Monday, July 19, 2010

Simple and elegant cold quinoa salad

The highway was closed up ahead. Again. I sat in traffic for about a half an hour before realizing that cool air was no longer moving through my open windows. The hot sun pierced my car and baked the sweat out of the back of my legs. The smell of exhaust, and the rhythm of rolling and breaking reminded me of living on the east coast. We rarely get significant traffic in the twin cities, and as it is I have a hard time fitting everything in that I am supposed to get done in a day. My mind began to wander. How is it that I ever got anything accomplished when I lived out there? Maybe my little daily tasks aren't really as important as I think they are? Maybe the world would be just fine if I wasn't holding myself together, if I missed an important appointment, if I skipped a day of salad, if I took a day off from work, if I just sat here forever. In traffic.

I peered into the cars around me. It's funny how I always imagine that I am being watched, yet never bother to watch anyone else. A man with a black moustache driving a maroon car hit his wheel, frustrated at the car in front of him. A teenager in a beat up white accord held her cigarette out of a small crack in her window, and dragged on it as though it were a reed suspended in a lake of mediocrity, and through it she were sucking in the fresh air of independence. A few cars later an old woman gazed angrily into her rear view mirror. Her windows were fully down, and she flicked a cigarette as though it were merely a part of her, as though the ashes were chewed nails that needed to be spit out. We all rolled forward, and stopped in front of a new scene. It was like an amusement park ride, like "it's a small world after all". I settled into the show.

On this block, the buildings were all painted with murals made by children. There was a small convenience store, the clerk stood outside wearing worn pants, his hands shoved into his pockets. A large man rode down the street in a motorized chair. A large woman rode past him from the other side, also in a motorized chair. She held a little dog in her lap. I had a sudden wave of sadness. This is our future. No need to walk, if you get too unfit you can just purchase a motorized chair.

We rolled forward again. A woman hobbled down the street, her hair tied in a bandanna. She was young, but tired, like she had had enough. I imagined her getting a second wind, and filling up with the fire of life. Then I imagined myself getting a second wind. I looked at myself in my rear view mirror, and felt totally disconnected from the person staring back at me. It is interesting that I ended up looking the way that I do. Of all the bodies I could have been born with, why this one? How much of the person that I am is related to the body I inhabit?

We started to roll forward, and soon we were travelling fast enough that the buildings and cars were changing like slides. I felt my second wind blow in through the open windows.

Simple and elegant cold quinoa salad
Coat the bottom of a hot saucepan with hazelnut infused olive oil.
Add 1/4 tsp salt.
Add 1 cup quinoa (rinsed 3 times, or use the pre-rinsed variety). Toast the quinoa for about 3 min.
Pour in 2 cups water.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 min (or until the water is gone and quinoa is cooked).
Allow quinoa to cool completely (I threw mine in the freezer to cool it, but we don't really have any food in our freezer so I could easily fit it in without worrying about heating things up in there).

In a separate bowl, mix 1/4 large vidalia onion (try and get one that is really sweet)
1 small bunch sorrel, chopped fine
1 Tbsp sherry vinegar
3 Tbsp hazelnut infused olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Mix in cooled quinoa.

Christina's vote: "This salad made me feel like a food addict."

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