Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Know Your Pantry

It's always important to know what you have on hand. If you don't, you may have your heart set on having something for lunch, only to discover you can't have it (or have to change it) because you're missing a key ingredient.

Take Fat Free Vegan's Vegetable Fried Quinoa, for example. When deciding to make a double recipe of this, it would be really helpful to know you only have one-half cup of quinoa left at home (2 cups required). Refusing to be discouraged, I substituted rice for quinoa and it was super tasty (and easy), but I'm sure wasn't the same.

I'm trying to use up all my grains before Passover anyway, so it could have been worse. This recipe allowed me to use up the last of my quinoa and my basmati rice. One-quarter cup basmati rice. Just when I thought I was going to have to get take out for lunch last week, I found a bag of brown rice with more than one and a quarter cups in it. I was ready to rock.

Quinoa has a shorter cook time than rice, but I threw it all in together anyway, so it took a bit longer to prepare than written. Thankfully, the extra cooking didn't make the quinoa gross. I think that may be because the quinoa didn't really get overcooked since so much of the water had been absorbed by the rice by the time it would have been a concern.

I used baby carrots because I'm lazy like that. I also used the whole bok choy, not just the leaves; I didn't want to look for something to do with them. Both the carrots and bok choy stalks contributed a really nice crunch to the dish.

Overall, I really like this recipe. It's relatively healthy, simple, quick and tasty. It will definitely become a staple when I start having staples (since going vegan, I've made something new almost every time I've cooked and hope to continue the tradition for quite some time).

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