Friday, March 15, 2013

Double Broccoli Quinoa

I want to admit something to you all. Food blogging is work. It's time consuming. It's messy. It's not as glamorous as it may seem. I mean, have you seen some of the gorgeous blogs out there? They're incredible and I strive to do work that's even half as good as them. But the truth is, I'm still learning. And I'm not even close to perfect. The last thing I want you all to think is that my kitchen is spotless all the time and that every meal I make is picture worthy. Because it's not. At all.
First, there's the hilarious sight of me balancing on a kitchen stool trying to get that perfect shot while almost falling face first into the plate of food. Seriously, one day I will come crashing down and break my nose. Typically, when I photograph a recipe, I take about fifty to sixty photos. I go through each one, and delete those that just don't do it for me. I don't even know how to use Photoshop. I should really get on that. All in all,  I probably choose four or five photos for any particular blog post. Yeah, I'm a perfectionsist. And those photos you see here on the blog are what I think are the best.
But that's just the photographing part. If only you could see the mayhem that is my kitchen when I'm putting together a recipe to blog about. There are bowls balancing in dangerous places, plates piled high, and pots on the stove almost burning. There is always a crazy amount of spoons and forks strewn everywhere. Did I mention the amount of dishes I need to wash when all is said and done? Yeah.
The beautiful thing about all of this is that it's all worth it. There's nothing that makes me happier or gets me more excited than taking some really great photos of delicious and healthy food and sharing them with the world. Even if only a teeny tiny percentage of the world ever actually sees them. What gets me motivated for each and every post is the fact that these pictures and recipes are sort of moments in time that get to be preserved and someday perhaps shared at family dinner tables. Or breakfast tables. Or at a desk in an office somewhere. And the food is making people happier and healthier. Or just more inspired to be healthier. The truth is, I love doing this. It makes me feel fulfilled. And it's worth washing all the dirty dishes. It really is.
This post goes out to every single food blogger out there who's balancing on their kitchen stools trying to get great pictures. Okay, maybe only I do that, but whatever. I admire your work more than you'll ever know. And keep doing what you do.
Today, I'm sharing  a recipe from the first food blogger I ever discovered. Her name is Heidi Swanson and she writes 101 Cookbooks, plus she's written two of my favorite cookbooks. She's been an inspiration to me since I first became a blogger and if I could have a fraction of the impact she's had on people's lives in the kitchen, then I'd be happy.  This recipe is really tasty. Plain and simple. And it just screams spring to me with it's vibrant green color. Broccoli pesto is genius, people. I could eat it by the spoonful. I changed Heidi's recipe a bit to fit my needs and tastes and that's reflected here. But the link above the recipe goes straight to the original on her blog.

Double Broccoli Quinoa (adapted from this recipe on 101Cookbooks)
3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
2 cups loosely packed basil
3 medium garlic cloves
2/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup freshly grated Asiago cheese (Pecorino or Parmesan would work)
2 big pinches salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
Optional (but HIGHLY recommended) toppings: slivered basil, sliced avocado, crumbled feta or goat cheese

1. Barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

2. To make the broccoli pesto, puree two to three cups of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, basil, cheese, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and proccess until smooth.

3. Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with about the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add a bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining walnuts, some sliced avocado, and basil.
Serves 4 - 6.

*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.
aside and let cool, then store in refrigerator. Bring to room temp again before using.

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  1. Looks delicious! I've been thinking about incorporating more food/recipe posts on my blog, and it's encouraging to hear that the life of a food blogger isn't a glamorous ideal I'll never achieve, but just someone else who loves food and wants to share that passion. Meantime, I'm looking forward to trying this recipe!

  2. Thanks so much! Yes, follow your passion, and don't worry about comparing yourself to other food bloggers out there. As long as you love what you're doing, it's worth every minute!

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