Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad

This beautiful (if I do say so myself--don't you just want to put your face in it?) salad was inspired by a similarly simple recipe in Donna Hay's gorgeous Off the Shelf: Cooking from the Pantry. We changed several elements, but a shout out to Donna in any event; her food is visually striking, healthy, and simple. Woot woot!

1 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. Thai roasted chili paste OR harissa OR Italian red pepper tapenade
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp. honey
Salt and fresh black pepper
Avery Brewing Company's Ale to the Chief American Pale Ale

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil.
2) Toss cubed sweet potato in the regular olive oil, seasoning if desired. Roast the potato on the baking sheet in the oven, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes depending on how large your cubes are. Remove from oven when cooked through and well browned, and set aside in a large bowl.
3) Place quinoa in a mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly--there is a substance called saponin that coats the outside, and can taste bitter if not rinsed off.
4) Combine quinoa and vegetable stock in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes until water is absorbed.
5) While quinoa is cooking, blanch green beans in boiling salted water until tender and bright green. Rinse with cold water and set aside with sweet potatoes.
6) Combine the last five ingredients, along with salt and pepper to taste, in a small mixing bowl or dressing shaker.
7) Fluff the quinoa and add it to the vegetables. Toss with the dressing.
8) Open Ale to the Chief.
9) Enjoy together.

This beer is gorgeous. It's a lovely pumpkin orange color when poured, with resiny hops balanced by caramel-cereal malts. They brewed it as a special tribute to the lucky man who replaces Still-President Bush in November, and what a fine gesture it is! The floral sweetness rocks with the slightly spicy dressing of the salad, and the pine-bitter finish does well by the honey-tossed quinoa. Ale to the Chief indeed, and may he sip this fine vintage for solace while sitting in the Oval Office pondering how to get us out of this small fiscal snafu.

Donna Hay's books inspire great one-dish meals that can come together using practically anything in your refridgerator and shelves. Of course, I AM assuming that your refridgerator contains more than ketchup, Pabst, and month-old celery, but really, this recipe would work just as well with a can of chickpeas instead of sweet potatoes, rice instead of quinoa, and chives for mint. Go to town. Actually, no--don't go to town. That's the point: stay at home. You've ingredients enough.

Can we just vote tomorrow and know which guy Ale to the Chief is hailing? Would it be ok to corrall all the "Undecideds" at this point and build a nice compound for them where they can wander around trying to decide whether or not to take a shower, or whether they prefer to wear socks on their hands or their feet, or whether they should keep breathing? Vote for whomever you want. Seriously. But can we just get it over with now? Listen: you have two options. There's an old white conservative and a young black liberal. There you go. As Dave Sedaris put it, being undecided right now is like having this conversation on an airplane:

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Hi. Would you like the chicken, or the pile of excrement with shards of glass in it?
UNDECIDED MAN: Hmm. Well, how is the chicken cooked?

Seriously, what are these people waiting for? Do they want McCain to come over to their house with Joe the Plumber and clear their clogged toilet? Do they want Obama to bring Bill Ayers to their backyard and punch him in the face? Are they waiting for either candidate to come back triumphant from an epic quest to find George Bush's Magic Wand? Do they know the Magic Wand doesn't exist???

My head hurts.

1 comment:

Braddock Family Blog said...

I'm more interested in the color of glass they used with the steaming pile of excrement. Is it brown? That wouldn't make sense, it would blend right in. Green would result in a very earth colored dish. Either case, I would pass... now if the glass were blue? That would be another story.