day two: quinoa salad with peas & asparagus (vegan & GF)

Last week I spent a few hours clearing out my closet of clothing items I will never wear again. By this, I mean it was high time for me to donate all those dresses and cardigans in size XS that have never seen the light of day in the 6 years I’ve owned them. (I am also 5’8 with man-shoulders, so I’m not quite sure what possessed me to believe I would ever fit into a size XS anything.) It was one of those terrible things that girls do, buying clothes that are too small in the belief that it will motivate them to get their ass on a treadmill.

Incidentally, I hate the gym. And running. So, the cardigans were never worn.

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Day one (yesterday) of GP’s elimination cleanse was pretty easy. (GP = Gwyneth Paltrow, for those who are reading for the first time.) I mean, it was sad, because I had to cook a pot of chili just to use all of the tomatoes in my fridge and then froze the whole thing because I could not actually eat it. I was also ravenous when I woke up this morning and could not turn to my usual egg with cheese that I typically have when I actually have breakfast, so I was doubly sad. Tea and a banana-chia seed-almond milk smoothie it was.

(As a side note, I have been eating chia for months. Highly recommend, as they are very good for you and also make smoothies taste like they are full of miniature tapioca pearls.)

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A truism: I did not initially buy GP’s book because I was genuinely interested in her prowess as a cookbook authoress. I bought it because I read a terribly scathing review of it by the Guardian’s Hadley Freeman last month, making the entire publication out to be totally inaccessible to cooks who aren’t bathing in dollar bills and unrealistic expectations of having an ass like a 22-year-old stripper (in short, people who aren’t GP).

But I also thought the article itself was pompous, uninteresting, and written through the green-eyed lens of someone more concerned with GP’s — subjectively unwarranted, as suggested by Freeman — celebrity status than a real commentary on the quality of the book itself. And as a philosophy graduate (graduate!), I am nothing if not incensed by irrelevant arguments. Plus, I will be 22 this year, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

My conclusion: I think Freeman’s commentary is a load of bull.

I continue to like the book. Or, the photos anyway. Recipes I have not yet attempted. Will possibly do so this weekend, when I have some more free time to douse a fish in an entire box of salt.

In the meantime I’ve been living off tea, fruit, and almond milk-based green smoothies. Which isn’t really too different from how I normally eat (last few months excluded), but I stand in line at the coffee shop at noon pining for soy lattes and gluten free biscuits and it’s really overall a sad spectacle to behold.

Mostly I think about how there apparently is a Swedish beverage company called Loka that has recently released mineral water flavoured as strawberry ice cream, chocolate shake, and lemon pie, and wonder why on earth we haven’t jumped on that bandwagon because it may actually make me enjoy mineral water, and also, lemon pie? It’s like all the great taste of gluten-y goodness without the crust or calories. I don’t understand why this isn’t in my life and it makes me a bit sad.

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I did, however, have a free evening yesterday and actually had time to cook something. The meal of choice was quinoa and asparagus salad because: a) asparagus is delicious and super cheap these days, and b) I’m pretty sure GP would approve.

This is, truly, one of my favorite things to eat during the spring. It’s a perfect outlet for my great passion for quinoa. It’s also very green, so it satisfies my sense of gastronomic self-importance brilliantly.

Honestly, it hits nirvana when tossed with a few handfuls of chopped cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of briny feta, but I made some alterations to suit miss G’s fancy. Plus, I had a bout of genius while at Whole Foods wherein I bought a $4 can of salmon, can-opened that bad boy up, and tossed some chopped fish on top.

Perfection.

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Quinoa Salad with Peas & Asparagus
Yields 4-6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • bunch of asparagus spears
  • bag of peas, thawed
  • 4-6 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • handful of mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt, to taste

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine water and quinoa. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 13-14 minutes, until quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff quinoa with a fork, pour into a large bowl, and set aside.

Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to the boil. Fill a separate, medium-large sized bowl with ice water. Chop the ends off of the asparagus, and gently add to the boiling water. Blanch for 2-5 minutes (depending on the size of the spears), until asparagus turn bright green. Remove asparagus spears with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse in the ice water. Once cooled, chop the spears.

Add asparagus, tomatoes, peas, and mint to the quinoa. Pour olive oil and lemon juice on top, and gently toss the salad. Add salt to taste. Salad stays good in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Notes:

  • Recipe is 100% gluten free (quinoa is marvelous) and 100% vegan.
  • When not under the guidance of GP, I like to eat this as a meal, topped with a generous amount of fresh, briny feta cheese and a chopped hardboiled egg or two.
  • For the purposes of this cleanse, I substituted the tomatoes with a can of cannellini beans. A bit less acidic, but no less delicious.
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