Recently there has been a lot of talk about an increasingly popular grain called quinoa. Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is an ancient food that is not yet well known in North America. It has been cultivated in the South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food for millions of native inhabitants. The ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. Each year at planting time it was traditional for the Inca leader to plant the first quinoa seed using a solid gold shovel! Quinoa was used to sustain Incan armies, which frequently marched for many days eating a mixture of quinoa and fat, known as “war balls.” Beginning with the Spanish conquest in the 1500s, there was a 400-year decline in the production of quinoa. It became a minor crop at that time and was grown only by peasants in remote areas for local consumption.
Well now that quinoa is coming back, making its appearance in our local grocery stores, its time to try it for yourself! So instead of eating “war balls” I have a more appealing quinoa recipe which will help you fuel up, providing you adequate energy for a healthy and active lifestyle!
Golden Apricot Quinoa Muffins
DIRECTIONS: 12-cup muffin pan, greased. In a large heatproof bowl, combine cornmeal, apricots, and quinoa. Ina small saucepan, bring orange juice to boil over high heat. Pour over cornmeal mixture and stir to combine. Let stand for at least 1 hour or up to 12 hours.
Preheat oven to 375 F. In another large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir orange zest, honey, egg and oil into quinoa mixture until well blended, then add to flour mixture until just blended. Divide batter among the 12-cup pan (use paper muffin cups) and bake for 24-28 minutes until tops are golden and toothpick comes out clean.
1 cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tbsp finely grated orange zest
1 ¼ cup orange juice
1 ¼ whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup liquid honey
¼ cup vegetable oil
Excerpted from 750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury.