A friend whom I hadn’t seen in over twenty years came over for dinner last Thursday with his lovely wife. We weren’t terribly close in college; he was a freshman when I was a senior, but one pivotal memory I have of him is this: Wait for it. In the summer of ’87, I babysat someone’s guitar while they went back home. I stayed in the dorms, ostensibly Painting Bathrooms, but mainly it just meant that I lived there and got paid for it. Awesome. At any rate, I figured that, since I was babysitting the guitar anyway, I might as well learn how to play it. So, I went to the local music shop downtown and bought strings and a Beginners’ Guitar Book. It was red. The book, not the guitar. The guitar was Acoustic Guitar-Colored. I practiced every day, got major blisters that turned satisfyingly to callous. By the time the summer ended, I could play a (barely) passable rhythm guitar.
Jamie has always been a musician. A wonderful musician. He is a Mean Guitar Player, and he was in a Band and Everything. Very Keen. (Here it is. Finally): I somehow found myself in his room with a couple of his buddies one day. I told him the story of the Babysitting of the Guitar, and he asked what I could play. I was all, “I know the chords to Supertramp’s Give a Little Bit.” So, we played it. Me on halting rhythm guitar, and he on Mean Lead Guitar. And there was singing, too. Here is Supertramp performing. They are better than me, but they are Not better than Jamie.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiTpUCkTuVc&hl=en&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b]And, based on that one memory and the fact that our school was Very Small so there are not many of us Out There, we friended each other on facebook. Turns out he now lives in North Dakota and is a professor at a the University of Mary in Bismarck. He still plays in a band, Blind Mice, plus he’s a published Author and Poet and all around Cool Dude. He also has a blog that’s over there in my blog roll–The Pipe and Pen. His lovely wife, Gwyn, is taking on the formidable task of homeschooling their two genius children–literally, Genius Children. I am not making this up–because they both should be in about the 17th grade, even though the older of the two is only nine. Gwyn is also an Artist and Children’s Librarian. And here they are:
Jamie, Gwyn and the kids were down visiting the relatives in the lower 47 states, and this brought them to within two-ish hours of Our Abode. We asked them to come up for dinner, and they did. Of course, both sides of this little dinner party were a wee bit nervous. After all, Jamie and I had had One Musical Moment between us 21 years ago. The Beloved barely knew Jamie at all, and we’d never met Gwyn. Well, friends, let me tell you, we had a Fantastic Time. We laughed and talked and were as comfortable with them as if we had been hanging out once a week for 21 years. Fun, fun, fun was had by all. I made Pitcher Mojitos for the Adult Beverage portion of the activity. We ate marinated cucumbers (which, oddly enough, are in the same post as the Mojitos. Handy), cheese and crackers and then had a really yummy Quinoa and Chickpea Salad for dinner.
Jamie had told me on the phone a few days before that he and Gwyn are Vegetabletarians, so I immediately Dialed Q for Quinoa. As an Omnivore, I figured that they were protein deficient (ha!), and I wanted to make sure to give them a Complete Protein. Yes, I am that Accommodating. Here was the thought process at the grocery store, after I’d gotten the quinoa and chickpeas: Oooh, that looks good! Snatch–I put it in my cart. Plus, I was sort of thinking along the lines of Hummus–I already had the chickpeas going for me, so I added some of the other Hummus Ingredients, too.
And here’s how it turned out.
Vegetabletarian Quinoa and Chickpea Salad
- Quinoa, cooked in water with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon zest (hummus-type ingredients)
- 2 cans of chickpeas. Yes, you can start with dried if you want.
- salt and pepper
- diced tomato
- diced bell pepper
- shredded fennel
- diced red onion
- a jar of pimientos (sweet red peppers)
- rice wine vinegar
- extra virgin olive oil
- tahini (hummus-type ingredient)
- splash of soy sauce (for a hit of Umami Goodness)
- toasted sesame oil (to intensify the tahini)
- salt and pepper
- fresh herbs–I used basil and thyme because they were Handy
- crumbled feta cheese
- I think that’s all. I don’t really remember. Sorry.
The quinoa takes about 15 minutes or so to cook, so I started it first. I made it just like I make my rice–I don’t measure the liquid. I just put in some quinoa and then added water until it was about 3/4″ above the seeds. I measure it by sticking my finger in until I Hit Quinoa/Rice/Whatever. If the liquid comes to the first knuckle on my Pointer Finger, I’m there. Seriously, it works every time. Anyway, I cooked it until it was just underdone and then let it cool down. It finished cooking as it cooled. Thanks, Carryover Cooking.
Then, I prepped all the vegetables and put them in a Very Large Bowl. I threw in the drained chickpeas.
I made the dressing. It was more or less a vinaigrette, but instead of the standard two or three parts oil to one part vinegar, I Flip Flopped it. I wanted more bite and less oil, so I probably used about a cup of rice wine vinegar and maybe 1/3 cup olive oil. I whisked in a bit of honey, maybe 1 1/2 tablespoons of tahini a splash of soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil and salt and pepper, to taste.
I stirred everything together and chilled it for several hours. Before serving, I stirred in the herbs. I also sprinkled the feta on top, although I could just have easily have stirred it in, too. Do what you want. Oh, here it is:
And that’s really it. Jamie and Gwyn seemed to enjoy it. The Beloved and I enjoyed it. And we all got Complete Proteins. Yay, us.
This isn’t really a recipe, you know. It’s about putting some Lovely South American Seeds together with some fresh vegetables and Some Sort of Dressing. Change up the veggies. Add an animal protein if you’re not a Vegetabletarian. You could make it Greek Style, Italian Style, Mexican Style–whatever, just by mixing up the vegetables and the flavors in your dressing.
- Mini-Reunions with Guitar Heroes from College are a Very Good Thing.
- Guitar Heroes from College marry wonderful people.
- Jamie and Gwyn do not appear to be suffering from a Lack of Protein. I like to think I did my Part.
- Quinoa and chickpeas go together Very Nicely.
PS I decided not to use the pictured mustard in the picture up there at the top when I decided that tahini would be a good idea. I figured that mustard plus tahini equaled ick.
That is all.