Tag Archives: jalapenos

Spicy Red Amaranth Stir-Fry

I don’t go to our farmer’s markets as much as I’d like, but when I do, I always seem to find something new to try.  I enjoy dark, green leafy veggies quite a bit, so I’m not a hard sell.  One vendor recently  noticed me admiring the beautiful magenta color at the center of the larger deep, green leaves lightly filling a bag.  “It’s red amaranth,” the young man told me, reaching for the bag I was focused on.  “Here, taste it.” And so I did.

Although somewhat like spinach in flavor, amaranth, or what some refer to as Chinese spinach, is more sturdy between my teeth as I chew on it, its flavor somewhat like fresh grass smells like if that makes any sense at all.  It’s not sweet, but not pungent, either, and leaves a pleasant, unbitter taste in my mouth.

But I thought amaranth was a grain — isn’t it?  And don’t I remember seeing annuals at the nursery with colorful plumes which also somehow reminded me of the tasty greens I was chewing on?

Evidently yes to all above — sort of.  It isn’t a true grain, but is referred to as a pseudo-grain.  Some varieties are cultivated for the leafy green vegetable, some for seeds to be used much like rice or corn are used. And although I did know that buckwheat and quinoa were very high plant protein sources, amaranth seeds are as well.  And, they lack gluten, so that makes them quite beneficial to those who are gluten intolerant.

Historically, amaranth was a staple of ancient Mesoamericans and has been enjoyed in Asia for centuries.  Why and how did our culture adapt to eating iceberg lettuce instead?  Evidently, amaranth became associated with religious rituals involving human sacrifice, so it was banned by the invading Spaniards who then came to North America.

So that explains how we ended up with ice berg lettuce.

This recipe spices things up a bit, perfect for lunch by itself or a dinner side.  Use spinach if you can’t find red amaranth.  Your body will thank you.

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Spicy Duo: Breaded Calamari and Jalapeno Poppers with Bacon

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I’ve been so jittery the last couple of days.  I know it’s the election — waiting, and waiting to find out.  The feeling is strangely like I felt waiting for Christmas morning to arrive when I was a kid, the anticipation just about doing me in.

But it’s not just the election.  Having to pack four rooms in our house to prepare for a big remodel isn’t helping.  It’s great to be busy, though,  since the time is flying by.  Each book or knick knack I take from the shelf to pack is accompanied by my nagging alter ego which is reminding me I should have gotten rid of this crap a very long time ago.

And then there’s the little matter of a trip I’m taking in a couple of days, leaving the hunkster to finish what I’ve not managed to do to prepare the house.  Maybe that’s why I’m giddy with excitement as well.  I’m headed to the Midwest to meet with several food bloggers.  In fact, it’s for a wedding:  Lis’ wedding.  You know Lis, right?  Co-founder of The Daring Bakers? La Mia Cucina Lis.   And guess who’s making the wedding cake?  Helen.  Helen, Tartelette Helen.  Now how exciting is that?

Seriously exciting if you ask me.  So I’m pretty much a basket case right now, stomach in nervous knots and finishing almost nothing that I start.

Wait.  That sounds somewhat like a normal day now that I think of it.  The not finishing anything I start part.  Whatever…

So food is definitely in the low maintenance zone at our house right now and since the hunkster wanted to know what was on the Election Day menu, I figured Batter Fried Calamari & Jalapeno Poppers would work just fine.  And I have the perfect accompaniment for both — a sauce made with a bit o’ spicy love.

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