Bloviating Prologue: I think my career as a food blogger is really taking off these days (if by "taking off", we mean "puttering about in the same peripatetic fashion as all other theoretical career options that don't have any associated training or skill or likely shot at success"), so obviously time to continue the trend with MORE PICTURES. Because if there's something I've noticed about food blogs, it's that they are blogs about food. Beyond that, however, I've also noticed that a food blog requires conformity to certain templates. Seems to me like you need to combing a long narrative form (zesty adjectives, personal struggles, and the history of food and drink for mankind optional), several thousand professional-level photos in progress, and then the actual recipe in an easily read form at the bottom. Also a fancy font seems to help.
I'm incompetent with several kinds of photography: (1) food photography. I don't have the crisply contrasting plates. I don't have the patience to set up a shot before eating at it. Usually I'm too lazy to take off my food prep gloves (sensitive skin... let's not get into that) and so things get all weird and wonky when the cell phone comes out. I don't even have the appropriate deoderant . I don't have the appropriate editing software or eye. My food usually comes out looking like blobs of semi-regurgitated numiness.
(2) Selfies of anything but my socks. Here my handy feet demonstrate the subtle differences and similarities between today's grain, cañihua, and the Ethiopian staple teff.
Both are "tan couscous" with high protein contents and strong representations of lots of fabulous minerals. And - more importantly - they're both small, roundish and brownish. Cañihua is Peruvian and cooks like quinoa. Teff is a little more porridgey. Cañihua is more mottled. Teff is a little smaller grain. And most importantly: the teff is in a big kitchen container. The cañihua is in a bag.
So the photos and probably the layout won't really be up to snuff..
How to Make A Cañihua Kale 4th O'Juuuuulaaaay Salads - Adella-Style:
So, once upon a time... A fair maiden wandered from her Fred Meyer's meadow lands into the dark woods of The Whatcom Food Co-op.
|But are you a GMO-free organic skeleton??|
After out-foxing an ornery ogre with agile wit and several magic beans, she was rescued from a ravenous wolf by a feminist with a wood-axe and awoken from deep slumbers by a kiss of true almond and dark chocolate. After the Goblin King returned her baby brother and gave her some owl feathers for her pulchrous tresses, she danced away in a daze with new bulk bin goods and services.
Including cañihua, a cousin of quinoa (or something)... Birdseed of the gods!
Soon the festival day was nigh and plans for feting with feasts were upon her. So she though it might be time to try out the darned cañihua to offer to the Village Elders.
|Pictured in traditional ceremonial ID4 garb.|
And, because fancy salads aren't really Prince (W)rightly Charming's kinda food, any excuse to make a cold complicated salad would suffice. There was to be much feasting and she was to conjure up such alchemy of aliments that all in the land rejoiced (and had a second helping of boca burgers, while reaching for the salt and smiling politely at her cañihua kale salad). There was much rejoicing and they lived Happily Ever After...
|With many burgers.|
What was that maiden's secret? Probably being dropped on the head as a child, but this has never been confirmed. For all those others for whom this comes less naturally, Here's how you too can make an Adella-Style Canihua Kale Salad (Not: I got lazy and will thus be spelling cañihua without the ñ, because it takes longer).
1. Obtain canihua while attempting to spend off the remainder of your Co-op gift card. Keep it around in a baggie for a while trying to decide on the perfect moment to try it. Don't just add it like you would quinoa to any old meal. You've never tried this. A grain's first-time should be special. Save it. Forever. Or at least for a special occasion like when it's the 4th of July and you bail on your plans to make Sweet Potato Wasabi Salad because there's already going to be a really tasty potato salad on the menu.
2. Look up "canihua recipe" on the internets. Engage more with Pinterest than you ever have in your life, despite having a (thoroughly unused) account on the site. Feel overstimulated. Remove yourself to a darkened room. Cry. Repeatedly.
3. Look in the fridge. Decide you have lots of kale. Change course and look up "quinoa kale salad". As these are both as on trend as bacon flavored beard wax (yes, that hip), find about five bajillion recipes. Open one or two at random.
4. Hodge-podge together a recipe list based on ingredients you actually have. In this case: zucchini, some left over carrots and celery that you'd pre-packed for your husband's lunch when you forgot that there were only four days in this work week, lemon juice, lime juice, garlic, and some walnut oil that you bought on another caper.
|The monsters protect the food from lunch thieves!|
5. Empty the 3-5 baby carrots and 3 celery sticks from the cute little reusable baby bag that you bought on amazon. Chop. Chop up some zucchini too because it is in the fridge. Add some avocado since you like avocado and why not. Basically dice half of an avocado with a butter knife until you're tired of dicing. Put the remaining undiced avocado back in its shell. Add the diced avo. Then add some reduced sugar craisins because this recipe need red! And also the chewy-tart thing is usually good in a salad. Feel chagrined that the color contrast doesn't really show up in photos.
6. Threaten to kill your cyclonaut-engineer husband if he snaps a photo of you with the absurd Go-Pro Camera strapped to his head. Preemptively strike first with your cell phone and immediately upload on facebook.
7. Kale! You were gonna have to deal with all that kale anyways. Time to chop the crap out of it and steam it an eensy wheensy bit because you're still on the fence about blanching kale as a good thing to do. And it does look so pretty after about 50 seconds over hot water.
