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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I Don't Even Know What To Call This

If I've never mentioned it before, I'm just going to say it now: I am an unconventional cook. Most meals, I just through whatever I have into a pot, pan, bowl, whatever, and hope that everything turns out well. Usually it does, but trust me, over the years I have encountered many recipe flops due to my nonchalant cooking style. But those experiences never stop me from taking risks in the kitchen and trying new things that sound weird, but at the same time delicious. 

Taken with Instagram

Like the title of this post says, I seriously don't even know what to call this, except maybe some version of a vegetable casserole/bake. Besides that, I got nothing. So instead of naming it, I'll just tell you what's inside my cute little dish (the picture makes it look huge, but it's about the same size as an average bowl): quinoa, chickpeas, asparagus, diced tomatoes, toasted walnuts, and grated parmesan. Yeah, it's kind of a little bit of everything. 

I cooked the quinoa in a separate pot, and while that was cooking I sautéed the chickpeas, asparagus, and tomatoes in a pan with olive oil, garlic, and onions (what my grandmother and I refer to as "The Holy Trinity"). I seasoned everything with some Italian seasoning, fresh pepper, and a few red pepper flakes for some added zing! Then when everything was done, I mixed the quinoa into the pan, added some lemon juice and let it simmer on a low heat. I had already preheated the oven to 450 degrees, so when I was satisfied with the simmering, I emptied the ingredients that were in the pan into my mini casserole dish, topped it with some walnuts (that got toasted in the oven) and some parmesan cheese. 

Since everything was already cooked, and all I wanted to do was let the flavors marry and get my top a little crunchy, I let the dish sit in the oven for 5-10 minutes, and then quickly broiled it for a couple of minutes on a low flame. When I removed it from the oven it was hot, hot, hot! So I let it cool for a minute or two until I dug in. And the verdict...a success! The walnuts toasted to the perfect crunch that I was looking for, and the flavors had blended well, but they were also still distinct. Even my brother, who always sticks his carnivorous nose up at my unusual concoctions, said it smelled and looked good. Double success. 

Something to think about:
What are your cooking fears?

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