Thursday, May 3, 2012

From the Galley: Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Not sure which one of us enjoys cooking more, but trying and/or creating new recipes is definitely a big part of our lives -- both on and off the water. As we prepare for cruising we're always thinking of ways to adapt our eating habits to a cruising lifestyle, and how we would make our favorite dishes onboard.

One of the things we're looking forward to most is experiencing the different flavors of the countries/cultures we visit and learning new tricks, so to speak. But in the meantime, we'll start by sharing some of our favorite recipes that are staples in our life.

Black Bean and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa was a sacred source of strength for the ancient Incas. It is technically a seed in the herb category, but is traditionally treated as a grain. Conventionally quiona is boiled, but the secret to this salad is steaming the quinoa, which gives it a light, fluffy texture.

This salad is quick/easy to prepare, but tastes best if made 1 day ahead (chilled, covered). Before serving, bring salad to room temperature. You could serve it as a vegetarian main dish, though we usually make it as a side dish for parties. It pairs well with grilled chicken, pork or shrimp.

Approx. prep time: 20-25 minutes
Serves 4 to 6 as an entrée or 8 as a side dish

1 1/2 cups quinoa (small disk-shaped seeds)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn or 1 can cooked corn
3/4 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
2 jalapeño chilies, seeded and minced (wear rubber gloves)
1/4 cup (or more if you like) finely chopped fresh cilantro

For dressing
5 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or to taste
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin, or to taste
1/3 cup olive oil

Make dressing In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, and cumin and add oil in a stream, whisking.

In a colander, thoroughly wash quinoa with cold water.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil and cook quinoa 10 minutes. Drain quinoa in fine-meshed sieve and rinse under cold water. Set sieve over a saucepan of boiling water (quinoa should not touch water) and steam quinoa, covered with a kitchen towel and lid, until fluffy and dry, about 10 minutes (check water level in kettle occasionally, adding water if necessary).

While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer quinoa to a large bowl and cool. Add beans, corn, bell pepper, jalapeños, and cilantro and toss well.

Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste.