The Moroccan Stew needs to be shared. It's good. But, this one right here is good also. I make it once or twice a month. And to appear in repeat performances on my dinner table is to say that you played the part very well.
Incidentally, and completely unrelated, we found ourselves at the mall today. I never go there. It frightens me. Needless to say I had to pick something up at a store that is only located in the mall, with no online counterpart. I didn't know it existed but it does. There are three million trillion and ten reasons why I don't go to the mall. Reed gave me one more today. She strolled past the Abercrombie & Fitch storefront and a giant poster of a shirtless tween caught her eye. She turns back to me, with her little thumb pointed in the direction of the overpriced teen dream mecca and says, "super hot."
What? I looked around to make sure she wasn't talking about a misplaced stove top or fireplace facade for sale. "No, Mom, that boy! He's super hot." We peeled out and made way to our car where I explained to her that she is only FOUR years old. A fact that she had tragically forgotten.
Luckily we are back at our house now which is void of shirtless pictures of any kind. And we can focus on kale and finding camera batteries. Pilaf is a word that sort of turns me off. It's usually rice with some uninteresting steamed vegetables. It is extraordinarily depressing at restaurants, the neglected side dish that the chef threw together with 17 minutes till dinner hour.
Well, I say, rethink pilaf! This stuff, though it carries the name, is anything but boring. It has everything your mouth wants and instead of pilaf, we call it "dinner." Dinner with very few dishes.
One Pot Kale & Quinoa Pilaf - Serves 2-4 (I double it for a main course)
Adapted barely from here
2 cups salted water
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale (cut into strips)
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 T toasted walnut oil (I've also used good olive oil, different but now worse or better)
3 T toasted pine nuts (I use walnuts because pine nuts are so dang expensive)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I go back and forth between feta and goat cheese, and use whatever I have in the cheese drawer. Both are delicious in this.)
Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Use a big one if you are doubling the recipe. Add the quinoa and turn down the heat to a steady simmer, cover. Simmer the quinoa for 10 minutes, then add the kale and re-cover. Simmer the quinoa and kale for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let steam for about 5 more minutes.
In a serving bowl, combine the rest of the ingredient, reserving 1/2 the lemon juice. When the water has been absorbed into the quinoa and the kale is a lively green, dump it into your serving bowl with the waiting ingredients. Mix, and add salt and pepper to taste and the rest of the lemon juice.
I top this dish with some more feta or goat cheese and fresh parsley if I've got it. Really the only secret to this One-Dish-Wowza (whoa, I just got all kinds of Rachael Ray on you) is to mix it up while the quinoa is still hot. It absorbs all the flavors that way.
And just because I cannot wait for summer and sweaty blond hair: