I don’t know if you guys heard, but IT’S OFFICIALLY SPRING! Then again, it’s also been in the 90’s this whole week, so screw you, equinox, you don’t know shit. It’s effing hot here.
So yeah, food.
So it’s hot outside, and nothing excites me more during warm weather than a good grain salad. (Ha, that’s a dirty lie. Margarita, anyone?) Not only are they delicious and nutritious, but people at work get weirded out that you don’t bring frozen chimichangas or Lean Cuisine or Cup o’ Noodles for lunch and therefore don’t touch your leftovers. (My chocolate coconut sorbet on the other hand? Still don’t know where that went. Or the container. Bitches.) I discovered this one last summer, and it was so tasty, it’s been called back into duty. This bowl of Southwestern yumminess is quick to throw together and uses stuff I pretty much always have knocking around my pantry. I was planning on eating it with some tequila and lime marinated chicken, but yeah I’m lazy. I sauteed some shrimp, tossed it in, and called it a day. Which turned out being a great idea.
Look at those beautifully chopped green onions. I can’t take all the credit, though–it comes from growing up in a Japanese American household. Scallion goes on everything. Which means growing up, after your Suzuki and Wohlfahrt, your kitchen task was chopping green onion. Hahaha I’m kidding. Sort of.
Now I’m not going to get into the whole quinoa thing because I’m hardly an expert. I’m just going to say that it’s a whole grain, that I think it’s tasty, and if you need more than that, click here. If you can’t find it, couscous would work well, or even orzo. This recipe uses a steaming method to cook the quinoa, which I assume produces a fluffier grain. Boil the quinoa, strain, and then steam. Without steaming, I would think the grain would be too wet and less able to soak up the dressing. It’s only slightly more effort with what I would expect to be great reward. But then, I’ve never made it any other way. But let’s just go with I’m right, you’re wrong, and get on with things. (See Tom, wasn’t that easy?)
Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa
adapted from Gourmet
zest of two limes
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon Mexican oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoone extra virgin olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
15 oz. can corn, drained and rinsed (thawed out frozen corn also works)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (Obviously you can also just chop up a couple tomatoes. My son, however, is obsessed with the grape variety and I always have them.)
four green onions, chopped
Add the quinoa to a pot of boiling, salted water and cook for ten minutes. Strain in a sieve. Add about an inch of water back to the pot, set the sieve over the water, and cover first with a kitchen towel, then the lid to the pot. Bring the water back up to a boil and steam over medium heat for another ten minutes. At this point, take the pot off the heat and remove the lid, but keep the towel over for another five minutes or so. Fluff with a fork. (A spoon will just mush things together.)
While all this business is going on, whisk the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl. Salt and pepper. Halve all those tomatoes, chop your green onions, and rinse your canned goods. (Though this may have to wait if you only have one sieve.) Toss into another bowl.
When the quinoa’s done, and all your other business taken care of, add the quinoa to the dressing and combine. (Again, with a fork!) Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir, taste, salt and pepper. Invite the fiesta in your bowl to the party in your tummy. (Seriously, click on that link and see how freaking bizarre children’s TV is today. I personally prefer ACME anvils dropping from the sky, but maybe that’s just me.)