Thursday, September 13, 2012

Quinoa salad with honey-mint vinaigrette and cats in the dryer

Oh, September…why are you flying by so quickly? September was supposed to be different. Unlike August, I was going to be on top of things and post here regularly. Really, I was. But instead, September has been insanely busy and downright uncooperative. My requests for its days to slow down have apparently fallen on deaf ears.

The good news is that although the month is half over, it has been a fantastic couple of weeks, leaving me feeling that good kind of exhausted at the end of the day. And since no real post is coming to my tired brain, I’m just going to tell you a little story about me. It’s always fun to hear about someone’s craziness eccentricities, right?

I have a slightly irrational fear (okay, maybe more than slightly) that I am going to wash, dry, dishwash or cook our kittens. For instance, when doing laundry, I put all the clothes in the washer or dryer, see that there are in fact no kittens inside, start the cycle, and then run around the house counting cats until I have accounted for all three and am completely satisfied that there could not possibly be any animals on spin cycle. Andy pointed out to me the other day that it is a little bit odd that I start the machine and then go looking, but I don’t think that we should start getting technical about things at this point. Likewise, we usually start the dishwasher when we go to bed and I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten back out of bed for a head count to make sure the kittens are not being rinsed amongst the plates and glasses. Silly? NO! Okay…yes, I know it’s silly. BUT, these kittens are crazy and like to be places they shouldn’t be. So far, none of them have shown interest in hopping into a hot oven, but better safe than sorry, I say. In the meantime, Andy will just have to deal with me yelling upstairs to him, “QUICK! HOW MANY KITTENS DO YOU SEE???”

In other news, I have realized a love for quinoa (I know I am considerably late to this trend) and made this salad…

Quinoa salad with honey-mint vinaigrette

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 1/2 tablespoons thinly sliced serrano peppers
1/4 cup chopped basil, loosely packed
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint

Rinse quinoa in cold water and drain. Put quinoa in a saucepan with chicken broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes until broth is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff with a fork and reserve in pot to cool slightly.
In a large bowl, combine beans, tomatoes, red onion, serrano peppers and quinoa.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey and mint. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and stir to combine. Stir in basil just before serving.
Serve room temperature or cold.

This is such an easy dish to make, but it’s full of big flavors and herbs and spiciness. As summer is winding down, the mixture of bright produce with hearty beans and quinoa is perfect.