I have not yet read the book The 5 Love Languages, but I like the concept of different ways to communicate your affection. How do you express your love? Through words of affirmation, acts of service, giving/receiving gifts, quality time or physical touch? Knowing how you express and perceive love, along with your partner, helps you communicate with the same language.
This also holds true for family and friends, especially around holidays. Everyone is scurrying from party to party, thinking of ideal gifts and making travel plans to spend with loved ones. What is most important to you and others?
I will be sharing my time this weekend with Rob’s family and next weekend with my parents. I definitely subscribe to my presence is my present – HA! Can you tell giving/receiving gifts is so low on my priority list? But truthfully, gift giving continually becomes harder and harder. There are cute and practical gift giving guides, but on my wishlist this year: A textbook. I know, not even a cookbook. I am also eagerly awaiting my grandmother’s old juicer and pressure cooker. I don’t really need much else. The most important thing is the company. I really am all set. (I am also UBER stoked for Rob’s early Christmas present: a raw “cooking” class with Doug McNish on Sunday! I have no idea how we will tackle all the recipes!)
While some of my most well-used kitchen tools were gifts that I never thought I needed (see last year’s gift guide), random foodie purchases have entertained me as of late. I know I am supposed to be culling my pantry, but when I see something like baby quinoa (kaniwa), I have a hard time not wanting to try it out. A new, healthy food.. let’s see what it is like!
PS. Spotted at Essence of Life and Lady York.
First off, it looks like little kernels of quinoa. While it isn’t quinoa in its young state, it is in the same family as quinoa. It has a higher protein content and possesses less of the bitter saponins that plague quinoa. I still rinsed it though I may try toasting it next time. It cooks up nearly exactly like quinoa with a scanty 2:1 ratio of liquid. Due to its small nature, the texture is quite different. It reminded me of the pebbly nature of amaranth without its gluey consistency. I ended up tossing it in a festive bowl with a simple cranberry jicama salsa and a chili-spiked butternut squash gravy/sauce. The seemingly odd combination of ingredients worked really well… and awfully pretty, too, I may add.
So, the moral of the story… for the hard to shop foodies, perhaps all you need to do is head to a grocery store? :) Or only for practical foodies like me. Only I would swoon over a new bean to try… or appreciate radish sprouts. ;) Need other ideas for foodie gifting? Check out my favourite wacky ingredients including pomegranate molasses, red pepper paste and miso, along with recipes to woo you over.
1.5 lb butternut squash, halved
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp chili powder
1 cup baby quinoa (or regular quinoa), rinsed well
scant 2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
2/3 cup jicama, diced
1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped green onion
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
4 cups baby spinach
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and rub with a dash of oil. Bake for 60-90 minutes until the squash is meltingly tender and caramelized. Allow to cool, then place in a blender along with garlic, lemon juice and chili powder. Blend until smooth. Season to taste.
2. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa: Bring vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add baby quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Keep covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. Set aside.
3. Toast your hazelnuts in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Set aside to cool. Once able to handle, remove the skins and coarsely chop.
4. Prepare your salsa by combining the cranberries, jicama, lemon juice, green onion, cilantro and salt. Season to taste. Add sweetener if desired.
5. When ready to serve, toss together the baby quinoa overtop the spinach, spoon butternut squash gravy overtop and sprinkle with the salsa and the toasted nuts.