredients. Its one of the first recipes I have created almost entirely on my own, while of course using inspiration from other dishes.

Since we didnt have fresh vegetable broth, we used vegetable bullion, which was a bit too salty. Homemade broth is best, but in a pinch vegetable bullion can work magic. We also burned the onions, so added extra sugar which helped cover up the burned taste. Caramelized onions are easy, but we cut them too small. If you have never caramelized onions, its so delicious, but does take patience. This site has step by step pictures, which can help if you have never done it: Caramelize Onions

The quinoa went perfectly with the squash and the caramelized onions were a nice crispy addition. I really enjoyed the varying textures of this dish, I hope you do to!

Cauliflower before its been pureed:
Cauliflower after its been pureed. Or as I say, once its SUPER DELICIOUS:

Garlic Quinoa with Pureed Cauliflower and Caramelized Onions

The Goods: Serves 2
1 cup quinoa uncooked
2 cups vegetable broth,
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small(or 1 big) yellow onions, sliced into thin strips
1 small red onion, diced
2-3 cups cauliflower, chopped
few pinches of brown sugar
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
3-4 tablespoons butter, or smart balance
1 tablespoon half and half
A few pinches of salt
A few pinches of pepper

The Deal:

1. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a medium pan on medium low heat. Add yellow onions, a pinch salt and pepper and saute in butter mixture, stirring occasionally. After 10 minutes sprinkle a couple pinches of brown sugar and put heat on low, stirring occasionally. It should take 30-40 minutes for these to caramelize. They will look very dark and taste sweet.

2. After the onions have been cooking for 20 minutes or so, in another medium pan saute the red onions and garlic, stirring often. While they are cooking bring a large pot of water to a boil.

3. Once the red onions have been cooking for 5 minutes, and begin to soften add the vegetable broth and quinoa into the red onion garlic mixture. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until quinoa is cooked. Quinoa is ready when almost all the broth is absorbed and the quinoa has a white ring around each grain(picture below)

4. Add cauliflower to the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes, until tender and a fork can be easily inserted.

5. When the cauliflower is ready, drain it and put in blender. Add 1 tablespoon of butter, half and half and salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

6. Place quinoa on a plate followed by the pureed cauliflower and finish with the caramelized onions.
Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

How quinoa looks when its ready, notice the white circles around the quinoa:

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