The first time some of us here at Wellness Warrior met Deborah Madison was in the teaching kitchen at La Cocina Que Canta, a cooking school set in the midst of an organic farm at Rancho La Puerta fitness resort and spa. She is a very intent, focused individual--and that day she surely was, because at 9 in the morning she had already toured the farm and decided what to pick, when, how much, and what the students would be doing with the bounty. She lives this life, so it seems to come easily to her.
It isn’t easy, but it isn’t complicated either. We came away inspired...and convinced that the best way to attune yourself to the vegetarian ethos is to PAY ATTENTION and LET YOUR SENSES GUIDE YOU, especially taste, touch, feel and sight. Well, that’s almost all five. Wait! You WILL use all five because you’ll be listening for the snap, crunch, and wondrous toothiness of it all!
Here’s a recipe that we think is a good introduction to the Madison way.
Yellow Peppers stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, and Feta Cheese
Recipe By Deborah Madison
Taken from her book Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well several times
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of scallions, including 2 inches of the greens, thinly sliced into rounds
2 jalapeno chiles, finely diced, seeded if desired
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 bunch of spinach, leaves only, or ½ pound spinach leaves
½ cup chopped cilantro
¼ pound feta cheese, cut into small cubes
2 large red onions, thinly sliced into rounds
½ cup white wine
4 yellow and/or orange bell peppers
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add ½ teaspoon salt, then quinoa. Give it a stir, then cover and simmer over low heat until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes.
Warm half the oil in a wide skillet. Add the scallions and chiles, cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes, then add the garlic, cumin, corn and spinach, along with 2 tablespoons of water. When the spinach is wilted, add the cilantro, quinoa, and feta. Toss everything together, taste for salt, and season with pepper.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wide skillet. When hot, add the onions and saute, stirring frequently, until they start to color around the edge, after several minutes. Pour in the wine and deglaze the pan, giving the onions a stir as you do so. Season with salt and pepper and distribute in a baking dish large enough to hold the peppers.
Slice the peppers in half lengthwise without removing the tops or stems, then cut out the membranes and seeds. Simmer them in salted water until tender to the touch of a knife, but not overly soft, 4 to 5 minutes, and remove. Fill them with the quinoa mixture and set them in the baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle the rest of the oil over the peppers and bake the peppers until heated through, 20 to 30 minutes, then switch the heat to broil and brown the tops. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.