A Bitten Word Recipe
There are a lot of things we love about writing The Bitten Word. We've cooked recipes we never otherwise would have tackled; we've learned all sorts of new kitchen techniques; and we've gotten exposed to some terrific foods and ingredients we'd never tried before (gojujang, anyone?)
But by far the best part has been the interaction we've had with readers. We love hearing from you guys about what you're eating, and what you think about the recipes we feature.
And we really love getting tips from you!
Which brings us to this Quinoa with Apricot, Pear, Red Onion and Cucumber. When we first made it a couple weeks ago, it was flavorless and decidedly boring -- nothing like the original restaurant dish that had inspired it.
So we turned to you guys for help, for advice on what we'd done wrong and how we could make the dish better. And boy did you come through! Between your comments on the post and emails to us, you gave us some really terrific ideas for improving this quinoa.
So we saddled back up and tried it again.
All the comments and emails seemed to settle on a few key components that would make our original dish a whole lot better:
- Cook the quinoa in a broth instead of water
- Add the fruit while the quinoa is still hot
- Add an acid to help bring out more flavor
So that's just what we did!
This time around, we cooked the quinoa in chicken stock and added the diced fruit and parsley as soon as the quinoa had absorbed the stock. (We also switched to dried apricots instead of fresh, because we knew that would help boost the flavor as well.)
We mixed in a little olive oil, a little lemon juice and a healthy splash of cider vinegar. Then we chilled the whole thing in the refrigerator for a couple hours.
So how'd it turn out this time around?
Put it this way: You guys came through with flying colors! Seriously, thanks to your terrific suggestions, we were able to take a dish that was disappointing and bland, and turn it into something really terrific. Cooking the quinoa in broth made a world of difference. The acid from the lemon juice and vinegar really played up the sweetness of the apricot and the pear. And the flavors of the fruit, the red onion and the parsley really sang together (thanks to adding them to the quinoa while it was still hot). The cucumber added its own great, summery freshness.
The revamped dish was full of complex, layered flavors that really held up despite being served cold.
Thanks again, guys, for all your terrific ideas. This dish turned out to be one of our faves of the summer!
Updated Quinoa With Apricot, Pear, Red Onion and Cucumber
Inspired by Shuga's in Colorado Springs, Colorado
2 cups quinoa
4 cups chicken stock
1 medium Asian pear
1 medium red onion
1 medium or large cucumber, peeled and diced, with seeds removed
1 cup dried apricots
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped fine
In a large saucepan, bring chicken stock to boil. Add quinoa, cover and reduce heat. Simmer 15 minutes, or until quinoa is light and fluffy. (If there's too much liquid, remove the lid and return the heat to high until the quinoa has absorbed the stock.)
Meanwhile, dice pear, onion, cucumber and apricots.
Remove quinoa from heat, drain, and place it in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add fruit, and mix to combine. Then add lemon juice, cider vinegar, olive oil and chopped parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.
Chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or up to 2 days. Serve chilled or at room temperature.