FFWD – Quinoa Salad

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I’m a rather mediocre meditator. If I go to a sit or even a day-long retreat, I can meditate successfully and feel as though I’ve gotten a lot out of it (which is entirely the wrong attitude, I know). But, on my own, it doesn’t happen. At least not in that formal, sit and allow your thoughts to pass through, focusing on your breath, kind of way.

My true meditative practice happens when I’m out in the garden or chopping vegetables in the kitchen. It’s in those moments, or in the in-between spaces like a quiet bus ride or a long walk, that I truly reach for a meditative state. The demonstration of this kind of practice is one of the reasons I love the film How to Cook Your Life.

And yes, this week’s French Fridays assignment put me in mind of this, as I cubed or thinly sliced a heaping plateful of vegetables today. Now, I should let you know that the recipe for this week wasn’t actually quinoa salad, it was couscous salad. But, since the other half of the household can’t have gluten, I decided to change it up a bit. It’s a Moroccan-inspired take on a grain and vegetable salad that didn’t suffer at all from the substitution. In fact, I loved the colour the tumeric and other spices lent to my plain quinoa.

You can find the recipe on Epicurious, along with the suggested accompaniment, lemon chicken. Because quinoa is packed with protein, we were able to make a vegan supper of it, along with some corn on the cob.

And as an added bonus, Kevin declared this the best recipe I’ve tried recently. Now, that’s something to contemplate.

Find out what the rest of the French Fridays crew thought about their Couscous Salad

FFWD – Vegetable Barley Quinoa Soup with the Taste of Little India

Soup

My little brother is a mean, mean man. He’s a chef, working at the sort of locavore, casual-to-fine-dining restaurant that you know I love. The problem is that it’s 50 kilometres away and Sean sends me photos of what’s on the night’s menu, when he knows there’s no hope of me booking a car and heading out deep into the heart of the Fraser Valley. Like I said, mean.

If you don’t believe me, here’s one of the photos he sent me tonight.

Photo by Chef Sean.
Photo by Chef Sean.

Yes, that’s a perfect Caprese staring back at you. Sigh…

Luckily, we have a delicious, vegan soup on our own fresh sheet tonight, keeping me from becoming too morose. It’s flavoured with garam masala, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. It’s also meant to have barley in it, but we went gluten-free and used quinoa instead. It’s the sort of meal Kevin has been working toward, as he eats vegetarian or vegan most of the time now. There’s lots of protein in the quinoa and the soup itself is surprisingly hearty. Meatless meals have always been a big part of my diet, but I might find myself crumbling some bacon on tomorrow’s leftovers, as my brother the chef suggested. Then again, I might not – this soup doesn’t really need it.

Soup too

Judge for yourself. You can find the recipe here, along with interviews with three of our most lovely Doristas.

And you can find out what everyone else thought of this week’s recipe here.