This title reminds me of a silly page I want to do someday on this website. I want to have a “fancy food name generator.” It will have a series of food words that go something like this: adjective noun noun noun with a(n) adjective noun noun. Refresh the page and you’ll get something like this:
Crispy Tomato Kumquat Compote with a Creamy Asparagus Sorbet
Savory Watermelon Kimchi Pizza with a Chilled Habañero Reduction
This weekend I participated in the national “Share the Health” expo held at Vitamin Shoppes nationwide, setting up camp at my local store in North Little Rock. While others demonstrated taekwondo and sold bikes, I whipped up samples of this tasty quinoa salad. Even the healthy-food averse were converted. Hallelujah!
I served the salad cold atop tiny rounds of fresh cucumber, but it could be served as a meal component or salad all by itself, warm or chilled. Enjoy!
Poblano Quinoa Cucumber Bites with Cumin Vinaigrette
Serves 30 as an appetizer, 8 as a main dish or salad
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and smashed
- 2 Poblano peppers
- 1 Red bell pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 T. dried parsley (or 1/4 c. fresh parsley or cilantro, chopped fine)
- 2 tsp. ground cumin, plus extra for garnish
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
- 2 cucumbers
- Optional: Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish
If the package states to do so, rinse and drain the quinoa. In a medium pot, heat the quinoa by itself over medium-high heat a minute or two, stirring occasionally, until slightly toasted, then add the broth and the garlic clove. Bring just to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook according to package directions, probably about 15 minutes, until the quinoa is done and all the liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, roast the poblano peppers. If you have a gas cooktop, this can be done there. Place one or both peppers directly on a burner and turn on the flame. When one side is charred, turn carefully with heat-resistant tongs. (Turn on the vent if you have one!) If you do not have a gas cooktop, you can do this under the broiler of your oven. Place the peppers on a baking sheet just under the broiler. Stand nearby and watch, turning with tongs when the top is charred. With either method, when all sides are charred, place the peppers in an airtight container such as a plastic storage bag or rigid container with a lid. Allow the peppers to steam while you continue.
Chop the bell pepper, which we’ll use raw, into small dice. You can do this by cutting the pepper in half, carefully removing the white membranes and seeds with the tip of your knife, and slicing the pepper halves into very thin strips, about 1/8″ thick. Line the strips up and cut into small cubes. Place in a large bowl.
By now your poblanos are ready to peel. Hold them under running cool water and scrub off the charred skin. If some skin wasn’t charred and doesn’t want to come off, don’t worry about it. Now dry the poblanos and cut the flesh into small pieces with the same method as the bell pepper. (Yeah, it will be more floppy, but it’s floppy deliciousness.) Add to the large bowl.
In a jar, add together the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, herbs and cumin. Shake to combine, taste and add salt and pepper to taste. Keep it in the jar for now.
When the quinoa is done and still warm, turn it out into the large bowl and gently mix it with the peppers, being careful to not crush the quinoa. Pour the vinaigrette over the mixture and fold it in gently. If possible, let this stand, covered, in the fridge for at least 4 hours before using.
When you’re ready to serve, slice the cucumbers about 1/4″ thick. Sprinkle sparingly with kosher salt. (Skip the salt here if these will sit out a while, or they’ll weep.) Find the garlic in the salad and remove it. Using a small spoon or melon baller, place a small amount of the salad on top of the slices. Sprinkle with another bit of kosher salt and a dash of cumin. Add a small sprig of parsley or cilantro if you like.
Prettied-up option that I skipped during my show: Before slicing the cucumber, use a vegetable peeler to make four or five stripes evenly around it. When you cut the slices, they’ll have a cool pattern and they’ll be easier to eat if the peel is tough.
I so enjoyed making new friends at this show, especially those of you who had questions about how food changes can affect your health. I hope I can be of service to you. Stay in touch!