Quinoa with Oyster Mushrooms and Adzuki Beans I love bulk food sections in grocery stores. Sadly, most of the ones here have only a few bins filled with a candy concoction that rots your teeth as you walk by. At Winco, however, there are rows and rows of shiny bulk bins filled with almost everything I could possibly want. Sugar and flour for cheaper than pre-bagged? Check. Most of the spices I use all the time? Check. Chocolate chips and candy melts? Check. Cat food? Check. All sorts of dried beans and pastas? Check and double-check! They also have little recipe cards scattered throughout to give you an idea of how to use some of the odder or less familiar ingredients. I found one for adzuki beans which I bought because the tiny red beans with wee white stripes were just so damn cute. By happy chance, the recipe called for another ingredient we'd been wanting to try: quinoa. Boy, am I glad we did. The adzuki beans were packed with intense flavor all out of proportion to their size. The quinoa was delicious -- but I admit, we mixed it 50/50 with bulgur because we didn't have quite enough quinoa on hand. Now, this one doesn't call for any spices and to be honest, it doesn't really need them. Between the flavors of the vegetables and adzuki beans, it's got plenty. But, if you want some spice, I'd recommend a mix of cumin and mint. This one is definitely going into our regular rotation as soon as we pick up some beans and quinoa... in bulk.

Quinoa with Oyster Mushrooms and Adzuki Beans [printable recipe]

Adapted from a recipe provided by Winco Foods Serves 2 with leftovers Prepare the beans: Soak beans in salted water overnight2. Drain and rinse, then place in a medium pot with plenty of water to cover. Salt water liberally and bring to a boil. Cook for 45 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside. Cooking the rest: Over moderate heat, heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Add the onions and carrots, cook for about 3 minutes. Remove to a rice cooker3. Add the butter to the pan and saute the mushrooms for 5 minutes. Remove to the rice cooker. Stir in quinoa and broth into the veggie mixture in the rice cooker, add salt and pepper, then set it to Cook. When ready, fluff with a fork and serve with a side salad. Notes:
  1. Other substitutes: bulgur, couscous or millet. Adjust cooking time as necessary. A 50/50 mix of bulgur and quinoa tastes great and does not require any shift in time.
  2. Yes, really. According to this post on GoodEater.org, which, by the way, I am so going to make, soaking and cooking the beans in salted water helps preserve their skins and prevent bean blowouts.
  3. I love my rice cooker but if you don't have one, just use a lidded pot on the stove and simmer the mixture for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.