25 May 2009

Baked Chicken Kabobs with Quinoa Tabbouleh

I've had this window open for two days and can't seem to decide what to say. So here's the thing: I've been having stomach problems for quite a while and I, like anybody, hate going to the doctor. I couldn't hope to self-diagnose (and wouldn't bother trying - that's a good way to freak yourself out), but I decided to do an elimination diet for a bit and see if I feel any better while not eating some of the foods that often trigger people. And then I'll start adding things back and see if anything pops up.

I hadn't realized how difficult it is to cut things out. I mean, I don't like hot breakfasts, so cereal is usually my option. But I'm not eating dairy or wheat (for the first bit, then I'll start adding back) so that cuts out the cereal. (There are gluten free cereals, I know, but I don't like any of them that I've seen.) So I was looking up recipes for non-gluten grains, because obviously vegans manage without the dairy, but everything I find is still for hot grain breakfasts. I could get up and make myself a bowl of quinoa or amaranth with fruit and soy milk for breakfast. But I wouldn't enjoy it. So then toast would be my next breakfast option, but... wheat.

For breakfast this morning, I had an orange and a bowl of tabbouleh (made with quinoa, rather than gluten-containing bulgar) that was leftover from the dinner pictured here. It was a strange thing to have for breakfast, so much parsley and green onion and tomato. Tasty, but strange. I made a rice pilaf tonight which I refrigerated so that I can have that for breakfast the next couple days - just brown rice with a lot of vegetables in it.

In any case, this was the first elimination diet dinner. The recipes came from the book YOU on a Diet, which is not my favourite diet book out there. I find the tone kind of irritating, though I know they were trying to be playful about it, and at times I was bored by it and then the greatest disappointment: there weren't many recipes and I wasn't very attracted to many of them. I decided to try this chicken recipe because I mostly always like chicken and vegetables skewered together and cooked that way.

This particular version was a little dry for my tastes, though. You don't use any fat on kabob and no liquid marinade of any kind, so the fact that I left it an extra minute under the broiler made a pretty big difference. The chicken was tasty, but extremely dry. If you look at the bigger version of the picture, the mushrooms are all shrunken because they lost all their liquid but didn't have anything to reabsorb. They had a surprisingly great texture, though, for all their dried out skins.

The tabbouleh was a slight variation from their given recipe, since I used quinoa in place of the bulgar and left out the mint. (I didn't have any and didn't want to buy it just for this.) Here's the recipe I came up with, to serve 2-3:

1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup water

1 tomato, diced
4 green onions, cut into thin rings
1 cup parsley, diced
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Bring the water to a boil, add quinoa and a bit of salt. Lower heat to low and cook 20 minutes or until water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool if you like.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables and toss in a bowl with parsley and the remaining ingredients. Stir in the finished quinoa, adjust seasonings to taste, and enjoy.

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