Ely was as eccentric in his eating habits, it turned out, as Reich had been in his practice of psychotherapy. Ely was always coming up with strange new theories about what constituted the healthiest diet. Usually, this involved a single food eaten for breakfast, lunch, and dinner – until a new food, deemed even more salubrious – replaced it.

When Claire took Ely out to lunch at the Union Square Café in New York to celebrate the book deal, he ordered curried tomato soup, an heirloom tomato salad, a fried green tomato napoleon as a main course, and tomato sorbet for dessert. A month later, the tomato regimen gave way to an all-Andean quinoa diet, then to citrus fruits consumed rind and all. For one six-month period, Ely ate nothing but an Indonesian soy product called tempeh. – Chapter 6, “Her New Life”


Serves 4 as a side dish

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or butter
  • 1 small onion or 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts or chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup raw quinoa
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade) or water
  • 3 tablespoons currants or raisins
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Heat oil or butter in a 10-inch skillet or sauté pan. Add onion, carrot, and pine nuts, and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, 3 minutes. Add quinoa and cook for 1 minute.

2. Increase heat to high, stir in stock and currants, and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Add salt and pepper. Reduce heat to the barest simmer and cover the pan.

3. Gently simmer over low heat until the grains are soft and all the liquid is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Don’t let it scorch on the bottom. If the liquid evaporates before the quinoa is fully cooked, add a little more stock or water.

4. Correct the seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste, and stir the quinoa with a wooden spoon to fluff it up before serving.

This recipe was originally published with the article, Q&A with Food Writer Turned Novelist Steven Raichlen.