09 October 2008

Autumnal Inspiration

Fall is my favorite time of year. The leaves change, the skies are overrun by cotton ball clouds, we pull sweaters from our closets and we eat warm rich foods. One of my favorite foods to eat when the mercury drops are potatoes; any kind will do. I love the warm and exciting color of yams and the sweet rich flavor is a real treat. This dish was inspired by the earthiness of fall's colors and flavors. Although it's perhaps a tired denomination for foods of a certain taste, I like to call it harvest quinoa. The nutty flavor of the quinoa really shines here and compliments the sweetness of the raisins and yams.

You will need:

4 small yams, peeled and cubed
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T Italian seasoning
1 C quinoa
1/3 C raisins
1/4 C dry roasted pumpkin seeds
2 t olive oil
salt to taste


Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover and bring water back to boil. Turn off heat and let sit 5 minutes. Add raisins and pumpkin seeds and stir. Return lid and let sit until all water is absorbed.

Boil yams for 3-5 minutes, until just soft. Heat olive oil in large pan or wok. Sauté garlic for minute. Add onion and sauté 3 minutes. When yams are just soft, drain and add to pan with Italian seasoning and cook until yams start to brown. Combine quinoa and yams in pan and salt to taste. Serve warm.

Variations on a theme: Add 1 cup mushrooms with yams, substitute cranberries for the raisins and/or use walnuts in place of pumpkin seeds. Add 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro before serving.


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