Thursday, May 31, 2012
You can probably imagine that being a super celebrity food blogger of my status, I have products thrown at me daily. Marketing departments are begging me to feature their latest and greatest snack food, frosting mix or particular brand of plastic wrap. Why just last week I was approached by the Soup Appreciation Counsel of New England and named Most Dedicated to Lentils for 2012. Would you believe that?
No? No takers? Well, obviously I’ve never gotten any type of product sent to me in my life, in fact, I’ve never really gotten many care packages at all, because I was the youngest and my mom is kind of like me in that she’ll have the package ready, but it will ride around in her back seat for three weeks and then she'll just hand it to you when you get home and maybe one of the packages of cookies has been opened. Thought that counts, right? The only time I got exciting mail was when my biffle Neens used to work for a record company and every few weeks I would get a truckload of Fatboy Slim records and a ton of stickers (which was awesome by the way because I was equally into techno music and stickers in the early 2000s, go figure). So what I’m trying to get at is I felt like a bit of a baller last week when a care package from Goya arrived on my doorstep. Packages for moi? Or should I say packages for yo? Filled with quinoa and beans? How did they know I’m so into ancient grains and legumes?
This lovely gift came by way of one of my dear old college roommates, Natalie. Who started a company several years ago devoted to promoting and networking salsa dancing in the New York area and beyond called Salseek. Well, she must be pretty good at it, because every time I turn around she’s on the morning news in NYC shaking her hips, or she’s having gratis packages of beans and quinoa sent to me courtesy of the Latin Flavor Gods at Goya. I was especially pumped to peep the bag of quinoa since errbody knows I’m heavy into keen-WAH (potential rapper name?) and I know just what to do with it.
QUINOA SALAD with CHARRED CORN and POBLANO PEPPERS
Quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
2 ears corn, charred or grilled
3-4 scallions, chopped
Handful fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
½ Poblano pepper, seeded and minced
Juice and zest from 1 lime
1 clove garlic
Olive oil (about ¼ - ½ cup)
Salt and pepper
Prepare quinoa according to package instructions, standard cooking method is two parts water to one part grain and quinoa is great because it cooks up in about 20 minutes. For this recipe I used 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, which ends up making just shy of three cups cooked. Remove corn from its husks and clean completely. Place directly on your gas grill to cook, or, if you’re a thrill seeking type, you can do what I do and blacken it right on the open flame of your gas stove. Just place an ear right on the flame and move it every few moments until nicely blackened in spots. Be careful not only because you are dealing with an open flame, a kernel bursts every now and then sending hot corn water in many directions.
Once charred and cooled, slice the kernels off the cobs and set aside. Chop cilantro, pepper and scallions. Mince garlic clove, sprinkle with a pinch of kosher salt and then use the side of your knife to scrape it into the cutting board, until it makes a paste. This will mellow it out a little so there is no harsh raw garlic flavor in the finished salad. Zest and juice your limes and set both aside.
In a large bowl combine lime juice with olive oil, garlic, lime zest, a few sprinkles of hot sauce and plenty of sea salt and cracked pepper. Whisk together to combine and then add herbs, corn and minced peppers; toss together. Add quinoa and combine completely. This salad is citrusy, crunchy and fresh, with just a tiny tinge of heat.
It’s perfect to eat as a side dish to any grilled protein, but also great to spoon on top of a salad to bulk it up and add a little more density. You could swap out the veggies and herb for anything you had on hand and trade the lime juice for lemon, or perhaps a dash of vinegar. It’s very simple, but fresh and tasty. Perfect warm weather food.