giving quinoa a chance

at the suggestion of my friend, a, i gave quinoa one last shot — b/c i had all but given up on this wonder grain. so i tried the quinoa salad recipe she suggested and made following changes:

  • a lovely pecorino called re nero, recommended to me by the guy behind the counter at claudio’s in the italian market (b/c a cow’s milk cheese like gouda and i don’t get along well — although i do love the flavor of a good gouda)
  • pistachios instead of walnuts (b/c my dining companion is not a fan of the latter)
  • and i added in some roasted pumpkin seeds to add a bit of the slightly bitter depth that walnuts add.
  • rice wine vinegar instead of sherry vinegar (b/c that’s what i had at home and b/c i’m trying to purge my existing items before buying new stuff)

i love that what starts out as just a bunch of ingredients can turn into something. more precisely, something edible, nourishing, enjoyable even. perhaps not entirely unlike nascent scribblings and unformed nuggets of ideas blossoming and being shaped into phrases, paragraphs, and sometimes — if we’re patient and just a little bit lucky — coherent thought that can do some good in the world.

and below is what my version of the finished product looked like as compared with theirs — i promise to start using a real camera so that the loveliness of my sabbatical doings aren’t all captured with the filmic residue of the awful blackberry camera.

the verdict: it was damn good. thanks, a. you have turned me around on quinoa – almost. perhaps i’ve done a 120, not quite a 180. a key difference here was that quinoa was not the star ingredient. it had to play nice with the others. and i didn’t mind all the chopping — it was the waiting for everything to cool to room temperature that drove me just the slightest bit crazy. for someone who doesn’t usually follow recipes this was also a good lesson in paying attention and learning to incorporate multiple preparation techniques into one dish. life lessons seem to be cropping up just about everywhere these days… or have they always been around and i’m only now starting to pay attention (again)? i suspect the answer is, quite simply, yes.

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