Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

There is (in my opinion) nothing worse than thinking you are going to sit down to eat a delicious bowl of any sort of grain only to find out that, upon biting, you didn’t quite cook it enough.  There are two specific problem grains for me…wheat berries and quinoa.  My love of quinoa goes back about ten years.  I had never heard of it and a friend was eating it for dinner.  I won’t forget it because they actually took the time to spell out the word Q U I O N A…and then give me a short history of it.  They were that sort of friend.  But I came to love it too.  The only bit I didn’t like was cooking it.  Until now.

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When our massive kitchen renovation started I ditched my fear of the pressure cooker and it has since become my best friend.  We have a Cuisinart electric pressure cooker, which, for the longest time (aka two years) I could not sort out how to use.  My husband, the pressure cooker expert in our house, is just not home at dinnertime these days and I needed to learn how to make rice (the quick version)…and decided to turn to YouTube.  It was there that I found the answer.  A quick clip of a mamma using her Cuisinart electric pressure cooker like it was no trouble at all.  If she could do it (with a screaming child in the background) I knew I could too.  And you know what? I’ll never do it any other way again! She said that the technique also worked for other grains so yesterday I decided to try it out with quinoa.  She was right.  Perfection!

To the electric pressure cooker add 1 cup of grains, 1.5 cups of liquid (I used chicken stock but you can use water or veggie stock), 1 tablespoon of butter, a pinch of salt and any diced veggies you like.  I used carrot, celery and shallot.  Set the cooker to high pressure and time for three minutes.  When it finishes let it rest until the top automatically releases.  Voila! Perfect grains.  I actually made two cups so that I could have some for lunches later in the week.  We love to have stuff like this on hand in the fridge because it is so versatile in packed lunches.  To ours we added a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper, cilantro, toasted pine nuts and currants.  Great textures, a little crunch and the spicy pepper made for a great lunch.  Even better, since it is considered a superfood full of full proteins and amino acids we are super happy that our kids love it too.

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