Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shitake Quinoa Salad with Roasted Fennel, Asparagus, and Broccolini

Well, for as much as yesterday felt like summer, today feels like a cliche dreamscape of Portland rain. Reputable sources claim this is the only day of rain in the 10-day, but I have my suspicions. While the rain is bad news for my battle against rickets and pale skin, it is good news for the blog, as I was able to brave turning on the oven to roast some spring veggies, and my mint plants perked up in the downfall after a weekend of droopy herb syndrome.

Anyway, now that school is over, all I have to do all day is read, cook, and prepare for my Big Adventure. If you don't remember, I received an art grant to travel Oregon this summer, painting and tromping about in the wilderness with my golden retriever. Yes, life is hard. I've got to gather art and camping supplies, plan my route, and generally psych myself up for a few months on the road, all of which can be done, happily, in the rain. The psyching-up, not the actual camping. I can foresee a bit of a problem with plein-air watercolor paintings in a summer storm, but hey, I'm not there yet.

I spent this morning drooling over aisle after aisle of art supplies at Columbia Art & Drafting Supply on 15th and Burnside, and walked out with a bunch of shiny new brushes, papers, and fancy paint. Hey, that's what grants are for, right?

For lunch, I whipped up a tasty warm Quinoa salad, with roasted fennel, asparagus, broccoli (baby broccoli), with mint, feta, and gorgeous shitake mushrooms. I chopped and roasted the veggies (everything but the broccoli tops) in olive oil and salt at 380 degrees for about twenty minutes. While I cooked my quinoa, I sliced and sauteed the mushrooms with the broccoli heads and about a tablespoon of chopped mint in some butter, and mixed everything together, still warm, with some olive oil, salt and pepper, lemon juice, and more fresh mint. I finished it off with a sprinkle of feta.

As I was shooting these photos, my roommate Weasel walked down the stairs, heard the clicks of the camera, and said "I hear blogging." I served her a mouthful of the salad, and she smiled. My friends may tease me, but hey. It's my summer, they eat well, and I'm happy.

Until later!

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