Yesterday’s adventures with garlic peeling and oil making were only the precursor to the awesome cooking shenanigans that followed.
I had a bagful of green beans in my fridge, waiting eagerly for me to do something exciting with them, and when I came across the recipe for “Crisp Green Beans with Roasted Shallots and Walnuts” in Vegan Soul Kitchen, I thought, gosh, that sounds brilliant! I’ll make that! But, it happened to be the case that I was missing several ingredients, and I wanted to try something a little different anyway. So, running on the inspirational wave from that recipe, I threw the following ingredients in my blender:
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons agave nectar
2 tablespoons of my garlic oil, from which I did not remove the garlic bits, and I made sure to get a whole lot of them in my tablespoons!
1 tablespoon thyme
I grabbed a spoon and tasted. MMM! Fantastic. Needs a little more…something. I filled up 2 more tablespoons with the garlicky garlic oil and zipped it through the blender once more. Still good, but…maybe…ohhhh, I know!
The recipe called for walnuts, which would be toasted and chopped and hang out in the oven with some shallots for a while, and that would all be fine and great and delicious, except that (a) I was hungry and (b) my sauce wanted to be thicker. So I grabbed a handful of raw walnuts and threw them in the blender too. Taste test confirmed…brilliant. Now all I needed were some green beans.
I had prepared the green beans already, snapping off the ends by hand (a lovely meditative task which I enjoy almost as much as peeling garlic) and steaming them for 7 minutes. I transferred them from the steamer to a serving bowl, poured the sauce on top, and gave it all a good shake. The pink creamy sauce made an awfully interesting color pairing with the green beans! There also had ended up being a fair bit more sauce than the green beans required to coat them, so now my green beans were sitting in a deliciously bitey puddle of pink goo.
Adding a grain to this mix seemed like a brilliant notion, so I reached into the cupboard for my most recent holy grail of intriguingly exotic grains — black quinoa. I double checked the instructions for how to cook quinoa – 1 cup of grain to 1 3/4 cup liquid, simmer for 15 minutes – then put that up on the stove and wandered off while the timer ticked.
About halfway through the timer’s run, I decided to peek in on my quinoa. Surprised at how little of the liquid had cooked in, I stuck a fork in the pot so I could taste a couple grains, and more importantly so I could chew them to see what sort of texture they’d reached by this point in the cooking process. I’d only cooked this black quinoa once before, but I was pretty surprised to find that it tasted like…lentils?!
This is where your friendly purple-headed chef du jour has an extended moment of laughing at zirself. You see, quinoa does not taste like lentils. But you know what does?
Yes, I had indeed mistaken my bag of tiny black quinoa grains for my bag of tiny black beluga lentils (the more commonly known name for the wee legumes, which are not really lentils at all, but do in fact behave and taste just like them for culinary purposes).
So, I had my moment of self-inflicted guffawing, and considered whether to go ahead and eat my green beans with the lentils, or stash them for another day and make a pot of actual black quinoa, as planned. The quinoa won, and I must say, that was a very good decision. It soaked up the sauce very nicely and was just the perfect texture to compliment the green beans (which is why I thought to use it in the first place!)
All in all, a highly delicious meal. I had some again for lunch today and I believe I’ve got just enough still left to make a third meal of tomorrow!