Moving has become an annual event for me. I have moved so many times recently that I have a hard time considering anything, other than my parents’ houses, “home.” It has become a pattern – unpack, settle, pack up, repeat. Even since I’ve been out of college, I’ve managed to move every single year – not because I’m an overly indecisive or unpredictable person, but instead because life has worked out that way.
My moves have not been overly adventurous, or exotic – many of which occurring within the same college campus, and after college, within the same region – but, they have all defined significant periods of my life. There is not one move I regret, nor one that is overshadowed by another, but until this moment, they have all felt temporary, transient, a step towards a bigger goal.
But, this time, this move, it’s different. I see my life finally settling on a direction, pointing ahead, and gaining momentum. For the first time in my life, I find myself basing my decisions less on the moment and more on the long-term. In turn, my decisions are more purposeful, more resolute, and carry more enduring consequences. I’m not entirely sure what sparked this transition - it could be the fact that I’m getting older or that I’m more confident in the direction I want my life to head. Or, it could be that my decisions are no longer simply my decisions, but instead our decisions – affecting not only my life, but Henry and my life together. Whatever the reason may be, I know that the path we are on feels good, and more importantly, feels right. What else can I really ask for?
This summer quinoa is inspired from the fresh peas we picked up at the farmer’s market in our new neighborhood in Brooklyn. After a long day of exploring and preparing for our move, this light summer meal was the perfect accompaniment to a relaxing night in what will soon be remembered as the last “apartment” we ever lived in ….
… next up is “home”.
Toasted Lemon Quinoa with Peas and Fried Onions
For the quinoa:
1 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 cup fresh peas
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons fresh chives
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
For the vinaigrette:
1 lemon, juiced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
coarse salt & freshly ground pepper
For the fried onions (inspired by Giada's beer-battered cremini mushrooms):
1/2 large vidalia onion, cut into 2 thick slices, rings separated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 12-ounce dark beer, chilled
2 cups (or so) vegetable oil
1. First, fry the onions. Add vegetable oil to a cast iron skillet, 1-2 inches deep. Heat over medium-high heat until oil reaches temperature of 350 degrees F. Whisk together flour, chives, thyme, salt, pepper, and beer until smooth. Dip onion rings in batter, until completely coated. Drip excess batter off rings and, working in small batches, fry the onion for about 3-4 minutes in the oil until golden brown. Remove and place on paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle immediately with coarse salt. Continue until all onion rings are fried.
2. Meanwhile, rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa until water runs clear. Toast in a dry pan (stirring frequently) until lightly browned and fragrant. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook about 13 minutes. Add fresh peas and cover, steaming until quinoa is finished cooking and peas are tender (about 2 additional minutes). Fluff with fork and transfer quinoa and peas to a heat-safe large bowl. Add olive oil and onions to already hot pan and cook, over medium heat until onions are tender and browned (about 10-15 minutes), stir fresh thyme into hot pan with onions. Transfer onions to quinoa mixture, along with toasted pine nuts and fresh chives.
3. Whisk all vinaigrette ingredients into a small bowl until emulsified. Dress quinoa salad with vinaigrette to taste.
4. Transfer quinoa to plates and top with fried onions to serve.
Serves 2-3 (with leftovers)
Note: Quinoa is even more flavorful the next day - so be sure to save leftovers!