Fresh peas in my favorite Diana Fayt bowl.
Ok, first: all that about the pressure cooker being an easy disaster free experience? Scratch that. I decided to cook beans again, and I don’t know, I guess that last time I just waited a really long time before opening the lid because I didn’t do anything special and all was fine. This time I must have only waited about a half an hour, and I opened the lid and immediately exchanged introductions with a roiling wall of wicked hot water that hit my midsection without so much as a warning shot. Man. I spent the rest of the afternoon with a yogurt container full of frozen chicken stock on my belly, and now I have a huge burn in roughly the shape of Italy on my stomach. I have burned the be-jezus out of my hands and arms before, but this real estate is new. I called my Gran and she told me the part about slowing releasing the pressure by turning the pressure dial down. Aha! She probably told me that last time and I didn’t write it down because it was so logical. Righty-o.
Food things. It’s been so hot here that we have been eating salads and smoothies like crazy. We are all about putting almonds in our smoothies. It’s the bomb, you must try it if you are smoothie person. But B braved the heat the other day and made homemade falafel, since we were all woo-hoo about our hummus and the only Mediterranean joint around here does not fry their falafel to order which is So Wrong. I don’t know where he got the recipe, but they were totally knockout, full of parsley and garlic and rolled in sesame seeds as per my request ‘cause that’s how my favorite place in SF did it. Oh man. Anyway, not to leave you with all that yumminess and no recipe, this is what I make when the peas are on, which they sure are in our garden:
Heather’s Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, cooked*
1 red pepper
As many peas as you got
Salt and Pepper
2-3 tablespoon finely chopped mint
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
Chop veggies. Ok, enter the freak: what size the veggies are really matters, I swear. Onions: halve the onions, then cut into thirds long ways, then slice finely shortways. You want to get one inch strips of onions. Carrots: in half long ways, in half again long ways, chop to be less than a quarter of an inch thick. Red pepper: into thin strips, which again get chopped into thirds. Sorry for the lack of photo on this, and yes, I have these strong size feelings about everything I cook. It’s all about getting the right ratio of things on the fork, you know it!!
Anyway. Heat sesame oil over medium heat. Throw in onions, add salt, pepper, cumin, and cayenne in amounts that fit your tastes. Sautee until almost translucent. You may need to add a little oil as you go along. Add carrots. Sautee for 3-4 minutes, add peppers, sautee 2-3 minutes, add peas, sautee until peas deepen slightly in color, just about 2 minutes. Turn heat off.
In large bowl, combine sautéed veggies and quinoa, mixing thoroughly. Adjust seasoning (keep in mind that the feta will add some salt). Ideally now you let everything sit until it’s room temperature. When that happens, or when you Just Need to Eat Now, add chopped mint and crumbled feta cheese.
Note: this is fantastic with fresh corn; I add the corn in with the carrots. Also, I don’t think this salad keeps very well; the mint gets a little tired. So it’s great for a potluck or hungry bunch.
* This is how I cook quinoa: two parts water, one part quinoa, bring water to a boil, add quinoa, let return to a boil, turn heat to low, cook circa 20 minutes – I don’t know for sure how long, I just keep an eye on it. Also, I have made this salad with brown rice and it was also very good.