August 25, 2010

Tomato & Peach Quinoa

Oh hai Running with Tweezers readers. Glad you made it. Let me show you around. Definitely check out our well-organized recipe index for a list of all the goods. Kate and I(Nic) mostly hang out on Twitter, even though we live less than a block apart. Oh, and we occasionally film our exploits (no, not those exploits), including the time we made butter in a food processor. Got it? On with the show (a re-post of our guest post up on RWT).

Photo by the talented Tami Hardeman

It's a rare opportunity in food making, or food blogging, to actually create something never before seen. But if you have a flavor pairing in mind, sometimes you can out cook Google and the legions of cooks to come before. Classic ingredient combinations are a natural place to start. This past fall while traveling through northern Italy I discovered the wonder of pecorino cheese with pear. Since then, I've thrown them together against risotto, pizza, spinach salad and ice cream. No recipe required! It's the ability to translate those combinations across a range of forms that earns you 'good cook' status.

Quinoa, however, has not been the easiest thing to incorporate into my repertoire. And I have really made an effort to bring it into rotation once my #1 recipe tester's pancreas went on the fritz, and began demanding low-carb, low-sugar, generally healthy food. Pasta is out, protein packed quinoa is in. But how to make it summery? Most quinoa recipes highlight its nutty flavor, leaning heavily fall. I can't in good conscience hack into a butternut squash this time of year.

Summer naturally presented me with peaches and tomatoes at the same time. Coincidence? I think not. It's a tried and true flavor combination, that I've seen across caprese-style salads, bruschetta and gazpacho. Could it brighten up a grain sometimes compared to cardboard? My hunch was correct, and Google confirmed this to be the first ever published Peach Tomato Quinoa. And delicious to boot!

Tomato & Peach Quinoa
Serves 4

4 medium tomatoes, diced
3 peaches, peeled and diced
1 red onion or 2 shallots (skip the Vidalia's, you don't want any additional sweetness)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups broth of your choice
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme

1. Dice tomatoes and set in a colander to drain excess liquid. Peel and dice peaches and onion.

2. Preheat a saucepan. Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and allow to drip most water out. Scrape into the pre-heated pot and let it toast for a minute or two until aroma is released. Add the broth and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes. You'll know it's done when the liquid is absorbed and the individual grains show a little spiral.

3. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat, adding diced onion or shallots. Cook to take the raw edge off, about three minutes. Add tomatoes and peaches. Saute for no more than five minutes, or else too much liquid will be released and require extra time to boil off. Add basil.

4. Fluff quinoa, and serve topped with peach tomato mixture.