I returned from Japan with souvenirs, photographs, a few love notes, and a new sense of adventure toward trying new foods. The picky eater wasn’t so picky any more.
My first gourmet pizza boasted a pesto sauce base, mixed pizza cheese, cabernet marinated grilled chicken, thinly sliced roasted red pepper, and chunks of artichoke heart. I called the combination a “Tuscan Chicken Pizza;” Chef Jay, against my wishes, dubbed it “Kibby’s Choice Pizza.”
Quinoa has gone from complete obscurity to a household name in just the last few years. What was once an ancient South American grain only mentioned in history books is now found in cooking magazine, restaurant menus, and the bulk grain section of neighborhood supermarkets. It begs the question: why? What’s so great about quinoa?
Let me try to summarize the reasons that I believe factored into the rapid wide-spread adoption of this recently unknown ingredient:
· It’s incredibly easy to cook. If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa. (If you can’t cook rice, please go directly to the class schedule and sign up for some training immediately!)
· It’s nutritious. Quinoa has it all – fiber, vitamins, minerals, and all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein all by itself.
· It’s gluten free. Increased awareness of celiac disease, gluten intolerance, and other special dietary needs have put quinoa in the spotlight.
Now that you know why you should be cooking with quinoa, it’s time to learn how to cook and serve this amazing grain that technically isn’t a grain. I have a hands-on session that goes into detail about the benefits of quinoa, the many ways it comes packaged in the store, and the variety of methods you can use to prepare and serve it to your friends and family.
Just about anyone can combine a bunch of ingredients in a pot and boil them for an hour or two, but that doesn’t mean you’ll end up with a great soup. That only guarantees a dish you can eat with a spoon, so long as it's edible.
No, a great soup presents all if its components in the best way possible: juicy meats, tender vegetables, toothsome starches, and flavorful liquids.
Growing up, I enjoyed helping my mom around in the kitchen, forming meatballs and washing dishes. Yet there was something about me that you might find a bit ironic: I, the now certified chef who has spent the last 20+ years of his life in and around the food service industry, was a very picky eater. My parents won’t let me forget it either, reminding me that whenever we went out for pizza, the only thing I’d eat were the croutons off the salad bar.
How did I get from croutons to cooking school?