8. Canihua! Not that initial starting points of made recipe adventures always make it into the final meal, but in this case... well. Almost mix it up with the teff, but fortunately labels are still legible and so... Get a little confused because different recipes call for different amounts. Pull up the old computer calculator to figure out that a 1:2 ratio applies for canihua : water. Put in 2/3 of
9. Eat several handfuls of kale before realizing you forgot to set the timer when the canihua came to a boil. Pry open the lid and realize it mustn't have been that long ago. Guestimate that of the fifteen minutes prescribed in the recipes, you're probably about 6 minutes in. Punch in 9 minutes on the time. Continue eating handfuls of lightly steamed kale and warily keen your ears for the minor cacophony your husband is rumbling up in the "study."
10. Flee the kitchen area as your husband bounds towards the sink, still wearing the go-pro, but now also in full cycling team kit, and touting a Leviathon camelbak. Eye him warily as he explains something about perfect measurement of water per time spent on ride. Agree vapidly, all the while cagily eyeing the fairly meaningless timer and the kale that you left on the other side of the kitchen island.
11. Leap on the canihua as soon as the timer goes off. Realize that a chunk of it has crunched onto the bottom of the pan. Scrape off harriedly, while pretending you are "fluffing" the canihua. Leave out to cool. Wander upstairs to find your husband sitting in front of his computer (still in team kit and in camera - har har, legal joke!) with a gigantic map on his lap, another map in a window on his computer, and the weather forecast up next to it.
12. Decide to make the dressing. Locate the walnut oil. Drizzle it all over the kitchen counter to test its efficacy as a lubricant. Manage to get some in the measuring cup... roughly 1/4 cup.
13. Add several tons of minced garlic. From a jar. Because you go through way too much garlic to wanna do it by hand. Eat a few forkfuls because, lest you've forgotten in this reverie of kale, you really freakin' love garlic. Split the difference between the lemon and lime juices and fill a mini-measuring cup with 2 tablespoons of both lemon and lime juice. Coo approvingly at the mini-measuring cup, because it's quite possibly the most adorable piece of kitchenry you own.
14. Ok, you don't really have most of the ingredients listed in any of the "dressing" recipes online, so go a little wild. Compromise with the rest of the world by adding maybe 1/6 teaspoon of salt, throw in heavy dashes of pepper, cayenne, crushed red pepper, nutritional yeast, and lord knows what else. Consider adding the
15. Throw the canihua (which looks ok, phew) and the kale into the mix with the other veggies. Lick the spoon and have a few more handfuls of kale.
17. Mix the dressing in. Grunt at your Go-Pro'ed camel-baked bike-kitted husband, as he tells you he's heading out. Inform him that his calendar says he'll be out for four hours and that you may or may not be there when he gets back. Patiently flinch as he attempts to bid affectionate farewell, before muttering that you're also in the middle of something. Take a sample of the well tossed salad, as your husband heads to the garage bearing about fifty tons of water. Immediately place a lid on the creation to stop yourself from "taste testing" the mixture. Stash away in the fridge.
18. Ok, you've earned it. Lick the spoon. Try not to gag on or swallow said spoon. Mostly succeed with only minor splinters in your teeth.
19. Celebrate a successful morning of salad-ing it up, by making yourself what you call a "mocha milkshake" but what is really just skim milk that you accidentally bought (white chalk water... strange substance) thickened up with some vanilla protein mix your father got you based on his persistent misconception that you are, in fact, chronically at death's door due to a lack of protein (despite the fact that you actually eat well within the recommended amount and were encouraged by your nutritionist to eat slightly less), AND some leftover coffee which you thought was half-caff, but which - judging by the spring that propped your eyes to perma-open and the debut of your jaunty self-sung song "It's a Walrus Day, and I'm a Walrus and you're a walrus and walruses are cool" while buzzing about the kitchen... was not half-caff after all.
20. Come within inches of an untimely battle with the storage door when you - still humming about Walruses - speed your way down the stairs in the dark to find that your husband must have rooted around in the storage area before heading out for his bike ride. The door will live again to fight another day.
21. Wait several hours before it's time to eat! Make some 4th o'July goodies in the meantime and get ready to hoard the leftovers!.
... And here's where I would put together an easy to read recipe for people who put up with all of the above. Hmmmm.... I'll try it! Wow, makes it look so simple and easy.
Recipe Approximating Canihua Kale Salad:* 2/3 cup canihua
* 1 1/3 cup water or broth
* 1 bunch kale
* 1/4 cup chopped carrots
* 1/4 cup chopped celery
*1/4 cup chopped zucchini
* 2 tablespoons reduced sugar craisins.
* 1/3 of an avocado diced
Dressing:* 1/4 cup olive oil
* 2 tablespoons lemon juice
* 2 tablespoons lime juice
* 3 tablespoons minced garlic
* dash of salt
* 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
* dash of chipotle pepper
* tsp of crushed red pepper.
* dash of nutritional yeast.
1. Put heat canihua and water to boiling. Reduce heat to medium for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Stem and coarsely chop kale. Steam for 45-50 seconds over an inch of boiling water. Let sit out to cool and dry.
3. Combine zucchini, carrots, craisins, celery and avocado in a bowl.
4. Meanwhile mix dressing ingredients and stir until emulsified.
5. Once the kale and canihua are cool, toss into salad bowl. Toss dressing into salad and leave salad to chill in fridge.
6. Slam into that gardonnit door, spill your coffee, and slip over your words while screaming about walruses...
The real take-aways were that canihua is actually pretty easy to work with. If it continues being cheaper than quinoa and on par with amaranth, it's going to start earning itself a special kitchen storage thingy soon. Sure I'll have to go back to the Co-op to get it, but I've got my anti-patriarchy boots at the office next to my "hire-me heels". And that I have a convenient way to steam kale. Also, don't walk down the stairs to the basement without a light on and wearing sunglasses while singing about walruses... those doors are ornery!!