I woke up in near darkness and stared at the bright banana sliver in the sky, marveling at how the silvery light of the moon has begun sticking around for breakfast again. I reached for my sweatshirt and pulled on long pants before slamming the windows shut and heading to the kitchen to turn on the tea kettle. The refrigerator was stuffed full of vegetables, round and yellow, green and leafy, tangled, long and bright. Root vegetables knocked against my crisper drawer. They tumbled around like caged animals wrestling. I took a moment to think about them, then decided that I am not ready to move out of summer just yet.
I shut the refrigerator door and turned on my heel to stare at the counter top, where garlic bulbs and tomatoes crowded out every inch of space. A few months ago, a tomato was a rare and expensive treasure, saturated with the concentrated flavor of the summer sun baking in a field. Now they overwhelm my kitchen, and since I lack sufficient foresight to stuff them into jar and save them for the wintery days to come, I simply have let them take over.
I stared at the tomatoes and the garlic for a few minutes, then remembered the cucumbers and the cilantro in the fridge. The tomatoes I have are all heirloom, some purple and yellow, some orange and red, some not resembling tomatoes at all. The cucumbers I have also consist of many varieties in yellow, pale white, and traditional bright green.
I lay out all the ingredients for today’s salad on my cutting board, and closed my eyes to conjure the message I wanted to convey with today’s salad. The tea kettle whistled, and waves of heat warmed my chest as I reached over the burner to turn it off. Warmth. The salad needs warmth. I pulled out a pot and turned on a pot of water to boil. Here is what emerged.
Red Quinoa Tabouli Salad
1 cup red quinoa
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
Heat oil and salt and add garlic. Add dry quinoa and stir until quinoa releases nutty aroma. Add water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (covered) until quinoa is cooked.
In a separate bowl, mix together
2 small cucumbers
2 Roma tomatoes
1 small bunch cilantro
1 minced clove garlic
zest and juice from a small lemon
2 Tbsp rice vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
When the quinoa cools, add the quinoa.
Christina’s vote: “This salad made me wonder why the cows came home.”