Entertaining

Hidden Treasures
June 18, 2010 • Posted by Rebecca Marber

A few days ago, I hosted a barbecue and was shocked to learn that none of my guests had ever tried two of my favorite foods - jicama and quinoa. These not-so-well known foods are easier than you’d think to find in stores and are nutritional and delicious.

Jicama (pronounced HIH-kuh-ma) is bound to spruce up your sliced peppers/ carrots/ celery crudité platter. It makes a great canvas for any dip, hummus, or guacamole and, since it’s good for you (a cup of jicama has 46 calories, 0 grams of fat, and only 2 grams of sugar; it is also low in cholesterol and sodium, but high in dietary fiber and vitamin C), feel free to eat as much of it as you like.

Slice it into chunks like any other crudité vegetable.

If you want to keep the pleasant surprises going, try some quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). It is high in protein and rich with essential amino acids. Quinoa is a grain more nutritionally valuable than wheat or rice and because it is gluten-free, quinoa has been gaining in popularity. Here’s a scrumptious recipe for a Red Quinoa Salad that I picked up from Chef Matthew Fulton.

Serve it as a side dish for dinner, or put it out as an appetizer with the crudité for guests to scoop onto hors d’oeuvre plates.

Red Quinoa Salad

1 cup red quinoa
½ of a red bell pepper, finely diced
½ of a yellow bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup finely diced red onion
¼ cup finely diced celery
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Equal parts red wine and olive oil to coat, not drip (measure in 1 tablespoon at a time)

  1. Cook 1 cup of red quinoa for as long as directions specific to your packet indicate. Place in serving bowl.
  2. Add in all other ingredients and mix with spoon until they are evenly dispersed throughout bowl.
  3. Drizzle red wine vinegar and olive oil in equal amounts until the top of the quinoa has been coated.
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