Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Run! Do Not Follow this Advice!

Feeling adventuresome, anyone?

The Matron is not much of a cook. Let’s say that another way: she enjoys plunging into the kitchen, sans cookbook. She likes to make things up!

While such free-wheeling results are sometimes nebulous (she won’t be sharing the turnip soup), sometimes she stumbles across a flavor combo that kicks ass. Here she will share three of these gems. You will only read this here, once.

Note: the Matron has been blogging for over two years and this is her FIRST post giving cooking advice. Think about it.

Warning fair weather friends: this is Minnesota in March. We’re still talking density and survival.

Yams! Ah, the Matron loves these plump little pleasures – meaty, dense, sweet. There is no better winter food, folks; she eats hers her special most excellent tahini sauce. Bake your yam to the texture you like it (could that phrase also be sexual: bake your yam, baby). Dice up a mix of tomatoes, cilantro, and raw red onions. For the Matron’s purposes, cooking this just for the two grown-ups, she puts about half a cup of tahini and a dollop of oil olive in a sauce pan and slowly blends the two, adding a dash of lemon at the end. In the mood for something sweet? Toss in a bit of brown sugar. To serve, split open the steaming yam, spread the tomato/cilantro/onion mix on top and pour the tahini sauce on top. What does the Matron love best about this meal? Yams basically bake by themselves. Between tahini and tomatos, you’re talking about 10 minutes of prep. The other joy is the surprising pleasure of contrasts in this meal: the steaming hot, gooey yam against the cool crunch of tomato and onion, and the bright cilantro paired with tahini’s dense nearly bitter flavor. Num!

But for those readers feeling foolish or trusting, she has a tried and true meal that 100% of all children on the planet adore. That’s right, folks: 100% of humanity under 18. Quinoa + eggs. For those not in the know, quiona is a high protein grain that takes just 15 minutes to make; it cooks just like rice with two cups water, one cup quinoa. Boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Make a big old plate of scrambled eggs. Combine eggs and quinoa! The combination is perfect – tough, savory grain with the fluffy eggs. All high protein and sort of like hash browns and eggs only healthier. You can toss in any extra that your audience might like: cheese, apples, broccoli, peas, carrots, chicken. But the basic quinoa and egg combo is a kid crowd-pleaser that feels like a casserole without the pot. Seriously, kids beg for it. At least those who eat.

The Matron is also a fan of oatmeal. Quick oats will do: her talent is found in the fixing. Slice any fruit or combination—bananas, apples, blueberries, strawberries—and set aside while the oatmeal cools just a little bit, because good oatmeal needs a minute or two to settle. Sure you can put sugar or raisins in for sweetness but the Matron is a fan of peanut butter! A big swirl of the creamy brown stuff mixed in gives the oatmeal an amazing richness. Toss the fruit on top. Trust her on this one. Peanut butter in oatmeal is sort of like the difference between real cream in your coffee and the fat-free faker. You’ll never go back to naked oats.

There you go. A rainy Wednesday in Minnesota, one sick kid (Merrick weighing in with fever at 103, Day Two), and the stovetop.


Karen said...

OK, I can actually see trying all three. Don't have quinoa or yams in the house, so those would have to wait 'til after a grocery run (and NO cilantro shall pass my lips) but PB & Oatmeal? That I can try tomorrow! Will let you know.

Deb said...

I have to ask...2 cups of water to 2 cups of quinoa? Have I been cooking it wrong all along? I use 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.

I do love the taste and texture of it in most anything though.

Anonymous said...

Well I never! Peanut butter, you say? I'm trying it tomorrow morning.

Minnesota Matron said...

Deb -- You are SO right. I just changed the post. One cup quinoa and two cups water. But kids love it. My favorite way to eat it is with red peppers, garlic, onion and parm. cheese. Lots of the latter!! Two of my kids like this with just quinoa and eggs -- the other puts salsa on it. He who cannot be named.

JFS in IL said...

Here it is leftover rice heated up and mixed with the eggs - maybe some grated cheese and/or leftover minced meats thrown in. Quinoa just too $$$$.

Minnesota Matron said...

Hey JFS-- I know what you mean about the money. But now we can get quinoa at Cosco, so we started incorporating it regularly. But even at Cosco, it's pricier than rice, yes.

JL said...

I've got a combo that I like. Maybe you will have the courage to try it. Most people think it sounds too weird.

I take a flour tortilla, put a generous smear of hummus on it, add blueberries and fold it like a burrito. I like pretty garlicky hummus, and somehow the blueberry sweetness just goes well. If I don't have blueberries, I'll use whatever fruit jelly or preserves I have around. Strawberry is pretty good.