After riding my bike to work in 80 degree weather for the past week or so, you can only imagine how much I enjoy walking into a cold office where a lightly-slushed Fresca awaits me in the fridge. It's almost my favorite part of the day- aside from going home, laying on the couch infront of the AC, and watching the puppy chase after my laser beam pointer. I'm into the simple pleasures of life...
Which leads me to todays post about the simple pleasures of Summertime refreshments (and the pleasure of slyly inserting my name into a blog post...heh.) Here's a super COOL idea that comes from the think-tank and eco-friendly group The Way We See the World. Their idea is called Jelloware. It's made from agar agar (a seaweed extract made from plants- no animal product) and uses flavors such as lemon-basil, ginger-mint and rosemary-beet, each created to compliment a corresponding drink.
This Savory Quinoa Salad comes from the blog Bento Zen. The perfect quick and refreshing meal for a hot Summer Day!
- 1 cup of quinoa, 2 cups water (you can halve or double the recipe if you want, but keep the 1 quinoa:2 water ratio the same!)
- 2 springs fresh thyme (pull the tiny leaves off and discard the woody stem)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped (i used the leftovers from cutting out the “strawberries”)
- 1/4 small red onion, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. minced garlic (can be omitted for a lighter, more subtly flavored salad)
- 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (i actually used some leftover stems from mushroom caps that the boyfriend stuffed for sunday brunch)
- 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. goat cheese per serving (this recipe makes 2 servings so i used about half of the pre-packaged cheese “log”, but you may want to add more or less)
- mint for garnish
- add your quinoa and water to a saucepan, and bring the mixture up to a boil. as soon as it’s boiling, reduce it to the lowest simmer possible, and stir every 2-3 minutes until the water is absorbed. the total cooking time should be 10-15 minutes counting the time to boil. (another method is to bring the quinoa to a boil, make sure it’s tightly covered, and turn the flame completely off, letting it steam for about 15 minutes until cooked.) when the quinoa is cooked, fluff with a fork.
- add most of your olive oil to a small pan, and cook all your veggies until the peppers are tender and the onions translucent. turn the flame off and incorporate the fresh thyme.
- in a bowl, fold the sautéed vegetables into the cooked quinoa, and drizzle the rest of the olive oil over top. crumble some goat cheese on top (it melts into a deliciously gooey texture over the warm salad), and garnish with a mint sprig or some julienned mint.
"the sandwiches are vegetarian ham, cheese, and butter lettuce on sourdough with mustard; i topped them with two flowers stamped into potato bread (actually, leftover potato burger buns from a BBQ last weekend — these work well for impressions because potato bread is sooooooo soft). the vegetables are ripe grape tomatoes, quick-steamed corn and brussels sprouts, and raw asparagus (there’s ranch dip in the container). a paper-lined foil cup with grapes, strawberry quarters and a mint garnish, and i’m all set."