Indian Summer Salad
The old man at the market has the tiniest of displays. Cherry tomatoes. Melon. Squash. All meticulously arranged.
I handed him the pint of cherry tomatoes and $3. He retrieved a small plastic bag. Carefully he let the tomatoes roll out of the container into the suspension of the bag.
"Thank you." He said. His smile ever widened by imprints of his age.
"Thank you." I said. I smiled back.
When we got home I immediately put a pot of water on to boil. Two cups. A nice dash of salt. Once cup of quinoa. It came up to a boil quickly. I set the flame to low, covered the pot and set the timer for 15 minutes.
Like pasta, it would fret and muddle without modest attention. A stir here and there.
Lifting the lid gave way to a nutty, almost oatmeal-like fragrance.
It grew thicker. It's tiny tendrils curling out, a sign of its doneness.
When it was ready I pulled the pot from the stove and spooned the quinoa into a bowl to cool. A fluff with a fork as it came to room temperature was all that was required.
Meanwhile I prepped the rest of the salad.
A can of chickpeas, rinsed.
Three spring onions, thinly chopped.
Basil, a handful rolled, tucked and cut.
Cherry tomatoes, quartered.
Cracked black pepper.
Now I only had to wait. Adjust my attention slightly. A fluff here and there with the fork. A shuffle of the mis en place, now tumbling together in another bowl.
Once the quinoa had sufficiently cooled I commenced with combining things. A taste. Just right.
To be eaten for lunch. I, we, couldn't wait.
It has taken some time, but with a little—but not too much—effort, this hearty little salad has become a lunchtime staple.
"I like quinoa better cold." I said.
I do. I think it's at its zenith when married with other whole foods that balance and bring out it's unique flavor. It breaths when it's cool. I'll leave the mushy clumps up to my oatmeal.
Some time I'll have to write about another favorite quinoa salad. One that mixes black lentils and feta cheese.