Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes I get stressed, but I still have Spicy Quinoa Salad for you

Quinoa Salad

Here's a list of things I should be doing right now:
- Reading for my classes
- Applying for a scholarship for going abroad
- Studying Italian
- Finding a way to exercise off my Ici ice cream

That list has stayed about the same all weekend. All. Weekend.

And why is that? Because I've been lazy this semester. For some reason, I just can't get into school mode, and it's really taking a toll on my mental health. The reading I'm not doing is going to leap out on Wednesday at 10 saying "SURPRISE! Don't you wish you had read me sooner so you don't panic about having to read 150 pages in 2 hours?"

That's what happened last week, and I told myself I wouldn't put it off for the next week. But here I am on Sunday night, still not done with the week's work. And I start my job this week, so that's 14 hours less time to read that I had last week. It's an endless cycle in my head of the things I need to do, and it's weighing so heavily on me right now.

Frustration is an emotion that's all too prominent in my life at the moment, and I really just need to step back, take a few breaths, and then dive back in head first to meet my tasks head on. Tomorrow is a new day and I will start anew. Wake up, get ready to go, study, go to work, and just make my To Do List shrink exponentially.

So thanks for reading my little vent (or at least pretending to read it - no hard feelings). I really did enjoy this quinoa salad, though. So nice for a warm day - the tomatoes and avocados calm your mouth as the peppers make it spicy in this delicate balance of heat and cool. Also, I thank my roommate, Sowmya for taking this picture. She's not a food photographer by practice, but she sure took a good shot!

Adapted from NYTimes

Print Me! 

1 cup quinoa
3 cups water
Salt to taste
2 cups diced cucumber
1 small red onion, finely minced (optional)
2 cups finely diced tomatoes
1 to 2 serrano peppers (to taste), seeded if desired and finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus several sprigs for garnish
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 avocado, sliced, for garnish

1. Place the quinoa in a bowl, and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes. Drain through a strainer, and rinse until the water runs clear. Bring the 3 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt (1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon) and the quinoa. Bring back to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and translucent; each grain should have a little thread. Drain off the water in the pan through a strainer, and return the quinoa to the pan. Cover the pan with a clean dishtowel, replace the lid and allow to sit for 10 minutes. If making for the freezer, uncover and allow to cool, then place in plastic bags. Flatten the bags and seal.
2. Meanwhile, place the finely diced cucumber in a colander, and sprinkle with salt. Toss and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Rinse the cucumber with cold water, and drain on paper towels. If using the onion, place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Let sit for five minutes, then drain, rinse with cold water and drain on paper towels.
3. Combine the tomatoes, chiles, cilantro, vinegar, lime juice and olive oil in a bowl. Add the cucumber and onion, season to taste with salt, and add the quinoa and cilantro. Toss together, and taste and adjust seasonings. Serve garnished with sliced avocado and cilantro sprigs.

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