Quinoa: The Passion and The Politics

Red quinoa seed heads.

Quinoa, a pseudo-grain closely related to a North American weedy plant, Lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album), was first domesticated about 5000 years ago on the high plains surrounding Lake Titicaca. August 12-14, 3102, researchers, seed breeders, and growers from 22 countries, the US, and Canada participated in International Quinoa Research Symposium, a platform for debate over access to seeds and seed genetics and an information exchange about research projects around the world.
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The Mad Baker in the Bread Lab

Walk past any college laboratory and you could probably identify the subject at hand by the smell. The chemistry lab reeks of chlorine and sulfur, the biology lab sends off whiffs of formaldehyde, and even the botany lab smells earthy, fruity, and sometimes sweet. But never have such wonderful odors come from a lab until you pass something called the Bread Lab!
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The Bread Lab: Why Your Flour Should Be Lively

Freshly ground whole grain flour is alive – and lively – according to Dr. Steven Jones, WSU Wheat Breeder and founder of The Bread Lab. Age, processing, and chemicals will “kill” your flour, and will give you flour that is “nothing of interest other than to carry other flavors.”
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Dishing on Pollan's Cooked

I am a novice baker trying my darnedest to learn how to make good bread. I would rather have bought a book by Michael Pollan called Baked. In his book, Cooked Michael talks about his time with guru bakers, farmers, and millers. He reminds us that to make good bread you only need a few basics: flour, water, salt, yeast, time, and heat. Here’s our take on local and regional grain and flour, and baking bread.
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Pumpkin Granola

This recipe is a little overdue considering we’re long past pumpkin season, but I figured it’s OK because I still have canned pumpkin in my cupboard (I bought a bunch while it was cheap). I can get a batch of granola and a small batch of cookies out of one can. Fresh pureed pumpkin is even better, and if you have some of that on hand I envy you. If however you have some canned on hand, you should try making this! It’s almost like eating pumpkin pie for breakfast.
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Sunny Crimson Dal

I opted to use crimson lentils for this dal, and I’m glad I did – the result was this delicious, bright yellow dish that is pleasing to look at and fun to eat. Yes it’s essentially lentil mush, but the prettiest tastiest lentil mush you ever did see.
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Citizen Scientist

Christensen not only harvests by hand, he must winnow the chaff by hand as well.

Dave Christensen has spent 40 years rescuing this corn from extinction and breeding it to find or create the hardiest, most nutritious varieties. Someday, he hopes, it could feed millions. He grows multicolored heirloom corn on 12 different plots scattered across Montana. Mainly dried and ground, the kernels are highly nutritious and chock-full of antioxidants.
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Goodness Grains - Cooking With Friends

There are so many creative good food growers and processors putting their hearts into bringing back wholesome and healthy food. We’ve been so lucky to meet a few of them! Last weekend, we spent the day cooking, baking, and eating grain-based foods that connect us to good friends and their hard work.
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Local Grains – Not Just for Bread Anymore

Grains – wheat, barley, rye, oats – in western Washington? Who would have thought? Somewhere back in time, the rest of the world became convinced that the only things you could grow in western Washington were mold, mildew, and ducks! Gotcha! It turns out that grains have been cultivated in Cascadia – western Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia – for more than 150 years.
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Cooking Lentils? You're Doing It Wrong!

I’ll admit, I’m not the world’s best cook, I didn’t grow up surrounded by cooks – but I can sure tell you when I’ve managed to cook something wrong! Peas, beans, whole grains, and lentils are supposed to be good for you. So I blundered ahead and made lentil mush. Hmmm… definitely not doing this right!
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