Thursday, July 19, 2012

Friends on Food & Summer Vacation

I'll be the first one to admit that my summer blogging is essentially nonexistent!  It's not so much for lack of cooking as a lack of time for cooking things besides sweet & sour tofu or pasta with veggies.  I've realized that the older I get, the busier my summers become and the less time I have for hobbies that I've cultivated during the cooler months.  Is it just me, or do we Minnesotans try to cram 12 months of social activities into these few fleeting months of summer?!  That plus vacations, cabin get-aways, weddings, and hiding out when the temperature gets too hot means that it's suddenly mid-July and I have no idea what I've been eating the last two months!  But my CSA share has really kicked up the vegetable output and I have nine giant and beautiful cucumbers sitting in my refrigerator, just waiting to be a blog post.  So sometime soon my dear friends, I will be back with recipes and food-related adventures.  

But for this Thursday evening following a meeting at school and a free Chipotle dinner, I'll leave you all with another installment of Friends on Food.  And if you miss my kitchen tales, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter!

Season 9 - The One with Phoebe's Birthday Dinner

Monica: I suppose that Chandler will have the smoked duck.
Chandler:  And I suppose Monica will have the.....manipulative shrew.
Joey: How did I miss that?!  

Monday, July 2, 2012

Beat the Heat: Lemon Quinoa Salad with Tomato & Avocado

Looks like summer has officially begun, and man did it kick us all in the face this week.  I generally dislike heat, preferring chilly and overcast weather.  So when I saw this week's forecast, I almost started to cry.  It's impossible to do anything in this weather!  I don't like to drive because I feel like my car is going to explode; I don't want to go outside because I feel like I might explode; I don't want to cook because I feel like my kitchen is going to explode.  (I might have an irrational fear of spontaneous combustion.)  

In times like these, I stare wistfully at my kitchen as I dial the number for delivery pizza.  Although, one time last summer, the pizza place told me it would take longer than usual because the excess heat caused their ovens to start on fire.  Seriously!  Instead of risking the lives of many a pizza delivery person, try this super easy recipe for a lemon quinoa salad.  The cooking is minimal -- boiling water and cooking up your quinoa is all that is required.  The rest of the ingredients are fresh, filling, and perfect for a hot summer day.  Add some chilled wine or a cold beer, and you can easily beat the dinner heat!

Lemon Quinoa Salad with Tomato & Avocado
serves 2 as main, 3-4 as side

1 cup dried quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water
Juice from one lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large heirloom tomato, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1/4 cup chopped basil (use lemon basil for an extra lemony kick!)
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to the package directions.  Allow to cool in the refrigerator until about room temperature.

In a small bowl, squeeze in the lemon juice.  Then using a fork to whisk continuously, add the olive oil slowly until you get the consistency of a vinaigrette.  Pour the dressing over the quinoa and mix to coat evenly.  Add the tomato, avocado, and basil.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.