Spring seems to have finally arrived in Colorado and we have been enjoying beautiful sunny days interspersed with the usual, magnificent thunderstorms and windy days that make springtime here such a delight. It has been quite hot already and I am a little worried about the upcoming summer. The Sun burns in Colorado. We are closer to it and since it’s a desert like environment here, the Sun beats down hard and hot.
One of the many advantages of the beautiful weather is how husbands suddenly want to become cooks. I think, it’s an ego thing, as usual. Sunny days means grilling and BBQing, and somehow that is a man thing. If I ask my husband what he wants for dinner, his reply is “Want me to grill?” “Do we have stuff I can grill?” and so on. Which is great for me but I wish he would give me some advance notice, because even though grilling is easy and tasty, it requires some thought like what meat to defrost and what kind of cuisine and side dishes? A great cookout starts with marination and ensuring the meat is soaked up with moisture and flavour. Even hamburgers do better with some seasoning and some time to relax before being thrown on a screaming hot grill.
I think this summer I really am going to cook outside more and leave my oven off. It will give my husband something to do and he loves to think he’s the master of the grill. Some grilled meat and a nice fresh salad and dinner’s done. Having said that, I have a slew of company this summer and I have a feeling they will not want meat and salad everyday…*sigh*…
My last post I mentioned how I was craving a chicken korma, unfortunately, my craving gave away to laziness and I ended up going an easier route by throwing the chicken on the grill (2nd advantage of grilling) Korma is an involved affair; chopping onions, jointing chicken, frying onion, grinding spices and so on. Grilling involves marinading chicken and throwing it on the grill. It is made easier by having a tandoori masala spice mix ready or using a packet of spices.
I did do some work by making this warm side salad as an accompaniment. It’s quite hearty, with the quinoa and vegetables, so you don’t really need anything else with it. I don’t know why I don’t use quinoa more often. My family eats it and likes it and it’s versatile. It is full of nutrients, gluten free and easy to make. Find out more about quinoa and another Quinoa Salad recipe.
This salad is served warm and includes potatoes and green beans dressed in a honey Dijon vinaigrette. It is great chilled too and my children enjoyed the leftovers the next day. You can use a good quality, organic bottled dressing like I did or make your own from scratch. I have a great recipe that I always use (except for that day when I was being ultra lazy).
Once you have all your blanching and cooking done, it’s a matter of minutes to pull the whole salad together and serve. The ingredients are not specific, I added a handful of green beans and one large potato. You can adjust to what you like, add more potatoes or more green beans.
WARM QUINOA SALAD WITH POTATOES AND GREEN BEANS
1 cup/170g Quinoa (rinsed several times in cold water)
2 cups/473ml water
salt, a pinch
1/2 lb/227g green beans or a large handful,
1 large potato, diced in medium chunks
1/2 cup/118ml Honey Dijon vinaigrette, bottled or homemade
Place the rinsed quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water and bring to boil.
Add a pinch of salt.
After the water comes to a boil, turn it down to low and cook for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, remove the pot from the heat and let sit for 10 minutes before fluffing up the quinoa with a fork.
Put the quinoa aside and prepare the vegetables.
Blanche the green beans in boiling water for about 10 minutes or until crisp tender.
Boil the potatoes until they are tender but not mushy.
I used half of the quinoa to make the salad, about 2 cups.
You can use more or less and refrigerate the rest for another dinner.
Once everything is ready, just toss the vegetables with the quinoa and the dressing.
The potatoes will break down a bit but if you toss gently, it shouldn’t get too mushy.
Enjoy warm or cold with a nice piece of grilled meat.
My daughter is a vegetarian and she enjoyed hers straight up as a complete meal.
Quinoa is one of the few plants that is a complete protein so it is perfect for vegetarians and gluten free diners.
I hope you are enjoying the season in your respective countries. Here, our Farmers Markets are coming to life for this year. I haven’t had a chance to venture out to yet to see them but once I do, I will post the colourful pictures.
I wish you all a happy and productive week!