Saturday, October 13, 2012

Yinz got Quinoa?

 This past February, my wife and I bought my Grandmother's house and relocated ourselves to Kennedy Township PA from the Greenfield Neighborhood of the city of Pittsburgh.

Gastronomically, its been an intense transition for two vegetarians (and seemingly the only two vegetarians around).  We shush eachother every time one of us mentions New Dumpling House, or any Indian Restaurant at all (oh Taste of India...)  While we do love pizza and pasta as much as the next guy (and gal), it can begin to get a little old.  To put it mildly, Kennedy Twp. is definitely not wanting for more Italian+ food - though, they do a really good job with the genre.  There is a lot to offer in this town, though - and quite a few hidden gems.

A Kennedy Twp. Pizza and Italian Food overview:

When we first moved here we initially fell in love with Picasso Pizza and Pasta - I started to like their pasta's more, specifically Pasta Insalata which is a tossed penne dish with artichokes, spinach, kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes in a garlic olive oil sauce.  I've started trying to cut out more cheese in my world so I usually ask them to hold the mozzarella, but if you like cheese you can get this with cut up fresh mozzarella too.  Gina likes their Portobella Mushroom pizza which comes with spinach, roasted red peppers, and feta.

Recently, though, we've started to really dig Angelia's Italian Grille Restaurant & Bar - the pizza is a little more reminiscent of pizza in the city (here's lookin' at you Mineo's) They also have a pretty decent bar and these killer Fried Zucchini which are, surprisingly, battered in what their menu describes as "Japanese Bread Crumbs, almost like tempura.

Other standouts include:  The Pine - Rockafeller's Grille and The Stroll Inn, which I haven't been too since Highschool but remember fondly.

Kennedy does have one fast food Asian place that makes decent General Tso's Tofu, and there's a Wendy's (where we can order pretty much nothing), and there's a Subway which will not carry the veggie patti (Gina actually wrote to Subway HQ, they said the decision to carry it is based on the owner of the branch and the Kennedy Twp. branch will not order it.)

Im not complaining, though - we really love it here.  There is a sense of community, and our families are very close.  

I want to hit on all of these places more extensively as the posts go on - because we do live in this community, and love it, and think it's a place people should know about - and showing it from a vegetarian perspective is, I think, kind of an interesting way to do it.

I'll end this post with something I've started making recently - the Shop and Save here in Kennedy carries Quinoa, which I have recently fallen in love with:

The Kennedy Twp Quinoa, Mushroom, Kale Attack (snazzy name, huh?)

We've started cooking a lot more than before mostly for financial reasons (it's tons cheaper), and also to get away from Pizza, which our arteries thank us for which almost audible sighs of relief.

 1 bunch of Kale chopped into ribbons
1 Cup Quinoa
1 smallish carton of button mushrooms, I used the Baby Bella Crimini ones from Shop and Save
2 - 3 cups of vegetable broth (I used Knorr Vegetable Bouillon and made it in a separate pot)
2 Shallots sliced
2 cloves of garlic chopped as small as you can
1 14 oz can of chickpeas
 Probably 2 tablespoons-ish of Olive Oil - enough to saute the shallots and garlic in

First, preheat the olive oil in a large pan (you'll need a lid later).  When it starts to smoke throw in the shallots and saute them until they are translucent and slightly browning, then add the garlic and cook for about a minute or two more.

Then add the mushrooms and saute these until they cook down slightly - maybe two more minutes.

Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.

Add the Quinoa and cover the pan.  Simmer for 18 minutes.

Add the chickpeas 

Add the kale by handfulls - it will seem like an impossibly large amount of Kale but trust me, it cooks down.  You may need to add a couple handfulls, cook it down, then add more.

Re-cover and  simmer for another 7 minutes or so - until the kale really wilts and melds with the quinoa.  You may even need to add more water, that Quinoa really sucks it up while it cooks.

Enjoy while looking out your window and listening to the bell's from that Presbyterian church up the street that I cant think of the name of - or your neighbors cutting their grass, seemingly every day.

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