I am a bit of language nerd. I love words and constantly look up proper pronunciation and definitions. It’s all to my advantage, though. The majority of people in my now-home, the US, think I am a native speaker because my accent is so faint (it’s there, though, most notably when I’m angry. Raaahhhr). I have always had a knack for languages but I’m getting at something different here.
Do you have favorite words? Words that have a beautiful ring in your ears or words that bring back some fond memories?
Well, I keep stumbling upon what a lot of people consider the most euphonious (well-sounding) word in the English language. Ready? Here it is: Cellar Door.
OK, if you just focus on sound, it does have a nice ring to it and as a lover of all things gloomy, dusky and obscure, I can appreciate it… but, honestly, there are far better and phonaesthetically pleasing words out there. Even for a dreary-weather kind of girl like myself.
Unsurprisingly, it’s mostly food words that catch my interest and make my mind wander. I could make a whole list of just cheeses and wines that have the most well-sounding, delicious ring to them but I will try to diversify my list for your sake. There are some truly beautiful words in the culinary world and some of my favorites include:
Gruyère – makes me think of snow-capped Alps and a delicious Raclette, fire-side.
Viticulture – encompasses everything I love about wine and has an undeniable pleasant ring.
Cardamom – just rolls of your tongue (into my belly). Very exotic and warm in my ears.
Gewürztraminer – what a beautiful word creation as well as wine! Brings back fond memories of day trips to the Alsace, back when I was living at home in Germany.
Mocha – has a very sensual ring to it. Mmmm… coffee.
Valerian – despite the awful smell, I would name my daughter after this herb.
Smorgasbord + Pumpernickel – these names make me giggle. I love the sound of both of these European words, though. And now that I think of it, what a cool name combo for a new blog!!
Pilaf – makes me think of the charming Edith Piaf, the French chanteuse. Oh, and Pilaf has much more than a fancy ring to it — it’s seriously tasty!
Pilaf is typically made with rice. Even though I do not support the hypothesis that quinoa can always seamlessly replace rice one hundred percent of the time, in this particular case, quinoa is an excellent choice!
What’s so special about this Quinoa Pilaf variation, I hear you ask?
It’s the gorgeous, fresh sage. Even though it’s a relatively small amount of sage that I have added, it infuses every bite and brightens the flavors of the more muted, warm ingredients in this dish. As does the lemon. Oh, and don’t forget the fresh parsley!!
As a quasi vegetarian, I absolutely love to add mushrooms to my meals as they are so… meaty! Yes, meaty. Even my Soldier who is a true (but conscientious) omnivore agrees with me: Mushrooms are a fantastic meat substitute. If you don’t appreciate fungi as much as we do, try tempeh instead.
This Quinoa Pilaf with Mushrooms, Sage + Feta Cheese has made a regular appearance on our dining table for the past three weeks; I love it as a main meal bit it makes a fabulous side to some wild-caught fish, if you like some animal protein … your call!!
- 5 tablespoon oil (e.g. grape seed oil), divided
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ cup finely diced celery (ca. 2-3 stalks)
- 2 teaspoon fresh sage, minced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups quinoa
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 16oz / 1lb mushrooms, sliced
- juice of ½ lemon
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 4 oz crumbled feta cheese
- Heat a medium size pot over medium-high heat, add 3 tablespoon oil, onions and celery and sauté for 4-6 minutes. Add sage, garlic, quinoa and salt and stir until quinoa is lightly toasted, then add vegetable broth. Cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the liquid.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat a large frying pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoon oil, sliced mushrooms and lemon juice. Add a pinch of salt and sauté until mushrooms are lightly golden brown in color.
- Fold mushrooms, parsley and feta cheese into the quinoa and serve with a slice of lemon.