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I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, skimming by on a bare minimum of posts. I’ve been so busy that I would hardly have noticed, were it not for the constant braying and complaining from my brother, the Ninja, who moans nightly that I’m leaving him out to starve.
You might remember he mentioned in the Blogiversary post that he’s now on a first-name basis with all the “prepared food places” in our neighborhood. He likes to remind me of this every chance he gets, as if to drill home that I’m neglecting my duties in front of the stove.
It still amazes me, that first night he turned to me and asked what I was making for dinner, that I actually took him seriously and cooked. Sometimes I play the “What If?” game with myself, and imagine that I instead got offended and declined his invitation to cook, thereby turning the last four years into an unending series of wine and cheese plates. Frankly, that sounds magical.
But then I remember how much I’ve learned, and how much I’ve cooked. Were it not for the Ninja’s odd dietary requests, for example, I would never have started cooking with quinoa – a tragedy, in my book. It’s delicious, and nutritious enough (or so I tell myself) that I can easily justify going for seconds.
This is a fresh, bright salad that tastes even better the next day. And it’s very flexible; swap out ingredients for those you’ve got lying around. Just make sure you tell the Ninja that all the ingredients are organic. (Oh, wait, that’s just a headnote for me.)
Quinoa Salad with Shrimp & Lime Vinaigrette
Serves about 4. Adapted from this recipe, from FormerChef.com.
2 c. water
1 c. quinoa, rinsed
1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed and chopped into 1″ pieces
1/2 red bell pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 lb. small-medium sized shrimp, deveined and tails removed
1 1/2 c. frozen corn
2 fresh limes, juiced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 c. olive oil
2 tbsp. chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
lots of salt and pepper to taste
In a small saucepan, combine the water and the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large pot, bring some water to boil and cook the asparagus, only a few minutes, until tender. Remove to an ice bath and let cool.
Chop the bell pepper into small strips lengthwise, then halve them width-wise.
In a saute pan, heat the olive oil. Add the shrimp, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the corn, and saute until everything’s cooked through. In a serving bowl, combine the quinoa, bell pepper, asparagus, shrimp, and corn. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the lime juice, shallot, herbs and some salt and pepper. Whisk, then stream in the olive oil. Taste and adjust for seasoning; you want it to be fresh and lime-y without being overpoweringly so. Dress the salad and serve immediately.
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