I have a hard time not buying new notebooks. I’ve gone digital with evernote on my phone, in addition to using another basic list-making app, but I still keep handwritten lists in notebooks. I’m probably just addicted to list-making, but I think it’s got something to do with the notebooks, too. There’s something exciting and satisfying about starting a new notebook that’s addictive.
Just yesterday I found myself fondling a neon hardcover number just minutes after forcing myself to put down a red diary in another shop. (I’m still thinking about the neon one.)
My thing for notebooks is not unlike my obsession with all things related to the Tudor dynasty (books, documentaries, movies…) and British history, in general, which is a little weird. And I can’t say no to ice cream, hot sauce or a cheap sundress to save my life. I would call these things siren songs, but I’m pretty sure they’re the most unrebellious and harmless things that someone could be drawn to.
I also can’t ignore a good spice section in a supermarket – I’m constantly compelled to buy new spices or spice blends just in case. (Incorrigible, I know.)
It’s no secret that I love a good grain salad, and I love getting new ideas for them. This one is from Food & Wine – the combination of warm, Moroccan-type spices, roasted vegetables and red quinoa sounded like something I had to make for myself. I added some roasted eggplant into the mix, because I had one loitering around my crisper.
This is a great salad to make for a potluck or to serve a group. You can also make the batch for yourself and get a few weekday lunches out of it. Add some chickpeas, white beans or cooked chicken to make it a little more substantial.
Roasted Carrot & Eggplant Quinoa Salad
adapted from Food & Wine
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 4 large carrots, thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 small-medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 2 or 3 large handfuls of mixed salad greens
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup chopped coriander/cilantro
- Olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Heat the oven to 400 F/205 C.
In a small bowl, whisk the paprika with the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cinnamon, cayenne and 1 teaspoon each of salt and black pepper. In a large bowl, toss the carrots and eggplant with and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add 1 tablespoon of the spice mix and toss to coat. Spread the vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until tender.
Toast the walnuts in the dry pan over a medium heat until golden. Let cool, then coarsely chop.
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa with 2 teaspoons of the spice mix and the water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, whisk 1 tablespoon of the oil with 1/2 tablespoon of the lemon juice and season with salt and black pepper. Add the salad greens and toss to coat. Spread the greens on a large platter. In the same bowl, another tablespoons of oil with the remaining 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and the zest, mustard and 1 teaspoon of the spice mix and season with salt. Add the quinoa, walnuts, cranberries, coriander/cilantro and roasted vegetables and toss well. Spoon the quinoa salad on the greens and serve.