Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Summertime, and This Salad Is Easy

A prolonged crack of the knuckles and uncurling of the USB cable, and I”m back to work. I can't believe I've let over a month go by without updating this thing; in fact, I've barely had time to check in on the awesome foodliness that's being written on out there. So, what have I missed?

The lamentation is old and tired, but true – summer is whizzing by way too fast. I've done some traveling, a lot of working, and maybe too much boozing, but it's been a good one. My recent trip to DC yielded a stop to the King Street Farmer's Market in Alexandria, Virginia, where I awed at the okra (not a Yankee specialty), and sampled a sweet, southern peach. I loved this market, because unlike the Boston-area ones, this featured local artists, designers and cooks selling their goods. I even snagged a last-minute accessory to the wedding I was attending. And speaking of farmer's market, on another summer trip to my mom's house in upstate New York, I brought along this last-minute, produce-centered summer salad to help feed the masses. We were staging what turned out to be a very successful yard sale, and I knew we'd be hungry. Lo and behold, the fam scarfed down the entire vat of it I brought – and yes, my mother tried and liked quinoa. Summer is nothing if not a time to be bold.

Make this with any combination farm-fresh veggies, and you really can't go wrong. Throw in some fresh herbs (parsley, dill), for even more delectable umph. The secret short-cut: bottled salad dressing. I made it again with homemade pesto, though, and the results were an equally addictive salad.

Simple Summer Salad

1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 handful cherry tomatoes, quartered

1 zucchini, diced

1 summer squash, diced

2 ears of corn, husked

a couple small carrots, peeled and diced

1 bottle Goddess salad dressing, or one cup pesto 

some fresh herbs (parsley, dill, basil, thyme), chopped.

Cook the quinoa in two cups of boiling water in a covered pot for 20-30 minutes. Turn down the heat and let sit for ten minutes. Meanwhile, several cups of water to boil in a large pot. Boil to corn for about 6-7 minutes until just tender. Drain, but save a couple inches of the water. Cut the kernels from the cobs. Steam the vegetables (except the tomatoes) in a colander over the remaining water VERY briefly – thirty seconds tops. Shock the vegetables in a bowl of ice water and drain. In a large bowl or plastic container, combine the quinoa, veggies, herbs, and salad dressing or pesto. Toss, cover, and head to the beach/picnic/car for your well-fed getaway.