We’ve been in a rainy weather pattern with grey skies and cool temperatures. My walks in Apple Valley are accompanied by wonderful scents of flowering plum and apple, all the aromas heightened by the moisture. All sorts of birds trill away as I attempt to spot them in the new greenery. My Merlin bird id app heard lazuli buntings, hummingbirds, grosbeaks and tanagers among others today. At first we welcomed the moisture to our parched soil but really – enough already. I’d like to get into my garden and do some planting. And our poor driveway with its rain eroded gullies needs a good grading.
Rodney Carswell was here making prints and we had a great time over dinner reminiscing about our days at UNM, our art professors and fellow art students. And of course we talked about aging, food, movies and restaurants. Rodney brought gifts of New Mexico red chile, Shed Red, and El Poso tamales. One Friday during his stay I made a big salad and shared the tamales with the crew.
Most days we eat salad for lunch as you know from my many posts about them. I try new combinations depending on what’s in the pantry and fridge, what leftovers need to be eaten up. I have a fondness for beets with blue cheese, white beans with a mustardy vinaigrette and toasted pepitas, walnuts or almonds topping everything. Here is a quinoa salad accompanied by beet wedges, Amish blue, and avocado over chopped romaine.
Cook quinoa like pasta. Fill a saucepan half full of water and bring to a boil. Add a cup of quinoa and cook for about 12 minutes, until tender but not mushy. Drain. Combine the cooked quinoa with this vinaigrette: the juice of a lime, 1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seed, a big pinch of hot red pepper flakes, salt, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons of dried currants.
We had grilled chicken over a salad of radicchio, arugula, and red lettuce with beets, cherry tomatoes and toasted pepitas. I have found that out-of-season tomatoes are greatly improved by marinating them with salt, pepper and some olive oil while assembling the other parts of lunch.
Pork tenderloin is a delicious addition to a salad.
Make a dry rub with ground fennel seeds, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and let the tenderloin sit in the fridge until time to grill. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil before cooking. On a hot gas grill, (400°- 450°) cook for 5 minutes, turn on edge and cook for 5 minutes. Turn again, cook 5 minutes and then on the last side, for 5 minutes. An instant read thermometer should read 145°. Let rest for ten minutes before slicing. I served this with a cabbage slaw, roasted red pepper, cucumber and asparagus.
On one of the cold, rainy days I made a Bison Bolognese sauce to have with pasta.
In a heavy pot like a La Creuset dutch oven, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté a chopped onion, a chopped carrot and a chopped rib of celery until lightly cooked, not browned. Add a few cloves of garlic, chopped, and a tablespoon of tomato paste. Stir in a pound of ground bison, breaking it up, and cook until the pink is gone. Pour over 1/2 cup white wine and let it evaporate. Add a small tin of chopped tomatoes and a cup of water. Bring to a simmer and cook at low heat, covered, for as long as you have, preferably two hours. Check to be sure the mixture doesn’t dry out. Add water or stock if necessary. Serve tossed with pasta. Top with chopped parsley and parmesan to add at the table.
The grass is tall, the apple tree is blossoming, more rain in the forecast. Ah, Colorado spring.