Quinoa and Campari.

February 28, 2008

No, not together. Shudder.

Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is something I picked up after reading all of the glowing reports on various food blogs. I found a small box in the health-food section of the local grocery store. It looks like birdseed. After I followed the microwave instructions on the box, I discovered that it tasted like birdseed as well. I figured out that the water had boiled off during cooking, so it was undercooked. Blargh.

This morning I fixed it again, but this time on the stove. I was pleasantly rewarded with a pot full of fluffy, steaming, translucent little beads. By itself, it’s not bad, though a little bland for our tastes. I added half a banana, some raisins and dried apricots for a little bit of body and it was pretty good. The little pamphlet that came in the box says that it can be used as a drop-in substitute for rice, so our next experiment will be a quinoa pilaf some evening soon. It’s jam-packed with protein, gluten-free and full of organic Incan goodness.

Campari is not. If quinoa is your wholesome earth mother, Campari is your insane cousin who always has bottle rockets. It’s bright red and bitter as can be – a good kind of bitter. Served as an apertif, it’s quite popular in Italy and used to “open the taste buds”, get the bile flowing, and otherwise prepare your system to do battle in the Circus Maximus. I’ve had it with club soda and in two different cocktails: an Americano (Campari, sweet vermouth and soda) and a negroni (Campari, sweet vermouth and gin). I think I prefer the Americano. I tried it the first time over the Christmas holidays, right before a big birthday meal and it really did seem to make the meal go down easier. I didn’t feel the least bit full afterwards, though I did eat a little more than usual. Anyway, try one at a bar before investing in a bottle.

Quinoa picture from Autumn Sweater. Campari picture from immagina.

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