Monday, April 2, 2012

Quinoa Salad with Beets & Avocado

Why I Gained 10+ Pounds the Year I Met My Husband 

I've heard that it's fairly common to gain weight in the early stages of a happy relationship. Something about comfort levels, and not feeling like you have to impress anyone.

But for me, this was not the case.

For the first year of our kick-a$$ courtship, I was working as a hostess at a restaurant in Soho, for which my total lack of  food-service experience was completely ignored as soon as I promised to show up for my shifts in something sexy. (Peace out feminist moral code..they're going to pay me 15 bucks an hour!) The other hostesses were all  leggy, sullen models.

The point of that digression? As incredibly comfortable as I was in my new relationship, I was literally earning my livelihood by attempting to impress anyone.

During work hours I stupidly mimicked the models' non-existent diets, and I logged countless non-work hours at the gym.  But alas, my metabolism was no match for bachelor cooking*.

My darling husband  was very thorough in his wooing efforts, and in those early days I frequently found myself  in his shared-one-bedroom-with-a-temporary-wall apartment,  chatting over a romantically set table, lit by the scented candle he borrowed temporarily from the bathroom.

The meals he prepared were composed of 90% white pasta or NewYork bagels (which are 4x the size of a normal bagel) and  10% green-things-that-might-have-been vegetables-once-upon-a-time-before-they-were-freezer-burnt-to-their-current-unrecognizable-state "sauteed" (yes the quotes are absolutely necessary) in butter and maple flavored syrup*.

These days, as I sit relaxed in our beautiful Brooklyn apartment, happy to be with my guy after long weeks apart at our comfy corporate jobs (where my outfits from the restaurant days would deffffffffffinitely get me sent to HR), and fitting comfortably in my pre-husband pants, I frequently propose a toast -- We clink our perfectly matched, un-chipped glasses together and remark, "we've come a long way baby".

Spicy Tilapia Filets, Quinoa Salad with Beets & Avocado, & Roasted Asparagus

Quinoa Recipe Adapted from my New Favorite Blog

3-4 medium beets, including fresh looking greens
olive oil for cooking
6 scallions, white and light green parts
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
2 small avocados, diced
1/4 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds
 4 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. agave nectar
6 Tbsp. water, or as needed
hefty pinch of salt and pepper
2 cloves of garlic crushed
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. finely chopped chives

Preheat the oven to 450'.

Cut the greens from the beets at their stem. Rub a bit of olive oil on the skin of the beets, sprinkle with salt and wrap them all in a foil pack. Set on the middle oven rack and cook for 45-55 minutes until you can easily piece through with a knife. Set them aside to cool.

While the beets roast, clean and dry the greens. Chop off and discard the long red stems. Chop the greens and put them in a large mixing bowl. 

To prepare the dressing, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, agave and water. Mix in the garlic, hearty pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle in the olive oil while whisking. Add more water if you prefer it thinner. Mix in the chives. Adjust to your taste and set aside. 

Once the beets are cool enough to touch, you should be able to just push the skin off with your fingers. Use a paring knife to help it along. Dice the peeled beets. Thinly slice the scallions. Add the beets, scallions, quinoa and avocado to the mixing bowl and toss with a generous amount of dressing (note: the salad will turn pink from the beets. If this bothers you, you can toss everything without the diced beets, and sprinkle them on top). Sprinkle in the sunflower seeds, give it one more toss.

Google pictures of college students eating ramen noodle packs and feel superior.

*I should explain that he is exceptionally talented at many many things. (Many, many, MANY things. It's a little annoying actually.) But cooking? Simply not his forte.

1 comment:

  1. This is the most adorable thing I've ever read... Stop it.