Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe
This stunning berry-studded breakfast quinoa is from Dr. John La Puma's recent release - Chef MD's Big Book of Culinary Medicine. I've written about just a handful of books this year (more to come, I promise!), but I wanted to highlight this one for a few reasons. It's a fantastic healthy-cooking (and eating) primer written by a someone who is both a doctor and chef. The book is text heavy and photo-free, but for those of you who want to dive into some of the ways food can work for you, this is a good overview. A chapter in his book opens with the following passage,
"...I have begun to think of a home kitchen in much the same way I think of a health spa - a place where people can come to be restored, feel better, experience pleasure, and become healthier. And this is how I'd like you to start thinking about your kitchen. Your kitchen is at the heart of your health.
In your home, you probably keep your medicine chest in the bathroom. I'm offering a second medicine chest, one that helps prevent diseases and symptoms and that you keep right in your kitchen cupboards, fridge, freezer, and pantry."
There's a lot going on here (in a good way). One chapter outlines the fifty foods that should be part of your pantry - those of you already cooking from a natural foods pantry have a big head start. To make the cut each contender had to demonstrate "that if eaten regularly it could prevent, and in some cases, actually treat - specific conditions and symptoms." The good news is, many of the fifty foods are flat-out delicious in their own right, and for those of you who are regular readers here, you'll find a cast of familiar characters - oats, quinoa, lentils, beans, greens, and agave nectar, avocado, and berries. Another chapter tells you which foods to eat (or avoid) based on forty common conditions.
The quinoa berry bowl is typical of what you'll find in the recipe section. Broadly speaking, the recipes are concise and approachable, with every ingredient working for you on both the flavor and nutrition fronts. You'll find recipes that are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian, and many that are easily adaptable either way. A few other recipes that caught my attention; Butternut Barley Risotto, Cinnamon Orange Dreamsicles, and Walnut Scented Dessert Pancakes. Now I know many of you will only buy cookbooks that have cover-to-cover photography, but I hope the shot at the top with give you a little glimpse of what you might be missing.
My diet is far from perfect, but I've learned over the years that if you surround yourself with delicious, healthy, real ingredients you'll discover and create amazing ways to use them. This book is full of ideas, helpful information, and ingredient-based inspiration. At the very least flip through it the next time you pop into a bookstore, and in the meantime enjoy the quinoa berry breakfast bowl you see up above.
Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa Recipe
I used a red quinoa here, but you can use whatever kind you like, white/buff colored seems to be the most common. Also, a few notes and tips from the book: low-fat soy milk may replace the low fat milk, blueberries may replace the blackberries, dark honey may replace the agave nectar, and walnuts may replace the pecans.
1 cup organic 1% low fat milk
1 cup water
1 cup organic quinoa, (hs note: rinse quinoa)
2 cups fresh blackberries, organic preferred
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted*
4 teaspoons organic agave nectar, such as Madhava brand
Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.
*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 350F degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.