Girl Friends and Trader Joe’s Quinoa Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms

While hanging wet laundry to dry, I realized I had forgotten the competition was a two-day event.  Between looking at pictures taken on Saturday and the early closing by the fire marshal and local police on Sunday, the three hours I was there on the latter day completely skipped my mind.  To even talk about the competition itself would be pointless.  Talking about my friend B, on the other hand, is of the utmost importance.

I cannot believe I forgot to mention B in that last post. 

B and I met two years ago at a Shabbat dinner at the local synagogue for “young professionals in their 20s and 30s.”  At the time, I was 26 and B was 30.  The two of us and a friend of B’s bonded over being the oldest people at this dinner.

When I mentioned to B about the competition, she insisted on coming to cheer me on and creating a poster.  B woke up early Sunday morning; early enough so I could pick her up at 6:40 am to drive to the event.  She brought the poster with her (it is still sitting in the backseat of my car…I should hang it up) and cheered not only for me, but for everyone in my group.  She is as dedicated, loyal, and supportive a friend as anyone could wish for.

It is also fitting I bring up B during this post.  Remember that holiday shindig that feels like it was ages ago?  B was my volunteer sous chef for it.  She helped make a variety of dishes but the one that sticks out is the quinoa risotto.  I started it while she was working on something else and I stood over the stove mixing it until she kicked me out of my kitchen to shower and get dressed ready for my party.

People argue whether or not quinoa is paleo.  It is neither a grain nor a starch.  It is a complete protein and the only complete protein that grows as a seed.  The Lurong Living Paleo Challenge said quinoa is not acceptable (it too closely resembles a grain).  I added it back to my diet after the challenge ended and feel more energetic getting through my day.  I especially love using quinoa as a substitute for noodles in chicken soup.  When I was at Trader Joe’s one day back in the fall buying quinoa, I noticed on the back of the bag a recipe for Quinoa Risotto with Shiitake Mushrooms.  I love risotto so I decided to give this recipe a try.

Some things to note:

  • To make this dish more “paleo-friendly” and keep it pareve (neither meat nor dairy) for the sake of the shindig, I left out the Parmesan cheese and crème fraiche (it would most likely be better with both of these ingredients).
  • I did not heat the vegetable broth as the bag says to and I probably added too much at any given time.
  • You do not need to use all of the broth.  However, you must make sure you let ALL of the broth evaporate or you will wind up with a soup and it is not very tasty (I ran out of patience the second time I tried this).
  • Do not double the amount of quinoa without doubling the amount of mushrooms.  They get lost if there is too much quinoa.

If you are looking to print this recipe, go here.  She typed out the whole thing.  I am wordy enough without typing out wordier directions.

In the comments, tell me: Do you have friends like B who will do anything for you?  Do you have any suggestions or recipes for a paleo risotto? 

Until next time, darling readers.

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