spicy artichoke quinoa pilaf

spicy artichoke and tri colored quinoa pilaf

We finally made it to California after a very, very long drive but the drive was definitely worth it! The week long road trip across the country was so much fun and at some point I will share those photographs with you in a separate post. Between unpacking and getting the place set up, I've realized I've missed having a kitchen and the ability to cook.  Eating out is fun but not everyday for a few weeks and on the road your options are really limited! By the way, when our stuff finally arrived to our new home, I was in shock, when did I collect so much stuff!!!

tricolored quinoa

I've started to take advantage of the numerous farmer's markets and stalls that are all over this gorgeous state and what better way to kick it off my first post from the new place, than with some fresh baby artichokes, that we picked up on one of our trips to the beach last Memorial day weekend and bundle that up with a giveaway from the wonderful folks at Bob's Red Mill.

Pilaf/Pulavs are Indian rice dishes flavored with spices and loaded with vegetables, meat or both and remain one of my favorite and easy ways to cook a single tasty meal at home. Pilafs are versatile, simple and yet bold with complex flavors that make them stand out. My mother made and still makes delicious pilafs on weekends and we would eat them with a side of plain yogurt or a salad. It's also my little way of "cheating" to save time and impress people when they come over.

artichokes

I've replaced the rice in this pilaf with Bob's Red Mill's tricolored quinoa (which by the way is simply gorgeous with different little colored pearls) which is an excellent rice substitute. I've thrown in a generous handful of fresh, little baby artichokes and seasoned the pilaf with black cardamom, ginger, garlic and a bunch of other aromatics.  

Bob's Red Mill is giving away a bag of their delicious tricolored quinoa and a $20 gift card to their store. To enter the giveaway, all you need to do is follow the instructions in the widget and enter. This giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States. This contest will run from May 30th through May 6th, 2014. Good luck, share the post and have fun!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation from Bob's Red Mill for this post and all opinions here are solely mine, unless stated otherwise.

spicy artichoke and quinoa pilaf

spicy artichoke quinoa pilaf

yields: 2-4 servings

ingredients

1 cup (6 1/4 ounces) tricolored quinoa (Bob's Red Mill)
6 1/2 cups water 
1 teaspoon kosher sea salt
32 ounces baby artichokes
1 tablespoon vinegar/lemon juice
1 cup diced red/white onion
10 black peppercorns, whole
4 cloves
4 thai chili peppers, stalks removed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 large garlic cloves, peeled 
1 inch piece ginger root, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 black cardamom pods, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 cup red onion, thinly sliced
1 large lemon
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

1. Place the quinoa in sieve and wash thoroughly under running cold tap water for about 2 minutes. I like to massage the quinoa with my fingers to remove any bitter saponins that might be present. Leave the quinoa in the sieve to drain and then transfer to a medium sized saucepan. Add 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the saucepan, bring the contents to a boil on a medium-high flame and then reduce to a gentle simmer. Cook until the water is completely evaporated for about 12-15 minutes and the quinoa is completely cooked. (The colorless quinoa should be completely translucent without any white uncooked spots).  Cover with a lid and keep aside until ready to use.
2. Clean the artichokes by peeling of the harder outer green leaves until you reach the inner soft and tender yellow parts. Trim the bottom and the tops of each artichoke and place the artichoke in a bowl containing 4 cups of water and the vinegar to prevent them from browning. Discard the trimmed bottoms and tops.
3. Add the diced onion, peppercorns, cloves, chili, turmeric, garlic, and ginger in a blender/immersion blender or food processor with the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Pulse until the ingredients are completely ground to a smooth pulp. 
4. Heat the olive oil in a large wok or saucepan with a lid on medium-high flame. When the oil is hot, add the cardamom and bay leaves. Stir the spices for about 15 seconds and then add the thinly sliced red onions to the pan. Sauté the onions until they begin to get golden brown for about 4-5 minutes. Add the ground spice mixture and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the wok and cook for 1 minute. Drain the artichokes and add them to the wok. Fold gently and cover the wok with its lid and cook until the artichokes are completely tender, this will take approximately 15-20 minutes. Once the artichokes are cooked, fold in the quinoa and slice the lemon and squeeze the lemon juice over the pilaf. Stir the contents and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the wok from the stove and garnish with the fresh cilantro leaves before serving. Serve hot with plain yogurt.
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