Saturday, August 6, 2011

Quinoa with Currants, Dill, Zucchini: As luck would have it

When I was in the second grade, my best friend Andrea invited me to join her family for a visit to Disneyland. I still remember every detail of our trip -- her asking me to say "Mississippi" on the car ride over (I had an unfortunate lisp at the time), nervously standing in line for my first Splash Mountain experience (terrifying), and later chickening out of going on Space Mountain because I was scared of all the flashing red and blue lights.

It was a great day, I tell you -- the besssst.

It was also during this equally parts delightful and emotionally-scarring visit that I paid 25 cents to have my palm read by "Esmeralda" the fortune teller. I placed my hand on a germ-infested receptor and the machine spit out a survey that told me various facts about myself. Among other startling revelations that I can no longer recall, Ms. Esmeralda informed me that my lucky color is green.

While I had no reason to believe the mechanical doll with the large turban (I was a pink-loving girl through and through), I couldn't get it out of my head that green was and is my lucky color. I wasn't sure how a color could be lucky -- it's not tangible like a rabbit's foot or lucky pair of underwear -- but after that fateful day I was constantly on the look out for opportunities when green would bring me good fortune.

Perhaps it meant I was going to have a fruitful life tending to a large garden filled with shrubbery and those large ivy sculptures in the shapes of various animals. Or maybe I would meet an Irishman and lead a blissful existence in the Emerald Isle. Maybe every time I wore the color green something wonderful and stupendous would happen. I wasn't sure how or when, but Esmeralda had me convinced that my life was destined to be impacted by the color green in some momentous way.

So even today, twenty irrational years later, every time I put on my sole pair of bright green underwear I think, "These'll bring me luck!" And even though I've never noticed the color of my underwear having a positive impact on my fortune, I proceed to go through life with this tiny little sliver of consciousness that it might. Some day.

Unless, of course, Esmeralda was referring to having luck with green foods rather than green under things or plants. Suddenly it would make sense why my produce bin looks like a shamrock exploded inside of it at the beginning of every week. Why I would rather eat a giant mound of braised kale for breakfast than a donut. Why I drink an obscene amount of green tea every morning. And why the rate of my pulse increases in direct relation to the amount of green things I get to consume.

This massive heap of quinoa loaded with shredded zucchini, dill, arugula, and green onions is exactly the type of salad that makes me believe that maybe green really is my lucky color. Or at the very least, my stomach's lucky color. It would be far more convenient than having to move to Ireland to marry an Irishman.

Quinoa with Currants, Dill, Zucchini, and Tofu
Adapted from recipe on 101 Cookbooks
Serves 4

3/4 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup dried currants
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 10-ounce package extra firm tofu, cubed
3 small-medium zucchini, grated on a box grater
4 green onions, chopped
Zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
2 cups arugula, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper

Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a fine mesh strainer. Bring 1 1/4 cups water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered for 15 minutes or until kernels have separated from their shells and all the water has been absorbed. Add the currants, fluff with a fork, remove the lid and let sit for another 10 minutes for any additional moisture to evaporate.

Heat large frying pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil, swirling to coat the pan, then add the cubed tofu. Stir fry over medium heat until browned on all sides.

Toss quinoa with zucchini, green onions, dill, lemon zest, lemon juice, arugula, tofu and almonds. Salt and pepper generously to taste. Salad may be eaten immediately or chilled for later use.


Ashley said...

I was having a desperation dinners night, and this saved the day! So easy and delicious.

Diana said...

Ashley - I've been bringing this salad to work with me a ton this summer because of how easy it is to throw together! Glad it saved your night!

Gastronomer said...

This post was so cute! Green is your color, girl!

Monet said...

Such a cute post. I love green myself...maybe it's my lucky color too! Thank you for sharing another delightful eat. I hope you had a great Tuesday. I'm looking forward to an evening of good food and baking. Take care and much love.

H. C. said...

Glad to see you didn't start hating on greens post-Esmeralda (at least on a plate.)