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March 23, 2007

Cune Rosado 2005 Rose

Mr. Spaceling and I had dinner with some friends at Cascal Restaurant in Mountain View last night. I had a glass of the Cune Rosado 2005 rose which was a fabulous wine. It's dry, doesn't taste very strongly of alcohol but managed to be very crisp, with some nice berry notes. Fabulous wine. Mr. Spaceling loved it, too.

Posted by spaceling at 09:24 PM

Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

I've been making this tasty and versatile salad quite frequently of late. It's quick. You can serve it as a main course, or a side dish. You can add whatever vegetables you have on hand. It would probably also be good with diced cooked chicken or tofu if you wanted to really boost the protein content.

I thought I'd blogged about quinoa before, but a quick search didn't turn up anything. Quinoa is a Peruvian grain that is one of my favorites, because it is a whole grain that cooks in less than 15 minutes. You can use it in much the same way that you would use bulgur or couscous. Tonight, I used the "Inca Red" variety, which is an heirloom variety that's a very striking dark brown red color. Ordinary quinoa is kind of a pale yellow-beige.

Since this is such a versatile recipe, I'll give the basic proportions, and then describe some ways in which I've embellished them.

Basic Quinoa Salad Recipe

The Ingredients

The Steps

  1. Put the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse it well. (Quinoa seeds have a bitter saponin coating that keeps the seeds from being eaten by birds. Many commercial varieties have been either pre-rinsed or bred for lower saponin content, but I always rinse, just to be safe.)
  2. Put the quinoa into a sauce pan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the water is absorbed. (About 12-15 minutes.) Quinoa seeds have this funny little opaque band around the outside of the seed - the quinoa is cooked when this band has partially or fully separated from most of the seeds.
  3. Let the quinoa cool a bit, then toss with the chick peas, olives, feta, and other embellishments. Season with salt and pepper, and dress with olive oil and vinegar/lemon juice to taste.

Quinoa Salad Embellishments

A selection of the following additional items can be added to the salad as appropriate:

There are probably lots of other things you could add. Tonight's variation used tomatoes, roasted red peppers, and roasted asparagus and was dressed with sherry vinegar and olive oil. (Good sherry vinegar, if I haven't mentioned this before, is a revelation. The stuff I get at the local grocery store is just meh, but the stuff I got at Whole Foods is amazing.)

Posted by spaceling at 08:50 PM

March 19, 2007

Strawberries with Yogurt and Brown Sugar

Our dear friend Diana came up with a marvelous dessert this evening: strawberries dipped in plain sheep's milk yogurt. For a little added sweetness, dunk in brown sugar after the yogurt. Mmmm.

(The sheep's milk yogurt Old Chatham Sheephearding Company sheep's milk yogurt. Available at Whole Foods and health food stores. Highly recommended.)

Posted by spaceling at 10:48 PM

March 18, 2007

Farmers' Market Haul - 3/18/2007

Spring is just around the corner. You can feel it. It just hasn't quite manifested itself at the farmers' market yet. The stands were looking really bare today. Soon, we'll be getting all kinds of fun spring stuff like asparagus and fava beans and green garlic. But the only exciting thing today was grapefruit. And that was only really exciting because I've never seen grapefruit at the farmers' market before.

I also got mushrooms, onions, and mustard greens. Those are currently cooking up with some lentils into a soup. It smells terrific. I'm a little nervous that the mustard greens will be too pungent. We'll see.

Posted by spaceling at 08:11 PM