Saturday, June 25, 2011

Warm Quinoa Salad with Fried Egg, Spring Vegetables and Herbs: A few small tweaks...

I forgot to set my alarm on Wednesday night.

I never forget to set the alarm. I'm anal about setting the alarm -- always checking and rechecking that the time is right and that the correct alarm has been activated. Sometimes, I even set two alarms -- the one by my bed and the one on my phone, and, yes, fine, there have been a few occasions when I've taken my mother up on her offer for a wake up call.

You know, just in case there happens to be a power outage and/or my cell phone alarm malfunctions and/or I some how manage to sleep through the blaring beeps coming at me from less than a foot away, but not the ring of my telephone.

It could happen.

So I was stunned when I woke up on Thursday morning to the sound of nothing (!!!) and to the sight of a bedside clock that read 7:53 am instead of 7:03 am. My first thought, as I ran like a mad woman in the direction of the shower, was, "I won't have time to eat breakfast!"

A close second was, "Should I skip putting on my makeup to save time?"

Both thoughts were equally horrifying to me.

It's not that I'm high maintenance. Oh no, no one could ever mistake me and my disreputable unpolished fingernails and perpetually wrinkled clothing for being one of those girls. I can scarcely be bothered to spend more than five minutes on my hair in the morning -- precisely the amount of time it takes me to blow it dry with my head dangled upside down.

But going without makeup is a completely different story. It's not an option.

Never an option.

I'm always shocked when I read those surveys in Glamour and other similarly girly mags where guys say they prefer "their" women sans makeup. Clearly these men haven't seen me when I'm fresh out of bed and sporting a splotchy complexion with highly visible pores and a bright red shiny nose.

It's like Rudolph the Pock-Marked Reindeer, I tell you.

Definitely not fit for human eyes. Especially not the eyes of my unattainable crush, who I just happened to bump into a couple weekends ago in my most vulnerable, ruddy-faced state.

Oh yes, he caught me on the one Saturday I decided to venture out of the house without makeup. In a bright green hoodie no less.

Like I said, never an option. At least not again.

So as I ran around my apartment on Thursday morning, I frantically choked down a nectarine and vanilla Greek yogurt instead of my usual oatmeal with peanut butter so I would have few precious minutes to smear some sustenance... on my face.

It doesn't take a lot of smearing -- a little foundation, a bit of bronzer, a few coats of black (occasionally plum) mascara, and then some subtle pink lip gloss. In less then five minutes, I go from Rudolph to... well, not-Rudolph.

Those few small tweaks completely transform my face. I feel like a completely new person.

And as my dear friend tells me with a touch of honesty that only a dear friend can get away with, "You look... different [when you don't wear makeup]."

We won't go into what she means by, "different."

So even though I've already written about a recipe with quinoa, asparagus, peas, egg, and shallots, I'm not at all hesitant to post another one. Because with a few small tweaks, those raw ingredients turn into something completely... well, different.

Whereas the previous recipe for Spring Fried Quinoa Rice was enlivened with garlic, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil; this Warm Quinoa Salad with Fried Egg, Spring Vegetables and Herbs gets its pizazz from arugula, basil, mint, lemon zest, lemon juice, and Parmesan.

Plus, I fry the egg and put it on top, instead of scrambling it into the quinoa.

Like I said, completely different.

And totally worth waking up for on those mornings when the alarm actually does go off.

Warm Quinoa Salad with Fried Egg, Spring Vegetables and Herbs
Inspired by recipe on WrightFood (brought to my attention by the amazing Esi from Dishing Up Delights)
Serves 1

1/4 cup quinoa
7 spears of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 large shallot, minced
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 cup of fresh herbs, chopped (I use a mix of arugula, basil and mint)
Salt, pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil

Rinse quinoa well. Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover and simmer until quinoa has absorbed the water (approximately 15-20 minutes). Fluff with a fork and set aside to dry out a bit. The texture of the salad will be lighter if you let the quinoa rest a bit before tossing it with the rest of the ingredients.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss sliced asparagus with salt and pepper and roast until tender -- approximately 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and swirl to coat the base of the pan. Add the shallots and cook until just translucent. If using fresh peas, add them now, reduce the heat, and cover the pan for approximately 5 minutes or until peas just lose their bite. If using frozen peas, simply saute them with the shallots uncovered.

Once peas have reached their desired cooked state, reduce the temperature to low, and add the quinoa and asparagus to the pan. Toss to combine. Turn heat off, and stir in the lemon juice and zest, and fresh herbs. Plate, then clean out the pan to prepare the egg.

Heat the pan over medium-high heat. Once hot add the last teaspoon of olive oil and swirl it to coat the base of the pan. Crack the egg in the center, season with salt and pepper, and fry according to desired preference. I like to fry mine for a couple minutes on one side and then will flip over for a minute so the white on the other side gets completely set. Doing so, I'm still able to maintain the integrity of that precious runny yolk.

Place the fried egg on top of the (slightly) warm quinoa salad and then top with the Parmesan cheese. Eat immediately. And then make it to work. On time.


Marni said...

I absolutely LOVE the way you wrote this post. Has a book agent ever approached you to write a novel? I think you have a future in that. I was on the edge of my seat reading about your alarm clock and makeup woes!! And that takes talent! :-P

Oh, and I want that quinoa and fried egg. Sounds/looks amazing.

Esi said...

I want this now. Even though I'm tired and full. Now.

Gastronomer said...

LOL! This was a great post, D! And I'm with Esi. I want this NOW!

Ashley said...

I'm proud of how far you've come with eggs since a Sunday brunch in Evanston.

Monet said...

What a great post, my friend! You are such an entertaining writer. Thank you for sharing your creative spirit with me. I love starting my day with your blog. I hope you have a beautiful Tuesday. Much love from Austin!

TheIronYou said...

This recipe looks unbelievable, I'm gonna try it really soon.
I recently wrote an article on the health benefits of quinoa, check it out.


Mike @TheIronYou

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