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Quinoa Summer Stir-Fry



Easy. Easy. Easy.

Trying to find a Los Angeles sublet for the summer- within our budget- is as slippery and twisted as charting Madonna's romantic liaisons post Guy Ritchie. It's a serpentine endeavor, this whole reading between the lines thing, deciphering what is true and what is only mostly true. It's all those key buzz words peppering Craig's List and Westside Rentals. "Convenient to the 10" can mean the eastern bedroom window sucks in freeway exhaust during rush hour. "Pet friendly" might translate to everyone in the building works all day and leaves their poor pooches to yap and woof until the cows come home. Which, as we all know, in LA is after sushi and mojitos.

"Cozy studio" can mean cute and comfy or it can mean as cramped and tight as a walk-in closet. Not Madonna's closet(s). I'm sure hers are bi-coastal and coordinated by era, each epoch's collection larger than our entire casita. We're talking my closet here. The five foot black hole currently crammed with winter parkas, too many mismatched socks to count, and the book-filled boxes I'm storing for this alleged, yet-to-materialize summer getaway.

And the price for the privilege of said 150 square feet of space in Venice Beach?

If you have to ask, Darling, you can't afford it. Which as it turns out, is a moot detail anyway, because no one on Craig's List ever answers your e-mails (especially when they notice your out of town area code). So here we sit. Grazing the Internet till the migraines kick in, picking through rentals beyond our budget, hoping for an affordable hidden gem amongst the inflated glut of summer housing in Los Angeles. Unless we're looking for a roommate. We could afford one room. Shared bath. With a UCLA student.


So what am I cooking during all this rental drama, you impatiently ask as I ponder our next move?

That would be quinoa.








Easy Quinoa and Summer Vegetable Stir-Fry Recipe

Recipe posted June 2009.


This easy, toss together quinoa is fabulous hot from the pan. But it's also delicious cool, as a quinoa salad. So make more than you think you'll need and you've got picnic food for the next day. When you'd rather take a walk than scour the Internet and don't feel like cooking.

First:


Make your quinoa, the easy way. In a rice cooker. Here's the quinoa recipe. You'll need roughly 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.


As it cooks, gather and cut up your summer vegetables.


Ingredients:


Olive oil

1 onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
A fistful of slender asparagus or green beans, trimmed, sliced
1 Japanese eggplant (small eggplants are way less bitter), peeled, sliced into bite size pieces
1 bell pepper- red, yellow, orange or green, cored, sliced
2 cups Baby Bella mushrooms, trimmed, sliced
A handful of grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Sea salt and ground pepper
Herbs, to taste- parsley, basil, thyme, red pepper flakes- whatever you prefer
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste


Instructions:

When the quinoa is almost done, heat a splash of light olive oil in a wok or large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, stir until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for a minute. Add the remaining vegetables. Season with sea salt, pepper, and herbs. Add the balsamic vinegar. Stir-fry until tender.

Scoop the cooked quinoa out of the rice cooker and add it into the wok. Stir to combine with the vegetables. Taste test and add more salt or seasoning if it needs it. Remove from heat. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and toss to fluff.

Serve immediately; or allow it to cool, then cover and refrigerate it to eat as a salad. before serving it cold, taste test again and adjust seasonings.

Serves 4.


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