I know I am not the only one who is already feeling sapped by this heat and endless drought. The last thing I want to do is cook (or eat) a heavy, hot meal. Today I was flying solo here with Sawyer and decided to cook up several dishes for the kids to choose from when they forage in the fridge. I just sampled two of them for dinner, and they were so tasty and refreshing I got inspired to share. But wait- I have no friends in this townhouse complex, and all my family was still gone (sigh), so as I ate the last of my dinner for one I decided to share it here.
The first is Quinoa and Black Bean Salad, which I have made several times and always love. The recipe is from Epicurious. Voila.
- 2 teaspoons grated lime zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 medium tomatoes, diced
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Whisk together lime zest and juice, butter, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes.
Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
I know the whole quinoa part sounds complicated, but trust me- it isn’t. This gets better as it sits. Here is a visual aid .
The second was a new recipe I had seen on one of the blogs from France I follow called cowgirlchef.com. Of course, I couldn’t remember exactly where I had seen it, so first I had to search through endless bookmarks, but that happens to me a lot. It’s actually easier than pulling out endless cookbooks looking for elusive recipes. But I digress. This soup took about 15 minutes and was made in the blender. Love it! Here it is.
Makes 2 regular-size bowls or 4-6 small appetizer portions
4 large cucumbers (or two English cukes)
2 large avocados
2 medium shallots
¼ cup olive oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
juice of one lime
½ teaspoon sea salt
drop or two Tabasco sauce (you don’t want to overdo, or you’ll overwhelm the flavors of the cucumber and avocado)
cilantro (for garnish)
1. Peel cucumber, and cut off the ends. Cut in manageable pieces, about 4-5 inches long. Now, slice away the part with the seeds, leaving you with the flesh. Do this with all of your cucumbers and put in the blender.
2. Add the avocado and add this to the blender, too, along with the rest of the ingredients. Puree until smooth. Taste and adjust ingredients. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours, at least, so the flavors can come together. Garnish with cilantro.
Cowgirl Tip: This is even better the next day, so it’s a great do-ahead soup.
This was delicious with my salad tonight. This photo doesn’t capture the soup’s rapturous shade of green, but it really is lovely.
I love that both recipes called for lime and cilantro, as I inevitably end up throwing away the limp remains of unused cilantro. However, if you are a Cilantro Hater, I think you could omit it from both recipes with no problem.
Bon Appetit, my sweaty friends!