Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Funday Cooking: Quin-whaaa?

Breakfast is a tricky meal. So much of what the American diet consists of -- bagels, pastry, etc. -- is really bad for you. Egg and cheese sandwiches from the bodega are divine, but who needs all that grease? Cereals, even the healthy ones, are full of sugar and weirdly processed grains. And there is no way fruit has ever been able to hold me over until lunch.

So what to do?

This week I had a lot of quinoa lying around and the local fruit stand guys were selling strawberries three containers for five bucks, which is practically free.

Strawberries stay viable in the box for all of two days, so I had to do something with them, stat. I found this recipe on Pinterest and it seemed like a good place to start. I'm not the biggest fan of quinoa to begin with, but baking it seemed like a fun remix. So, a strawberry-banana-quinoa bake it was.

This is how it looked cut into little squares right out of the oven. Not too shabby.

A few tweaks, since I see recipes (and others rules in life) as mere guidelines:

1. Quinoa has no flavor to begin with (or at least I don't think so) so you cannot possibly put too much fruit into this dish. I used bananas and strawberries, but I think a berry medley would be amazing. Or, again, whatever your fruit guy has a special on. (Wait. What do you mean you don't have a fruit guy?)

2. The original recipe used chocolate chips, but it seemed an odd ingredient for a breakfast dish, so I just didn't use them. I don't think it made that much of a difference.

3. If you don't have maple syrup handy, no worries. You can't taste it. Almost every recipe for a quinoa bake includes it, and I'm not sure why.

4. This recipe says it should bake for 25 minutes, but you really need to bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

5. If you're gluten and/or dairy free, this is a pretty good breakfast option. And it's really filling. For one person this could last at least two days.