Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thyme to try something new: Creamy Shrimp & Asparagus Quinoa Risotto

In my quest to eat healthier, I’ve prepared quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) many times, but not as a risotto. The high-protein grain from South America doesn’t have much flavor, so the chicken broth, cheese and herbs were a welcome addition, in this recipe from Poor Girl Eats Well (ingredients list at end of this post)

I prefer asparagus cooked to the point of nearly soggy, so I roasted the spears in olive oil before slicing and adding them to the risotto.

Note to self #1: don’t wander away and forget about the risotto, stay in the kitchen while the liquid is soaking up in half-cup increments. 
Note #2: if using bullion for the broth, no need to add extra salt. 
Note #3: roasting extra asparagus is a good idea so people passing through the kitchen can help themselves to several spears before the meal is assembled!

The best praise is a request for seconds from other people at dinner, which makes this recipe a winner. I believe it turned out to be one of the tastiest meals I have ever prepared. I don't cook with thyme routinely, but certainly will again. Although this recipe did include other spices and flavors, I will keep the focus of each post on just one, for the purposes of working my way through the spice rack with a new recipe each week. What is your favorite food prepared with thyme?
1 c uncooked quinoa
5 c chicken or vegetable broth
1/2 c white wine
2 ½ T olive oil (or butter, if you prefer)
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
30-35 large frozen cooked shrimp, thawed
6 medium asparagus, cut into 3/4” long pieces
1/4 c shredded parmesan cheese
1/4 t dried tarragon
1/4 t dried thyme
Salt & pepper to taste

Thursday, February 23, 2012

out with the old...

I am challenging myself to try a new recipe every week, using a different spice each time. I’ll post photos, recipes, and results here. The plan is to work my way through the spice rack in my kitchen. Hopefully this will be an effective way of implementing my New Year’s resolution of eating healthier with more home cooked meals (which has gone the way of most people’s resolutions since January 1st). The spice rack I’ve had for 13 years, filled with my favorites was just too small.

I had accumulated 3 Tupperware containers full of additional spice bottles, and finally realized it was time to stop digging around in plastic bins, wondering if I had that spice. Good-bye, mishmash!

Hello, new spice rack! There are still empty bottles on the other side...

What is your favorite spice and/or dish prepared with that spice?