Fall Quinoa :: Too busy for Thanksgiving

Fall Quinoa

Hey look, this isn’t a Thanks­giv­ing recipe!

I took a minute today to check on my Google Reader, which has been slightly neglected over the past two weeks. If it’s any­thing that food blog­gers are great at doing, it’s cel­e­brat­ing Thanks­giv­ing. And there are no short­age of brus­sels sprout, squash, pome­gran­ate, and stuff­ing recipes out there. You guys are good.

I, on the other hand, just real­ized a few days ago that Thanks­giv­ing is next week. how…?

I guess it’s been a busy few weeks for me. For one, I got a part time job! After a two year hia­tus, I’m in the IRS records again. I’m work­ing a few days a week at Right­eous Cheese, a new cheese shop in the city, located in a shiny new open mar­ket. I’m lov­ing it, although I am aware that it does per­pet­u­ate my erratic work record. Non-profit? check. Wait­ress? Check. Art Gallery? Check. Maitre’d? Check. Copy-Editor? Check. Writer? Check. Cheese? Check. Sheesh. But I digress, and I’ll go on about my lack of direc­tion at another time. Also more about the cheese shop, and why I’m lik­ing my work there (besides for the obvi­ous, cheese) dur­ing a later post.

For now, I’m all about get­ting my sh*t together. As you know I was recently home, for what I’m proud to boast, was my first real paid fea­ture in a mag­a­zine. It’s a dig­i­tal mag­a­zine, but a mag­a­zine nonethe­less. I also got a small job to write an arti­cle for a travel blog through a free­lance web­site I’ve been perus­ing over the last month.

So my life in DC has now gone from ‘set­tling in’ and ‘explor­ing the area’ to full-fledged ‘GET ON IT NOW’. Work it, gur­rrrrl. It’s nice to be busy, but I haven’t had time to think of the impor­tant things in life — like spend­ing Thanks­giv­ing with my girl­friends in New Orleans. That’s right, San Jose you can wait. I’m going to New Orleans this Thanksgiving!

My New York food-loving gals and I are spend­ing a Very Cajun Thanks­giv­ing in NoLA, where my dear friend Cameron and her hus­band Nick live. Hooray for corn­bread and oys­ter stuff­ing (seriously)!!

But before I pick up my recipe books and Novem­ber mag­a­zine issues, in between writ­ing my arti­cles and study­ing cheeses, I have to think about din­ner first. So many things to do!

In my recent absence from home and as a result from being at the cheese shop a few nights a week, my poor Diplo­Man has been sub­sid­ing on a diet of cheese, Sweet­green sal­ads, and Chipo­tle. Well, this is not entirely true…actually it’s fairly accu­rate. So yes­ter­day I put some work on hold and set aside a morn­ing to cook some dishes up that can be eas­ily stored for the week, packed for lunches, and reheated for din­ner. It was nice to let my brain unwind, not hav­ing to think about where a cer­tain cheese was from or how I was going to meet cer­tain dead­lines or how to apply for a busi­ness license in San Jose. Lots of logisitics out­side of the kitchen, but once inside it’s all just order of oper­a­tions. Cut, slice, peel, sauté, toss, cool. Soothing.

So here, before Thanks­giv­ing comes and before I start to think about last-minute recipes for the big day, here’s a sim­ple Fall Quinoa for your nightly din­ner table. Earthy, carmelized, nutty.…hey now, that’s how I describe a cer­tain cheese.….

FAll Quinoa 2


  • 1/2 cup quinoa (any variety)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 medium yel­low onion, sliced
  • 1 small-medium sized leek, white and green parts, thinly sliced
  • 4 big leaves red kale (any other kale, rain­bow chard, or col­lard greens would work as well), ribbed and thinly sliced
  • 4 crem­ini mush­rooms, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tea­spoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 tea­spoon paprika
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds


  1. Cook quinoa in chicken broth accord­ing to direc­tions on the box. Typ­i­cally, Quinoa gets cook­ing in liq­uid at a 1:2 ratio. Bring to a boil over high, turn heat down, cover and sim­mer for about 20 min­utes. (That’s the no-fail guide to cook­ing quinoa!)
  2. In a sauté pan, coat pan with olive oil and heat on high. When oil is hot, sauté leeks and onions for 3–4 min­utes, or until slightly translu­cent. Add kale and toss for a minute, then add mush­rooms. Sea­son with herbs, salt and pep­per to taste. Sauté for a few more min­utes on high, then turn heat to medium and cook for 5–8 min­utes. This not only cooks the kale all the way through, but it also helps to slightly caramelize the ingre­di­ents. Remem­ber to keep your eye on the pan and toss every so often.
  3. Turn heat off and set aside. When quinoa is done, mix into the sauté pan. Toss thor­oughly and add almonds. When cool, store in an air-tight ves­sel in the fridge. Lasts 3–4 days. Per­fect with baked trout, sausages, veg­gies, or a salad (basi­cally, anything).

Yield: 3–4 servings

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2 thoughts on “Fall Quinoa :: Too busy for Thanksgiving

  1. Con­grat­u­la­tions on the job! I’m out of DC for two months and already all kinds of new mar­kets and cheese shops and restau­rants and prob­a­bly many other things are open­ing. Also, the writ­ing! That is great.

    I too have been feel­ing blog­gers’ guilt about neglect­ing my Google Reader recently. When we first arrived at post I felt like I had all this time and noth­ing to do but then my days slowly started fill­ing up and now it’s all I can do to keep up my own blog!

    I love that you packed dishes for Diplo­Man to reheat and take to lunch.
    Natasha recently posted..Ten­nis Lessons in San Salvador

    • omg natasha, i have so much blog­gers’ guilt! haven’t blogged in over a week (work­ing on posts right now). I find it tougher to blog now that I’m back in the states, as opposed to blog­gin while liv­ing abroad. I’ll be inter­ested to hear what you think about it once you guys are back, too!!
      And yes, I am def­i­nitely keep­ing up my wifely duties of pack­ing lunch for the hubs (almost) every day. Full hus­band = happy husband!

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