Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cook: Apple-Walnut Salad With Popped Quinoa and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

I'm walking around Denver this weekend, cold as f*** because I forgot to bring a damn winter jacket, and I spot this thrift shop. I duck inside trying to muster up the cajones to actually eat ice cream in 40 degree weather. I mean normally I'd pass, but this is vegan ice cream at its creamiest and dreamiest and I have no idea when I'll be returning to Denver so I gotta roll with it while I can. I start walking the aisles of this thrift shop and quickly realize it is like no other thrift shop I've ever visited (from here on out I will refer to it as a "thrift shop" with the quotes signifying my extreme skepticism of its legitness). There were designer jeans that still had the tags on them, hand knitted taxidermic animals hanging from the walls, clothes WITHOUT STAINS on them and plates that didn't look like they came from a recently deceased older couple. To go along with the product, the prices, phew, those were simply outrageous. I could get stuff cheaper from Target than I could here. That definitely does not fit my definition of a "thrift shop."

Somewhere around the heirloom quinoa (food? and they call this a "thrift shop"), Macklemore came into my head and I seriously thought about, amongst other things, popping some tags. Let's take a trip into my brain to see just how it all played out... *thought bubbles float by* Heirloom quinoa? What kind of human hating savage donates that to a "thrift shop?" And why doesn't my local grocer carry some of that? I totally should just pop it but it is located right next to the cashier with the big eyes. And she keeps staring at me. I think she sees me eyeing the quinoa and knows what I'm thinking. Wait. Backup. Did I suggest popping quinoa? That's f**king brilliant man. Not only are you good looking, but you are so super...*thought bubble float away* Well, that's enough of that. The "thrift shop" experience did lead me to popping some quinoa and throwing it on a salad. So there's that.

Apple-Walnut Salad with Popped Quinoa and Maple-Balsamic Vinaigrette

For the salad:
-Granny Smith Apple, sliced thinly
-1/4 cup of walnuts, crushed
-6 ounces of mixed greens
-4 Tbs. of quinoa rinsed

For the dressing:
-1/4 cup of olive oil (the good stuff)
-2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
-1 tsp. Dijon mustard
-1 Tbs. maple syrup
-salt and pepper (to taste)

1. To pop the quinoa: heat a pan with a lid over medium high heat. When the pan is warm, toss a tablespoon of rinsed and dried quinoa into the pan and place the lid on top. When it starts popping, that means the pan is ready. All the quinoa to pop. When it slows down, just like with popcorn, remove it from the heat and set aside. Place the remaining quinoa into the pan and repeat the popping process.

2. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a glass jar with a lid. Shake that baby until it is mixed.

3. Place the greens on a plate (or two or three). Top them with apples and crushed walnuts. Sprinkle the popped quinoa overtop. Pour the dressing on. Eat it.

If you navigate the popping at just the right angle, this salad sounds like...